MARK A KENSIDE: 1721-1770.

Akenside, a physician at Northampton, and afterwards in London, is cele

brated as the author of The Pleasures of Imagination, a poem full of fine imagery, expressed in rich and musical language.


From The Pleasures of Imagination.


O blest of heaven! whom not the languid songs
Of luxury, the siren ! not the bribes
Of sordid wealth, nor all the gaudy spoils
Of pageant honour, can seduce to leave
Those ever-blooming sweets, which from the store
Of nature fair imagination culls
To charm the enlivened soul! What though not all
Of mortal offspring can attain the heights
Of envied life; though only few possess
Patrician treasures or imperial state;
Yet nature's care, to all her children just,
With richer treasures and an ampler state,
Endows at large whatever happy man
Will deign to use them. His the city's pomp,
The rural honours his. Whate'er adorns
The princely dome, the column and the arch,
The breathing marbles and the sculptured gold,
Beyond the proud possessor's narrow claim,
His tuneful breast enjoys. For him the spring
Distils her dews, and from the silken gem
Its lucid leaves unfolds : for him the hand
Of autumn tinges every fertile branch
With blooming gold and blushes like the morn.
Each passing hour sheds tribute from her wings;
And still new beauties meet his lonely walk,
And loves unfelt attract him. Not a breeze
Flies o'er the meadow, not a cloud imbibes
The setting sun's effulgence, not a strain
From all the tenants of the warbling shade

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Ascends, but whence his bosom can partake
Fresh pleasure, unreproved. Nor thence partakes
Fresh pleasure only : for the attentive mind,
By this harmonious action on her powers,
Becomes herself harmonious: wont so oft
In outward things to meditate the charm
Of sacred order, soon she seeks at home
To find a kindred order, to exert
Within herself this elegance of love,
This fair inspired delight: her tempered powers
Refine at length, and every passion wears
A chaster, milder, more attractive mien.
But if to ampler prospects, if to gaze
On nature's form, where, negligent of all
These lesser graces, she assumes the port
Of that eternal majesty that weighed
The world's foundations ; if to these the mind
Exalts her daring eye; then mightier far
Will be the change, and nobler. Would the forms
Of servile custom cramp her generous power;
Would sordid policies, the barbarous growth
Of ignorance and rapine, bow her down
To tame pursuits, to indolence and fear ?
Lo! she appeals to nature, to the winds
And rolling waves, the sun's unwearied course,
The elements and seasons : all declare
For what the eternal Maker has ordained
The powers of man: we feel within ourselves
His energy divine : he tells the heart,
He meant, he made us to behold and love
What he beholds and loves, the general orb
Of life and being ; to be great like him,
Beneficent and active. Thus the men
Whom nature's works can charm, with God himself
Hold converse ; grow familiar, day by day,
With his conceptions, act upon his plan,
And form to his, the relish of their souls.

WILLIAM COLLINS: 1721-175 9.

Collins, the son of a tradesman in Chichester, was educated at Winchester

College, and afterwards at Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1746 he published his Odes, which failed to attract attention. The poet sank under the disappointment, and became indolent and dissipated. A few years afterwards he fell into a state of nervous imbecility, which continued till his death. His chief poems are his Odes, On the Passions, To Evening, and To Liberty. Mr Southey has remarked, that, though utterly neglected on their first appearance, the odes of Collins, in the course of one generation, without any adventitious aid to bring them into notice, were acknowledged to be the best of their kind in the language.


An Ode for Music.

When Music, heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions oft, to hear her shell,
Thronged around her magic cell,
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting,
Possessed beyond the Muse's painting ;
By turns, they felt the glowing mind
Disturbed, delighted, raised, refined ;
Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired,
Filled with fury, rapt, inspired,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatched her instruments of sound;
And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each-for Madness ruled the hour-

his own expressive power.

First, Fear, his hand, its skill to try,

Amid the chords bewildered laid,
And back recoiled, he knew not why,

Even at the sound himself had made.

Next, Anger rushed, his eyes on fire,

In lightnings owned his secret stings:
In one rude clash he struck the lyre,

And swept, with hurried hands, the strings.

With woful measures, wan Despair

Low sullen sounds !—his grief beguiled ;
A solemn, strange, and mingled air;

'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.

But thou, O Hope ! with eyes so fair,

What was thy delighted measure ?

Still it whispered promised pleasure, And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail.

Still would her touch the strain prolong; And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,

She called on Echo still through all the song: And, where her sweetest theme she chose,

A soft responsive voice was heard at every close ; And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair:


And longer had she sung—but, with a frownl,

Revenge impatient rose.
He threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down,

And, with a withering look,

The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe;

And, ever and anon, he beat

The doubling drum, with furious heat ;
And though sometimes, each dreary pause between,

Dejected Pity, at his side,

Her soul-subduing voice applied, Yet still he kept his wild unaltered mien ; While each strained ball of sight seemed bursting from

his head.

Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fixed ;

Sad proof of thy distressful state;
Of differing themes the veering song was mixed,

And now it courted Love, now, raving, called on Hate.

With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
Pale Melancholy sat retired ;
And from her wild sequestered seat,

In notes by distance made more sweet,
Poured through the mellow horn her pensive soul ::

And, dashing soft, from rocks around,

Bubbling runnels joined the sound ; Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole : Or o'er some haunted streams, with fond delay,

Round a holy calm diffusing,

Love of peace, and lonely musing,
In hollow murmurs died away.

But, oh, how altered was its sprightlier tone !
When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,

Her bow across her shoulders flung,
Her buskins gemmed with morning dew,

Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung, The hunter's call, to Faun and Dryad known;

The oak-crowned sisters, and their chaste-eyed queen,
Satyrs, and silvan boys, were seen,
Peeping from forth their alleys green;

Brown Exercise rejoiced to hear;
And Sport leaped up, and seized his beechen spear.

Last, came Joy's ecstatic trial :
He, with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand addressed ;

But soon he saw the brisk awakening viol,

Whose sweet entrancing voice he loved the best. They would have thought, who heard the strain,

They saw, in Tempe's vale, her native maids,

Amidst the festal-sounding shades,
To some unwearied minstrel dancing ;

While as his flying fingers kissed the strings,
Love framed with Mirth a gay fantastic round :
Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound ;

And he, amidst his frolic play,

As if he would the charming air repay,
Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings.

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