Ode IV: To The Honourable Charles Townshend In The Country

I. 1.
How oft shall i survey
This humble roof, the lawn, the greenwood shade,
The vale with sheaves o'erspread,
The glassy brook, the flocks which round thee stray?
When will thy cheerful mind
Of these have utter'd all her dear esteem?
Or, tell me, dost thou deem
No more to join in glory's toilsome race,
But here content imbrace
That happy leisure which thou had'st resign'd?

I. 2.
Alas, ye happy hours,
When books and youthful sport the soul could share,
Ere one ambitious care
Of civil life had aw'd her simpler powers;
Oft as your winged train
Revisit here my friend in white array,
Oh fail not to display
Each fairer scene where I perchance had part,
That so his generous heart
The abode of even friendship may remain.

I. 3.
For not imprudent of my loss to come,
I saw from contemplation's quiet cell
His feet ascending to another home
Where public praise and envied greatness dwell.
But shall we therefore, o my lyre
Reprove ambition's best desire?
Extinguish glory's flame?
Far other was the task injoin'd
When to my hand thy strings were first assign'd:
Far other faith belongs to friendship's honor'd name.

II. 1.
Thee, Townshend, not the arms
Of slumbering ease, nor pleasure's rosy chain,
Were destin'd to detain:
No, nor bright science, nor the Muse's charms.
For them high heaven prepares
Their proper votaries, an humbler band:
And ne'er would Spenser's hand
Have deign'd to strike the warbling Tuscan shell,
Nor Harrington to tell
What habit an immortal city wears,

II. 2.
Had this been born to shield
The cause which Cromwell's impious hand betray'd,
Or that, like Vere, display'd
His redcross banner o'er the Belgian field.
Yet where the will divine
Hath shut those loftiest paths, it next remains,
With reason clad in strains
Of harmony, selected minds to inspire,
And virtue's living fire
To feed and eternize in hearts like thine.

II. 3.
For never shall the herd, whom envy sways,
So quell my purpose or my tongue controul,
That I should fear illustrious worth to praise,
Because it's master's friendship mov'd my soul.
Yet, if this undissembling strain
Should now perhaps thine ear detain
With any pleasing sound,
Remember thou that righteous fame
From hoary age a strict account will claim
Of each auspicious palm with which thy youth was crown'd.

III. 1.
Nor obvious is the way
Where heaven expects thee, nor the traveller leads,
Through flowers or fragrant meads,
Or groves that hark to Philomela's lay.
The impartial laws of fate
To nobler virtues wed severer cares.
Is there a man who shares
The summit next where heavenly natures dwell?
Ask him (for he can tell)
What storms beat round that rough laborious height.

III. 2.
Ye heroes, who of old
Did generous England freedom's throne ordain;
From Alfred's parent reign
To Nassau, great deliverer, wise and bold;
I know your perils hard,
Your wounds, your painful marches, wintry seas,
The night estrang'd from ease,
The day by cowardice and falsehood vex'd,
The head with doubt perplex'd,
The indignant heart disdaining the reward

III. 3.
Which envy hardly grants. But, o renown,
O praise from judging heaven and virtuous men,
If thus they purchas'd thy divinest crown,
Say, who shall hesitate? or who complain?
And now they sit on thrones above:
And when among the gods they move
Before the sovran mind,
'Lo, these,' he saith, 'lo, these are they
'Who to the laws of mine eternal sway
'From violence and fear asserted human kind.'

IV. 1.
Thus honor'd while the train
Of legislators in his presence dwell;
If I may aught foretell,
The statesman shall the second palm obtain.
For dreadful deeds of arms
Let vulgar bards, with undiscerning praise,
More glittering trophies raise:
But wisest heaven what deeds may chiefly move
To favor and to love?
What, save wide blessings, or averted harms?

IV. 2.
Nor to the imbattled field
Shall these achievements of the peaceful gown
The green immortal crown
Of valor, or the songs of conquest, yield.
Not Fairfax wildly bold,
While bare of crest he hew'd his fatal way,
Through Nasesby's firm array,
To heavier dangers did his breast oppose
Than Pym's free virtue chose,
When the proud force of Strafford he controul'd.

IV. 3.
But what is man at enmity with truth?
What were the fruits of Wentworth's copious mind
When (blighted all the promise of his youth)
The patriot in a tyrant's league h
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Mark Akenside

Mark Akenside was an English poet and physician. more…

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"Ode IV: To The Honourable Charles Townshend In The Country" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 15 Sep. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/26507/ode-iv:-to-the-honourable-charles-townshend-in-the-country>.

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