Pleasures Of Imagination, The

Mark Akenside 1721 - 1770


  With what attractive charms this goodly frame
  Of Nature touches the consenting hearts
  Of mortal men; and what the pleasing stores
  Which beauteous imitation thence derives
  To deck the poet's, or the painter's toil;
  My verse unfolds. Attend, ye gentle pow'rs
  Of musical delight! and while I sing
  Your gifts, your honours, dance around my strain.
  Thou, smiling queen of every tuneful breast,
  Indulgent Fancy! from the fruitful banks
  Of Avon, whence thy rosy fingers cull
  Fresh flowers and dews to sprinkle on the turf
  Where Shakspeare lies, be present: and with thee
  Let Fiction come, upon her vagrant wings
  Wafting ten thousand colours through the air,
  Which, by the glances of her magic eye,
  She blends and shifts at will, through countless forms,
  Her wild creation. Goddess of the lyre,
  Which rules the accents of the moving sphere,
  Wilt thou, eternal Harmony! descend
  And join this festive train? for with thee comes
  The guide, the guardian of their lovely sports,
  Majestic Truth; and where Truth deigns to come,
  Her sister Liberty will not be far.
  Be present all ye genii, who conduct
  The wandering footsteps of the youthful bard,
  New to your springs and shades: who touch his ear
  With finer sounds: who heighten to his eye
  The bloom of Nature, and before him turn
  The gayest, happiest attitude of things.

  Or shall I mention, where celestial Truth
  Her awful light discloses, to bestow
  A more majestic pomp on Beauty's frame?
  For man loves knowledge, and the beams of Truth
  More welcome touch his understanding's eye,
  Than all the blandishments of sound his ear,
  Than all of taste his tongue. Nor ever yet
  The melting rainbow's vernal-tinctur'd hues
  To me have shone so pleasing, as when first
  The hand of Science pointed out the path
  In which the sun-beams gleaming from the west
  Fall on the watery cloud, whose darksome veil
  Involves the orient; and that trickling shower
  Piercing through every crystalline convex
  Of clustering dew-drops to their flight oppos'd,
  Recoil at length where concave all behind
  The internal surface on each glassy orb
  Repeals their forward passage into air;
  That thence direct they seek the radiant goal
  From which their course began; and, as they strike
  In different lines the gazer's obvious eye,
  Assume a different lustre, through the brede
  Of colours changing from the splendid rose
  To the pale violet's dejected hue.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011


Mark Akenside

Mark Akenside was an English poet and physician. more…

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