Mark Akenside (1721-1770)
The Pleasures of Imagination
1 With what attractive charms this goodly frame
2Of Nature touches the consenting hearts
3Of mortal men; and what the pleasing stores
4Which beauteous imitation thence derives
5To deck the poet's, or the painter's toil;
6My verse unfolds. Attend, ye gentle pow'rs
7Of musical delight! and while I sing
8Your gifts, your honours, dance around my strain.
9Thou, smiling queen of every tuneful breast,
10Indulgent Fancy! from the fruitful banks
11Of Avon, whence thy rosy fingers cull
12Fresh flowers and dews to sprinkle on the turf
13Where Shakspeare lies, be present: and with thee
14Let Fiction come, upon her vagrant wings
15Wafting ten thousand colours through the air,
16Which, by the glances of her magic eye,
17She blends and shifts at will, through countless forms,
18Her wild creation. Goddess of the lyre,
19Which rules the accents of the moving sphere,
20Wilt thou, eternal Harmony! descend
21And join this festive train? for with thee comes
22The guide, the guardian of their lovely sports,
23Majestic Truth; and where Truth deigns to come,
24Her sister Liberty will not be far.
25Be present all ye genii, who conduct
26The wandering footsteps of the youthful bard,
27New to your springs and shades: who touch his ear
28With finer sounds: who heighten to his eye
29The bloom of Nature, and before him turn
30The gayest, happiest attitude of things.
97 Or shall I mention, where celestial Truth
98Her awful light discloses, to bestow
99A more majestic pomp on Beauty's frame?
100For man loves knowledge, and the beams of Truth
101More welcome touch his understanding's eye,
102Than all the blandishments of sound his ear,
103Than all of taste his tongue. Nor ever yet
104The melting rainbow's vernal-tinctur'd hues
105To me have shone so pleasing, as when first
106The hand of Science pointed out the path
107In which the sun-beams gleaming from the west
108Fall on the watery cloud, whose darksome veil
109Involves the orient; and that trickling shower
110Piercing through every crystalline convex
111Of clustering dew-drops to their flight oppos'd,
112Recoil at length where concave all behind
113The internal surface on each glassy orb
114Repeals their forward passage into air;
115That thence direct they seek the radiant goal
116From which their course began; and, as they strike
117In different lines the gazer's obvious eye,
118Assume a different lustre, through the brede
119Of colours changing from the splendid rose
120To the pale violet's dejected hue.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Mark Akenside, The Pleasures of Imagination, 3rd. edn. (London: R. Dodsley, 1744). B-10 6557 Fisher Rare Book Library.
First publication date:
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.723.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/26
Form: Blank Verse
Other poems by Mark Akenside