Mark Akenside.


473   Amoret

IF rightly tuneful bards decide,
   If it be fix’d in Love’s decrees,
That Beauty ought not to be tried
   But by its native power to please,
Then tell me, youths and lovers, tell—
What fair can Amoret excel?

Behold that bright unsullied smile,
   And wisdom speaking in her mien:
Yet—she so artless all the while,
   So little studious to be seen—
We naught but instant gladness know,
Nor think to whom the gift we owe.

But neither music, nor the powers
   Of youth and mirth and frolic cheer,
Add half the sunshine to the hours,
   Or make life’s prospect half so clear,
As memory brings it to the eye
From scenes where Amoret was by.

This, sure, is Beauty’s happiest part;
   This gives the most unbounded sway;
This shall enchant the subject heart
   When rose and lily fade away;
And she be still, in spite of Time,
Sweet Amoret in all her prime.

474   The Complaint

         AWAY! away!
   Tempt me no more, insidious Love;
      Thy soothing sway
   Long did my youthful bosom prove:
   At length thy treason is discern’d,
   At length some dear-bought caution earn’d:
Away! nor hope my riper age to move.

         I know, I see
   Her merit. Needs it now be shown,
         Alas! to me?
   How often, to myself unknown,
   The graceful, gentle, virtuous maid
   Have I admired! How often said—
What joy to call a heart like hers one’s own!

         But, flattering god,
   O squanderer of content and ease
         In thy abode
   Will care’s rude lesson learn to please?
   O say, deceiver, hast thou won
   Proud Fortune to attend thy throne,
Or placed thy friends above her stern decrees?

475   The Nightingale

TO-NIGHT retired, the queen of heaven
   With young Endymion stays;
And now to Hesper it is given
Awhile to rule the vacant sky,
Till she shall to her lamp supply
   A stream of brighter rays.

Propitious send thy golden ray,
   Thou purest light above!
Let no false flame seduce to stray
Where gulf or steep lie hid for harm;
But lead where music’s healing charm
   May soothe afflicted love.

To them, by many a grateful song
   In happier seasons vow’d,
These lawns, Olympia’s haunts, belong:
Oft by yon silver stream we walk’d,
Or fix’d, while Philomela talk’d,
   Beneath yon copses stood.

Nor seldom, where the beechen boughs
   That roofless tower invade,
We came, while her enchanting Muse
The radiant moon above us held:
Till, by a clamorous owl compell’d,
   She fled the solemn shade.

But hark! I hear her liquid tone!
   Now Hesper guide my feet!
Down the red marl with moss o’ergrown,
Through yon wild thicket next the plain,
Whose hawthorns choke the winding lane
   Which leads to her retreat.

See the green space: on either hand
   Enlarged it spreads around:
See, in the midst she takes her stand,
Where one old oak his awful shade
Extends o’er half the level mead,
   Enclosed in woods profound.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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