Mark Akenside

English poet and physician

Mark Akenside (November 9, 1721June 23, 1770) was an English poet and physician.

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.


  • Youth calls for Pleasure, Pleasure calls for Love.
    • "Love, An Elegy", line 90
  • Seeks painted trifles and fantastic toys,
    And eagerly pursues imaginary joys.
    • The Virtuoso (1737), stanza x, lines 89–90
  • O'er yonder eastern hill the twilight pale
    Walks forth from darkness; and the God of day,
    With bright Astraea seated by his side,
    Waits yet to leave the ocean.
    • Hymn to the Naiads (1746), lines 1–4

Epistle to Curio (1744)

  • The man forget not, though in rags he lies,
    And know the mortal through a crown's disguise.
    • Lines 197–198
  • Can art, alas! or genius guide the head
    Where truth and freedom from the heart are fled?
    Can lesser wheels repeat their native stroke,
    When the prime function of the soul is broke?
    • Lines 265–268
  • Pall on her temper, like a twice-told tale.
    • Book I, line 220
  • Is aught so fair
    In all the dewy landscapes of the spring,
    In the bright eye of Hesper or the morn,
    In nature's fairest forms, is aught so fair
    As virtuous friendship? as the candid blush
    Of him who strives with fortune to be just?
    The graceful tear that streams for others' woes?
    Or the mild majesty of private life,
    Where peace with ever blooming olive crowns
    The gate; where Honour's liberal hands effuse
    Unenvied treasures, and the snowy wings
    Of Innocence and Love protect the scene?
    • Book I, line 500–511
  • 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.
    • Book II, lines 100–103
  • Oft the hours
    From morn to eve have stolen unmark'd away,
    While mute attention hung upon his lips.
    • Book II, lines 183–185
  • Ask the faithful youth
    Why the cold urn of her whom long he loved
    So often fills his arms; so often draws
    His lonely footsteps at the silent hour
    To pay the mournful tribute of his tears?
    Oh! he will tell thee that the wealth of worlds
    Should ne'er seduce his bosom to forego
    That sacred hour, when, stealing from the noise
    Of care and envy, sweet remembrance soothes
    With virtue's kindest looks his aching breast,
    And turns his tears to rapture.
    • Book II, lines 683–693
  • Others of graver mien; behold, adorn'd
    With holy ensigns, how sublime they move,
    And bending oft their sanctimonious eyes
    Take homage of the simple-minded throng;
    Ambassadors of heaven!
    • Book III, lines 109–113
  • Adieu, for him,
    The dull engagements of the bustling world!
    Adieu the sick impertinence of praise!
    And hope, and action! for with her alone,
    By streams and shades, to steal these sighing hours,
    Is all he asks, and all that fate can give!
    • Book III, lines 173–178
  • Such and so various are the tastes of men!
    • Book III, line 567

Odes on Several Subjects (1745)

  • The Providence of heaven
    Has some peculiar blessing given
    To each allotted state below.
    • Book I, Ode II, No. 1: "For the Winter Solstice", stanza v, lines 48–50
  • Heaven's all-subduing will,
    With good the progeny of ill,
    Attempreth every state below.
    • Book I, Ode II, No. 2: "On the Winter Solstice", stanza vi, lines 58–60
  • Than Timoleon's arms require,
    And Tully's curule chair, and Milton's golden lyre.
    • Book I, Ode XVII: "On a Sermon against Glory", stanza ii, lines 17–18
  • Rustic herald of the spring.
    • Book II, Ode III: "To the Cuckoo", stanza i, line 1
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