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Nor wash his visage in the stream,
Nor see the sun's departing beam,
Till he on Hoder's corse shall smile
Flaming on the fun'ral pile.
Now my weary lips I close:
Leave me, leave me to repose !

Odin. Yet awhile my call obey :
Prophetess, awake, and say
What virgins these, in speechless woe,
That bend to earth their solemn brow,
That their flaxen tresses tear,
And snowy veils that float in air.
Tell me whence their sorrows rose;
Then I leave thee to repose.

Prophetess. Ha! no traveller art thou!
King of Men, I know thee now;
Mightiest of a mighty line-

Odin. No boding maid of skill divine
Art thou, nor prophetess of good,
But mother of the giant brood !

Prophetess. Hie thee hence, and boast at home
That never shall enquirer come
To break my iron sleep again,
Till Lok has burst his tenfold chain;
Never, till substantial Night
Has reassumed her ancient right;
Till wrapt in flames, in ruin hurled,

Sinks the fabric of the world. 1761.

1768.

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SKETCH OF HIS OWN CHARACTER Too poor for a bribe, and too proud to importune, He had not the method of making a fortune; Could love and could hate, so was thought somewhat odd; No very great wit, he believed in a God; A place or a pension he did not desire,

5 But left church and state to Charles Townshend and Squire. 1761.

1775

MARK AKENSIDE

FROM

THE PLEASURES OF IMAGINATION

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Say, why was man so eminently raised
Amid the vast creation, why ordained
Through lite and death to dart his piercing eye,
With thoughts beyond the limit of his frame,
But that th' Omnipotent might send him forth,

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In sight of mortal and immortal pow'rs,
As on a boundless theatre, to run
The great career of justice; to exalt
His gen'rous aim to all diviner deeds;
To chase each partial purpose from his breast;
And through the mists of passion and of sense,
And through the tossing tide of chance and pain,
To hold his course unfalt'ring, while the voice
Of Truth and Virtue, up the steep ascent
Of Nature, calls him to his high reward-

15 Th' applauding smile of Heav'n? Else wherefore burns In mortal bosoms this unquenchèd hope, That breathes from day to day sublimer things, And mocks possession? wherefore darts the mind With such resistless ardour to embrace Majestic forms, impatient to be free, Spurning the gross control of wilful might, Proud of the strong contention of her toils, Proud to be daring? Who but rather turns To heav'n's broad fire his unconstrained view

25 Than to the glimm'ring of a waxen flame? Who that, from Alpine heights, his lab'ring eye Shoots round the wide horizon, to survey Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave Through mountains, plains, through empires black with shade,

30 And continents of sand, will turn his gaze To mark the windings of a scanty rill That murmurs at his feet? The high-born soul Disdains to rest her heav'n-aspiring wing Beneath its native quarry. Tired of earth

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And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft
Through fields of air, pursues the flying storm,
Rides on the vollied lightning through the heav'ns,
Or, yoked with whirlwinds and the northern blast,
Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars
The blue profound, and, hovering round the sun,
Beholds him pouring the redundant stream
Of light, beholds his unrelenting sway
Bend the reluctant planets to absolve
The fated rounds of Time. Thence, far effused,
She darts her swiftness up the long career
Of devious comets; through its burning signs,
Exulting, circles the perennial wheel
Of Nature, and looks back on all the stars,
Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,
Invests the orient. Now amazed she views
Th' empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold,
Beyond this concave heav'n, their calm abode;
And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
Has travelled the profound six thousand years,
Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things.
Ev'n on the barriers of the world, untired,
She meditates th' eternal depth below;
Till, half recoiling, down the headlong steep
She plunges, soon o'erwhelmed and swallowed up
In that immense of being. There her hopes
Rest at the fated goal. For, from the birth
Of mortal man, the Sov'reign Maker said
That not in humble nor in brief delight,
Not in the fading echoes of renown,
Pow'r's purple robes, nor Pleasure's flow'ry lap,
The soul should find enjoyment; but from these
Turning disdainful to an equal good,
Through all th' ascent of things enlarge her view,
Till every bound at length should disappear,
And infinite perfection close the scene.
17.387-43.

1744.

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FOR A GROTTO

To me, whom in their lays the shepherds call
Actaea, daughter of the neighbouring stream,

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This cave belongs. The fig-tree and the vine,
Which o'er the rocky entrance downward shoot,
Were placed by Glycon. He, with cowslips pale,
Primrose, and purple lychnis, decked the green
Before my threshold, and my shelving walls
With honeysuckle covered. Here, at noon,
Lulled by the murmur of my rising fount,
I slumber; here my clustering fruits I tend;
Or from the humid flowers, at break of day,
Fresh garlands weave, and chase from all my bounds
Each thing impure or noxious. Enter in,
O stranger, undismayed. Nor bat nor toad
Here lurks : and if thy breast of blameless thoughts
Approve thee, not unwelcome shalt thou tread
My quiet mansion; chiefly, if thy name
Wise Pallas and the immortal Muses own.

1758.

15

CHRISTOPHER SMART

FROM

nes;

A SONG TO DAVID
Sweet is the dew that falls betimes,
And drops upon the leafy

Sweet, Hermon's fragrant air;
Sweet is the lily's silver bell,
And sweet the wakeful tapers' smell

That watch for early prayer ;

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Sweet the young nurse, with love intense,
Which smiles o'er sleeping innocence;

Sweet when the lost arrive;
Sweet the musician's ardour beats,
While his vague mind's in quest of sweets,

The choicest flowers to hive:

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Sweeter, in all the strains of love,
The language of thy turtle-dove,

Paired to thy swelling chord;

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Beauteous the moon full on the lawn;
And beauteous when the veil's withdrawn

The virgin to her spouse;
Beauteous the temple, decked and filled,
When to the heaven of heavens they build

Their heart-directed vows:

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Beauteous, yea beauteous more than these,
The Shepherd King upon his knees,

For his momentous trust;
With wish of infinite conceit

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