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Mark Akenside

Such and so various are the tastes of men.

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Seeks painted trifles and fantastic toys, and eagerly pursues imaginary joys.

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The man forget not, though in rags he lies, and know the mortal through a crown's disguise.

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This was Shakespeare's form; who walked in every path of human life, felt every passion; and to all mankind doth now, will ever, that experience yield which his own genius only could acquire.

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Female Beauty

Felices ter et amplius
Quos irrupta tenet Copula, nec malis
Divulsus querimoniis,
Suprema citius solvet amor die.

What's Female Beauty, but an Art divine,
Through which the Mind's all gentle Graces shine?
They like the Sun irradiate all between;
The Body charms, because the Mind is seen.

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Taste

What, then, is taste but those internal powers,
Active and strong, and feeling alive
To each fine impulse? a discerning sense
Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust
From things deformed, or disarranged and gross
In species. This nor gems nor stores of gold,
Nor purple state nor culture can bestow;
But God alone, when first His active hand
Imprints the secret bias of the soul.

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Inscriptions: IX: Me Tho' In Life's Sequester'd Vale

Me tho' in life's sequester'd vale
The Almighty sire ordain'd to dwell,
Remote from glory's toilsome ways,
And the great scenes of public praise;
Yet let me still with grateful pride
Remember how my infant frame
He temper'd with prophetic flame,
And early music to my tongue supply'd.
'Twas then my future fate he weigh'd,
And, This be thy concern, he said,
At once with Passion's keen alarms,
And Beauty's pleasurable charms,
And sacred Truth's eternal light,
To move the various mind of Man;
Till under one unblemish'd plan,
His Reason, Fancy, and his Heart unite.

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Ode XVII: On A Sermon Against Glory

I.
Come then, tell me, sage divine,
Is it an offence to own
That our bosoms e'er incline
Toward immortal glory's throne?
For with me nor pomp, nor pleasure,
Bourbon's might, Braganza's treasure,
So can fancy's dream rejoice,
So conciliate reason's choice,
As one approving word of her impartial voice.

II.
If to spurn at noble praise
Be the pass-port to thy heaven,
Follow thou those gloomy ways;
No such law to me was given,
Nor, I trust, shall I deplore me
Faring like my friends before me;
Nor an holier place desire
Than Timolean's arms acquire,

[...] Read more

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Ode on a Sermon Against Glory

Come then, tell me, sage divine,
Is it an offence to own
That our bosoms e'er incline
Toward immortal glory's throne?
For with me nor pomp, nor pleasure,
Bourbon's might, Braganza's treasure,
So can fancy's dream rejoice,
So conciliate reason's choice,
As one approving word of her impartial voice.

If to spurn at noble praise
Be the pass-port to thy heaven,
Follow thou those gloomy ways;
No such law to me was given,
Nor, I trust, shall I deplore me
Faring like my friends before me;
Nor an holier place desire
Than Timolean's arms acquire,
And Tully's curule chair, and Milton's golden lyre.

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Complaint, The

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?

[...] Read more

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