ON THE USE OF POETRY
by: Mark Akenside (1721-1770)
POEMS BY MARK AKENSIDE
- ot for themselves did human kind
- Contrive the parts by heaven assign'd
- On life's wide scene to play:
- Not Scipio's force nor Caesar's skill
- Can conquer Glory's arduous hill,
- If Fortune close the way.
- Yet still the self-depending soul,
- Though last and least in Fortune's roll,
- His proper sphere commands;
- And knows what Nature's seal bestow'd,
- And sees, before the throne of God,
- The rank in which he stands.
- Who train'd by laws the future age,
- Who rescued nations from the rage
- Of partial, factious power,
- My heart with distant homage views;
- Content, if thou, celestial Muse,
- Didst rule my natal hour.
- Not far beneath the hero's feet,
- Nor from the legislator's seat
- Stands far remote the bard.
- Though not with public terrors crown'd.
- Yet wider shall his rule be found,
- More lasting his award.
- Lycurgus fashion'd Sparta's fame,
- And Pompey to the Roman name
- Gave universal sway:
- Where are they?Homer's reverend page
- Holds empire to the thirtieth age,
- And tongues and climes obey.
- And thus when William's acts divine
- No longer shall from Bourbon's line
- Draw one vindictive vow;
- When Sydney shall with Cato rest,
- And Russel move the patriot's breast
- No more than Brutus now;
- Yet then shall Shakspeare's powerful art
- O'er every passion, every heart,
- Confirm his awful throne:
- Tyrants shall bow before his laws;
- And Freedom's, Glory's, Virtue's cause,
- Their dread assertor own.