Mark Akenside

(1721-1770 / England)

Ode Ix: At Study

Poem by Mark Akenside

Whither did my fancy stray?
By what magic drawn away
Have I left my studious theme?
From this philosophic page,
From the problems of the sage,
Wandering thro' a pleasing dream?

'Tis in vain alas! i find,
Much in vain, my zealous mind
Would to learned wisdom's throne
Dedicate each thoughtful hour:
Nature bids a softer power
Claim some minutes for his own.

Let the busy or the wise
View him with contemptuous eyes;
Love is native to the heart:
Guide its wishes as you will;
Without Love you'll find it still
Void in one essential part.

Me though no peculiar fair
Touches with a lover's care;
Though the pride of my desire
Asks immortal friendship's name,
Asks the palm of honest fame,
And the old heroic lyre;

Though the day have smoothly gone,
Or to letter'd leisure known,
Or in social duty spent;
Yet at eve my lonely breast
Seeks in vain for perfect rest;
Languishes for true content.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 17, 2010

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