"But if to ampler prospects, if to gaze / On nature's form, where, negligent of all / These lesser graces, she assumes the port / Of that eternal majesty that weigh'd / The world's foundations, if to these the mind / Exalts her daring eye; then mightier far / Will be the change, and nobler."
— Akenside, Mark (1720-1771)
On nature's form, where, negligent of all
These lesser graces, she assumes the port
Of that eternal majesty that weigh'd
The world's foundations, if to these the mind
Exalts her daring eye; then mightier far
Will be the change, and nobler. Would the forms
Of servile custom cramp her generous powers?
Would sordid policies, the barbarous growth
Of ignorance and rapine, bow her down
To tame pursuits, to indolence and fear?
Lo! she appeals to nature, to the winds
And rowling waves, the sun's unwearied course,
The elements and seasons: all declare
For what the eternal maker has ordain'd
The powers of man: we feel within ourselves
His energy divine: he tells the heart,
He meant, he made us to behold and love
What he beholds and loves, the general orb
Of life and being; to be great like him,
Beneficent and active.
(p. 95-6, Bk. III, ll. 609-629)
Text from Mark Akenside, The Poems Of Mark Akenside (London: W. Bowyer and J. Nichols, 1772). <Link to LION>
Compare the poem as first published: Mark Akenside, The Pleasures of Imagination: A Poem. In Three Books. (London: Printed for R. Dodsley 1744). <Link to ESTC> <Link to ECCO-TCP> <Link to Google Books>
Also reading The Pleasures of Imagination (Otley, England: Woodstock Books, 2000), which reprints The Pleasures of Imagination. By Mark Akenside, M.D. to Which Is Prefixed a Critical Essay on the Poem, by Mrs. Barbauld. (London: Printed for T. Cadell, jun. and W. Davies, (successors to Mr. Cadell), 1795). <Link to ESTC>