1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Mark Akenside

Michael Wodhull, in "The Use of Poetry" 1798; Poetical Register for 1806-07 (1811) 370-71 & n.



The youthful Akenside's illustrious morn,
When he, th' apostate Statesman to appall,
Chose for his theme the haughty Strafford's fall,
Or dar'd with manly spirit to unfold
"What day the people's stern decree is told
To unbelieving Kings;" devoid of power,
Soon shrunk unnerv'd in his meridian power,
All "Ashley's wisdom," join'd with "Hampden's arms,"
Then from his page effac'd, had lost its charms,
The Heaven-born Muse descended from her sphere,
His parting lays were tun'd for Dyson's ear.

* Most of Dr. Akenside's Poems were written in his youth: he died at the age of forty-nine, having been several years before appointed one of the Queen's Physicians. The passages noticed may be found in his Odes to the Right Honourable Charles Townsend, to Dr. Hardinge, and on leaving Holland, in which the excellent author of the Characteristics, originally the object of his panegyric, is now passed over in silence; "Ashley's Wisdom" being effaced, to make room for "Somers' Counsels." In the posthumous edition, published 1772, we find the Pleasures of Imagination much garbled, and dedicated to Jeremiah Dyson, Esq.