Ode VIII: On Leaving Holland

by Mark Akenside

Mark Akenside

I 1.
Farewell to Leyden's lonely bound,
The Belgian Muse's sober seat;
Where dealing frugal gifts around
To all the favorites at her feet,
She trains the body's bulky frame
For passive, persevering toils;
And lest, from any prouder aim,
The daring mind should scorn her homely spoils,
She breathes maternal fogs to damp its restless flame.
I. 2.
Farewell the grave, pacific air,
Where never mountain zephyr blew:
The marshy levels lank and bare,
Which Pan, which Ceres never knew:
The Naiads, with obscene attire,
Urging in vain their urns to flow;
While round them chaunt the croking choir,
And haply sooth some lover's prudent woe,
Or prompt some restive bard and modulate his lyre.
I. 3.
Farewell, ye nymphs, whom sober care of gain
Snatch'd in your cradles from the god of love:
She render'd all his boasted arrows vain;
And all his gifts did he in spite remove.
Ye too, the slow-ey'd fathers of the land,
With whom dominion steals from hand to hand,
Unown'd, undignify'd by public choice,
I go where liberty to all is known,
And tells a monarch on his throne,
He reigns not but by her preserving voice.
II. 1.
O my lov'd England, when with thee
Shall i sit down, to part no more?
Far from this pale, discolor'd sea,
That sleeps upon the reedy shore,
When shall i plough thy azure tide?
When on thy hills the flocks admire,
Like mountain snows; till down their side
I trace the village and the sacred spire,
While bowers and copses green the golden slope divide?
II. 2.
Ye nymphs who guard the pathless grove,
Ye blue-ey'd sisters of the streams,
With whom i wont at morn to rove,
With whom at noon i talk'd in dreams;
O! take me to your haunts again,
The rocky spring, the greenwood glade;
To guide my lonely footsteps deign,
To prompt my slumbers in the murmuring shade,
And sooth my vacant ear with many an airy strain.
II. 3.
And thou, my faithful harp, no longer mourn
Thy drooping master's inauspicious hand:
Now brighter skies and fresher gales return,
Now fairer maids thy melody demand.
Daughters of Albion, listen to my lyre!
O Phœbus, guardian of the Aonian choir,
Why sounds not mine harmonious as thy own,
When all the virgin deities above
With Venus and with Juno move
In concert round the Olympian father's throne?
III. 1.
Thee too, protectress of my lays,
Elate with whose majestic call
Above degenerate Latium's praise,
Above the slavish boast of Gaul,
I dare from impious thrones reclaim,
And wanton sloth's ignoble charms,
The honors of a poet's name
To Somers' counsels, or to Hamden's arms,
Thee, freedom, I rejoin, and bless thy genuine flame,
III. 2.
Great citizen of Albion. Thee
Heroic valour still attends,
And useful science pleas'd to see
How art her studious toil extends.
While truth, diffusing from on high
A lustre unconfin'd as day,
Fills and commands the public eye;
Till, pierc'd and sinking by her powerful ray,
Tame faith and monkish awe, like nightly demons, fly.
III. 3.
Hence the whole land the patriot's ardour shares:
Hence dread religion dwells with social joy;
And holy passions and unsullied cares,
In youth, in age, domestic life imploy.
O fair Britannia, hail!-With partial love
The tribes of men their native seats approve,
Unjust and hostile to each foreign fame:
But when for generous minds and manly laws
A nation holds her prime applause,
There public zeal shall all reproof disclaim.

Last updated January 14, 2019