To Cordelia

by Mark Akenside

Mark Akenside

JULY, 1740.
From pompous life's dull masquerade,
From Pride's pursuits, and Passion's war,
Far, my Cordelia, very far,
To thee and me may Heaven assign
The silent pleasures of the shade,
The joys of peace, unenvied, though divine!
Safe in the calm embowering grove,
As thy own lovely brow serene;
Behold the world's fantastic scene!
What low pursuits employ the great,
What tinsel things their wishes move,
The forms of Fashion, and the toys of State.
In vain are all Contentment's charms,
Her placid mien, her cheerful eye;
For look, Cordelia, how they fly!
Allur'd by Power, Applause, or Gain,
They fly her kind protecting arms;
Ah, blind to pleasure, and in love with pain!
Turn and indulge a fairer view,
Smile on the joys which here conspire;
O joys harmonious as my lyre!
O prospect of enchanting things,
As ever slumbering poet knew,
When Love and Fancy wrapt him in their wings!
Here, no rude storm of Passion blows,
But Sports, and Smiles, and Virtues play,
Cheer'd by Affection's purest ray;
The air still breathes Contentment's balm,
And the clear stream of Pleasure flows
For ever active, yet for ever calm.

Last updated January 14, 2019