Home > Uncategorized > Mark Akenside: The hidden plan whence every treaty, every war began

Mark Akenside: The hidden plan whence every treaty, every war began

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Mark Akenside: Statesmanship versus war

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Mark Akenside

From Ode to Curio

In sight, old Time, imperious judge, awaits:
Above revenge, or fear, or pity, just,
He urgeth onward to those guilty gates
The great, the sage, the happy, and august.
And still he asks them of the hidden plan
Whence every treaty, every war began,
Evolves their secrets and their guilt proclaims:
And still his hands despoil them on the road
Of each vain wreath by lying bards bestow’d,
And crush their trophies huge, and raze their sculptured names.

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From The Pleasures of the Imagination

In all the dewy landscapes of the Spring,
In the bright eye of Hesper, or the morn,
In Nature’s fairest forms, is aught so fair
As virtuous friendship? as the candid blush
Of him who strives with fortune to be just?
The graceful tear that streams for others’ woes?
Or the mild majesty of private life,
Where Peace with ever blooming olive crowns
The gate; where Honour’s liberal hands effuse
Unenvied treasures, and the snowy wings
Of Innocence and Love protect the scene?

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When shall the laurel and the vocal string
Resume their honours? When shall we behold
The tuneful tongue, the Promethéan band
Aspire to ancient praise? Alas! how faint,
How slow the dawn of Beauty and of Truth
Breaks the reluctant shades of Gothic night
Which yet involves the nations! Long they groan’d
Beneath the furies of rapacious force;
Oft as the gloomy north, with iron swarms
Tempestuous pouring from her frozen caves,
Blasted the Italian shore, and swept the works
Of Liberty and Wisdom down the gulf
Of all-devouring night.

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