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AKENSIDE, MARK, an English physician and poet, born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, November 9, 1721; died in London, June 23, 1770. He studied at the Grammar School at Newcastle, and at the Universities of Edinburgh and Leyden, at the latter of which he took his degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1744. He practised his profession first at Northampton, and afterward in London. His poem, "Pleasures of the Imagination," appeared in 1744, and the author received a pension of £300 a year from Mr. Dyson, to be paid until "his practice should support him." Besides his "Pleasures of the Imagination" he wrote a number of odes and minor poems and some medical essays.
FROM THE EPISTLE TO CURIO.
THRICE has the spring beheld thy faded fame,
In sounds of triumph all thy praise to tell;
Blest could my skill through ages make thee shine,
But now the cause that waked my song before
There are who say they viewed without amaze The sad reverse of all thy former praise; That through the pageants of a patriot's name, They pierced the foulness of thy secret aim; Or deemed thy arm exalted but to throw The public thunder on a private foe. But I, whose soul consented to thy cause, Who felt thy genius stamp its own applause, Who saw the spirits of each glorious age Move in thy bosom, and direct thy rage,
I scorned the ungenerous gloss of slavish minds, The owl-eyed race, whom Virtue's lustre blinds. Spite of the learned in the ways of vice,
And all who prove that each man has his price,
I still believed thy end was just and free;
And yet, even yet believe it- spite of thee.
Even though thy mouth impure has dared disclaim,
To laws infirm, and liberty decayed;
To beg the infamy he did not earn,
To challenge hate when honor was his due,
When they who, loud for liberty and laws,
In doubtful times had fought their country's cause,
To leave Corruption stronger in her place,
By silent spells to work the public fate,
And taint the vitals of the passive state,
Till healing Wisdom should avail no more,
To wake the heedless and incite the slow,
And quell the enchantress by a mightier charm.
Lo! the deciding hour at last appears;
See Freedom mounting her eternal throne, The sword submitted, and the laws her own! See! public Power, chastised, beneath her stands, With eyes intent, and uncorrupted hands! See private life by wisest arts reclaimed! See ardent youth to noblest manners framed! See us acquire whate'er was sought by you, If Curio, only Curio will be true.
'Twas then-O shame! O trust how ill repaid! O Latium, oft by faithless sons betrayed! 'Twas then-What frenzy on thy reason stole? What spells unsinewed thy determined soul?Is this the man in Freedom's cause approved? The man so great, so honored, so beloved? This patient slave by tinsel chains allured? This wretched suitor for a boon abjured? This Curio, hated and despised by all? Who fell himself to work his country's fall?
O lost, alike to action and repose! Unknown, unpitied in the worst of woes! With all that conscious, undissembled pride, Sold to the insults of a foe defied!
With all that habit of familiar fame,
Doomed to exhaust the dregs of life in shame!