Mark Akenside

A Song

THE SHAPE alone let others prize,
  The features of the fair:
I look for spirit in her eyes,
  And meaning in her air.
A damask cheek, an ivory arm,
  Shall ne’er my wishes win:
Give me an animated form,
  That speaks a mind within.
A face where awful honor shines,
  Where sense and sweetness move,
And angel innocence refines
  The tenderness of love.
These are the soul of beauty’s frame;
  Without whose vital aid
Unfinished all her features seem,
  And all her roses dead.
But ah! where both their charms unite,
  How perfect is the view,
With every image of delight,
  With graces ever new:
Of power to charm the greatest woe,
  The wildest rage control,
Diffusing mildness o’er the brow,
  And rapture through the soul.
Their power but faintly to express
  All language must despair;
But go, behold Arpasia’s face,
  And read it perfect there.

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