A Song – Mark Akenside

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 Iv’ry Arm,
Shall ne’er my Wishes win,
Give me an animated Form,
That speaks a Mind within.
A Face where awful Honour 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,
Unfinish’d all her Features seem,
And all her Roses dead.
But ah! where both their Charms unite,
How perfect is the View,
With ev’ry Image of Delight,
With Graces ever new.
Of Pow’r to charm the greatest Woe,
The wildest Rage controul,
Diffusing Mildness o’er the Brow,
And Rapture thro’ the Soul.
Their Pow’r but faintly to express,
All Language must despair,
But go behold
Arpasia’s
Face,
And read it perfect there.

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