Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HYMN TO SCIENCE, by MARK AKENSIDE



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HYMN TO SCIENCE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Science! Thou fair effusive ray
Last Line: And sit in peace with thee.
Subject(s): Physicians; Doctors


SCIENCE! thou fair effusive ray
From the great source of mental day,
Free, generous, and refined!
Descend with all thy treasures fraught,
Illumine each bewilder'd thought,
And bless my labouring mind.

But first, with thy resistless light,
Disperse those phantoms from my sight,
Those mimic shades of thee:
The scholiast's learning, sophist's cant,
The visionary bigot's rant,
The monk's philosophy.

O! let thy powerful charms impart
The patient head, the candid heart,
Devoted to thy sway;
Which no weak passions e'er mislead
Which still with dauntless steps proceed
Where reason points the way.

Give me to learn each secret cause;
Let Number's, Figure's, Motion's laws
Reveal'd before me stand;
These to great Nature's scenes apply,
And round the globe, and through the sky,
Disclose her working hand.

Next, to thy nobler search resign'd,
The busy, restless, human mind
Through every maze pursue;
Detect perception where it lies,
Catch the ideas as they rise,
And all their changes view.

Say from what simple springs began
The vast ambitious thoughts of man,
Which range beyond control,
Which seek eternity to trace,
Dive through the infinity of space,
And strain to grasp the whole.

Her secret stores let memory tell,
Bid Fancy quit her fairy cell,
In all her colours drest;
While, prompt her sallies to control,
Reason, the judge, recalls the soul
To Truth's severest test.

Then launch through Being's wide extent;
Let the fair scale with just ascent
And cautious steps be trod;
And from the dead, corporeal mass,
Through each progressive order pass
To Instinct, Reason, God.

There, Science! veil thy daring eye;
Nor dive too deep, nor soar too high,
In that divine abyss;
To Faith content thy beams to lend,
Her hopes to assure, her steps befriend,
And light her way to bliss.

Then downwards take thy flight again,
Mix with the policies of men,
And social Nature's ties;
The plan, the genius of each state,
Its interest and its powers relate,
Its fortunes and its rise.

Through private life pursue thy course,
Trace every action to its source,
And means and motives weigh:
Put tempers, passions in the scale;
Mark what degrees in each prevail,
And fix the doubtful sway.

That last best effort of thy skill,
To form the life, and rule the will,
Propitious power! impart:
Teach me to cool my passion's fires,
Make me the judge of my desires,
The master of my heart.

Raise me above the vulgar's breath,
Pursuit of fortune, fear of death,
And all in life that's mean:
Still true to reason be my plan,
Still let my actions speak the man,
Through every various scene.

Hail! queen of manners, light of truth;
Hail I charm of age, and guide of youth;
Sweet refuge of distress:
In business, thou! exact, polite;
Thou giv'st retirement its delight,
Prosperity its grace.

Of wealth, power, freedom, thou the cause;
Foundress of order, cities, laws,
Of arts inventress thou!
Without thee, what were human-kind?
How vast their wants, their thoughts how blind!
Their joys how mean, how few!

Sun of the soul! thy beams unveil:
Let others spread the daring sail
On Fortune's faithless sea:
While, undeluded, happier I
From the vain tumult timely fly,
And sit in peace with thee.





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