"[T]hus pale revenge / Unsheaths her murderous dagger; and the hands / Of lust and rapine, with unholy arts, / Watch to o'erturn the barrier of the laws / That keeps them from their prey: thus all the plagues / The wicked bear, or o'er the trembling scene / The tragic muse discloses, under shapes / Of honour, safety, pleasure, ease or pomp, / Stole first into the mind."
— Akenside, Mark (1720-1771)
The empire of the soul: thus pale revenge
Unsheaths her murderous dagger; and the hands
Of lust and rapine, with unholy arts,
Watch to o'erturn the barrier of the laws
That keeps them from their prey: thus all the plagues
The wicked bear, or o'er the trembling scene
The tragic muse discloses, under shapes
Of honour, safety, pleasure, ease or pomp,
Stole first into the mind. Yet not by all
Those lying forms which fancy in the brain
Engenders, are the kindling passions driven,
To guilty deeds; nor reason bound in chains,
That vice alone may lord it: oft adorn'd
With solemn pageants, folly mounts the throne,
And plays her idiot-anticks, like a queen.
A thousand garbs she wears; a thousand ways
She wheels her giddy empire.
(p. 73-4, Bk. III, ll. 53-70)
Text from Mark Akenside, The Poems Of Mark Akenside (London: W. Bowyer and J. Nichols, 1772). <Link to LION>
Compare the poem as first published: Mark Akenside, The Pleasures of Imagination: A Poem. In Three Books. (London: Printed for R. Dodsley 1744). <Link to ESTC> <Link to ECCO-TCP> <Link to Google Books>
Also reading The Pleasures of Imagination (Otley, England: Woodstock Books, 2000), which reprints The Pleasures of Imagination. By Mark Akenside, M.D. to Which Is Prefixed a Critical Essay on the Poem, by Mrs. Barbauld. (London: Printed for T. Cadell, jun. and W. Davies, (successors to Mr. Cadell), 1795). <Link to ESTC>