With "sweat and pain" the philosopher may "Digg Mines of disputable Oar."

— Norris, John (1657-1712)

Place of Publication
Printed for J. Crosley, and Samuel Manship
With "sweat and pain" the philosopher may "Digg Mines of disputable Oar."
Metaphor in Context
  What wou'd the wise men's Censure be,
  I wonder, should they hear me say
I was resolv'd to throw my Books away;
How wou'd some scorn, and others pitty me!
Sure he's in love, 'tis for some Charming Eve
That he like Adam Paradise does leave.
  This only difference would be
  Between my great Gandsire, and me,
  That I my Paradise forego
  For want of appetite to know.

  'Tis not that Knowledge I despise;
  No, you misconstrue my design;
Or that t' Enthusiasm I incline
And hope by Inspiration to be wise.
'Tis not for this I bid my Books adieu,
No, I love Learning full as well as you,
  And have the Arts great Circle run
  With as much Vigour as the Sun
  His Zodiac treads, till t'other day
  A thought surpris'd me in my way.

  Thought I, for any thing I know,
  What we have stamp'd for science here,
Does only the Appearance of it wear
And will not pass above, tho Current here below;
Perhaps they've other rules to reason by,
And what's Truth here, with them's Absurdity.
  We Truth by a Refracted ray
  View, like the Sun at Ebb of day:
  Whom the gross, treacherous Atmosphere
  Makes where it is not, to appear.

  Why then shall I with sweat and pain
  Digg Mines of disputable Oar?

My labour's certain, so is not my store,
I may hereafter unlearn all again.
Why then for Truth do I my Spirits waste,
When after all I may be guil'd at last?
  So when the honest Patriarch thought
  With seven years labour he had bought
  His Rachels Love, by morning light
  He found the errour of the night.

  Or grant some Knowledge dwells below,
  'Tis but for some few years to stay
Till I'm set loose from this dark House of Clay,
And in an Instant I shall all things know.
Then shall I learn t' Accumulate Degrees
And be at once made Master of all Sciences.
  What need I then great Summs lay out,
  And that Estate with care forestall,
  Which when few years are come about,
  Into my hands of Course will fall?

Searching HDIS (Poetry)
"The Discouragement" from A Collection of Miscellanies: Consisting of Poems, Essays, Discourses & Letters, Occasionally Written. By John Norris, 2nd edition (London: Printed for J. Crosley, and Samuel Manship, 1692). <Link to first edition in EEBO-TCP>
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.