"He blinds the wise, gives eyesight to the blind, / And moulds and stamps anew the lover's mind."

— Dryden, John (1631-1700)

Place of Publication
Printed for Jacob Tonson
"He blinds the wise, gives eyesight to the blind, / And moulds and stamps anew the lover's mind."
Metaphor in Context
Curse on the unpardoning prince, whom tears can draw
To no remorse; who rules by lions' law;
And, deaf to prayers, by no submission bowed,
Rends all alike, the penitent and proud!"
At this, with look serene, he raised his head;
Reason resumed her place, and passion fled.
Then thus aloud he spoke: "The power of Love,
In earth, and seas, and air, and heaven above,
Rules, unresisted, with an awful nod;
By daily miracles declared a god:
He blinds the wise, gives eyesight to the blind,
And moulds and stamps anew the lover's mind.

Behold that Arcite, and this Palamon,
Freed from my fetters, and in safety gone,
What hindered either, in their native soil,
At ease to reap the harvest of their toil?
But Love, their lord, did otherwise ordain,
And brought them, in their own despite again,
To suffer death deserved; for well they know,
'Tis in my power, and I their deadly foe.
The proverb holds,--that to be wise, and love,
Is hardly granted to the gods above.
See how the madmen bleed! behold the gains
With which their master, Love, rewards their pains!
For seven long years, on duty every day,
Lo their obedience, and their monarch's pay:
Yet, as in duty bound, they serve him on;
And, ask the fools, they think it wisely done;
Nor ease, nor wealth, nor life itself, regard;
For 'tis their maxim,--Love is love's reward.
This is not all,--the fair, for whom they strove,
Nor knew before, nor could suspect their love,
Nor thought, when she beheld the fight from far,
Her beauty was the occasion of the war.
But sure a general doom on man is past,
And all are fools and lovers, first or last:
This, both by others and myself, I know,
For I have served their sovereign long ago;
Oft have been caught within the winding train
Of female snares, and felt the lover's pain,
And learned how far the god can human hearts constrain.
To this remembrance, and the prayers of those,
Who for the offending warriors interpose,
I give their forfeit lives, on this accord,
To do me homage, as their sovereign lord;
And, as my vassals, to their utmost might,
Assist my person, and assert my right."
This freely sworn, the knights their grace obtained;
Then thus the king his secret thoughts explained:--
"If wealth, or honour, or a royal race,
Or each, or all, may win a lady's grace,
Then either of you, knights, may well deserve
A princess born; and such is she you serve:
For Emily is sister to the crown,
And but too well to both her beauty known.
But should you combat till you both were dead,
Two lovers cannot share a single bed.
As therefore both are equal in degree,
The lot of both be left to Destiny.
Now hear the award, and happy may it prove
To her, and him who best deserves her love.
Depart from hence in peace, and free as air,
Search the wide world, and where you please repair;
But on the day when this returning sun
To the same point through every sign has run,
Then each of you his hundred knights shall bring,
In royal lists, to fight before the king;
And then the knight, whom Fate, or happy Chance,
Shall with his friends to victory advance,
And grace his arms so far in equal fight,
From out the bars to force his opposite,
Or kill, or make him recreant on the plain,
The prize of valour and of love shall gain;
The vanquished party shall their claim release,
And the long jars conclude in lasting peace.
The charge be mine to adorn the chosen ground,
The theatre of war for champions so renowned;
And take the patron's place of either knight,
With eyes impartial to behold the fight;
And heaven of me so judge, as I shall judge aright.
If both are satisfied with this accord,
Swear, by the laws of knighthood, on my sword."
Searching "stamp" and "mind" in HDIS (Poetry)
Over 15 entries in the ESTC (1700, 1701, 1713, 1721, 1734, 1745, 1752, 1753, 1755, 1771, 1773, 1774, 1776, 1797).

See Fables Ancient and Modern Translated into Verse from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer, with Original Poems, by Mr. Dryden (London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1700). <Link to ESTC><Link to EEBO><Link to EEBO-TCP>

Reading John Dryden, ed. Keith Walker (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1987).
Date of Entry

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