"This made the first impression in his mind / Above, but just above, the brutal kind."

— Dryden, John (1631-1700)

Place of Publication
Printed for Jacob Tonson
"This made the first impression in his mind / Above, but just above, the brutal kind."
Metaphor in Context
What not his father's care, nor tutor's art,
Could plant with pains in his unpolished heart,
The best instructor, love, at once inspired,
As barren grounds to fruitfulness are fired;
Love taught him shame, and shame, with love at strife,
Soon taught the sweet civilities of life.
His gross material soul at once could find
Somewhat in her excelling all her kind;
Exciting a desire till then unknown,
Somewhat unfound, or found in her alone.
This made the first impression in his mind,
Above, but just above, the brutal kind
For beasts can like, but not distinguish too,
Nor their own liking by reflection know;
Nor why they like or this or t'other face,
Or judge of this, or that peculiar grace;
But love in gross, and stupidly admire;
As flies, allured by light, approach the fire.
Thus our man-beast, advancing by degrees,
First likes the whole, then separates what he sees;
On several parts a several praise bestows,
The ruby lips, the well-proportioned nose,
The snowy skin, the raven-glossy hair,
The dimpled cheek, the forehead rising fair,
And, even in sleep itself, a smiling air.
From thence his eyes descending viewed the rest,
Her plump round arms, white hands, and heaving breast.
Long on the last he dwelt, though every part
A pointed arrow sped to pierce his heart.
Searching 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
Date of Review

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