"He oft reflected on the sacred Guest, / Which had her fixt abode within his Breast, / And in his Works her God-like Form exprest."

— Blackmore, Sir Richard (1654-1729)

Place of Publication
Printed from Awnsham and John Churchill
"He oft reflected on the sacred Guest, / Which had her fixt abode within his Breast, / And in his Works her God-like Form exprest."
Metaphor in Context
Thus into Nature's Secrets Men descend,
And may to Knowledge in her Works pretend;
But who can Heav'n's deep Counsels comprehend?
Who can inform th' Enquirer, who can tell
Where Skill Divine, and Heav'nly Wisdom dwell?
For sensless Man its value does not know,
'Tis never found midst Mortals here below.
The Land exclaims aloud, I am not blest
To be th' abode of this Celestial Guest.
The Sea and all its noisy Waves, declare,
In vain you seek the sacred Stranger here.
Th' Infernal Deep cries with a hollow Sound,
Here's no Apartment for her under ground.
Th' unvaluable Blessing can't be bought,
With all the golden Wealth from Ophir brought.
He that has Wisdom Rubies will despise,
And Pearl, if tender'd as an equal Price.
Saphires and Diamonds, with vast labour sought,
The Topaz fetch'd from Countries far remote;
Which worn by mighty Kings, attract regard,
Are worthless Toys, with this bright Gem compar'd.
Who can instruct us then whence Wisdom flows?
And who the place of Understanding knows:
Since after strict enquiry we despair
To find it in the Land, the Sea, or Air?
Death and Destruction cry, midst all our Slaves
We ne'r saw Wisdom; to our secret Caves
We the Celestial Stranger ne'er convey'd,
Nor hid her in our solitary Shade.
We only are acquainted with her Name,
Have only heard of her Immortal Fame.
Only the Great All-penetrating God
Knows his own Offspring, Wisdom's blest abode.
For he surveys from Heav'n's bright Crystal brow,
The vast expanded Universe below;
The spacious liquid Vales of Sky and Air,
And all his Worlds, that hang in order there.
The Bounds of Nature, Chaos, and old Night,
Limit the Sun's, but not its Maker's Sight:
He has in Prospect this Terrestrial Isle,
And sees th' extreamest Bound'rys of its Soil.
He forms the various Meteors which appear
Thro' the low Regions of the Atmosphere.
He deals out to the Winds their proper weight,
Gives them their Wings, and then directs their Flight.
He measures out the drops with wondrous Skill,
Which the black Clouds his floating Bottles fill.
When he decreed the manner of the Rain,
And did the Lightning's crooked Path ordain;
When he appointed Nature's course and way,
And gave command that thence she should not stray;
Then Wisdom he beheld, he search'd with care
His own All-seeing Mind, and found it there.
He oft reflected on the sacred Guest,
Which had her fixt abode within his Breast,
And in his Works her God-like Form exprest.

But then to Man, to whom he had deny'd
The perfect Knowledge of his Ways, he cry'd,
The Fear of God is Wisdom, to depart
From Evil, this is Science, this is Art.
Attempt to know no more than God reveals,
Search not the Secrets which his Breast conceals.
In this Abyss trust not thy vent'rous Oar,
Wouldst thou be safe, then keep upon the Shore,
And from afar this awful Deep adore.
Thy Happiness in being Righteous lies,
Be Good, and in Perfection thou art wise.
Justly thou mayst despise the boastful Schools,
And learned Cant of grave, disputing Fools.
Searching "breast" and "guest" in HDIS (Poetry)
2 entries in ESTC (1700, 1716).

A Paraphrase on the Book of Job: As Likewise on the Songs of Moses, Deborah, David: on Four Select Psalms: Some Chapters of Isaiah, and the Third Chapter of Habakkuk. By Sir Richard Blackmore (London: Printed from Awnsham and John Churchill, 1700).
Date of Entry

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