"Reason, that honours Mankind more than Beast, / Gives forth its Laws and Dictates in each Breast"

— Mollineux [née Southworth], Mary (1651-1695)

Place of Publication
Printed and Sold by T. Sowle
"Reason, that honours Mankind more than Beast, / Gives forth its Laws and Dictates in each Breast"
Metaphor in Context
Reason, that honours Mankind more than Beast,
Gives forth its Laws and Dictates in each Breast
Vertue should therefore in both Sexes dwell;
Some may in these, and some in those excel:
Yet this, with many more, are not confin'd
To either solely; but the prudent Mind
In both embrace it; for it Regulates
Deportment both in high and low Estates:
For where she dwells, insulting Arrogance,
Or any unbecoming Confidence,
Must not remain, lest these defile and stain
The Heart, where Vertue should prevail and reign;
That Modesty may, by its Influence,
Hide and avoid occasion of Offence.
As Scripture-Record to Posterity,
Doth Chronicle the Virgin Modesty
Of Shem and Japhet, who went back to hide
The Nakedness their Brother did deride;
On whom the Curse became thereby entail'd
To after-Ages, but a Blessing seal'd
To them, and to their Progeny, whose Names
(Like to a precious Ointment, that retains
Its fragrancy) shall still inherit Praise,
And be a Precedent to latter Days.
For tho' the Memory of some doth rot,
Vertue shall live, and never be forgot:
The Wise in Heart esteem it, and thereby
Order their Conversation prudently;
And would not an unseemly Act commit,
Tho' Mortal Eye should ne'er discover it:
For Modesty, that in their Bosom reigns,
Detests and loaths whatever spots or stains;
Restraining from all Rudeness, it inclines
To Gravity and Meekness, and refines
The Language; intimating, that we should
Be swift to hear, but never over-bold
To speak, tho' Eloquent; and then take heed,
Lest Words extravagantly may exceed
A mild and civil Tone; for spoken loud,
They seem to Summons-in the list'ning Crowd:
Nor should they savour of Scurrility;
For these are not th'Effects of Modesty,
Which never can delight in Calumnies,
Abusing others with Tongue-Injuries,
Although revil'd: Civility disdains
To vie in Folly, where no Prize pertains
Unto the Victors; the true Noble Mind
Conquers a Wrong by Patience, is resign'd
For Vertue's sake to bear, that Reason may
Be Re-enthron'd, and Passion pass away.
Th' Examples, which the Ancients did afford
Hereto, are many, left upon Record;
For Civil Natures dictates in each Breast,
Do far exceed what here can be express'd.
Searching in HDIS (Poetry)
At least 7 entries in ESTC (1702, 1720, 1729, 1739, 1761, 1772, 1776).

See Fruits of Retirement: or, Miscellaneous Poems, Moral and Divine. Being Some Contemplations, Letters, &C. Written on Variety of Subjects and Occasions. By Mary Mollineux, Late of Leverpool, Deceased. To Which Is Prefixed, Some Account of the Author. (London: printed and sold by T. Sowle, in White-Hart-Court in Gracious-Street, 1702). <Link to ESTC>
Date of Entry

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