"Modesty, that in their Bosom reigns, / Detests and loaths whatever spots or stains"

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

Place of Publication
Printed and Sold by T. Sowle
"Modesty, that in their Bosom reigns, / Detests and loaths whatever spots or stains"
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.