"Expression is the dress of thought, and still / Appears more decent, as more suitable."

— Pope, Alexander (1688-1744)

Place of Publication
Printed for W. Lewis
w. c. 1709, 1711
"Expression is the dress of thought, and still / Appears more decent, as more suitable."
Metaphor in Context
Others for Language all their care express,
And value books, as women men, for Dress:
Their praise is still, the Style is excellent:
The Sense, they humbly take upon content.
Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
False Eloquence, like the Prismatic glass,
Its gaudy colours spreads on ev'ry place;
The face of nature we no more survey,
All glares alike, without distinction gay:
But true Expression, like th'unchanging Sun,
Clears, and improves whate'er it shines upon,
It gilds all objects, but it alters none.
Expression is the dress of thought, and still
Appears more decent, as more suitable;

A vile conceit in pompous words express'd,
Is like a clown in regal purple dress'd:
For diff'rent styles with diff'rent subjects sort,
As several garbs with country, town, and court.
Some by old words to fame have made pretence:
Ancients in phrase, meer moderns in their sense!
Such labour'd nothings, in so strange a style,
Amaze th'unlearn'd, and make the learned smile.
Unlucky, as Fungoso in the Play,
These sparks with aukward vanity display
What the fine Gentleman wore yesterday,
And but so mimic ancient wits at best,
As apes our grandsires, in their doublets drest.
In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold;
Alike fantastic, if too new, or old;
Be not the first by whom the new are try'd,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

(II, ll. 289-304)
Searching in HDIS
Over 30 entries in ESTC. (1711, 1713, 1714, 1716, 1717, 1718, 1719, 1722, 1728, 1736, 1737, 1741, 1744, 1745, 1749, 1751, 1754, 1758, 1765, 1770, 1774, 1777, 1782, 1796).

An Essay on Criticism. (London: Printed for W. Lewis, 1711). <Link to ESTC><Link to Google Books><Link to 2nd edition in ECCO-TCP>

Originally searching through Stanford's HDIS installation of the Chadwyck-Healey database (which indexes a text from the 1736 Works. Some text drawn from ECCO-TCP edition.
Dress of Thought
Date of Entry
Date of Review

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