Sights may be perform'd, "illusive scene! / By magick lantern of the spleen"

— Green, Matthew (1696-1737) [pseud. Peter Drake, a Fisherman of Brentford]

Place of Publication
Sights may be perform'd, "illusive scene! / By magick lantern of the spleen"
Metaphor in Context
O Delia when I touch this string,
To thee my Muse directs her wing.
Unspotted Fair, with downcast look
Mind not so much the murm'ring brook;
Nor fixt in thought, with footstep slow
Through Cypress allies cherish woe;
I see the Soul in pensive fit,
And mopeing like sick Linnet sit,
With dewy eye and moulting wing,
Unperch'd, averse to fly or sing;
I see the favourite curls begin,
(Disus'd to toilet discipline,)
To quit their post, lose their smart air,
And grow again like Common hair;
And tears, which frequent kerchiefs dry,
Raise a red circle round the Eye;
And by this burr about the Moon
Conjecture more ill weather soon.
Love not so much the dolefull knell;
And news the boding night-birds tell;
Nor watch the wainscots hollow blow;
And hens portentous when they crow;
Nor sleepless mind the deathwatch beat;
In Taper find no winding sheet;
Nor in burnt coal a Coffin see,
Thô thrown at others meant for thee:
Or when the Coruscation gleams,
Find out not first the bloody streams;
Nor in imprest remembrance keep
Grim Tapstry figures wrought in sleep;
Nor rise to see in Antique Hall
The moonlight Monsters on the wall,
And shadowy spectres darkly pass
Trailing their Sables o'er the grass.
Let Vice and guilt act how they please
In souls their conquer'd provinces;
By Heaven's just Charter it appears,
Virtue's exempt from quartering fears.
Shall then arm'd phancies fiercely drest
Live at discretion in your breast?
Be wise and pannick fright disdain,
At notions, meteors of the brain;
And sights perform'd, illusive scene!
By magick lantern of the spleen.

Come here, from balefull cares releast,
With Virtue's ticket, to a feast,
Where decent Mirth and Wisdom joyn'd
In Stewardship, regale the mind.
Call back the Cupids to your Eyes,
I see the Godlings with surprize
Not knowing home in such a plight
Fly to and fro, afraid to light......
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Date of Entry

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