"Just so supreme, unmated, and alone, / The Soul assumes her intellectual throne"

— Brooke, Henry (c. 1703-1783)

Place of Publication
1735, 1792
"Just so supreme, unmated, and alone, / The Soul assumes her intellectual throne"
Metaphor in Context
Just so supreme[1], unmated, and alone,
The Soul assumes her intellectual throne;

Around their queen attendant spirits watch,
Each rising thought with prompt observance catch,
The tidings of internal passion spread,
And thro' each part the swift contagion shed.
With motive throes the quickening limbs conceive;
The blood tempestuous, pours a flushing wave;
With raging swell alternate pantings rise;
And terrors rowl within the kindling eyes.
The mind thus speeds her ministry abroad,
And rules obedient matter with a nod;
The obsequious mass beneath her influence yields,
And even her will the unwieldy fabric wields.
Thro' winding paths[2] her sprightly envoys fly,
Or watchful in the frontier senses lie;
Brisk on the tongue[3] the grateful gusto greet,
And thro' the nerves return the ideal sweet;
Or incense[4] from the nostrils gate exhale,
And to their goddess waft the odorous gale;
Or musical to charm[5] the listening soul,
Attentive round the tortuous ear patrole,
There each sonorous undulation wait,
And thrill in rapture to the mental seat;
Or wondrous[6] to the organick vision pass,
And to the mind inflect the magick glass;
Here born elate[7] upon etherial tides,
The blythe illuminated glory glides,
And on the beam the painted image rides[8];
Those images that still continuous flow,
Effluviated around, above, below,
True to the colour, distance, shape, and size,
That from essential things perpetual rise,
And obvious gratulate[9] our wondering eyes;
Convey the bloom of nature's smiling scene[10],
The vernal landskip, and the watery main;
The flocks that nibble[11] on the flowery lawn,
The frisking lambkin, and the wanton fawn;
The sight[12] how grateful to the social soul,
That thus imbibes the blessings of the whole,
Joys in their joy, while each inspires his breast
With blessings multiplied from all that's blest!
Nor less yon heights[13] the unfolding heaven display,
Its nightly twinkle, and its streaming day;
The page impress'd conspicuous on the skies,
A preface to the Book of Glory lies;
We mount the steep, high born upon delight,
While hope aspires beyond--and distances the sight.
Thus heaven and earth, whom varying graces deck,
In full proportions paint the visual speck;
So awful did[14] the Almighty's forming will,
Amazing texture, and stupendous skill,
The visionary net[15] and tunics weave[16],
And the bright gem with lucid humours lave[17];
So gave the ball's collected ray to glow,
And round the pupil arch'd his radiant bow[18];
Full in a point[19] unmeasured spaces lie,
And worlds inclusive dwell within our eye.
Yet useless was[20] this textured wonder made,
Were Nature, beauteous object! undisplay'd;
Those, both as vain, the object, and the sight,
Wrapt from the radiance of revealing light;
As vain the bright illuminating beam,
Unwafted by the medium's airy stream:
Yet vain the textured eye, and object fair,
The sunny lustre, and continuous air;
Annull'd and blank this grand illustrious scene,
All, all its grace, and lifeless glories, vain;
Till from the Eternal[21] sprung this effluent Soul,
Bless'd to inspect, and comprehend the whole!
O whence, say whence this endless Beauty springs,
This awful, dear, delightful depth of things?
Whence but from Thee! Thou Great One! Thou Divine!
Placid! and Mild! All Gracious! All Benign!
Thou Nature's Parent! and Supreme Desire!
How loved the offspring!--and how bless'd the Sire!
How ever Bless'd! as blessings from Thee flow,
And spread all bounteous on Thy works below:
The reptile[22], wreathed in many a wanton play;
And insect, basking in the shine of day;
The grazing quadruped, and plumy choir
That earthly born to heavenly heights aspire;
All species, form'd beneath the solar beam,
That numberless adorn our future theme,--
Fed in Thy bounty, fashion'd in Thy Skill,
Cloath'd in Thy Love, instructed in Thy will,
Safe in Thy conduct, their unerring guide,
All-save the child of ignorance and pride--
The paths of Beauty and of Truth pursue,
And teach proud man those lectures which ensue!


1. It is an observation of an author learned in the law, that "non omne simile quatuor pedi-"bus currit;" yet as our passions (the operation of which is above described) may be called a state of warfare, the simile even in that respect is not unjust.

2. did not think it necessary to insert here the sense of feeling, not only because there is no special or peculiar organ to which it bears relation, but because I take it for a sort of universal sense, all sensation being performed by contact; and so--

3. tasting--

4. smelling--

5. hearing, and--

6. seeing, being but a different kind of touch, or feeling, agreeable and accommodated to the difference of objects that are thereby perceived.

7. The manner in which the--

8. object is conveyed to the eye--

9. by whose second mediation the perceiving soul rejoices--

10. beholding the elegance and beauty of nature--

11. but chiefly those animated beings who through life are susceptible of happiness--

12. as every generous person increases his happiness by rejoicing in the happiness of others--

13. and as by means of this miraculous organ of sight, the beauties of earth are conspicuous, so in the first page of heaven expanded before us, to raise our hope to an assurance of further bliss.

14. The wonderful texture of the aye--

15. its retina (continued from the optick nerve) which is the proper organ of vision--

16. its coats--

17. humours--

18. and Iris, or circle surrounding the pupil, within which--

19. the images of things are distinctly painted.

20. The infinitely wise adjustment of nature demonstrated; inasmuch as the eye had been useless without the object, both eye and object useless without light, the eye, the object, and the light, still useless without the medium of air for conveyance, and altogether as useless without.

21. The mind, which only can perceive.

22. This paragraph was added as a hint of the following part, which chiefly treats of the arts and instincts of the inferior animal system: which subject, as it is less abstruse, so, it is probable, it will be more agreeable than any hitherto treated of.
Searching "throne" and "soul" in HDIS (Poetry)
Originally published in parts (1735). At least 9 entries in ECCO and ESTC (1735, 1736, 1789, 1792).

See Part I <Link to ESTC>, Part II <Link to ESTC>, Part III <Link to ESTC>, Part IV <Link to ESTC>, Part V <Link to ESTC>, Part VI <Link to ESTC>

Text from The Poetical Works of Henry Brooke ... In Four Volumes Octavo. Revised and corrected by the Original Manuscript With a Portrait of the Author, and His Life By Miss Brooke. 3rd ed. (Dublin: Printed for the Editor, 1792). [Titled "Universal Beauty: A Philosophical Poem, In Six Books."] <Link to LION>
Date of Entry

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