"Matchless Numbers! surely blest / Which cou'd touch that Iron Breast, / That ne'er before had Pity felt"

— Boyse, Samuel (1708-1749)

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"Matchless Numbers! surely blest / Which cou'd touch that Iron Breast, / That ne'er before had Pity felt"
Metaphor in Context
So his Eurydice's sad Fate
Deploring, wretched Orpheus sate;
And with soft complaining Sound,
Made the ecchoing Vales resound!
Melting Nature own'd his Skill,
Forests mov'd, and Streams were still!
What can Music not asswage?
Savages forgot their Rage,
And submissive at his Feet,
Lambs with harmless Lions meet;
But not the Magic of his Lyre
Which could such a Change inspire,
Nor all the Virtues of his Art,
Could ease the tortur'd Poet's Heart!
Seeking thus in vain Relief,
Restless, raging, wild with Grief!
Higher Pow'rs his Suit disdaining,
Down he went to Hell complaining!
There with all the Skill he took,
From his Mother's sacred Book,
A-new he rais'd the solemn Sound,
Which wak'd the dismal Regions round!
Fix'd, attentive, to the Song
The gliding Ghosts unnumber'd throng;
Form round his Steps an airy Choir,
And hang upon the vocal Lyre!
The Furies, in their gloomy Seat,
Feel their ceaseless Rage abate;
And amidst the Toils of Hell,
Suspended stand to hear the Spell:
The Dog, whose Yell with horrid Fright
Wakes the remotest Cells of Night,
Now charm'd to Silence as he hears,
Wishes his Tongues were chang'd to Ears!
Old Charon, proud of such a Guest,
Taking him in forgets the rest,
Leaves in haste the crowded Shores,
And with softly moving Oars
Steals along the dusky Lake;
Afraid to stir, afraid to speak,
Slow he rows his heavy Boat,
Concern'd to lose the weakest Note!
Tantalus might have eaten now
At large of the suspended Bough;
But he, all Thoughts of Hunger past,
To feed his Hearing, starv'd his Taste.
Ixion felt no more his Wheel,
And Sysiphus for once stood still;
While from Prometheus, endless Prey!
The tort'ring Vulturs turn'd away!
And now at Pluto's awful Throne,
Orpheus arriv'd renews his Moan;
And increasing with his Woe,
More sublime his Numbers flow!
Matchless Numbers! surely blest
Which cou'd touch that Iron Breast,
That ne'er before had Pity felt
Yet now constrain'd was forc'd to melt;
And yielding to his pow'rful Prayer,
Give him back the long-sought Fair:
Displeas'd to see a Form of Day,
So far intrude beneath his Sway,
"Cease, the sullen Tyrant cry'd,
"Take restor'd your much lov'd Bride!
"But one Restraint a Gift must bind,
"That never shall be match'd in Kind;
"Till you reach the Bounds of Light,
"Command your Looks--avert your Sight:
"For if within our awful Coast
"You once look back--the Prize is lost!
So said the God his Eyes withdrew,
And shunn'd a Mortal's hated View!
Searching "breast" and "iron" in HDIS (Poetry)
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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.