"All evils here contaminate the mind, / That opulence departed leaves behind."

— Goldsmith, Oliver (1728?-1774)

Place of Publication
Printed for J. Newbery
"All evils here contaminate the mind, / That opulence departed leaves behind."
Metaphor in Context
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows,
And sensual bliss is all the nation knows.
In florid beauty groves and fields appear,
Man seems the only growth that dwindles here.
Contrasted faults through all his manners reign:
Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain;
Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue;
And even in penance planning sins anew.
All evils here contaminate the mind,
That opulence departed leaves behind
For wealth was theirs, nor far removed the date,
When commerce proudly flourished through the state;
At her command the palace learned to rise,
Again the long-fall'n column sought the skies;
The canvas glowed beyond even Nature warm,
The pregnant quarry teemed with human form;
Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,
Commerce on other shores displayed her sail;
While nought remained of all that riches gave,
But towns unmanned and lords without a slave;
And late the nation found, with fruitless skill,
Its former strength was but plethoric ill.
(ll. 123-44, pp. 638-9)
HDIS (Poetry)
Over 70 entries in ECCO and ESTC (1764, 1765, 1768, 1770, 1771, 1774, 1775, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1782, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1798, 1799, 1800) [Published in The Works of the English Poets].

See The Traveller, or a Prospect of Society. A Poem. (London: Printed for J. Newbery, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, 1764). <Link to ESTC>

Text from Roger Lonsdale's The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, and Oliver Goldsmith (London and New York: Longman and Norton: 1972).
Date of Entry
Date of Review

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