"This Night we'd fix her [the Muse of Comedy's] Empire in your Hearts."

— Cumberland, Richard (1732-1811)

Place of Publication
Printed for W. Griffin
"This Night we'd fix her [the Muse of Comedy's] Empire in your Hearts."
Metaphor in Context
Who but has seen the celebrated strife,
Where Reynolds calls the Canvass into Life;
And, 'twixt the Tragic, and the comic Muse,
Courted of both, and dubious where to chuse,
Th' immortal Actor stands?--Here we espy
An awful Figure, pointing to the Sky;
A grave, sublime, commanding Form she bears;
And in her Zone an unsheath'd Dagger wears.
On t'other Side, with sweet, attractive Mien,
The playful Muse of Comedy is seen:
She, with a thousand soft, bewitching Smiles,
Mistress of Love, his yielding Heart beguiles;
(For where's the Heart so harden'd, to withstand
The fond Compulsion of so fair a Hand?)
Oh! would she he here bestow those winning Arts!
This Night we'd fix her Empire in your Hearts;
No tragic Passions shou'd deface the Age,
But all shou'd catch good Humour from the Stage:
The storming Husband, and imperious Wife,
Shou'd learn the Doctrine of a quiet Life:
The plodding Drudge shou'd here at Times resort,
And leave his stupid Club, and stummy Port;
The pensive Politician, who foresees
Clouds, Storms, and Tempests, in the Calms of Peace;
The scribbling Tribe, who vent their angry Spleens
In Songs, Prints, Pamphlets, Papers, Magazines;
Lucius, and Anti-Lucius, Pro's and Con's,
The List of Placets, and of Placet-nons;
The mobbing Vulgar, and the ruling Great,
And all who storm, and all who steer the State;
Here should forget the Labours of the Day,
And laugh their Cares, and their Complaints away:
The Wretch of Jonathan's, who crush'd with Shame,
Crawls lamely out from India's desp'rate game,
Safely might speculate within these Walls;
For here, while you approve, Stock never falls:
Pleas'd then indulge the Efforts of To-night,
Nor grudge to give, if you've receiv'd, delight.
Searching "empire" and "heart" in HDIS (Drama)
First performed 1769. 17 entries in ESTC (1770, 1772, 1775, 1777 1790, 1791, 1792).

Text from The Brothers: A Comedy. As it is Performed at the Theatre Royal in Covent-Garden (London: Printed for W. Griffin, 1770). <Link to ESTC>
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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.