"Sylvia, if you persist to steel your heart, / Expect a mansion in that dire abode."

— Stockdale, Percival (1736-1811)

Place of Publication
Printed for T. Davies
"Sylvia, if you persist to steel your heart, / Expect a mansion in that dire abode."
Metaphor in Context
Sylvia, thy folly only can be equalled
By thy insensibility to love.
Dost thou then make advice, and argument
The ill-timed subject of insipid banter?
But go, thou foolish maid; the time will come
When thou in vain severely wilt repent
Thy inattention to my friendly lessons.
I speak not of that mortifying time
When thou shalt fly the mirror of the stream,
Where oft thy face thou viewest, and perhaps,
Unfeeling as thou art, dost oft admire it:
The time when thou shalt fly the limpid fountain,
Dreading to see the ruins of thy beauty,
The furrows of old age, thy withered hue,
Spoiled of the lily, and the rose, for ever;
The certain havock of life's cruel winter.
No, Sylvia, this is not the dreadful time,
Nor this the evil of which I forewarn thee;
'Tis common, and 'tis therefore not so galling.
Canst thou not recollect what sage Elpinus
Told, a few days ago, the fair Lycoris?--
Lycoris, who as deeply should imbibe
Soft passion from Elpinus' noble song
As he receives it from Lycoris' eye;
If mortals once could love by reason's laws.
Battus, and Thyrsis heard Elpinus tell it,
Both finished masters in the art of love.
He told it in Aurora's sacred cave,
Where, o'er the portal awfully is written,
"Be feet profane far from this hallowed place."
He told us--and he said he had the truth
From the great bard, who sung of arms and love,
And dying left him his harmonious flute;
--That in the nether world there is a cave,
Gloomy and drear, where lazy Acheron
Sends forth sulphureous, pestilential vapour;
And in that cave, he said, ungrateful women
Would live eternally, by Heaven's decree,
In darkness, frantick grief, and Stygian anguish.
Sylvia, if you persist to steel your heart,
Expect a mansion in that dire abode.

Well do the wretches in another state,
Deserve to suffer unremitted torment,
Whom tears of misery never moved in this.
Searching "heart" and "steel" in HDIS (Poetry)
Only 1 entry in ESTC (1770).

The Amyntas of Tasso. Translated from the Original Italian by Percival Stockdale. (London: Printed for T. Davies, in Russel-Street, Covent-Garden, 1770). <Link to ESTC>
Date of Entry

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