"Let the scene / Paint in thy fancy the primæval seat / Of man."

— Akenside, Mark (1720-1771)

Place of Publication
1744, 1772, 1795
"Let the scene / Paint in thy fancy the primæval seat / Of man."
Metaphor in Context
That rocky pile thou seest, that verdant lawn
Fresh-water'd from the mountains. Let the scene
Paint in thy fancy the primæval seat
Of man
, and where the will supreme ordain'd
His mansion, that pavilion fair-diffus'd
Along the shady brink; in this recess
To wear the appointed season of his youth,
Till riper hours should open to his toil
The high communion of superior minds,
Of consecrated heroes and of gods.
Nor did the sire omnipotent forget
His tender bloom to cherish; nor withheld
Coelestial footsteps from his green abode.
Oft from the radiant honours of his throne,
He sent whom most he lov'd, the sovran fair,
The effluence of his glory, whom he plac'd
Before his eyes for ever to behold;
The goddess from whose inspiration flows
The toil of patriots, the delight of friends;
Without whose work divine, in heaven or earth,
Nought lovely, nought propitious comes to pass,
Nor hope, nor praise, nor honour. Her the sire
Gave it in charge to rear the blooming mind,
The folded powers to open, to direct
The growth luxuriant of his young desires,
And from the laws of this majestic world
To teach him what was good. As thus the nymph
Her daily care attended, by her side
With constant steps her gay companion stay'd,
The fair Euphrosyné, the gentle queen
Of smiles, and graceful gladness, and delights
That cheer alike the hearts of mortal men
And powers immortal. See the shining pair!
Behold, where from his dwelling now disclos'd
They quit their youthful charge and seek the skies.
(Book. II, ll. 364-98, pp. 64-5)
HDIS (Poetry)
Over 33 entries in the ESTC (1744, 1748, 1754, 1758, 1759, 1763, 1765, 1767, 1768, 1769, 1771, 1775, 1777, 1780, 1786, 1788, 1794, 1795, 1796). At least five editions in 1744.

Text from Mark Akenside, The Poems Of Mark Akenside (London: W. Bowyer and J. Nichols, 1772). <Link to LION>

Compare the poem as first published: Mark Akenside, The Pleasures of Imagination: A Poem. In Three Books. (London: Printed for R. Dodsley 1744). <Link to ESTC> <Link to ECCO-TCP> <Link to Google Books>

Also reading The Pleasures of Imagination (Otley, England: Woodstock Books, 2000), which reprints The Pleasures of Imagination. By Mark Akenside, M.D. to Which Is Prefixed a Critical Essay on the Poem, by Mrs. Barbauld. (London: Printed for T. Cadell, jun. and W. Davies, (successors to Mr. Cadell), 1795). <Link to ESTC>
Date of Entry
Date of Review

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