"Well may'st thou bend o'er this congenial sphere; / For Sensibility is sovereign here."

— Hayley, William (1745-1820)

Place of Publication
Printed for J. Dodsley
"Well may'st thou bend o'er this congenial sphere; / For Sensibility is sovereign here."
Metaphor in Context
"Enough of scenes so foreign to thy soul,"
Sophrosyne exclaim'd; "from this dark goal
Pass we to regions opposite to this."
She spoke; and, darting o'er the wide abyss,
Her car, like lightning in soft flashes hurl'd,
Shot to the confines of a clearer world.
Now lovelier views the virgin's mind absorb;
For now they hover'd o'er a lucid orb.
Here the soft air, luxuriantly warm,
Imparts new lustre to Serena's form:
Her eyes with more expressive radiance speak,
And richer roses open on her cheek.
Here, as she gaz'd, she felt in every vein
A blended thrill of pleasure and of pain;
Yet every object glittering in her view,
Her quick regard with soft attraction drew.
Sophrosyne, who saw the gentle fair
Lean o'er these confines with peculiar care,
Smil'd at the tender interest she display'd,
And spoke regardful of the pensive maid;
"Well may'st thou bend o'er this congenial sphere;
For Sensibility is sovereign here.

Thou seest her train of sprightly damsels sport,
Where the soft spirit holds her rural court;
But fix thine eye attentive to the plain,
And mark the varying wonders of her reign."
As thus she spoke, she pois'd her airy seat
High o'er a plain exhaling every sweet;
For round its precincts all the flowers that bloom
Fill'd the delicious air with rich perfume;
And in the midst a verdant throne appear'd,
In simplest form by graceful fancy rear'd,
And deck'd with flowers; not such whose flaunting dyes
Strike with the strongest tint our dazzled eyes;
But those wild herbs that tenderest fibres bear,
And shun th' approaches of a damper air.
Here stood the lovely ruler of the scene,
And beauty, more than pomp, announc'd the queen.
The bending snow-drop, and the briar-rose,
The simple circle of her crown compose;
Roses of every hue her robe adorn,
Except th' insipid rose without a thorn.
Thro' her thin vest her heighten'd beauties shine;
For earthly gauze was never half so sine.
Of that enchanting age her figure seems,
When smiling nature with the vital beams
Of vivid youth, and pleasure's purple flame,
Gilds her accomplish'd work, the female frame,
With rich luxuriance tender, sweetly wild,
And just between the woman and the child.
Her fair left arm around a vase she flings,
From which the tender plant mimosa springs:
Towards its leaves, o'er which she fondly bends,
The youthful fair her vacant hand extends
With gentle motion, anxious to survey
How far the feeling fibres own her sway:
The leaves, as conscious of their queen's command,
Successive fall at her approaching hand;
While her soft breast with pity seems to pant,
And shrinks at every shrinking of the plant.
Searching in HDIS (Poetry)
Ten entries in ESTC, London editions (1781, 1782, 1784, 1788, 1793).

First published as The Triumphs of Temper; A Poem: In Six Cantos. (London: Printed for J. Dodsley, 1781). <Link to ECCO><Link to 2nd edition in Google Books>

Text from new edition of Hayley's Poems and Plays, 6 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1788).
Date of Entry

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