"Fashion's pert tricks the crowded brain oppress / With all the poor parade of tawdry dress:"

— Hayley, William (1745-1820)

Place of Publication
Printed for J. Dodsley
"Fashion's pert tricks the crowded brain oppress / With all the poor parade of tawdry dress:"
Metaphor in Context
The Powers of Mischief met, in dark Divan,
To blast these mighty joys of envied Man:
The Fiends, at their infernal leader's call,
Fram'd their base wiles in Demogorgon's hall.
In the deep center of that dreadful dome,
An hellish cauldron boil'd with fiery foam:
In this wide urn the circling spirits threw
Ingredients harsh, and hideous to the view;
While the terrific master of the spell
With adjurations shook the depths of hell,
And in dark words, unmeet for mortal ear,
Bade the dire offspring of his art appear.
Forth from the vase, with sullen murmurs, broke
A towering mass of pestilential smoke:
Emerging from this fog of thickest night,
A Phantom swells, by slow degrees, to sight;
But ere the view can seize the forming shape,
From the mock'd eye its lineaments escape:
It seem'd all passions melted into one,
Assum'd the face of all, and yet was none:
Hell stood aghast at its portentous mien,
And shuddering Demons call'd the spectre Spleen.
'Hie thee to earth!' its mighty master cried,
'O'er the vex'd globe in heavy vapours ride!
Within its center fix thy shadowy throne!
With shades thy subjects, and that hell thy own!
Reign there unseen! but let thy strong controul
Be hourly felt in Woman's wayward soul!
With darkest poisons from our deep abyss,
Taint that pure fountain of terrestrial bliss!'
Th' enormous Phantom, at this potent sound,
Roll'd forth obedient from the vast profound:
The quaking Fiends recover'd from their dread,
And hell grew lighter, as the monster fled.
But now round earth the gliding vapours run,
Blot the rich æther, and eclipse the sun;
All Nature sickens; and her fairest flower,
Enchanting Woman, feels the baneful Power:
As in her soul the clouds of Spleen arise,
The sprightly essence of her beauty flies:
In youth's gay prime, in hours with rapture warm,
Love looks astonish'd on her altering form:
To pleasing frolics, and enchanting wiles,
Life-darting looks, and soul-subduing smiles,
Dark whims succeed: thick-coming fancies fret;
The sullen passion, and the hasty pet:
The swelling lip, the tear-distended eye,
The peevish question, the perverse reply;
The moody humour, that, like rain and fire,
Blends cold disgust with unsubdu'd desire,
Flies what it loves, and, petulantly coy,
Feigns proud abhorrence of the proffer'd joy:
For Nature's artless aim, the wish to please
By genuine modesty, and simple ease,
Fashion's pert tricks the crowded brain oppress
With all the poor parade of tawdry dress:

The sickly bosom pants for noise and show,
For every bauble, and for every beau;
The voice, that health made harmony, disowns
That native charm for languor's mimic tones;
And feigns disease, till, feeling what it feigns,
Its fancied maladies are real pains.
Such, and a thousand still superior woes,
From Spleen's new empire o'er the earth arose:
Each simple dictate of the soul forgot,
Then first was form'd the mercenary plot;
And beauty practis'd that pernicious art,
The art of angling for an old man's heart;
Tho' crawling to his bride with tottering knees,
His words were dotage, and his love disease.
From sex to sex this base contagion ran,
And gold grew beauty in the eyes of man:
Courtship was traffic: and the married life
But one loud jangle of incessant strife.
Searching "brain" and "crowd" 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.