"Since, in the steps of clerical degree, / All through the telescope of fancy see."

— Chatterton, Thomas (1752-1770)

Place of Publication
Hamilton, Adams & Co.
w. prior to April 1770; 1785, 1837, 1875
"Since, in the steps of clerical degree, / All through the telescope of fancy see."
Metaphor in Context
Has sable lost its virtue? Will the bell
No longer scare a straying sprite to hell?
Since souls, when animating flesh, are sold
For benefices, bishoprics, and gold;
Since mitres, nightly laid upon the breast,
Can charm the night-mare conscience into rest;
And learn'd exorcists very lately made
Greater improvements in the living trade;
Since Warburton (of whom in future rhymes)
Has settled reformation on the times;
Whilst from the teeming press his numbers fly,
And, like his reasons, just exist and die;
Since, in the steps of clerical degree,
All through the telescope of fancy see
(Though Fancy under Reason's lash may fall,
Yet Fancy in Religion's all in all):
Amongst these cassocked worthies, is there one
Who has the conscience to be Freedom's son?
Horne, patriotic Horne, will join the cause,
And tread on mitres to procure applause.
Prepare thy book and sacerdotal dress
To lay a walking spirit of the press,
Who knocks at midnight at his lordship's door,
And roars in hollow voice--"a hundred more!"
"A hundred more!" his rising greatness cries,
Astonishment and terror in his eyes;
"A hundred more! by G*d, I won't comply!"
"Give," quoth the voice, "I'll raise a hue and cry;
On a wrong scent the leading beagle's gone,
Your interrupted measures may go on;
Grant what I ask, I'll witness to the Thane,
I'm not another Fanny of Cock Lane."
"Enough," says Mungo, "re-assume the quill;
And what we can afford to give, we will."
(ll. 771-804)
Searching "reason" and "telescope" in HDIS (Poetry); found again "fancy"
2 entries in ESTC (1785, 1789).

First 376 lines published as Supplement to Chatterton’s Miscellanies. Kew Gardens. (London, s.n., 1785?). <Link to ESTC>.

See also John Ross Dix and Thomas Chatterton, The Life of Thomas Chatterton (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co, 1837).

Text from The Poetical Works of Thomas Chatterton, (London: George Bell, 1875).
Date of Entry

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