"And o'er Imagination's gloomy glass, / Despair's mute sons like Banquo's visions pass"

— Merry, Robert (1755-1798)

Place of Publication
Printed by John Bell
"And o'er Imagination's gloomy glass, / Despair's mute sons like Banquo's visions pass"
Metaphor in Context
But come kind Mem'ry! now thy influence shed,
Hide from my heart its prophecies of dread,
Indulge fond fancy, and recal the hour,
When o'er the ruins of that tort'ring tow'r,
I saw gay youths, and festive maids advance,
And read with rapt'rous tears, "Ici l'on danse."
'Twas at the closing of the day renown'd,
When public choice a monarch more than crown'd;
When to the holy altar of the state,
The nation throng'd, and pour'd their vow elate,
A vow, which plotting miscreants shall defy,
"To live for Freedom, or for Freedom die!"
Heav'n's! as I wander'd 'mongst the scatter'd stone,
Whose pile was late the bulwark of a throne,
And o'er Imagination's gloomy glass,
Despair's mute sons like Banquo's visions pass,

Scourg'd--mask'd in iron--famish'd, a sad train!
While bleeding Pity wept in ev'ry vein;
How sweetly burst the merry tabor's sound!
What swift enchantment deck'd the fairy ground!
Methought Amphion's fabled potent shell,
Had sudden breath'd its counteracting spell;
Had dash'd the dome from its Tartarean base,
To spread a fair Elysium in its place.
Then blissful blessings round my senses hung,
A true devotion touch'd my trembling tongue!
And could'st thou wonder, lib'ral Burke! to see
Revenge lead on the steps of Liberty,
Could men yet smarting with the tyrant's stroke,
Forgive the tribe that bow'd them to the yoke,
Forget, how oft the pittance, from their hands
Was torn, by each relentless Lord's commands;
Condemn'd almost to starve, where plenty reign'd,
And those were criminals who e'er complain'd?
O could'st thou wonder when th'explosion came,
Which burst the o'ercharg'd culverin of shame,
That ev'ry suff'rer starting to new life,
Against his proud oppressor bared the knife,
That palaces were rifled, villains bled,
And many a murd'rous traitor lost his head?
Sure manly Moralist! a soul like thine,
Where all the nobler qualities combine,
Where Virtue rises from its purest source,
And Learning gives true genius double force;
Sure such a soul must own, the lantern's cord,
Compar'd to dungeons, cannon, and the sword,
Was but a trifling ill, the People's rage
A moment rous'd, a moment could assuage,
But vengeful Ministers no pity feel,
They bring their direst chain, their racking wheel,
Doom their sad victims length'ning pangs to share,
And even think it mercy when they spare!
Searching in HDIS (Poetry)
Only 1 entry in ESTC (1790).

The Laurel of Liberty; a Poem. By Robert Merry, A. M. Member of the Royal Academy of Florence (London: Printed by John Bell, 1790).
Date of Entry

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