"Little minds / Do judge of great things, like the purblind gnat, / That deems a fly, a monster"

— Bishop, Samuel (1731-1795)

Place of Publication
Printed by A. Strahan
w. 1766, 1796
"Little minds / Do judge of great things, like the purblind gnat, / That deems a fly, a monster"
Metaphor in Context
'Tis well, my haughty Monarch.
Is Oberon then to learn, that the best hearts,
The most aspiring, and the bravest, cherish
Most comprehensive feelings? Little minds
Do judge of great things, like the purblind gnat,
That deems a fly, a monster
. Nobler natures
Encompass universal circumstance:
And while they can create their own enjoyment,
Find pleasing occupation every where.
The maid, that had a sigh for public sorrows,
Was happy, seeking to relieve those sorrows;
And being now a mother, will indulge,
Ev'n tho' a gossip's lullaby excite it,
A mother's ecstasy.--You, Sir, have seen her
Pleading the cause of nations.--I too, Sir,
I too have seen her; I have seen her wear
The robe of Majesty; yet never so,
But that she might descend to ease and sweetness,
All royalty preserv'd. We both have listen'd,
When midst the courtly bands, like one enraptur'd,
She hath enrich'd the gales with heaven-taught harmony:
Yet dwelt such mildness on her brow the while,
Such meek complacence, as did seem to say,
She could have own'd a pleasure in approving
A milk-maid's madrigal!--We both have seen
Her consort Lord, amidst the cares of millions,
Their homage, their applause, yearn to release
A death-doom'd felon's forfeit!--surely then,
Where regal bosoms bear so bland affections,
Titania's talk as well may hope access,
As Oberon's benediction look for welcome.
(pp. 83-5)
Searching "mind" and "judge" in HDIS (Poetry); confirmed in ECCO.
2 hits in ECCO and ESTC (1796, 1800).

Text from The Poetical Works of the Rev. Samuel Bishop, A. M. Late Head-Master of Merchant-Taylors' School, Rector of St. Martin Outwich, London, and of Ditton in the County of Kent, and Chaplain to the Bishop of Bangor. To Which Are Prefixed, Memoirs of the Life of the Author, by the Rev. Thomas Clare, A. M. (London: Printed by A. Strahan; and sold by Messrs. Cadell and Davies, in the Strand; Mr. Robson, New Bond Street; Mr. Walter, Charing Cross; Mr. Dilly, Poultry; Messrs. White, Fleet Street; Messrs. Rivington, St. Paul’s Church Yard; Mr. Payne, Mews Gate; Messrs. Fletcher and Hanwell, and Mr. Cooke, at Oxford; Mr. Deighton, and Mr. Lunn, at Cambridge; and Mr. Bulgin, at Bristol, 1796). <Link to ESTC><Link to Google Books>
Date of Entry

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