"'Ah, move,' he said, 'and you shall feel / That Paddy has a heart of steel"

— Combe, William (1742 -1823)

Place of Publication
"'Ah, move,' he said, 'and you shall feel / That Paddy has a heart of steel"
Metaphor in Context
He was next morn in full array And planning out the future day,
When Pat appear'd quite pale and wan,
And thus in ruffled tones began:
"I hope you will not take offence If I just tell your Reverence,
This is a house of evil fame, I know its character and name:
A coach is here--Be off, I pray, Nor here another minute stay;
You now, Sir, may remove in quiet, Or the old hag will breed a riot."
Nay, now, from what he saw last night,
The Doctor thought that Pat was right,
Who soon the trav'lling baggage bore
Straight to the hackney at the door;
And then flew back to save his master From any insolent disaster:
But, as the staircase he descended, He found the passage well defended.
There the hag stood, all hubber-bubber,
A half-dress'd form of living blubber.
"What going, Sir, without a warning?"
"Yes," Syntax said, "and so good-morning."
"But stop Sir, pray, and hear me speak;--
You still must pay me for a week."
"One pound," says Pat, "for one night's rent,
Is pay enough, so be content."
But she by some outlandish name
Bawl'd, "Captain come!"--The Captain came,
When he display'd a horrid grin More frightful from his hairy chin,
And threaten'd loud; but Patrick stood, In a stout, sturdy attitude.
"Ah, move," he said, "and you shall feel
That Paddy has a heart of steel;

Nay, Captain, he may prove to you, That he has hands of iron too."
Whether the Captain did not like
The kinds of blows that Pat might strike,
With mumbling oaths and ghastly frown,
He went up-stairs as he came down,
Thus neither light nor heavy-hearted,
But between both the Sage departed;
Though not o'erburden'd with content, To Vellum now again he went.
There are, and many I have known,
Though not to naughty habits prone,
Who are scarce ever heard to swear,
And seldom miss their Sunday prayer,
Yet of their lively roving boast, When youthful fancies rul'd the roast;
And when their latter days prevail, Or o'er their wine, or punch, or ale,
And while the smoking fume ascends Among familiar, social friends,
Will chuckle at an idle thought,
Which Scandal's gossip tongue has brought,
And cautious looking round the while,
Will give the half corrected smile.
Such solemn Vellum was, and when Syntax he saw so soon again,
That Mary-bonne, a shrewd guess told him,
The Doctor found too hot to hold him.
--But though our fanciful Divine Ne'er thought to play the libertine,
He could not, as he sipp'd his tea, Refrain from mystic drollery,
And by that drollery did provoke The Bookseller to cut a joke,
And, with a blinking eye, let fall Quaint words in sense equivocal.
--But now, to cut the matter short, Nice Chambers in an Inn of Court
Receiv'd the Sage that very night,
And there he found that all was right;
With Laundress ready to attend His service as an humble friend.
The travelling steeds at liv'ry stood
Somewhere in the near neighbourhood,
So that Pat ever was at hand, For any duty or command.
--In thought the morrow was employ'd,
Which, as it pass'd, was not enjoy'd;
For he began to think his scheme Was but an idle, fruitless dream,
While reason, in this state of doubt,
Seem'd not dispos'd to help him out.
In ev'ry shape the cause he tried, But still he was not satisfied.
Thus as he pac'd from room to room, Contemplating his future doom,
With scarce a hope his mind to cheer, And yielding to a coward fear;
"Is it that I a place have chose,"
He gravely said, "where life's worst foes
Their unpropitious gains receive,
From eyes that weep and hearts that grieve?
Is it that I with Lawyers share This dismal roof, this tainted air,
That I an humble spirit bear,
And seem no longer to preserve The active mind, the daring nerve;
Nay, am at once dispos'd to yield The conquests of the promis'd field?"
Thus as he spoke, good Mrs. Broom,
The Laundress, came into the room,
And hearing how he talk'd and sigh'd, Thus in respectful tone replied.
"Believe me in this staircase here,
I've pass'd, good Sir, full many a year;
And I have many a Lawyer serv'd
Who ne'er from truth or justice swerv'd;
Though, Sir, perhaps, within this court
There may be some of ev'ry sort:
But if you chose to change the air,
For Portland-place or Portman-square,
Of those who live in splendour there
I fear that you might say the same Nor do injustice to their name.
Some vile professor of the Laws Has grip'd you hard within his paws,
I must suppose, and given you cause
The common anger to sustain Against the Laws and Lawyers' train.
Excuse me, Sir, but I must smile At whims that do our minds beguile.
I met just now, upon the stairs, A Dandy in his highest airs,
Who calls the Lawyer that's above The faithful clerk of doating love;
And swears that by his powerful pen He proves himself the best of men.
Though, Sir, if I must speak the truth,
This gallant and delighted youth
Is on the lawyer's toil intent, Whose skill draws up an instrument,
Which, when in all due form prepar'd,
Will give him his vast love's reward:
O 'tis a most delicious sound Beauty, and forty thousand pound!"
The Doctor smil'd nor check'd the dame,
Who thus continued to exclaim;
"Marriage I think, as well I know Is the far happiest state below;
I twice have prov'd that happy state;
Twice I have lost a faithful mate, Nor do I think it yet too late,
To seek again love's soft dominion,
Were John Quill-drive of my opinion."
This chatter, and of marriage too,
Brought the same subject to the view
Of Syntax in a better state Than he had given it thought of late:
Besides, good wine and dainty fare
Are sometimes known to lighten care:
Nay, man is often brisk or dull As the keen stomach's void or full.
The Doctor, to all meals inclin'd,
Had on a well-dress'd sweet-bread din'd,
While a nice pie of sav'ry meat Gave added poignance to the treat;
As the good Laundress wish'd to show,
That she did kitchen cunning know,
And, therefore, had contriv'd the best To furnish out a tempting feast:
While Vellum had Madeira sent Which might a Bacchanal content.
He ate, he drank, his spirits rose,
And cheerful thoughts succeed to those
Which through the hopeless morning past,
Had his shrunk mind with doubts o'ercast.
--Again he pac'd the chamber floor,
And talk'd his various projects o'er.--
"E'en should they fail he knew no harm,
That ought to give his mind alarm:
The smiles of Fortune, if attain'd, Must be by perseverance gain'd;
Therefore, be gone, thou Coward, Fear,
For Syntax still shall persevere."
Thus as these thoughts his spirits cheer'd
Vellum with smile and bow appear'd;
"I come to know, Sir, if you find The situation to your mind;
And if ought can be added to it I trust that you will let me know it;
For you shall see it is my pride To have it instantly supplied."
The Doctor fail'd not in expressing
His thanks for all he was possessing.
--Now Vellum had a ready nose
For scenting works, in verse and prose,
Which Authors, for some special reason,
Might keep a secret for a season:
Authors, we mean, whose favour'd name
Is trumpeted by Madam Fame.
A dinner he was us'd to try, With a few scraps of flattery:
Of wealth and gen'rous deeds would boast,
A theme on Authors seldom lost;
And these, kept up with prudent skill,
Might bring the Author to his will.
Hence may be trac'd the worldly feeling
That brought on all this friendly dealing;
For surely Vellum could not dream
But that it was some learned scheme
Which brought the Doctor up to town,
When all the snow of life was flown.
Syntax, with native keenness felt
At what the cunning tradesman spelt;
At the same time he did not feel It would be prudent to reveal
The curious wish that bade him roam
So far in summer months from home;
But to avert his prying eye The sage began this colloquy:--
"You have already had a ken Of what I call a specimen,
When piety inspir'd my pen,
And much, my friend, I wish to know, Could I a pious volume show,
All fair and ready for the press, What you may think of its success,
And as we both may be concern'd, If fame and money may be earn'd?"
Searching "heart" and "steel" in HDIS (Poetry)
Text from 1869 edition of the Three Tours. See also The Three Tours of Doctor Syntax (London: A. Murray, 1871). <Link to Hathi Trust>
Date of Entry

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