"And, as the Mistress of the Soul, / Let mild Religion crown the whole."

— Combe, William (1742 -1823)

Place of Publication
Published by R. Ackerman [etc.]
"And, as the Mistress of the Soul, / Let mild Religion crown the whole."
Metaphor in Context
"No harsh, pedantic Censor I,
"To preach up gloomy Sanctity;
"Youth's lively season claims its pleasure,
"But just in mode and wise in measure,
"Whose hours, by Virtue's smiles refin'd,
"Leave no regrets or pain behind.
"Court the gay Muse to whom belong
"The chasten'd jest, the pleasing song;
"But would you nobler thoughts inspire,
"The Masters of the Grecian Lyre,
"Or Latian Bards, by Phoebus taught,
"Will please and elevate the thought.
"Nor ask their powerful aid alone;--
"Join those we proudly call our own:
"Immortal Shakespeare--Milton's rhyme,
"That soars beyond the bounds of Time;
"With Dryden, in whose verse we trace
"A blended energy and grace;
"And Pope, whose sweet harmonious lays
"The mind delights in, and obeys;
"With Gray, in Elegiac pride,
"And the free verse of Akenside.
"--These, as they charm, with taste refin'd
"Will decorate the expanding mind;
"And thus a secret grace convey
"To all you do, and all you say;
"Smooth the dull brow of wrinkling care,
"And chase the thought that may ensnare.
"--Nor these alone, th'historic page,
"Of ev'ry race, of every age,
"Displays the long and various story:
"Heroes that liv'd or died in glory,
"Patriots, who their country sav'd,
"Tyrants, who mankind enslav'd,
"Sages, whose high-gifted powers
"That knowledge taught which now is ours,
"The Pictures form of human kind,
"Of every feeling of the mind,
"As in social man we see,
"Or the wide range of Policy;--
"Hence they a sage experience give,
"E'en to the times in which we live;
"And frame a Lesson to supply
"The Ages of Posterity.
"--With these Instructors may be join'd
"To strengthen and enrich the mind,
"Science, whose powers profound impart,
"Whate'er of nature and of art
"Presents to th'intellectual eye,
"In all the vast variety:
"While Philosophic Lore combines
"The various Labour, and confines
"In their due regulated sphere
"The essential parts of Character;
"And, as the Mistress of the Soul,
"Let mild Religion crown the whole
"That power, which commands the thought
"To think the very thing we ought;
"And holds up to our solemn view
"What we should shun, and what pursue.
"--O let not Sloth depress to earth
"Those early blossoms in their birth,
"Which to your ripening mind is given,
"To bloom through time, then rise to heaven!
"Awake your nature and expand
"Its powers; with attentive hand
"Prune its Luxuriance; and prepare
"Each branch the expected Fruit to bear.
"But think not in your jovial hours,
"When Riot rules and Reason lours,
"That time is actively employ'd:
"'Tis then, I say, that Time's destroy'd,
"At least, e'en Truth itself may say,
"'Tis wasted, squander'd, thrown away:
"For Folly's vigour and excess
"Is nought but active Idleness.
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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.