The "searching mind" may make "keen glances"

— Barbauld, Anna Letitia [née Aikin] (1743-1825)

Place of Publication
Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green
The "searching mind" may make "keen glances"
Metaphor in Context
  Deep in Sabea's fragrant groves retired,
  Long had the Eastern Sages studious dwelt,
  By love sublime of sacred science fired:
    Long had they trained the' inquiring youth,
  With liberal hand the bread of wisdom dealt,
  And sung in solemn verse mysterious truth.
  The sacred characters they knew to trace
    Derived from Egypt's elder race;
  And all that Greece, with copious learning fraught,
  Thro' different schools by various masters taught;
    And all Arabia's glowing store
  Of fabled truths and rich poetic lore:
  Stars, plants and gems, and talismans they knew,
And far was spread their fame and wide their praises grew.
       The' admiring East their praises spread:
    But with uncheated eyes themselves they viewed;
    Mourning they sat with dust upon their head,
       And oft in melancholy strain
         The fond complaint renewed,
  How little yet they knew, how much was learned in vain.
       For human guilt and mortal woe
       Their sympathizing sorrows flow;
    Their hallowed prayers ascend in incense pure;
       They mourned the narrow bounds assigned
    To the keen glances of the searching mind,
       They mourned the ills they could not cure,
       They mourned the doubts they could not clear,
       They mourned that prophet yet, nor seer,
       The great Eternal had made known,
Or reached the lowest step of that immortal throne.
(ll. )
Some text drawn from The Works of Anna Lætitia Barbauld. With a Memoir by Lucy Aikin (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Browne, and Green, 1825).

Reading McCarthy, William and Kraft, Elizabeth, eds. Anna Letitia Barbauld: Selected Poetry and Prose (Ontario: Broadview Press, 2002).
Date of Entry

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