The heart may be naked and unarmoured

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

Place of Publication
Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green
The heart may be naked and unarmoured
Metaphor in Context
Champion of Truth, alike through Nature's field,
And where in sacred leaves she shines reveal'd,--
Alike in both, eccentric, piercing, bold,
Like his own lightnings, which no chains can hold;
Neglecting caution, and disdaining art,
He seeks no armour for a naked heart:--
Pursue the track thy ardent genius shows,
That like the sun illumines where it goes;
Travel the various map of Science o'er,
Record past wonders, and discover more;
Pour thy free spirit o'er the breathing page,
And wake the virtue of a careless age.
But O forgive, if touched with fond regret
Fancy recalls the scenes she can't forget,
Recalls the vacant smile, the social hours
Which charmed us once, for once those scenes were ours!
And while thy praises through wide realms extend,
We sit in shades, and mourn the absent friend.
So where the' impetuous river sweeps the plain,
Itself a sea, and rushes to the main;
While its firm banks repel conflicting tides,
And stately on its breast the vessel glides;
Admiring much the shepherd stands to gaze,
Awe-struck, and mingling wonder with his praise:
Yet more he loves its winding path to trace
Through beds of flowers, and Nature's rural face,
While yet a stream the silent vale it cheered,
By many a recollected scene endeared,
Where trembling first beneath the poplar shade
He tuned his pipe, to suit the wild cascade.
(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.