Yet he ne'er vainly strove to steel [...] His heart, and bid him not to feel, / But yielded to what Heav'n thought fit"

— Combe, William (1742 -1823)

Place of Publication
Yet he ne'er vainly strove to steel [...] His heart, and bid him not to feel, / But yielded to what Heav'n thought fit"
Metaphor in Context
The morning smil'd, the beaming ray Of Phoebus made all nature gay. Blue was the Lake's expansive flood, And many a gentle zephyr woo'd The wave that rippled o'er the deep, Nor would allow the wave to sleep. The mountains rising rude and bold Shew'd their rude summits tipt with gold, While branching oaks, the forest's pride, Hung down and cloath'd their shaggy side: The cattle wander o'er their mead, The flocks all by the wood-side feed. The brook flows murmuring along, The grove is vocal by the song With which kind nature doth inspire, In summer morn, the feather'd choir. At intervals is heard the roar Of water-fall, which tumbling o'er The craggy brow, delights the eye And ear, with rude variety. Nor these alone: what labour shows, And does by rural toil disclose, To aid the picture nature gives, By which in some new form she lives, While art, by active life refin'd, Improves that picture in the mind;-- And thus, with blended objects fraught, Unites the sense to solid thought. The husbandman's attentive toil Turns with his plough th'expecting soil,-- And now with no unsparing hand The grain he scatters o'er the land; The yellow harvest next appears, With lofty stem and loaded ears,-- The barn capacious then receives Th'abundant loads which labour gives; And thus each scene of nature's shown, With varying beauties not her own. How does the fisher's boat awake, The dulness of the dormant lake! While, aided by the gentle gale, Trade guides her barge with swelling sail: Or should the bark of pleasure skim The water o'er with gallant trim, While oars in dashing measure sweep The yielding bosom of the deep, What interest, as they intervene, Each gives to every charming scene. The waggon with its pond'rous load That grinds to dust the beaten road: The trav'lers, who throughout the day In various guise pursue their way, The herdsman's wealth, the goatherd's store, The hill and dale and height explore; The shatter'd castle's lofty tower The former seat of lordly power; The ivied arch by river's side, The sad remains of cloister'd pride; The smoke that rises o'er the trees And curls obedient to the breeze; The bridge that many an age has stood And stretch'd its arch across the flood;-- The village spire, but dimly seen, The straw-roof'd cot upon the green, With spreading vine bemantled o'er,-- The children gazing from the door, And homely peasants as they ply The various calls of industry;-- These, and how many more combine, To aid fair nature's rude design;-- But they defy so weak a muse as mine. Such are the forms which Fancy gives, By which e'en Fancy smiles and lives. Such were the thoughts which nature's charm With ever-varying beauty warm, Did, as he gaz'd around, suggest, To the good Doctor's pensive breast;-- For though he thought the plan pursued, Was haply form'd to do him good, Yet still he felt that much remain'd Before his cure would be obtain'd. But though he fail'd not to obey The power that gives and takes away, Whose perfect wisdom's seen to measure Man's hours and fortunes at its pleasure, Yet he ne'er vainly strove to steel His heart, and bid him not to feel, But yielded to what Heav'n thought fit,-- To sigh, to sorrow, and submit. For comfort he would ne'er apply To what is call'd Philosophy; He did not rest his hopes on earth, Or any strength of mortal birth; No, all his hopes he strove to raise Where angels wonder as they gaze. --Thus he rode on, but now and then He turn'd to look toward Sommerden. At length the spire, with sun-beams bright, Began to lessen in his sight; But when it vanish'd from his view, He heav'd a sigh, and pensive grew, Nor till successive beauties rose, Which splendid nature did disclose To charm his eye, to warm his heart, And make him think upon his art, Had he his gloomy care resign'd, Or call'd a smile into his mind. But nature on his fancy wrought, And chang'd the tenour of his thought, While he with contemplative eye Trac'd and retrac'd the scenery,-- And picture after picture, true To all he saw, his fancy drew. Thus, as the Sage pursued his way, He bade his mind the scenes survey, And as the Muse may now conjecture, Read to himself a kind of lecture On nature's charms, and how by art, He could the picturesque impart, As he had often done before, When journeying on his former Tour, Which this same Muse, a tell-tale drab, On a past page has dar'd to blab;-- And as he felt 'twould ease his pain, He now would try to do again, And heighten nature's varying feature By adding many a living creature; Thus calling to immediate use What time destroys and men produce. --These thoughts, impress'd upon his mind, To serious musings much inclin'd, Directed all his views of nature In praise of their sublime Creator; And, from his contemplative mood, Which all his love of talk withstood, He suddenly the silence broke, And thus with solemn air he spoke: --Father of good, Almighty power! Who at Creation's wond'rous hour, Didst call from Chaos into birth This goodly scene of things, the Earth;-- Man's state of trial, his sure way, And passage to eternal day: But 'tis not now I shall assign The goodness of thy power divine, In forming the benignant plan To suit the character of man,-- Nor shall I bid my thoughts explore The depth of metaphysic lore, To prove, in erring reason's spite, That whatsoever is, is right: I leave that to reflection's pow'r, In piety's more sacred hour, When 'tis my duty to impart Truth's doctrine to the doubting heart. Here, I must own, whate'er I see, The scenes around me preach to me: Each brook and rock, as Shakspeare says, (The Bard sublime of former days,) Excites the tongue to grateful praise. Can I view nature's grand display, Now brightening in the sunny ray, That my enquiring eye regales With interchange of hills and dales; The silver lake and rushing flood, The verdant lawn and pendent wood, Which, softly touch'd or boldly wrought, Delight or elevate the thought, Without receiving through the eye The moral sensibility? Or without list'ning, through the sense, To nature's speechless eloquence? These call me as my view's pursued, To praise the Author of all good! For good the wondering mind may trace In the vast fields of endless space; E'en good reflection's eye may see In every leaf, on ev'ry tree, In ev'ry blade of grass that's seen To clothe the earth with vesture green; In oaks that form the civic wreath, Or the wild rose that blooms beneath, In the steep rock's stupendous brow, Or the grey moss that clings below. These are thy works, Parent of good! Thus felt, thus seen, thus understood, They wake the enliv'ning gratitude, That, thus directed, is combin'd With the first virtues of the mind! How much I thank a parent's care Which, while he did his child prepare With pregnant seeds of classic lore, And op'd fair learning's various store, With all of science and of knowledge, That could be taught in school and college; Yet suffer'd art to guide my hand And the free pencil's power command. Thus I possess the skill to trace And call to view the hidden grace, The secret beauty, that no eye, Untaught by art, can e'er descry; That bids th'enquiring mind explore Things dimly seen or gilded o'er, And which it scarce had known before. Delightful art! ere plenty stor'd With friendly hand, my daily board, While ill-paid labour did instil Knowledge to boys against their will: Though I could just rub on by teaching, And pay for Grizzle's keep by preaching; When, to do good I was most willing, And not an independent shilling Did in my scanty purse appear To purchase sorrow's falling tear: Yes, thou didst nature's scenes pourtray, And my heart grew like nature gay. Delightful art! that through the eye Didst oft my drooping mind supply With images, whose beauty's power Gave pleasure to the passing hour! Thou bad'st me hope that time would bring A better fortune on its wing: Hope was fulfill'd, and Fortune came, Nor without some small share of fame. Thus, by transcendent Nature fir'd, By love of Picturesque inspir'd, Through these blest scenes I sought to roam, Where Fortune gave my present home; And where, though unrelenting fate Has robb'd me of my darling mate, Yet, while lamenting what I've lost, I still have much of good to boast, And for that good my grateful heart Must bless Thee, thou delightful art! --He paus'd, and ere he spoke again, Patrick exclaim'd "Amen, Amen!" The Doctor quickly turn'd around, Scar'd at the unexpected sound, "And please your Rev'rence," Pat then said, "O the fine prayer that you have pray'd! For sure, on horseback, ne'er was heard Such pious words to Heaven preferr'd, And many would be hard put to't To say such fine things e'en on foot: So faith, and please you, Sir, I thought It did not finish as it ought: For though we are not in a church, I would not leave it in the lurch, Thus when your pray'r was done, I then Like a good Christian said, Amen!" The Doctor turn'd his head aside To hide a smile and thus replied: Ne'er mind, my friend, whate'er is meant With honest zeal and good intent Requires not, in calm reason's eye, Or pardon or apology. But still you need not silence break, Unless the occasion bids you speak, Unless my words as they transpire A needful answer may require: Sometimes my bosom's senate sits In silent thought, nor then admits A single word its force to try, And ruffle my tranquillity. --How strange this custom may appear To others, I nor know nor care; But oft I feel a pleasing joy When thus I do an hour employ, When thus with bold ideas fraught, I clothe with words my secret thought: Nor shall I e'er the whim disown To give them utt'rance when alone, So that my words fair virtue please, And yield th'impatient bosom ease."
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.