"The grand Contrivance why so well equip / With strength of Passions, rul'd by Reason's Whip?"

— Byrom, John (1692-1763)

Place of Publication
J. Harrop
"The grand Contrivance why so well equip / With strength of Passions, rul'd by Reason's Whip?"
Metaphor in Context
Strong Passions draw, like Horses that are strong,
The Body-Coach of Flesh and Blood along;
While subtle Reason, with each Rein in Hand,
Sits on the Box, and has them at Command;
Rais'd up aloft, to see and to be seen,
Judges the Track, and guides the gay Machine.

But was it made for nothing else beside
Passions to draw, and Reason to be Guide?
Was so much Art employ'd to drag and drive
Nothing within the Vehicle alive?
No seated Mind, that claims the moving Pew,
Master of Passions, and of Reason too?

The grand Contrivance why so well equip
With strength of Passions, rul'd by Reason's Whip?

Vainly profuse had Apparatus been,
Did not a reigning Spirit rest within;
Which Passions carry, and sound Reason means
To render present at pre-order'd Scenes.

They who are loud in human Reason's Praise,
And celebrate the Drivers of our Days,
Seem to suppose, by their continual Bawl,
That Passions, Reason, and Machine, is all;
To them the Windows are drawn up, and clear
Nothing that does not outwardly appear.

Matter and Motion, and superior Man
By Head and Shoulders, form their reas'ning Plan.
View'd and demurely ponder'd, as they roll,
And scoring Traces on the Paper Soul,
Blank, shaven white, they fill th' unfurnish'd Pate
With new Idéas, none of them innate.

When these Adepts are got upon a Box,
Away they gallop thro' the gazing Flocks;
Trappings admir'd, and the high-mettl'd Brute
And Reason balancing its either Foot;
While seeing Eyes discern, at their Approach,
Fulness of Skill, and emptiness of Coach.

'Tis very well that lively Passions draw,
That sober Reason keeps them all in Awe,--
The one to run, the other to control,
And drive directly to the destin'd Goal.
"What Goal?"--Ay, there the Question should begin:
What Spirit drives the willing Mind within?

Sense, Reason, Passions, and the like, are still
One self-same Man, whose Action is his Will;
Whose Will, if right, will soon renounce the Pride
Of an own Reason for an only Guide;
As God's unerring Spirit shall inspire,
Will still direct the Drift of his Desire.
Searching in HDIS (Poetry)
2 entries in ECCO and ESTC (1773).

Text from The Poems of John Byrom, ed. Adolphus William Ward, 2 vols. (Manchester: Printed for The Chetham Society, 1894-1895). <Link to LION>

See also John Byrom, Miscellaneous Poems, 2 vols. (Manchester: J. Harrop, 1773), 98-100. <Link to ESTC><Link to ECCO><Link to Vol. II Google Books>
Date of Entry

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