"Can man by Reason's beam be led astray?"

— Young, Edward (bap. 1683, d. 1765)

Place of Publication
Printed for G. Hawkins
"Can man by Reason's beam be led astray?"
Metaphor in Context
Since Virtue's recompence is doubtful here,
If man dies wholly, well may we demand,
Why is man suffer'd to be good in vain?
Why, to be good in vain, is man enjoin'd?
Why, to be good in vain, is man betray'd?
Betray'd by traitors lodged in his own breast,
By sweet complacencies from Virtue felt?
Why whispers Nature lies on Virtue's part?
Or if blind Instinct (which assumes the name
Of sacred Conscience) plays the fool in man,
Why Reason made accomplice in the cheat?
Why are the wisest loudest in her praise?
Can man by Reason's beam be led astray?
Or, at his peril, imitate his God?
Since Virtue sometimes ruins us on earth,
Or both are true, or man survives the grave.
(ll. 177-192, pp. 183-4 in CUP edition)
Uniform title published in 9 volumes, from 1742 to 1745. At least 133 reprintings after 1745 in ESTC (1747, 1748, 1749, 1750, 1751, 1752, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758, 1760, 1761, 1762, 1764, 1765, 1766, 1767, 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, 1773, 1774, 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1782, 1783, 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798, 1800).

Edward Young, Night the Seventh. Being the Second Part of the Infidel Reclaimed. Containing the Nature, Proof, and Importance, of Immortality. (London: Printed for G. Hawkins, 1744).

Text from The Complete Works, Poetry and Prose, of the Rev. Edward Young, LL.D., 2 vols. (London: William Tegg, 1854). <Link to Google Books>

Reading Edward Young, Night Thoughts, ed. Stephen Cornford (New York: Cambridge UP, 1989).
Date of Entry

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