"It may indeed fill the Mind for a while with a giddy kind of Pleasure, but it is such a Pleasure as makes a Man restless and uneasy under it; and which does not so much satisfy the present Thirst, as it excites fresh Desires, and sets the Soul on new Enterprises."

— Addison, Joseph (1672-1719)


Work Title
Place of Publication
London
Date
December 24, 1711
Metaphor
"It may indeed fill the Mind for a while with a giddy kind of Pleasure, but it is such a Pleasure as makes a Man restless and uneasy under it; and which does not so much satisfy the present Thirst, as it excites fresh Desires, and sets the Soul on new Enterprises."
Metaphor in Context
Ambition raises a secret Tumult in the Soul, it inflames the Mind, and puts it into a violent Hurry of Thought: It is still reaching after an empty imaginary Good, that has not in it the Power to abate or satisfy it. Most other Things we long for can allay the Cravings of their proper Sense, and for a while set the Appetite at Rest: But Fame is a Good so wholly foreign to our Natures, that we have no Faculty in the Soul adapted to it, nor any Organ in the Body to relish it; an Object of Desire placed out of the Possibility of Fruition. It may indeed fill the Mind for a while with a giddy kind of Pleasure, but it is such a Pleasure as makes a Man restless and uneasy under it; and which does not so much satisfy the present Thirst, as it excites fresh Desires, and sets the Soul on new Enterprises. For how few ambitious Men are there, who have got as much Fame as they desired, and whose Thirst after it has not been as eager in the very Height of their Reputation, as it was before they became known and eminent among Men? There is not any Circumstance in C├Žsar's Character which gives me a greater Idea of him, than a Saying which Cicero tells us he frequently made use of in private Conversation, That he was satisfied with his Share of Life and Fame, Se satis vel ad Naturam, vel ad Gloriam vixisse. Many indeed have given over their Pursuits after Fame, but that has proceeded either from the Disappointments they have met in it, or from their Experience of the little Pleasure which attends it, or from the better Informations or natural Coldness of old Age; but seldom from a full Satisfaction and Acquiescence in their present Enjoyments of it.
Categories
Citation
See Donald Bond's edition: The Spectator, 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), ii, 493-498.

Reading in Cato: A Tragedy and Selected Essays, ed. by Christine Dunn Henderson and Mark E. Yellin, with a Foreword by Forrest McDonald (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004).
Date of Entry
06/17/2013

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