"The ideas to which his memory is adapted, compose the stock which he can employ."

— Gerard, Alexander (1728-1795)

Work Title
Place of Publication
London and Edinburgh
Printed for W. Strahan, T.Cadell, and W. Creech
"The ideas to which his memory is adapted, compose the stock which he can employ."
Metaphor in Context
Secondly, the particular things which are strongly remembered by a person, will directly influence the ideas introduced, as well as the perception from which he sets out. Imagination can exhibit only such ideas as a person has; ideas which he has lost, whatever is forgotten, cannot possibly be suggested, nor employed in any work of genius. By an incapacity of retaining certain sorts of ideas firmly, a man may be necessarily prevented from using materials which he once possessed, however fit they would have been for compleating or adorning his work. The ideas to which his memory is adapted, compose the stock which he can employ. Besides, of the ideas which he retains, those which are retained most strongly, will recur oftenest to his view, and consequently will be most familiar to him. On this account they will occur and be employed by him, more readily than any others. Ideas by being strongly remembered, force themselves frequently into our view, and engage our attention, when there is no particular occasion to introduce them: undoubtedly then, when they are related to a subject on which we are exercising our genius, they will be suggested more readily, than other ideas equally, or even more nearly related to that subject, but not so strongly fixt in our memory. Thus the whole complexion of a work is necessarily tinged by the kind of thoughts which the memory of the author is fitted to retain with greatest strength and clearness: and hence must arise very great diversity in the productions of different persons, even on the same subject; diversities proportioned to the number of ways in which the perceptions of memory may be strong, either in themselves, or by communication from those with which they are connected.
(II.ix, pp. 275-6)
Reading in C-H Lion
Only 1 entry in ESTC (1774).

An Essay on Genius. By Alexander Gerard, D.D. Professor of Divinity in King's College, Aberdeen. (London: Printed for W. Strahan; T. Cadell, and W. Creech at Edinburgh 1774). <Link to ECCO>
Date of Entry

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