"Lady-Fancy was not aware of the Design upon her; but let her-self be worm'd out, by degrees."

— Cooper, Anthony Ashley, third earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713)

Place of Publication
John Morphew
1710, 1714
"Lady-Fancy was not aware of the Design upon her; but let her-self be worm'd out, by degrees."
Metaphor in Context
A Grecian Prince, who had the same Madness as Alexander, and was deeply struck with the Fancy of conquering Worlds, was ingeniously shewn the Method of expostulating with his Lady-Governess; when by a discreet Friend, and at an easy Hour, he was ask'd little by little concerning his Design, and the final Purpose, and promis'd Good which the flattering Dame propos'd to him. The Story is sufficiently noted. All the Artifice employ'd against the Prince was a well-manag'd Interrogatory of what next? Lady-Fancy was not aware of the Design upon her; but let her-self be worm'd out, by degrees. At first, she said the Prince's design was only upon a Tract of Land, which stood out like a Promontory before him, and seem'd to eclipse his Glory. A fair rich Island, which was close by, presented it-self next, and as it were naturally invited Conquest. The opposite Coast came next in view. Then the Continent on each side the larger Sea. And then (what was easiest of all, and wou'd follow of course) the Dominion both of Sea and Land. "And What next? reply'd the Friend. What shall we do, when we are become thus happy, and have obtain'd our highest Wish? Why then, we'll sit down peaceably, and be good Company over a Bottle. Alas, Sir! What hinders us from doing the same, where we now are? Will our Humour, or our Wine grow better? Shall we be more secure, or at Heart's Ease? What you may possibly lose by these Attempts, is easy to conceive. But which way you will be a Gainer, your own Fancy (you see) cannot so much as suggest." Fancy in the mean while carry'd her point: For she was absolute over the Monarch; and had been too little talk'd to by her-self, to bear being reprov'd in Company. The Prince grew sullen; turn'd the Discourse; abhor'd the Profanation offer'd to his Sovereign-Empress; deliver'd up his Thoughts to her again with deep Devotion, and fell to conquering with all his Might. The Sound of Victory rung in his Ears. Laurels and Crowns play'd before his Eyes. What was this but Giddiness and Dream? Appearances uncorrected? Worlds dancing? Phantoms playing?
(pp. 325-7; pp 145-6)
A complicated publication history. At least 10 entries in ESTC (1710, 1711, 1714, 1733, 1744, 1751, 1757, 1758, 1773, 1790).

See Soliloquy, or Advice to an Author (London: John Morphew, 1710). <Link to ESTC><Link to Google Books>

See also "Soliloquy, or Advice to an Author" in Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times. In Three Volumes. (London: John Darby, 1711). <Link to ESTC>

Some text drawn from ECCO and Google Books; also from Anthony Ashley Cooper, Third Earl of Shaftesbury. Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, ed. Lawrence E. Klein (Cambridge: CUP, 2001). Klein's text is based on the British Library's copy of the second edition of 1714. [Texts to be collated.]
Date of Entry

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