"Her [Prosperity's] fatal Poison to the Mind she sends; / And uncorrect, in sure Destruction ends."

— Anonymous

1679, 1707
"Her [Prosperity's] fatal Poison to the Mind she sends; / And uncorrect, in sure Destruction ends."
Metaphor in Context
This with too dear Experience we have bought,
And learnt a Lesson, which too late was taught.
Prosperity's a Drug, that must be ta'en
Corrected (Opium like) or else 'tis bane:
A more Lethargick Quality's in her,
Than ever yet in Opium did appear.
Her fatal Poison to the Mind she sends;
And uncorrect, in sure Destruction ends
Whilst in the way her gilded snares she lays,
Easy and credulous Man she soon betrays;
Who sees her Roses and her Lillies here,
But her concealed Snakes doth never fear.
Prosperity's Repasts puff up the Mind
With unsubstantial and unwholesom Wind.
'Tis a Hault-Goust which Epicures do use,
And choicer Viands squeamishly refuse.
But when Affliction moulds your daily Bread,
'Tis then the staff of Life with which she's fed.
Affliction (like the River Nile ) bestows
Her fruitful Blessings wheresoe'er she flows:
And if when she withdraws, strange Serpents rise,
Not in her Streams, but in the Soil it lies.
Which (like the great Apollo ) she strikes dead,
By the same Influence they first were bred,
If she return, and shew her hidden head.
Great Minds (like the victorious Palms) are wont
Under the Weights of Fortune more to mount.
Strongly suppress'd, and hurl'd upon the ground,
Fill'd with sublimer Thoughts they more rebound;
Still careless whether Fortune smile or frown,
Whether she give or take away a Crown.
Our Walls are tided, and by that we know
She always ebbs when she doth leave to flow,
And constant in Inconstancy does grow.
Make an attack all Injuries that can,
They fall like Waves beneath a Rising Swan.
Freed and secur'd from all discordant Care,
Here we our Heads above the Billows bear,
Till from our Shoulders they transplanted are.
And from their summits, with dumb Gapes proclaim,
Of a Quincumvirat the trait'rous shame.
But during all this Storm, we still do find
An Anchor and a Haven in our Mind,
Not beaten now, tho then expos'd to th'Wind.
As Nightingals, our Bosoms we expose,
And sing, environ'd with the sharpest Woes.
Degraded from vain Honour here we grow
More great and high, as Trees by lopping do.
Honour's like Froth in each Man's Glass of Beer;
'Tis least of use, tho topmost it appear.
The common Vouchee for ill Acts she's grown;
It and Religion all our Mischiefs own.
She reigns in Youth with an unruly Heat,
And in her falser Mirror shews them Great,
Till Age and Time convince them of the Cheat.
Rash Heads approve what sober Men despise,
And the fantastick Garb offends the Wise;
She rarely now is seen, but in Disguise.
True Honour and plain Honesty's the same;
From various Dwellings comes the various Name:
For whilst she's gay in Courts, she's Honour there,
But Honesty with us in Durance here.
Indiffering States, most things have difference:
What pleas'd this day, the next offends the Prince.
The Prosperous loath what the Afflicted love;
Prisoners abhor, what free, they did approve:
And still there's Power in each Man's Choice to make
Himself content, if he can wisely take,
And think his own (tho hard) a happy Stake.
In every state does some Contentment dwell,
And here we find a Palace in a Cell.
Good's good ev'ry where, and every thing,
And Good can of it self no Evil bring.
All Good's a Ray of the first Light alone;
When Ill approaches, only that's our own.
Vertue's not gain'd by spending of our Days
In Pleasure, Prince's Courts, or from their Rays.
At Vertue's Coast by Travel we arrive,
And so by Travel Vertue's kept alive.
She dwindles if she want due Exercise;
But us'd, grows brighter, and still multiplies.
Vertue increases Snow-ball like, roll'd on:
A lazy Vertue's next of kin to none.
Pris'ners indeed they be, that do lay by
At once their Freedom and their Industry.
If Men turn Drones within these hony'd Hives,
It lies i'th' Pris'ner's Heart, and not his Gives.
The Good grow better here, the Bad grow worse;
The Spur that makes this go, does jade that Horse.
Hence the great'st part are Male-content and Sad,
Since that the Good are fewer than the Bad.
A Bliss that springs from penitential Joy,
Is the Mind's Balsam in each sharp Annoy;
Fools only their own Comforts do destroy.
(pp. 384-6, ll. 92-185)
Searching in C-H Lion
2 entries in ESTC (1679, 1707).

Text from Poems on Affairs of State, from 1620. To this Present Year 1707. 4 vols. (London: 1707). <Link to ECCO>
Date of Entry

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