"How shall I touch his iron soul with pain, / Who hears unmoved a multitude complain?"

— Chatterton, Thomas (1752-1770)

Work Title
"How shall I touch his iron soul with pain, / Who hears unmoved a multitude complain?"
Metaphor in Context
How shall I brand with infamy a name
Which bids defiance to all sense of shame?
How shall I touch his iron soul with pain,
Who hears unmoved a multitude complain?

A multitude made wretched by his hand,
The common curse and nuisance of the land.
Holland, of thee I sing--infernal wretch!
Say, can thy power of mischief further stretch?
Is there no other army to be sold,
No town to be destroyed for bribes and gold?
Or wilt thou rather sit contented down,
And starve the subject to enrich the crown?
That when the treasury can boast supplies,
Thy pilfering genius may have exercise;
Whilst unaccounted millions pay thy toil,
Thou art secure if Bute divides the spoil;
Catching his influence from the best of kings,
Vice broods beneath the shadow of his wings;
The vengeance of a nation is defied,
And liberty and justice set aside.
Distinguished robber of the public, say,
What urged thy timid spirit's hasty way?
She lived in the protection of a king.
Did recollection paint the fate of Byng?
Did conscience hold that mirror to thy sight,
Or Aylyffe's ghost accompany thy flight?
Is Bute more powerful than the sceptred hand,
Or art thou safer in a foreign land?
In vain, the scene relinquished, now you grieve,
Cursing the moment you were forced to leave
The ruins on the Isle of Thanet built,
The fruits of plunder, villany, and guilt.
When you presume on English ground to tread,
Justice will lift her weapon at your head.
Contented with the author of your state,
Maintain the conversation of the great.
Be busy in confederacy and plot,
And settle what shall be on what is not;
Display the statesman in some wild design,
Foretell when North will tumble and resign,
How long the busy Sandwich, mad for rule,
Will lose his labour and remain a fool.
But your accounts, the subject of debate,
Are much beneath the notice of the great.
Let bribed exchequer-tellers find them just,
Which, on the penalty of place, they must;
Before they're seen your honesty is clear,
And all will evidently right appear.
Searching "soul" and "iron" in HDIS (Poetry)
Chatterton, Thomas, Joseph Cottle, Robert Southey, and G. Gregory. The Works of Thomas Chatterton. London: T.N. Longman and O. Rees, 1803.
Date of Entry

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