"Then with a Warmth of Language, which He thought / Must on a Heart of Steel or Stone have wrought, / He prest his Suit"

— Crabbe, George (1754-1832)

Place of Publication
Liverpool University Press
"Then with a Warmth of Language, which He thought / Must on a Heart of Steel or Stone have wrought, / He prest his Suit"
Metaphor in Context
All Trial past, it seem'd beyond a Doubt
One so unmoved must ever stand without.
A Sister told her she had not the Grace
To join with them, a Runner in their Race,
A fellow Pilgrim, led by Faith, not Sight,
A fellow Soldier, buckling for the Fight,
Her as a Sister they could not receive,
But she might come--She rather took her Leave.
They would not own her, & she thought [it] rude
For One like her, rejected, to intrude.
While thus she lingered, doubtful to remove,
One known at Meeting came & talked of Love,
A shrewd, keen Man, some forty years of Age,
Who thought he could a Widow'd heart engage,
For he had learn'd the Owner of that Heart,
With it, could much of worldly Wealth impart.
But Dust & Dross, as he assured her, yet
It had its Uses to a Man in debt,
As he assured himself.--He had perceived
That she was One who readily believed,
And, though Impressions quickly past Away,
She might retain them till her wedding Day.
He would have liked it better, had she felt
The Preacher's Power, but Susan did not melt.
But yet not all the Grace of Youth was fled,
Her eye was brilliant, & her Cheeks were Red.
She did not Parties nor Amusements shun,
And was a woman, therefore to be won.
This fixed, the comely Sister he addrest,
And much of pure & zealous Love professt,
Then with a Warmth of Language, which He thought
Must on a Heart of Steel or Stone have wrought,
He prest his Suit
, but Susan with a Smile
Demurely looked, & plied her Work the while,
Then calmly thank'd him, beg'd to be excused,
And without Blush or Sigh the Boon refused,
And was so calm, so steady & so cool,
He lost all hope that she would act the Fool.
But this discarded Swain, I grieve to write,
Felt a large Portion of unholy Spite;
He spake so harshly, & he stood so high
Among his Friends, that Susan with a Sigh
From the censorious World prepared to fly.
Seamen & Seamen's Wives were rough & rude,
Village Life was quite a Solitude,
Scandal persued her to her Town Retreat,
And Zeal condemned her where the serious meet.
No Wonder then that, hunted thus, she flew
To the lone Vale, & bade the World Adieu.
Yet Comfort grows not always by the Rills,
By running Brooks or dancing Daffodils,
It is not caught by saying: "Comfort, come",
But by preparing for It, House & Home;
Let all be quiet, easy, gentle, still,
And you have Comfort, go wheree'er you will.
This Susan found, yet sought it not, but fled,
Like an Hind stricken, & in Secret bled.
There she was found lamenting, but the Grief
That has no Object meets with no Relief.
Her Lamentation was of mingled kind,
And such as cannot be with ease defined.
Yet now the Wanderer found the happiest Seat
That ever Sorrow chose for a Retreat,
A Woodbound Village, with its Dwellings all
Mere Huts, save the Vicar's & the Manor small,
Where a good Lady & the Priest agreed
The Minds & Bodies of his Flock to feed,
And where our Widow's Spirit found at last
Repose from all the Sufferings of the past.
There she was taught that, when a Sinner strays,
"Tis not enough that she believes & prays,
Or names the Name that Christians all Adore,
But she must then repent & sin no more,
Must give to Virtue in her Mind a Place,
And learn that Goodness is the Fruit of Grace.
Now of her Errors she so well conceiv'd
That what they cost her might be yet retriev'd;
In Time, her Self-Reproach became less keen,
And Slander found new Object for its spleen.
Wife, Widow, Mistress, what the Name she bore,
Her contrite Spirit was disturbed no more,
Her Mind was now on better things employ'd,
And yet the World itself was more enjoyed.
Still the Good Lady of the Manor, still
The Good Priest, exerting Heart & Skill,
So to her Mind their better Thoughts applied
That she, in Turn, became the Village Guide.
Month after Month, & Year succeeding Year,
With a light Spirit & a Bosom clear,
She with the Lady sought the House of Prayer
And House of Grief, & join'd the Pastor there.
Easy & placid, happy & obscure,
So might Life pass, & so might long endure,
If One we know, but know not if Alive,
Might not some Mischief in his Rage contrive,
Might not a Spoiler & a Tyrant prove,
And live in Riot on the Spoils of Love.
Searching "heart" and "steel" in HDIS (Poetry)
Crabbe, George. New Poems by George Crabbe. Ed. Arthur Pollard. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1960.
Date of Entry

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