"Reason at last, by her all-conquering arts, / Reduced these savages, and tuned their hearts."

— Dryden, John (1631-1700) [Poem ascribed to]

Work Title
"Reason at last, by her all-conquering arts, / Reduced these savages, and tuned their hearts."
Metaphor in Context
Would you in this great art acquire renown?
Authors, observe the rules I here lay down.
In prudent lessons everywhere abound;
With pleasant join the useful and the sound:
A sober reader a vain tale will slight;
He seeks as well instruction as delight.
Let all your thoughts to virtue be confined,
Still offering nobler figures to our mind:
I like not those loose writers, who employ
Their guilty muse, good manners to destroy;
Who with false colours still deceive our eyes,
And show us vice dressed in a fair disguise.
Yet do I not their sullen muse approve,
Who from all most writings banish love;
That stript the playhouse of its chief intrigue,
And make a murderer of Roderigue:
The lightest love, if decently exprest,
Will raise no vicious motions in our breast.
Dido in vain may weep, and ask relief;
I blame her folly, whilst I share her grief.
A virtuous author, in his charming art,
To please the sense needs not corrupt the heart:
His heat will never cause a guilty fire:
To follow virtue then be your desire.
In vain your art and vigour are exprest;
The obscene expression shows the infected breast.
But, above all, base jealousies avoid,
In which detracting poets are employed.
A noble wit dares liberally commend,
And scorns to grudge at his deserving friend.
Base rivals, who true wit and merit hate,
Caballing still against it with the great,
Maliciously aspire to great renown,
By standing up, and pulling others down.
Never debase yourself by treacherous ways,
Nor by such abject methods seek for praise:
Let not your only business be to write;
Be virtuous, just, and in your friends delight.
'Tis not enough your poems be admired;
But strive your conversation be desired:
Write for immortal fame; nor ever chuse
Gold for the object of a generous muse.
I know a noble wit may, without crime,
Receive a lawful tribute for his time:
Yet I abhor those writers, who despise
Their honour, and alone their profits prize;
Who their Apollo basely will degrade,
And of a noble science make a trade.
Before kind Reason did her light display,
And government taught mortals to obey,
Men, like wild beasts, did nature's laws pursue,
They fed on herbs, and drink from waters drew;
Their brutal force, on lust and rapine bent,
Committed murder without punishment:
Reason at last, by her all-conquering arts,
Reduced these savages, and tuned their hearts
Mankind from bogs, and woods, and caverns calls,
And towns and cities fortifies with walls:
Thus fear of justice made proud rapine cease,
And sheltered innocence by laws and peace.
Searching in HDIS (Poetry)
A translation from the French Boileau, the bulk of the translation was Englished by Sir William Soame. Dryden helped to revise it; he and Soame are both generally credited with the translation.

See John Dryden, The Poetical Works of John Dryden. Ed. George R. Noyes. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1909).
Date of Entry

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