"On this the King pitched his Mind's clear eye, / When he cry'd out, all things are vanity."

— Pordage, Samuel (bap. 1633, d. c. 1691)

Place of Publication
Printed by T. R. for Lodowick Lloyd
"On this the King pitched his Mind's clear eye, / When he cry'd out, all things are vanity."
Metaphor in Context
That third Dish where in Seas of Beauties wallow
The slick-skin fruits; bestrip't with Red, and Yellow;
Screening their Virtues, in a double fold,
Of Crimson, Satin, and of yellow Gold:
The ground is Gold, upon whose face is spread
A thousand striplets of a grain-dy'd Red.
That Dish contains fruit of unvalued prize,
Whose sacred virtue makes man truly wise.
That Magic makes, and true Philosophers,
That Wisdom, and true Knowledge still infers.
Those Fruits unlock the fast-shut Cabinet
Of Nature, and her Treasures open set:
Nature's true Jewels rol'd in pitch do lye,
Not to be seen but by an Heav'nly Eye
And such an one these give: an Eye that looks
Upon, and reads her most mysterious Books.
An Eye that thorow Neptune's Region goes,
And all things in his brinish Kingdom knows,
An Eye that walketh thorow all the Mines,
An Eye that to Earth's solid Centre shines:
An Eye which doth perspicuously see,
What virtues, in all Vegitables be;
That the true Nature of all things that grow,
From the tall Cedar, to the shrub, doth know:
An Eye that from the Earth to Heav'n doth rise,
And rangeth th'rough the myst'ries of the Skies:
That views the stations of the Wanderers,
That sees the mansion of the Northern Bears:
That knows the nature of those glittering Fires,
That reads their Lectures: and Heav'n's Hand admires;
That knows their good, and evil influence,
They on the World, and Mortals do dispence;
That knows the causes of all natural things,
Seas, and Earth's motions, and the Winds swift wings;
The streaming Metours, and the blazing Stars,
The hairy Comets sad predicts of Wars;
That truly sees, and knoweth all the parts
O'th' Ptolomic, and Eucledean Arts.
These sacred Fruits besides all these disclose
Nature's hid Magic, which th' unwise oppose,
The Ancients wisdom, whereby they could do
Things wonderful, yet natural, and true;
Not jugling tricks: nor by ill Spirits might,
But by Dame Nature's just, and sacred Light;
Almost extinct now in the World; unknown
'Cause men have sought præstigiæ of their own,
And following airy Notions caught the shade,
Whilst the true substance did their hands evade.
Such are the Virtues of these Fruits divine,
Which with such matchless lustrous Beauties shines.
Of these the Father of the Faithful eat,
Sucking true Wisdom from the blessed meat,
And those who liv'd nine Ages to descry
The Planets dances in the azure Skye.
Great Salomon that mighty Magus had
His Wisdom and his Rnowledge from this food:
This sacred Fruit was lovely to his eyes,
For he this more than 's Crown, or Gold did prize.
He wisely said, For all things there a Time
Was; did but Mortals on the Earthly clime
Exactly know the same, they would not err
So oft, and toys to precious Gemms prefer:
Of Wisdom it no Mean part is to know,
The means not only but the Time to do:
For what these blessed Fruits so freely give,
Men in all Ages after deeply dive,
Nor is't unlawful for them to do so,
Did they true Time take, and right Wayes to go;
Else all is vanity: For what's all this
If Man should know 't, and yet ignore his Blisse?
On this the King pitched his Mind's clear eye,
When he cry'd out, all things are vanity.

What are these Jewels, though they Jewels be,
If Man's not lure of Æternity?
These are no means to gain the Heav'nly Race,
These are but Crowns for those that gaine the space.
They are unwise who first do seek those Arts,
Before that they have circumcis'd their Hearts:
For what they gain before is vanity,
What afterwards our King doth sanctifie.
What men acquire, they usually abuse it,
What Heav'n himself gives, he shews how to use it.
Let Man therefore the Time observe, and see
To gain Heav'n first: these but additions be.
Searching "mind" and "eye" in HDIS (Poetry)
Samuel Pordage, Mundorum Explicatio Wherein are Couched the Mysteries of the External, Internal, and Eternal worlds (London: T.R. for Lodowick Lloyd, 1661). <Link to EEBO>
Mind's Eye
Date of Entry

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