"When shall these clogs of Sense and Fancy break, / That I may hear the God within me speak?"

— Philips [née Fowler], Katherine (1632-1664)

Place of Publication
Printed by J. M. for H. Herringman
"When shall these clogs of Sense and Fancy break, / That I may hear the God within me speak?"
Metaphor in Context
Eternal Reason, Glorious Majesty,
Compar'd to whom what can be said to be?
Whose Attributes are Thee, who art alone
Cause of all various things, and yet but One;
Whose Essence can no more be search'd by Man,
Then Heav'n thy Throne be grasped with a Span.
Yet if this great Creation was design'd
To several ends fitted for every kind;
Sure Man (the World's Epitome must be
Form'd to the best, that is, to study thee.
And as our Dignity, 'tis Duty too,
Which is summ'd up in this, to know and do.
These comely rows of Creatures spell thy Name,
Whereby we grope to find from whence they came,
By thy own Chain of Causes brought to think
There must be one, then find that highest Link.
Thus all created Excellence we see
Is a resemblance faint and dark of thee.
Such shadows are produc'd by the Moon-beams
Of Trees or Houses in the running streams.
Yet by Impressions born with us we find
How good, great, just thou art, how unconfin'd.
Here we are swallowed up and gladly dwell,
Safely adoring what we cannot tell.
All we know is, thou art supremely good,
And dost delight to be so understood.
A spicy Mountain on the Universe,
On which thy richest Odours do disperse.
But as the Sea to fill a Vessel heaves
More greedily than any Cask receives,
Besieging round to find some gap in it,
Which will a new Infusion admit:
So dost thou covet that thou mayst dispence
Upon the empty World thy Influence;
Lov'st to disburse thy self in kindness: Thus
The King of Kings waits to be gracious.
On this account, O God, enlarge my heart
To entertain what thou wouldst fain impart.
Nor let that Soul, by several titles thine,
And most capacious form'd for things Divine,
(So nobly meant, that when it most doth miss,
'Tis in mistaken pantings after Bliss)
Degrade it self in sordid things delight,
Or by prophaner mixtures lose its right.
Oh! that with fixt unbroken thoughts it may
Admire the light which does obscure the day.
And since 'tis Angels work it hath to do,
May its composure be like Angels too.
When shall these clogs of Sense and Fancy break,
That I may hear the God within me speak?

When with a silent and retired art
Shall I with all this empty hurry part?
To the Still Voice above, my Soul, advance;
My light and joy plac'd in his Countenance.
By whose dispence my Soul to such frame brought,
My tame each trech'rous, fix each scat'ring thought;
With such distinctions all things here behold,
And so to separate each dross from gold,
That nothing my free Soul may satisfie,
But t'imitate, enjoy, and study thee.
Searching in HDIS (Poetry)
4 records in ESTC (1667, 1669, 1678, 1710).

Text from Poems: By the most deservedly Admired Mrs Katherine Philips: The matchless Orinda. To which is added Monsieur Corneille's Pompey & Horace Tragedies. With several other Translations out of French (London: Printed by J. M. for H. Herringman, 1667). <Link to EEBO>
Date of Entry

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