"Nor could they trouble us, but that our mind / Hath its own glory unto dross confin'd."

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

Place of Publication
Printed by J. M. for H. Herringman [etc.]
"Nor could they trouble us, but that our mind / Hath its own glory unto dross confin'd."
Metaphor in Context
'Tis so, and humbly I my will resign,
Nor dare dispute with Providence Divine.
In vain, alas! we struggle with our chains,
But more entangled by the fruitless pains.
For as i'th' great Creation of this All,
Nothing by chance could in such order fall;
And what would single be deform'd confest,
Grows beauteous in its union with the rest:
So Providence like Wisdom we allow,
(For what created once does govern now)
And the same Fate that seems to one Reverse,
Is necessary to the Universe.
All these particular and various things,
Link'd to their Causes by such secret Springs,
Are held so fast, and govern'd by such Art,
That nothing can out of its order start.
The World's God's watch, where nothing is so small,
But makes a part of what composes all:
Could the least Pin be lost or else displac'd,
The World would be disorder'd and defac'd.
It beats no Pulse in vain, but keeps its time,
And undiscern'd to its own height doth climb;
Strung first, and daily wound up by his hand
Who can its motions guide and understand.
No secret cunning then nor multitude
Can Providence divert, cross or delude.
And her just full decrees are hidden things,
Which harder are to find then Births of Springs.
Yet all in various Consorts fitly sound,
And by their Discords Harmony compound.
Hence is that Order, Life and Energy,
Whereby Forms are preserv'd though Matters die;
And shifting dress keep their own living state:
So that what kills this, does that propagate.
This made the ancient Sage in Rapture cry,
That fore the world had full Eternity.
For though it self to Time and Fate submit,
He's above both who made and governs it;
And to each Creature hath such Portion lent,
As Love and Wisdom sees convenient.
For he's no Tyrant, nor delights to grieve
The Beings which from him alone can live.
He's most concern'd, and hath the greatest share
In man, and therefore takes the greatest care
To make him happy, who alone can be
So by Submission and Conformity.
For why should Changes here below surprize,
When the whole World its revolution tries?
Where were our Springs, our Harvests pleasant use,
Unless Vicissitude did them produce?
Nay, what can be so wearisome a pain
As when no Alterations entertain?
To lose, to suffer, to be sick and die,
Arrest us by the same Necessity.
Nor could they trouble us, but that our mind
Hath its own glory unto dross confin'd.

For outward things remove not from their place,
Till our Souls run to beg their mean embrace;
Then doting on the choice make it our own,
By placing Trifles in th' Opinion's Throne.
So when they are divorc'd by some new cross,
Our Souls seem widow'd by the fatal loss:
But could we keep our Grandeur and our state,
Nothing below would seem unfortunate;
But Grace and Reason, which best succours bring,
Would with advantage manage every thing;
And by right Judgment would prevent our moan
For losing that which never was our own.
For right Opinion's like a Marble grott,
In Summer cool, and in the Winter hot;
A Principle which in each Fortune lives,
Bestowing Catholick Preservatives.
'Tis this resolves, there are no losses where
Vertue and Reason are continued there.
The meanest Soul might such a Fortune share,
But no mean Soul could so that Fortune bear.
Thus I compose my thoughts grown insolent,
As th' Irish Harper doth his Instrument;
Which if once struck doth murmur and complain,
But the next touch will silence all again.
Searching "mind" and "dross" 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.