"Whilst, as my System says, the Mind / Is to these upper Rooms confin'd."

— Prior, Matthew (1664-1721)

Place of Publication
Jacob Tonson and John Barber
"Whilst, as my System says, the Mind / Is to these upper Rooms confin'd."
Metaphor in Context
Dick, thus We act; and thus We are,
Or toss'd by Hope, or sunk by Care.
With endless Pain This Man pursues
What, if he gain'd, He could not use:
And T'other fondly Hopes to see
What never was, nor e'er shall be.
We err by Use, go wrong by Rules;
In Gesture grave, in Action Fools:
We join Hypocrisie to Pride,
Doubling the Faults, We strive to hide.
Or grant, that with extreme Surprize,
We find our selves at Sixty wise;
And twenty pretty Things are known,
Of which we can't accomplish One;
Whilst, as my System says, the Mind
Is to these upper Rooms confin'd:

Should I, my Friend, at large repeat
Her borrow'd Sense, her fond Conceit;
The Bede-roll of her vicious Tricks;
My Poem would be too prolix.
For could I my Remarks sustain,
Like Socrates, or Miles Montaigne;
Who in these Times would read my Books,
But Tom o' Stiles, or John o' Nokes?
Searching "mind" and "room" in HDIS (Poetry)
Searching in ECCO and ESTC (1718, 1720, 1721, 1725, 1728, 1733, 1734, 1741, 1751, 1754, 1755, 1759, 1768, 1766, 1767, 1769, 1771, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1784, 1790, 1798). See also Prior's Poetical Works (1777, 1779, 1784, 1798). Found in A Collection of English Poets, vol. 10 (1776), The British Poets, vol. 18 (1778), and The Works of the English Poets (1779, 1790). I haven't yet been able to confirm that Alma is in 2 vol. Poems of 1755, 1766, 1767 (texts not available in ECCO).

See Prior's Alma: Or, The Progress of the Mind. In Three Cantos published in Poems on Several Occasions (London: Printed for J. Tonson and J. Barber, 1718). <Link to ECCO>

Searching text from Poems on Several Occasions, ed. A. R. Waller (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1905). Reading The Literary Works of Matthew Prior, ed. H. Bunker Wright and Monroe K. Spears. 2 vols. 2nd Edition (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1971).
Date of Entry
Date of Review

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