"Whate'er offends the sight we shun with haste, / And shall the mind's disease for ever last?"

— Gilbert, Thomas (bap. 1713, d. 1766)

"Whate'er offends the sight we shun with haste, / And shall the mind's disease for ever last?"
Metaphor in Context
Antenor his dear country's fate deplor'd,
And said the fatal fair should be restor'd;
But peevish Paris, obstinately wrong,
Detain'd the blooming theme of Homer's song.
The sage of Pylos eloquently show'd,
What dire effects from civil discord flow'd.
From love's soft passion equal evil springs,
To the rash violence of lawless kings.
All the foul vices of an earthly God
Prove to the meanest slave an iron rod.
Sedition, dark deceit, and burning lust,
Corruption, violence, and breach of trust,
On courtier, citizen, and templar seize,
And spread o'er all the land the rank disease.
Again Ulysses' bright example tells,
What good in wisdom, and in virtue dwells;
Who left Troy's smoaking ruins to explore
The men and manners of a distant shore;
Rough toil encounter'd with a steady soul,
Which pleasure could not melt, nor fear controul.
You know the fable of the syren's strain,
And Circe's feast, that charm'd the thoughtless train;
But, had her soothing arts allur'd his soul
To taste the banquet, or partake the bowl,
The sage had dwindled to as low a thing,
As G---h in senates, or some modern king.
But we seem mortals of another race,
The sons of luxury, contempt, disgrace;
Soft as Phoeacian fops, who turn'd their care
To mend a feature, or adjust a hair:
Mere pimps, and revellers of Comus'
Where beaux' in muffs, fools, parasites resort;
All the lewd tribe of prodigals undone,
Who, steep'd in vice, sleep down a summer's fun,
And by soft music, languishingly slow,
Detain the drowsy God from realms below.
Shall dark assassins, for a golden prize,
Amidst the sable gloom of night arise?
And will no danger break your calm repose,
No friend's misfortune, or your country's woes?
Nor e'en that high regard, which patriots feel
For Vernon's safety, and the public weal!
When no malignant fever fires the brain,
And health luxuriant revels in each vein,
Tho' sunk in sloth, from all diseases free,
In dropsies, you will run to Reeve or Lee.
Soon as Aurora dawns, some book peruse,
That treats of subjects pleasing, yet of use!
To charm each wand'ring thought from envy's rage,
Or love, that tyrant o'er our blooming age.
Whate'er offends the sight we shun with haste,
And shall the mind's disease for ever last?

Dare to begin, and half your work is done:
Plain reason tells us what to seek, or shun.
Whoe'er delays to live by reason's rule,
Waits on the river's bank, like nature's fool;
With visionary hope, like courtiers fed,
He thought the stream would leave its ouzy bed;
But still the sacred spring for ever glides
Thro' flow'ry meadows, with revolving tides.
Wealth, beauty, children, are the joys of life,
That make each mortal happy in a wife:
Patient of cold we tame the stubborn plain,
And pant beneath the noon-tide heat for gain.
Why should we wish for more? If fortune grants
That competence, which modest nature wants:
Except that Godlike pleasure to bestow
On friends who sink beneath a weight of woe.
Not all the splendor, which the world admire,
The pride of life, each object of desire,
From burning fevers can preserve their lord,
Or to the wounded spirit ease afford.
Still W---e's conscience throbs beneath a star,
And shakes his fabric with intestine war;
Our country's wrongs sit heavy on his breast,
And, like Macbeth, his guilt has murder'd rest;
Exalted on the top of fortune's wheel,
He wants that peace, which men of virtue feel.
Wealth is but vain, if gout, or stone annoy;
'Tis health alone that gives us to enjoy.
Who live dependant slaves to hope or fear,
To them life's greatest blessings will appear
As Kneller's pictures to a German race,
Or Ward's specific in a gouty case!
To such Belinda's melody of voice,
With Handel's music, seems a grating noise.
HDIS (Poetry)
NCBEL dates 1741. Republished in Poems on Several Occasions (London: Printed for Charles Bathurst, 1747). <Link to ECCO>

Text from Poems on Several Occasions.
Date of Entry

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