A mirror is "mistress of the art, / Which conquers and secures a heart"

— Wilkie, William (1721-1772)

Place of Publication
Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly
A mirror is "mistress of the art, / Which conquers and secures a heart"
Metaphor in Context
In Celia's drawing-room of late
Some female friends were met to chat;
Where after much discourse had past,
A portrait grew the theme at last:
'Twas Celia's you must understand,
And by a celebrated hand.
Says one, That picture sure must strike,
In all respects it is so like;
Your very features, shape and air
Express'd, believe me, to a hair:
The price I'm sure cou'd not be small,--
Just fifty guineas frame and all.--
That Mirror there is wond'rous fine--
I own the bauble cost me nine;
I'm fairly cheated you may swear,
For never was a thing so dear:
Dear--quoth the Looking-glass--and spoke,
Madam, it wou'd a saint provoke:
Must that same gaudy thing be own'd
A pennyworth at fifty pound;
While I at nine am reckon'd dear,
'Tis what I never thought to hear.
Let both our merits now be try'd,
This fair assembly shall decide;
And I will prove it to your face,
That you are partial in the case.
I give a likeness far more true
Than any artist ever drew:
And what is vastly more, express
Your whole variety of dress:
From morn to noon, from noon to night,
I watch each change and paint it right;
Besides I'm mistress of the art,
Which conquers and secures a heart.

I teach you how to use those arms,
That vary and assist your charms,
And in the triumphs of the fair,
Claim half the merit for my share:
So when the truth is fairly told,
I'm worth at least my weight in gold;
But that vain thing of which you speak
Becomes quite useless in a week.
For, tho' it had no other vice,
'Tis out of fashion in a trice,
The cap is chang'd, the cloke, the gown;
It must no longer stay in town;
But goes in course to hide a wall
With others in your country-hall.
Searching "conque" and "heart" in HDIS (Poetry)
2 entries in ESTC (1768, 1795).

Fables. By William Wilkie, D. D. Professor Of Natural Philosophy In The University Of St. Andrews. (London: Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, In The Poultry Near The Mansion House; and A. Kincaid and J. Bell, at Edinburgh, 1768). <Link to ESTC>

See also The Poetical Works of William Wilkie, D.D. (Edinburgh: Printed by Mundell and Son, 1795).
Date of Entry

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