The "eye of Reason" may "cloudless shine"

— Robinson [Née Darby], Mary [Perdita] (1758-1800)

Place of Publication
1793, 1806
The "eye of Reason" may "cloudless shine"
Metaphor in Context
Turn to the Nobles! there let Pity view
The many suff'ring for the guilty few!
Perish the wretch who, sanction'd by his birth,
Presumes to persecute the child of worth!
Perish the wretch who tarnishes descent
By the vile vaunting of a life ill spent!
Who sullies proud propinquity of blood,
Yet frowns indignant on the low-born Good!
Who shields his recreant bosom with a name;
And, first in Infamy, is last in Fame!
Yet let Reflection's eye discriminate
The difference 'twixt the mighty and the great!
Virtue is still illustrious, still sublime,
In ev'ry station, and in ev'ry clime!
Truth can derive no eminence from birth,
Rich in the proud supremacy of worth;
Its blest dominion vast and unconfin'd,
Its crown eternal, and its throne the mind!
Then Heav'n forbid that prejudice should scan
With jaundic'd eye the dignities of man!
That Persecution's agonizing rod
Should boldly smite the "noblest work of God!"
That Rank should be a crime, and Genius hurl'd
A mournful wand'rer on the pitying world!
Yet Heav'n forbid that Ignorance should rise
On the dread basis where Religion dies!
That Liberty, immortal as the spheres,
Should steep her Laurel in a nation's tears!
Oh, falsely nam'd! Does Liberty require
The Child should perish for the guilty Sire?
Does Liberty inspire the Atheist's breast
To mock his God, and make his laws a jest?
Does Liberty with barbarous fetters bind
Her first-born hope, the freedom of the mind?
Hence, bold Usurper of that heav'n-taught pow'r,
Which wings with ecstacy man's transient hour!
Which bids the eye of Reason cloudless shine,
And gives Mortality a charm divine!
'Midst the wild winds, the lordly cedar tow'rs;
Progressive days invigorate its pow'rs;
The earlier branches, with'ring as they spread,
Round the firm root their coarsest foliage shed;
While the proud Tree its verdant head rears high,
Waves to the blast, and seems to pierce the sky;
Till the rich trunk, matur'd by length'ning years,
Through all their wondrous changes, braves the spheres;
Flings its rich fragrance on the gales that sweep
The humid forehead of the mountain's steep;
Mocks the fierce rage of elemental war,
The bolt's red sulphur, and the thunder's jar;
And, when around the shatter'd fragments lie,
The stricken victims of th' infuriate sky--
Amidst the wrecks of Nature seems to climb
Supremely grand, and awfully sublime!
Text from The Poetical Works of the Late Mrs Mary Robinson: Including Many Pieces Never Before Published. 3 vols. (London: Printed for Richard Phillips, 1806). <Link to vol. I in Google Books><Vol. II><Vol. III>

See Monody to the Memory of the late Queen of France. By Mrs. Mary Robinson. (London: Printed by T. Spilsbury and Son, Snow-Hill; and sold by J. Evans, No. 32, Paternoster-Row; and T. Becket Pall-Mall, 1793). <Link to Google Books>
Mind's Eye
Date of Entry

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