"His understanding 'scapes the common cloud / Of fumes arising from a boiling breast."

— Young, Edward (bap. 1683, d. 1765)

Place of Publication
Printed for G. Hawkins
"His understanding 'scapes the common cloud / Of fumes arising from a boiling breast."
Metaphor in Context
He follows nature, (not like thee!) and shows us
An uninverted system of a man.
His appetite wears Reason's golden chain,
And finds in due restraint its luxury.
His passion, like an eagle well reclaim'd,
Is taught to fly at nought but infinite.
Patient his hope, unanxious is his care,
His caution fearless, and his grief (if grief
The gods ordain) a stranger to despair.
And why?--Because affection, more than meet,
His wisdom leaves not disengaged from Heaven.
Those secondary goods that smile on earth,
He, loving in proportion, loves in peace.
They most the world enjoy, who least admire.
His understanding 'scapes the common cloud
Of fumes arising from a boiling breast.

His head is clear, because his heart is cool,
By worldly competitions uninflamed.
The moderate movements of his soul admit
Distinct ideas, and matured debate,
An eye impartial, and an even scale:
Whence judgment sound, and unrepenting choice.
Thus, in a double sense, the good are wise;
On its own dunghill, wiser than the world.
What then the world? It must be doubly weak;
Strange truth! as soon would they believe the Creed.
(p. 179, ll. 1160-85)
Uniform title published in 9 volumes, from 1742 to 1745. At least 133 reprintings after 1745 in ESTC (1747, 1748, 1749, 1750, 1751, 1752, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758, 1760, 1761, 1762, 1764, 1765, 1766, 1767, 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, 1773, 1774, 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1782, 1783, 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798, 1800).

Edward Young, The Complaint. Or, Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality. Night the Eighth. Virtue's Apology: Or, The Man of the World Answer'd. (London: Printed for G. Hawkins, 1745).

Text from The Complete Works, Poetry and Prose, of the Rev. Edward Young, LL.D., 2 vols. (London: William Tegg, 1854). <Link to Google Books>

Reading Edward Young, Night Thoughts, ed. Stephen Cornford (New York: Cambridge UP, 1989).
Date of Entry

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