"The only Poison to Reason is Passion."

— Cooper, Anthony Ashley, third earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713)

Place of Publication
Printed for Egbert Sanger
1709, 1714
"The only Poison to Reason is Passion."
Metaphor in Context
If the Principles, indeed, were conceal'd from us, and made a Mystery; they might become considerable. Things are often made so, by being kept as Secrets of a Sect or Party: and nothing helps this more than the Antipathy and Shyness of a contrary Party. If we fall presently into Horrors, and Consternation, upon the hearing Maxims which are thought poisonous; we are in no Disposition to use that familiar and easy Part of Reason, which is the best Antidote. The only Poison to Reason, is Passion. For false Reasoning is soon redress'd, where Passion is remov'd. But if the very hearing certain Propositions of Philosophy is sufficient to move our Passion; 'tis plain, the Poison has already gain'd on us, and we are effectually prevented in the use of our reasoning Faculty.
(p. 91; p. 43 in Klein)
A complicated publication history. At least 10 entries in ESTC (1709, 1711, 1714, 1733, 1744, 1751, 1757, 1758, 1773, 1790).

See Sensus Communis, An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour in a Letter to a Friend. (London: Printed for Egbert Sanger, 1709). <Link to ESTC><Link to ECCO>

See also "Sensus Communis, An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour in a Letter to a Friend" in Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times. In Three Volumes. (London: John Darby, 1711). <Link to ESTC>

Some text drawn from ECCO, most from Anthony Ashley Cooper, Third Earl of Shaftesbury. Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, ed. Lawrence E. Klein (Cambridge: CUP, 2001). Klein's text is based on the British Library's copy of the second edition of 1714. [Texts to be collated.]
Date of Entry

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