"Their Task discharg'd, and anxious how to lose / The least Impressions, recent on the Heart."

— Browne, Moses (1706-1787)

Place of Publication
Printed for A. Millar [etc.]
"Their Task discharg'd, and anxious how to lose / The least Impressions, recent on the Heart."
Metaphor in Context
The Church's Rites, her last Solemnities
Are fully ended: Twice in Public paid,
Her Claim maternal. What returning Trains
Flock from the Sanctuary! a graceful Sight.
Some, for Heav'n's Favour, on the Duty done
Resting their Christless Hope. Some posting, fast,
To Walks, to Company; o'erjoy'd to find
Their Task discharg'd, and anxious how to lose
The least Impressions, recent on the Heart.

But whether hasten'st thou, thy after-Work
Of Recollection grateful, to begin?
What are thy Frames? has the keen, piercing Word
Reach'd Home, and fasten'd in thy Soul; its Mark?
When Christ is preaching on the Gospel Mount,
At his Descent, the Leper shall be cleans'd.[1]
Trembled thy Conscience when the firey Law
Flash'd its red Threat'nings? who? what Angel-Strength?
What Fortitude invincible can bear
When God is angry?--bow'd thy willing Ear
To the mild Tenders of thy Saviour-King?
Are thy Hopes rais'd, thy misty Damps all clear'd
By the bright Promises, and Unbelief
In their warm Sun-shine melted sweetly down?
To his State-Rooms of Ordinances brought,
Thro' their pure Lattice have I seen my Lord
The heavenly Bridegroom, and could mark his Smiles?
What Resolutions, for thy Watch, thy Walk
Has thy Heart plan'd, led out on Grace for Strength?
Thy Breast examine well, thy Gain, thy Loss
In this rich heavenly Traffic, and record
In Memory's Volume where inclin'd the Scale.
Yet are thy Toils not done: reduce thy Light
Now into Practice, 'tis th' expected End
For which we hear. Our Sabbath has its Work;
Love may yet labour, on Care's Day of Rest.
Knows thy Friend-pitying Heart no pensive Saint
Journeying in Darkness, whom thy Pilgrim Voice
(From a large Fund of stor'd Experiences)
Gently might cheer? None, grip'd by wordly Straits,
Whom thy free giving, or (in Act next kind)
Thy lending Hand as lib'ral, or at least
Thy pleading Interest, might from deadliest Want
Timely redeem? No Mourner, destitute
In lonely Widow-hood, Woes most tragic Scene!
With her young Brood of helpless Orphans left,
Wat'ring with Tears the fond, sad Mother's Knee?
Have Alms been added? Alms shou'd follow Pray'rs
Their Harbingers, as Sunshine does the Dawn.
Will Indigence exempt thee, art thou poor?--
And is thy Soul poor too? the meanest Wretch
Has somewhat; Pity's godlike Charity.
Thou'lt call this Counsel moral, be it so:
'Tis Christian too; built on Belief's sound Base,
Its Evidence and Fruits; no Works, no Faith[2].
A formal proud Morality may vaunt
Without Religion, but Religion's Self
Ne'er had true Life without Morality.
Searching "heart" and "impression" in HDIS (Poetry)
Date of Entry

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