"Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her state / With daring aims irregularly great."

— Goldsmith, Oliver (1728?-1774)

Place of Publication
Printed for J. Newbery
"Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her state / With daring aims irregularly great."
Metaphor in Context
Fired at the sound, my genius spreads her wing,
And flies where Britain courts the western spring;
Where lawns extend that scorn Arcadian pride,
And brighter streams than famed Hydaspis glide.
There all around the gentlest breezes stray,
There gentle music melts on every spray;
Creation's mildest charms are there combined,
Extremes are only in the master's mind.
Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her state,
With daring aims irregularly great
Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I see the lords of human kind pass by,
Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,
By forms unfashioned, fresh from Nature's hand;
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
True to imagined right, above control,
While even the peasant boasts these rights to scan,
And learns to venerate himself as man.
(ll. 317-34, pp. 649-50)
Searching in HDIS (Poetry); found again in Boswell's Journal (Penguin), p. 372.
Over 70 entries in ECCO and ESTC (1764, 1765, 1768, 1770, 1771, 1774, 1775, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1782, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1798, 1799, 1800) [Published in The Works of the English Poets].

See The Traveller, or a Prospect of Society. A Poem. (London: Printed for J. Newbery, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, 1764). <Link to ESTC>

Text from Roger Lonsdale's The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, and Oliver Goldsmith (London and New York: Longman and Norton: 1972).
Date of Entry
Date of Review

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