The mind may be "unfurnish'd" and listless

— Cowper, William (1731-1800)

Place of Publication
Joseph Johnson
The mind may be "unfurnish'd" and listless
Metaphor in Context
Accomplishments have taken virtue's place,
And wisdom falls before exterior grace;
We slight the precious kernel of the stone,
And toil to polish its rough coat alone.
A just deportment, manners graced with ease,
Elegant phrase, and figure form'd to please,
Are qualities that seem to comprehend
Whatever parents, guardians, schools intend.
Hence an unfurnish'd and a listless mind,
Though busy, trifling; empty, though refined;
Hence all that interferes, and dares to clash
With indolence and luxury, is trash;
While learning, once the man's exclusive pride,
Seems verging fast towards the female side.
(ll. 417-430, p. 274)
Reading; Text from HDIS (Poetry)
See Poems by William Cowper (London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1782). <Link to Google Books><Link to ECCO-TCP>

Text from The Works of William Cowper (London: Baldwin and Cradock, 1835-1837).

Reading The Poems of William Cowper, 3 vols. ed. John D. Baird and Charles Ryskamp (Oxford: Oxford UP: 1980), I, pp. 262-279.
Date of Entry

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