In Roman ampitheaters monarchs sat and watched "How beasts of prey could tear the human heart, / Rich with some lov'd impression.-"

— Yearsley, Ann (bap. 1753, d. 1806)

Place of Publication
Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson
In Roman ampitheaters monarchs sat and watched "How beasts of prey could tear the human heart, / Rich with some lov'd impression.-"
Metaphor in Context
These feeble sounds
Give not my soul's rich meaning; or my thought
Rises too boldly o'er the human line
Of alphabets (misused). Why should I wish
For words to form a picture for the world
Too rare? O world! what hast thou in thy sounds
So dear as silent memory when she leads
The shade of the departed? Ask despair
What renovation is, when friendship bends
To kiss her tears away;--but ask her eyes;
The pleasing anguish dwells not on her tongue.
Will friendship stay, when love and virtue fly?
Sooner Leviathan shall pierce the skies,
Roll 'mid the burning chamber of the sun,
And hate the chrystal caverns in the deep!
"Folly" could ne'er o'ertake me. Oft I verge,
When warm'd by fancy, to the farthest bound
My sense of words can bear; but at the extreme
Contemn the sense that chastity throws off.--
"Folly!" Good heaven! have I not climb'd an height
So frightful, e'en from comfort so remote,
That had my judgment reel'd, my foot forgot
Its strenuous print, my inexperienced eye
The wondrous point in view; or my firm soul,
Made early stubborn, her exalted pride,
Though of external poor; the stagnant lake
Of vice beneath, than Cocytus more foul,
Had oped its wave to swallow me, and hide
My frame for ever. This I saw: the year
Ne'er rip'd the corn, or strew'd the yellow leaf,
But some too feeble maid, who in the morn
Ascended with me, lost her hold and fell;
Leaving the glorious plaudit of the wise
To rough laborious spirits. I attained
With wretchedness this summit; hence, look down
On the laps'd ages, towers, and sleeping kings,
Whose heads repose 'mid monarchies engulph'd,
With temples, oracles, long whisp'ring fanes,
Thro' which the mystic meaning aw'd the crowd,
And stoop'd the public spirit to its lore:
There lie vast amphitheatres, where sat
The monarch with his thousands, to behold
How beasts of prey could tear the human heart,
Rich with some lov'd impression.-
-O forbear,
My muse! turn from the vision, lest thou wake
Emotion, and compare that heart with mine--
There gentle Petrarch sleeps; mild victim long
To that serene despair, which once imbib'd
The soul grows fond of, and withdraws, to give
Her tints of sympathy, ideal grace,
Languishing sentiment, and faithful tear,
To the wild woodland: there she feels enlarg'd,
And far from noise, looks calmly o'er the grave.
Petrarch! hadst thou not liv'd, what mind had dar'd
To own that flame, kindled so near the throne
Of God, it makes man like him? From this height
I see the bleating lamb trot o'er the turf
That covers long descended kingdoms: hear
The tyger roar, where tyrants scourg'd mankind:
On roofs of buried palaces remark
The mole rearing her fabric; learn the hymn
Sweet Philomel sings to the warriors shade--
Far o'er the plain, beneath the midnight moon.
Here I gaze wond'ring at yon motley crowd,
Who eye me through a medium all their own.--
I like them not, their pageantry contemn--
They know not to communicate delight--
But square my compass with a mimic skill.
Searching "heart" and "impression" in HDIS (Poetry)
Only 1 entry in ESTC

Ann Yearsley, The Rural Lyre: a Volume of Poems Dedicated to the Right Honourable the Earl of Bristol, Lord Bishop of Derry (London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson, 1796). <Link to ESTC><Link to Google Books>

Reading Lonsdale, R. Ed. Eighteenth Century Women Poets (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).
Date of Entry

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