"In ev'ry eye, / The living ray of waken'd intellect / Marks reason's lamp divine!"

— Robinson [Née Darby], Mary [Perdita] (1758-1800)

Place of Publication
Printed for Richard Phillips [etc.]
"In ev'ry eye, / The living ray of waken'd intellect / Marks reason's lamp divine!"
Metaphor in Context
Where summer smiles, clad in the golden garb
Of sunny splendours! where the tangled vine,
Bending with purple clusters, richly glows!
Where the brown olive clothes the Sabine hills
In tawny veil, repelling the hot breeze,
The lab'ring throngs advance. In ev'ry eye,
The living ray of waken'd intellect
Marks reason's lamp divine!
on ev'ry cheek
A stranger smile is seen, deep'ning the tint
Which southern climes diffuse, with ruddy flush
Of conscious ecstacy! The voice, unchain'd,
Breathes the pure eloquence of nature's tongue,
Mocking the fine-wrought sophistry of schools,
The pomp of learning, and the vaunted lore
Of metaphysic art. The untaught race,
Grown to maturity, yet newly born,
Above pedantic lessons, feel the glow
Of nature's own philosophy. O! change
Transcendent and sublime! Blest as the day
That, after a long night of gloom opake,
A night of months, which blotting the broad sun,
From Scandinavia's deserts, smiling comes,
And peering o'er some frozen mountain's top,
Illumes the ebon world. On ev'ry plain
Where Italy unfolds her treasur'd store
Of summer gifts luxurious, tepid dews,
And gales impregnated with spicy breath
Of buds ambrosial, greet the daring hosts
Of conquering France. The brazen cannon's roar
Echoing to heav'n's high concave, steals away
In sullen, long vibration; while around,
O'er ev'ry hill, green copse, and woodland glade,
From troublous Tiber to th' Etrurian meads,
That skirt the vale where Arno's limpid tide
Flashes the silver wave, in dulcet sounds,
The music of the tinkling mandolin
Calls forth the rustic throng, to feast, and sing,
And mingle, wildly gay, in mazy dance.
And thou, fair city, rising from the wave,
Girt with a lucid zone, thy Parian tow'rs,
Proud sea-marks, glitt'ring while the sunny beam
Glows o'er the Adriatic; thou, emerg'd
From gloomy superstition, far more dread
Than ocean's vast and liquid battlements
Rock'd by tempestuous winds, when all around
The equinoctial blast howls fierce and strong,
Braving its tyrant orb; thou, 'mid the deep,
Standst like a lofty temple, whose firm base
The green main guards triumphant; thy proud sons
Hymn the loud song of liberty, new-born;
While the white sails of welcome treasuries
(From worshipp'd Ganges, or Peruvian hills;
From odour-breathing Persia's pearly sands,
Wash'd by the Caspian wave,) to greet thy mart,
Thronging the pale horizon each new morn,
Now swell with gales propitious. Now no more
Slaughter steals hoodwink'd thro' the gloomy haunts
Of thy wave-circl'd citadel. No lord,
From the dark gondola, beholds his slave,
Whose trade is murder, deal the deadly wound
On his unwary foe; while, by the ray
Of holy lamp, the keen stilleto glares,
And the pale victim sinking, groans and dies.
Time was, and mem'ry sickens to retrace
The tablet fraught with wrongs, when seasons roll'd
O'er the small hut of lowly industry
In dim succession of eternal gloom;
Tho' rosy morn upon the eastern cliff
Burst wide her silver gates, and scatter'd round
A bright ethereal show'r! When nature's breast
Unveil'd its fragrance, and its bloomy tints,
Spangled by twilight's tears, to weary eyes,
Unbless'd with sweet repose! Poor, toil-worn race!
The hardy blossoms of a fervid soil;--
What was their hapless lot? To sigh, to pant,
To scorch and faint, while from the cloudless sky
The noon-tide beam shot downward. By their hands
The burning ploughshare thro' the Tuscan glebe
Pursued its sultry way: the smoking plains,
Refresh'd by tepid show'rs, receiv'd the pledge
Of future luxury. The tangling vine,
Nurs'd by their toil, grew fibrous: the brown rind,
Dried by the parching gale, wove close and firm,
Guarded the rich and nec'trous distillation.
The tendrils twin'd, to ev'ry point minute
The od'rous bev'rage stole, till the swoln fruit,
Empurpled by the sun, the labourers prest
To yield its luscious burthen. Yet, for them
Did summer gild the plain? Did autumn glow?
Did austral breezes fan the tepid show'r,
Scarce whisp'ring as it fell? Did the day's toil
Ensure the night's repose?--sweet recompence,
That well befits the peasant's guiltless soul!
Searching "reason" and "lamp" in HDIS (Poetry)
Date of Entry

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