"They form a picture, delicate of trait, / Soft as the scene now mirror'd in thy breast"

— Seward, Anna (1742-1809)

Place of Publication
Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for John Ballantyne and Co. London. Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme
"They form a picture, delicate of trait, / Soft as the scene now mirror'd in thy breast"
Metaphor in Context
So dost thou wander by the pleasant base
Of a clean village, climbing up the steep
And shrubby knoll; while, bosom'd in thick trees,
The church the hill-top crowns.--The day is young;
Clos'd yonder cottage door; the din and hum
Of clamorous infants and laborious man,
Unheard as yet; tho' from the chimney-tops
The grey smoke, rising to the church-yard trees,
Curls its light vapours round the boughs, and gives
Promise of morning-meal.--Behold the cart,
That late, well loaded, on thy pebbled bank
Had creak'd and crept, at the yet silent mill
Stopt; those kind stores resigning, which shall soon
Employ thy loit'ring waters, and awake
The clattering hubbub of the busy scene.
Adown those rocky stairs, which to thy brink
Lead from the hamlet cots, ere while shall step,
With cleanly pail, light rocking on her head,
The rustic maid, new risen; for she has seen
Thro' lattice, curtain'd by the briar-rose,
Her cow, slow pacing up thy left-hand bank,
Intelligent of hour; the burden rich
Duteous to yield;--and, yet more welcome, sees,
Not far behind, the youth belov'd, from cops'd
And hay-stack'd tenement, down in the vale.
Yes, and thou soon shalt hear the tender vows
Of true love breath'd; and breath'd in sweeter sound
Than song of linnet, or the quiet tune
Of thine own stream, when hush'd are all the woods.
Mark that clos'd door, for it shall ope ere long;
It is the good Dame's school;--and in shall creep,
Like bees in spring-time to their dusky hive,
The little troop, and in resembling hum
Mutter the morning task;--but when yon tower
Shall tell, far heard, the welcome tale of noon,
Some striding, and some tumbling o'er the sill,
The infant-tribe releas'd, with clamour loud,
Shall totter down, and on thy shelving bank
Shout, laugh, and squabble, strenuous while they hurl
The frequent stone, dividing thy smooth waves.
But on the morrow Sabbath-bells shall ring,
And 'twixt the matin and the vesper hour,
And at the rosy setting of the sun,
That little, lawless multitude, which late,
Noisy and wild, had clamour'd on thy brink,
In Sunday vestment, and with sober gait,
Walk by their parent's side, while from each hand
The varied posies, dappled pink and rose,
Woodbine, and fragrant southernwood and thyme,
Scent the wide air. Leisure and quietness,
Apparel clean, and vacant looks, all speak
The sacred day of rest; and thou shalt bear,
From that wood-mantled tower, the holy chimes,
Silver'd and mellow'd on thy liquid course,
To neighbouring farm, or cottage. There we trust
Right welcome is the sound; more welcome still
The Pastor's voice persuasive, when he speaks
Of hopes eternal. Charitable deeds
Shedding a daily beauty on his life
That makes his doctrines saintly; while combin'd
They form a picture, delicate of trait,
Soft as the scene now mirror'd in thy breast
While the soft scene, and thou, its mirror clear,
Are all the sweet creation of his hand
Whose touch is genius, and whose life is love.[1]
Searching "breast" and "mirror" in HDIS (Poetry)
Seward, Anna. The Poetical Works of Anna Seward; with Extracts from Her Literary Correspondence. ed. Walter Scott. 3 vols. (Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for John Ballantyne and Co., 1810).
Date of Entry

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