The heart may be a captive

— Gray, Thomas (1716-1771)

T. J. Mathias
The heart may be a captive
Metaphor in Context
The Melian's hurt Machaon could repair,
Heal the slow chief and send again to war;
To Chiron Phoenix owed his long-lost sight,
And Phoebus' son recalled Androgeon to the light.
Here arts are vain, even magic here must fail,
The powerful mixture and the midnight spell.
The hand that can my captive heart release
And to this bosom give its wonted peace,
May the long thirst of Tantalus allay,
Or drive the infernal vulture from his prey.
For ills unseen what remedy is found,
Or who can probe the undiscovered wound?
The bed avails not or the leech's care,
Nor changing skies can hurt nor sultry air.
'Tis hard the elusive symptoms to explore:
Today the lover walks, tomorrow is no more;
A train of mourning friends attend his pall,
And wonder at the sudden funeral.
(ll. 81-98, p. 46)
Ed. Roger Lonsdale. The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins, and Oliver Goldsmith (London and New York: Longman and Norton, 1972).
Date of Entry

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