"The silver Virtues shining round the heart, / Pure Gold, when polish'd bright by heavenly Art--"

— Woodhouse, James (bap. 1735, d. 1820)

1814, 1816, 1896
"The silver Virtues shining round the heart, / Pure Gold, when polish'd bright by heavenly Art--"
Metaphor in Context
All things, created, limits must inclose--
Almighty Mind, alone, no boundary knows!
The wish of mortal Man may range immense--
Still all stands circumscrib'd by Time and Sense!
Man's not like God in Wisdom--Love--or Might--
Yet while He copies Heav'n his conduct's right!
Not absolutely pow'rless, poor, or blind--
Unlike in measure, may be like in Mind!
By Christ's pure, holy, Spirit, humbly led,
When happily renew'd in heart, and head!
No due reward Man's worthiest deeds can win,
His motives, thoughts, words, acts, all mixt with sin!
His virtues--piety--and all his pow'rs,
Bestow'd by Heav'n--his bless'd Redeemer's dow'rs--
Still, tho' excluded thus, from every boast,
He's happiest far who imitates Him most!
No Ostentation Christ's pure conduct shades;
No Vanity upholds; but Pride upbraids!
His favours' ne'er conferr'd for poor applause--
He sounds no Trumpet but proclaiming Laws--
That striking Clarion, which, once more, must sound,
To gather all Earth's reasoning Creatures round,
Their works to weigh--their Heart's intentions trace--
From Nature growing, or that Saviour's Grace!
From kind affection, or weak wish for Fame;
The good of Neighbours, or self-glorying Name!
Mark acts--words--thoughts--and find each moral flaw,
By inbred Conscience, and Heav'n's holy Law!
Strip Ostentation--search those latent cells,
Where selfish drift, or sinful motive, dwells!
All masks forc'd off--all vizor'd views unfurl'd--
All hearts laid bare before the assembled World!
No more will Wealth, nor Pow'r, nor Pomp, nor Pride,
The Messiah, Heav'n's omniscient Judge! avoid--
Nor Cunning's Imps, nor Hypocrites, escape,
Thro' Protean trick, or artificial shape--
For He that made the heart--the eye--the ear--
Infallibly--must know--and see--and hear!
Impanell'd Saints, by His pure Spirit taught,
Shall state each truth--expose each peccant thought!
While Gifts, and Graces, purg'd by perfect skill,
Which form'd Affection--shap'd the wayward Will--
The silver Virtues shining round the heart,
Pure Gold, when polish'd bright by heavenly Art--

And precious Stones, reflecting all the rays,
With feebler beams, the Christian Sun displays,
That grace, and beautify the Godlike breast,
Shall stand the touchstone--the celestial test!
While Wood--Hay--Stubble all, must feel the flames,
Which Pride produces, or vain Fancy frames--
But if the project, and the plan, be pure,
The Architect, and Workman, must endure;
The beauteous Building still remain, unmarr'd,
And each blest Labourer meet his wish'd reward!
Then will the Angels reap the ripen'd Earth,
And separate Weeds of Vice from virtuous Worth--
Will all the tangling Tares, in bundles, bind,
With Chaff to burn, but leave the Wheat behind;
No more to struggle thro' each earthly Clod,
But gather'd in the garner of its God!
Sever the vast, ungrateful, goatish Herd,
Who spurn'd His Wisdom, and despised His Word,
From little flocks of loving, faithful Sheep,
Which learnt His kind commands, and strove to keep--
These will Messiah-Judge, most joyful own,
And call to sing new songs around His Throne!
To taste what Wit, and Learning, ne'er attain--
What warm Imagination vaunts in vain--
What Reason, well-enlighten'd, ne'er can reach,
Nor Inspiration, apostolic, teach!
Where Holiness increas'd, increases joy!
Where Life ne'er fails, and Love feels no alloy!
Those will the mock'd Immanuel, then, disclaim,
To outer darkness driven, with shudd'ring shame--
With teeth still gnashing--pangs which ne'er expire--
'Mid never-dying worms, and quenchless fire!
Searching in HDIS (Poetry); Found again searching "silver" and "gold"
Poem first published in its entirety in 1896. The 1814 first edition receives notice in The New Monthly Magazine (March 1815); the poem was written "in the last century" (w. 1795-1820?).

Text from The Life and Poetical Works of James Woodhouse, ed. R. I. Woodhouse, 2 vols. (London: The Leadenhall Press, 1896). <Link to Hathi Trust> <Link to LION>
Date of Entry

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