"Your iron hearts o'er misery never melt, / Nor feel the thrillings her pure pity felt!"

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

1814, 1816, 1896
"Your iron hearts o'er misery never melt, / Nor feel the thrillings her pure pity felt!"
Metaphor in Context
Mark this, ye Misers! this plain tale compare
With what your character, and conduct, are!
Look back o'er all your Life, with blushing shame!
Contrast them with this kind, this dow'rless Dame!
O'er all your multiplying heaps repent!
Consider whence, and why, such wealth was lent!
See in each pile a complicated crime!
Weigh well their uses, and redeem the time!
Look round and read, with arguments mature,
What Industry, and doitless Worth endure!
Your bounties might remove unnumber'd ills
Could Kindness influence your froward Wills--
Would Sympathy apply her prompt relief,
To lighten loads of aggravated grief!
But bosoms, dead like Your's, can never feel
The rapt rejoicings o'er another's weal!
Your iron hearts o'er misery never melt,
Nor feel the thrillings her pure pity felt!

Your cold conceptions ne'er can once declare,
What sweet delight such happy Spirits share!
Nor can your sordid Souls this boast believe,
"'Tis greater joy to give than to receive!"
Could your awak'd affections once o'erflow
With rapturing pleasure such soft Natures know,
No more your breasts would that rich bliss resign,
For hapless ponderings o'er your canker'd Coin;
But gladly all the gather'd heap impart,
For those rich transports that expand the heart--
And Gods of gold indignantly despise,
To share such social, sympathetic, joys!
I urge you not, in Need, like Her, to live,
Nor like her your last scrap of coinage give--
Not your last Sixpence on the Poor to spend,
And starve; or stint Yourselves, to feast a Friend--
But not to hoard and idolize your wealth--
To risque your Soul, and hurt your Body's health--
Not like an Elwes, with a million mass'd,
Live Wretches, loath'd and die with want at last;
But learn, like Her, the proper us of Pelf,
And love each needy Neighbour as yourself!
Searching "heart" and "iron" in HDIS (Poetry)
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.