"Eyes let in light, like lenses, to the Mind--"

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

1814, 1816, 1896
"Eyes let in light, like lenses, to the Mind--"
Metaphor in Context
Eyes let in light, like lenses, to the Mind--
Shew turbid streams of thought, or rills refin'd--
Disclose the Soul's dark spots, and wrinkles, through--
What tends to benefit, and what undo--
And, as the fellow Spirit spies the stains,
Forbears to rivet on Affection's chains;
Still, judging by celestial Reason's laws;
From threatening dangers all desires withdraws:
As timid Snails their eyes and horns protrude,
To seek a Consort, or to feel for food,
And, when some adverse object hope repels,
Draw them both back, and shut them in their shells,
But when they trace, in slow, and cautious, course,
No strong obstruction, no repelling force,
Still, with strict wariness their path pursue,
For nourishment, and mates, to search, anew:
So prying Wisdom, with her piercing pow'r,
Observes where Virtues laugh, or Vices low'r,
What objects hurt, or happiness portend,
Whether they mark a Foe, or meet a Friend.
Searching 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.