"[T]ort'ring pangs" and inexplicable woe may "like a torrent" overwhelm the soul

— Burges, Sir James Bland (1752-1824)

Place of Publication
Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown [etc.]
"[T]ort'ring pangs" and inexplicable woe may "like a torrent" overwhelm the soul
Metaphor in Context
"At length my fate more calmly I survey'd.
"If to propitiate the obdurate maid
"Were still by heav'n allow'd, my longer stay
"Would only the transporting bliss delay;
"If still relentless she should prove, my soul
"Might gain remission from her stern controul.
"By hope and fear thus torn, with eager haste
"Th' impression on my buckler I effac'd,
"Resolv'd that, till my fate should milder grow,
"Me as its once-fam'd bearer none should know.
"Arm'd at all points, and vaulting on my steed,
"To the Larissan court I urg'd his speed.
"In phrase the most respectful I essay'd
"To move the justice of the royal maid;
"I told my suff'rings, call'd on heav'n above
"To vouch my tender, my eternal love,
"And her permission humbly sought once more
"To claim her pity and her grace implore.
"The scroll I sent; her answer quickly came--
"By Heav'n! my madd'ning soul is in a flame
"When I reflect--Oh! may'st thou never know
"The tort'ring pangs, th' inexplicable woe,
"Which like a torrent overwhelm'd my soul,

"When I unopen'd saw again my scroll,
"Which from her cruel hand this sentence bore--
"'Never, oh prince, these eyes may see thee more.
"'This further proof of my resolve receive,
"'And, if my wish avail, Larissa leave.'--
"Yes too obdurate maid! Thou know'st too well
"The potency of that o'erpow'ring spell,
"Which spite of all that reason can suggest,
"Maintains despotic empire o'er my breast.
"Yes, yes! In all thy cruelty exult,
"Mock at my pangs, my constancy insult,
"To enhance my woes exert thine ev'ry art,
"Probe to its inmost core my tortur'd heart!
"That heart may break--But, while its pulses beat,
"There my immortal love shall hold its seat;
"And when, releas'd from sublunary ties,
"My soul to regions yet unknown shall rise,
"E'en in the trance and agony of death,
"Thy still dear name shall linger on my breath,
"With ev'ry pray'r for sacred mercy blend,
"And with my spirit to high heav'n ascend.--
"Forgive, forgive me, friend! My weakness needs
"The sympathy from friendship which proceeds.
"Methinks, already thy consoling sigh,
"The pitying tear which trembles in thine eye,
"Calm to repose my agitated soul:
"As if some opiate o'er my senses stole,
"The tempest of my heart subsides, again
"Reason asserts her interrupted reign.
"Let me then cherish her reviving beam,
"And quit, while yet I can, my painful theme:
"A few brief words, and those succinctly told,
"The sequel of my fortunes will unfold.
"With burning brain and agonizing breast,
"I paid obedience to the stern behest:
"My soul with wonder, as with passion, fraught,
"The town I quitted, and the forest sought.
"To thee I need not what ensued repeat,
"The story of my suff'rings is complete."
Date of Entry

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