"He is styed in his prejudices -- he wallows in the mire of his senses -- he cannot get beyond the trough of his sordid appetites, whether it is of gold or wood."

— Hazlitt, William (1778-1830)

Place of Publication
Printed for William Hone
"He is styed in his prejudices -- he wallows in the mire of his senses -- he cannot get beyond the trough of his sordid appetites, whether it is of gold or wood."
Metaphor in Context
[...] A Tory is one who is governed by sense and habit alone. He considers not what is possible, but what is real; he gives might the preference over right. He cries Long Life to the conqueror, and is ever strong upon the stronger side -- the side of corruption and prerogative. He says what others say; he does as he is prompted by his own advantage. He knows on which side his bread is buttered, and that St. Peter is well at Rome. He is for going with Sancho to Camacho's wedding, and not for wandering with Don Quixote in the desert, after the mad lover. Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to Reform, but broad is the way that leadeth to Corruption, and multitudes there are that walk therein. The Tory is sure to be in the thickest of them. His principle is to follow the leader; and this is the infallible rule to have numbers and success on your side, to be on the side of success and numbers. Power is the rock of his salvation; priestcraft is the second article of his implicit creed. He does not trouble himself to inquire which is the best form of government -- but he knows that the reigning monarch is "the best of kings." He does not, like a fool, contest for modes of faith; but like a wise man, swears by that which is by law established. He has no principles himself, nor does he profess to have any, but will cut your throat for differing with any of his bigotted dogmas, or for objecting to any act of power that he supposes necessary to his interest. He will take his Bible-oath that [End Page xxvi] black is white, and that whatever is, is right, if it is for his convenience. He is for having a slice in the loan, a share in a borough, a situation in the church or state, or for standing well with those who have. He is not for empty speculations, but for full pockets. He is for having plenty of beef and pudding, a good coat to his back, a good house over his head, and for cutting a respectable figure in the world. He is Epicuri de grege porcus -- not a man but a beast. He is styed in his prejudices -- he wallows in the mire of his senses -- he cannot get beyond the trough of his sordid appetites, whether it is of gold or wood. Truth and falsehood are, to him, something to buy and sell; principle and conscience, something to eat and drink. He tramples on the plea of Humanity, and lives, like a caterpillar, on the decay of public good. Beast as he is, he knows that the King is the fountain of honour, that there are good things to be had in the Church, treats the cloth with respect, bows to a magistrate, lies to the tax-gatherer, nicknames the Reformers, and "blesses the Regent and the Duke of York." He treads the primrose path of preferment; "when a great wheel goes up a hill, holds fast by it, and when it rolls down, lets it go." He is not an enthusiast, a Utopian philosopher or a Theophilanthropist, but a man of business and the world, who minds the main chance, does as other people do, and takes his wife's advice to get on in the world, and set up a coach for her to ride in, as fast as possible. This fellow is in the right, and [End Page xxvii] "wiser in his generation than the children of the light." The "servile slaves" of wealth and power have a considerable advantage over the independent and the free. How much easier is it to smell out a job than to hit upon a scheme for the good of mankind! How much safer is it to be the tool of the oppressor than the advocate of the oppressed! How much more fashionable to fall in with the opinion of the world, to bow the knee to Baal, than to seek for obscure and obnoxious truth! How strong are the ties that bind men together for their own advantage, compared with those that bind them to the good of their country or of their kind![...]
(pp. xxvi-xxviii)
Reading Terry Eagleton's "The Critic as Partisan: William Hazlitt's Radical Imagination." Harper's Magazine. Vol 318, No. 1907. April 2009. p. 78.
Hazlitt, William. Political Essays with Sketches of Public Character. London: Printed for William Hone 1819. <Link to Google Books>
Date of Entry

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