"[I]f thou wilt prolong / Dire Compotation, forthwith Reason quits / Her Empire to Confusion, and Misrule, / And vain Debates"

— Philips, John (1676-1709)

Place of Publication
Jacob Tonson
January 29, 1708
"[I]f thou wilt prolong / Dire Compotation, forthwith Reason quits / Her Empire to Confusion, and Misrule, / And vain Debates"
Metaphor in Context
The Farmer's Toil is done; his Cades mature,
Now call for Vent, his Lands exhaust permit
T'indulge awhile. Now solemn Rites he pays
To Bacchus, Author of Heart-cheering Mirth.
His honest Friends, at thirsty hour of Dusk,
Come uninvited; he with bounteous Hand
Imparts his smoaking Vintage, sweet Reward
Of his own Industry; the well fraught Bowl
Circles incessant, whilst the humble Cell
With quavering Laugh, and rural Jests resounds.
Ease, and Content, and undissembled Love
Shine in each Face; the Thoughts of Labour past
Encrease their Joy. As, from retentive Cage
When sullen Philomel escapes, her Notes
She varies, and of past Imprisonment
Sweetly complains; her Liberty retriev'd
Cheers her sad Soul, improves her pleasing Song.
Gladsome they quaff, yet not exceed the Bounds
Of healthy Temp'rance, nor incroach on Night,
Season of Rest, but well bedew'd repair
Each to his Home, with unsupplanted Feet.
E'er Heav'n's emblazon'd by the Rosie Dawn
Domestic Cares awake them; brisk they rise,
Refresh'd, and lively with the Joys that flow
From amicable Talk, and moderate Cups
Sweetly' interchang'd. The pining Lover finds
Present Redress, and long Oblivion drinks
Of Coy Lucinda. Give the Debtor Wine;
His Joys are short, and few; yet when he drinks
His Dread retires, the flowing Glasses add
Courage, and Mirth: magnificent in Thought,
Imaginary Riches he enjoys,
And in the Goal expatiates unconfin'd.
Nor can the Poet Bacchus' Praise indite,
Debarr'd his Grape: The Muses still require
Humid Regalement, nor will aught avail
Imploring Phoebus, with unmoisten'd Lips.
Thus to the generous Bottle all incline,
By parching Thirst allur'd: With vehement Suns
When dusty Summer bakes the crumbling Clods,
How pleasant is't, beneath the twisted Arch
Of a retreating Bow'r, in Mid-day's Reign
To ply the sweet Carouse, remote from Noise,
Secur'd of fev'rish Heats! When th'aged Year
Inclines, and Boreas' Spirit blusters frore,
Beware th'inclement Heav'ns; now let thy Hearth
Crackle with juiceless Boughs; thy lingring Blood
Now instigate with th'Apples powerful Streams.
Perpetual Showers, and stormy Gusts confine
The willing Ploughman, and December warns
To Annual Jollities; now sportive Youth
Carol incondite Rhythms, with suiting Notes,
And quaver unharmonious; sturdy Swains
In clean Array, for rustic Dance prepare,
Mixt with the Buxom Damsels; hand in hand
They frisk, and bound, and various Mazes weave,
Shaking their brawny Limbs, with uncouth Mein,
Transported, and sometimes, an oblique Leer
Dart on their Loves, sometimes, an hasty Kiss
Steal from unwary Lasses; they with Scorn,
And Neck reclin'd, resent the ravish'd Bliss.
Mean while, blind British Bards with volant Touch
Traverse loquacious Strings, whose solemn Notes
Provoke to harmless Revels; these among,
A subtle Artist stands, in wondrous Bag
That bears imprison'd Winds, (of gentler sort
Than those, which erst Laertes Son enclos'd.)
Peaceful they sleep, but let the tuneful Squeeze
Of labouring Elbow rouse them, out they fly
Melodious, and with spritely Accents charm.
'Midst these Disports, forget they not to drench
Themselves with bellying Goblets, nor when Spring
Returns, can they refuse to usher in
The fresh-born Year with loud Acclaim, and store
Of jovial Draughts, now, when the sappy Boughs
Attire themselves with Blooms, sweet Rudiments
Of future Harvest: When the Gnossian Crown
Leads on expected Autumn, and the Trees
Discharge their mellow Burthens, let them thank
Boon Nature, that thus annually supplies
Their Vaults, and with her former Liquid Gifts
Exhilerate their languid Minds, within
The Golden Mean confin'd: Beyond, there's naught
Of Health, or Pleasure. Therefore, when thy Heart
Dilates with fervent Joys, and eager Soul
Prompts to persue the sparkling Glass, be sure
'Tis time to shun it; if thou wilt prolong
Dire Compotation, forthwith Reason quits
Her Empire to Confusion, and Misrule,
And vain Debates
; then twenty Tongues at once
Conspire in senseless Jargon, naught is heard
But Din, and various Clamour, and mad Rant:
Distrust, and Jealousie to these succeed,
And anger-kindling Taunt, the certain Bane
Of well-knit Fellowship. Now horrid Frays
Commence, the brimming Glasses now are hurl'd
With dire Intent; Bottles with Bottles clash
In rude Encounter, round their Temples fly
The sharp-edg'd Fragments, down their batter'd Cheeks
Mixt Gore, and Cyder flow: What shall we say
Of rash Elpenor, who in evil Hour
Dry'd an immeasurable Bowl, and thought
T'exhale his Surfeit by irriguous Sleep,
Imprudent? Him, Death's Iron-Sleep opprest,
Descending careless from his Couch; the Fall
Luxt his Neck-joint, and spinal Marrow bruis'd.
Searching "reason" and "empire" in HDIS (Poetry)
At least 8 entries in ESTC (1708, 1709, 1712, 1715, 1720, 1727, 1744, 1778, 1791).

See John Philips, Cyder. A Poem. In Two Books. (London: Jacob Tonson, 1708).

Text from The Poems of John Philips edited by M. G. Lloyd Thomas (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1927).
Date of Entry

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