"For Wit's false mirror held up Nature's light"

— Pope, Alexander (1688-1744)

Place of Publication
"For Wit's false mirror held up Nature's light"
Metaphor in Context
Come then, my Friend, my Genius, come along,
Oh master of the poet, and the song!
And while the Muse now stoops, or now ascends,
To Man's low passions, or their glorious ends,
Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise,
To fall with dignity, with temper rise;
Form'd by thy converse, happily to steer
From grave to gay, from lively to severe;
Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease,
Intent to reason, or polite to please.
Oh! while along the stream of Time thy name
Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame,
Say, shall my little bark attendant sail,
Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale?
When statesmen, heroes, kings, in dust repose,
Whose sons shall blush their fathers were thy foes,
Shall then this verse to future age pretend
Thou wert my guide, philosopher, and friend?
That urg'd by thee, I turn'd the tuneful art
From sounds to things, from fancy to the heart;
For Wit's false mirror held up Nature's light;
Shew'd erring Pride, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT;
That REASON, PASSION, answer one great Aim;
That true SELF-LOVE and SOCIAL are the same;
That VIRTUE only makes our Bliss below;
And all our Knowledge is, OURSELVES TO KNOW.
(p. 547, ll. 373-398; cf. 73-74 in 1734 printing)
Searching "heart" and "mirror" in HDIS (Poetry); found again "fancy"; confirmed in ECCO-TCP.
Over 165 entries in ESTC (1733, 1734, 1735, 1736, 1743, 1744, 1745, 1746, 1747, 1748, 1749, 1750, 1751, 1753, 1754, 1755, 1756, 1758, 1760, 1761, 1762, 1763, 1764, 1766, 1767, 1768, 1770, 1771, 1772, 1774, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1780, 1781, 1783, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798, 1799, 1800).

See An Essay on Man, Being the First Book of Ethic epistles. To Henry St. John, L. Bolingbroke. (London: Printed by John Wright, for Lawton Gilliver, 1734). <Link to ESTC><Link to ESTC><Link to ESTC><Link to ECCO-TCP>

See also An Essay on Man: In Epistles to a Friend. (Dublin: Printed by S. Powell, for George Risk, George Ewing, and William Smith, 1734). <Link to ECCO-TCP>

Reading The Poems of Alexander Pope. A One-Volume Edition of the Twickenham Text with Selected Annotations, ed. John Butt. (New Haven: Yale UP, 1963).
Date of Entry

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