" Thro' nature traffick on, from pole to pole, / And stamp new worlds on thy dilated soul"

— Brooke, Henry (c. 1703-1783)

Place of Publication
1735, 1792
" Thro' nature traffick on, from pole to pole, / And stamp new worlds on thy dilated soul"
Metaphor in Context
O say, while yet, nor time, nor place was found,
And space immense in its own depth was drown'd;
If Nothing was, or Something yet was not,
Or tho' to be, e'erwhile was unbegot;
If caused, then how?--if causeless, why effect?
(No hand to form, nor model to direct)
Why ever made?--so soon?--or why so late?
What chance, what will, what freedom, or what fate?--
Matter, and spirit, fire, air, ocean, earth;
All Nature born, nor conscious of its birth!--
Alike unconscious did the womb disclose,
And Nothing wonder'd whence this Something rose--
Then, by what power?--or what such power could move?
Wisdom, or chance?--necessity, or love?
O, from what root could such high plenty grow?
From what deep fount such boundless oceans flow?
What fund could such unwearied wealth afford?
Subjects unnumber'd! where, O where's your Lord?
Whence are your attributes of time and place
Won from eternity and boundless space?
Motion from rest? just order from misrule?
A world from nought?--all empty, now all full!
From silence harmony? from darkness light?
And beamy day from everlasting night?[1]
Light, matter, motion, music, order, laws!
And silent dark nonentity the cause?
But chance, you'll say--I ask you, chance of what,
If nothing was?--'tis answer'd, chance of nought.
Alike from matter moved[2], could Beauty rise,
The florid planets, and gay ambient skies;
Or painted skies, and rolling orbs, dispense
Perception, life, thought, reason, judgment, sense.
Mysterious Thought! swift Angel of the mind!
By space unbounded, tho' to space confined,
How dost thou glow with just disdain, how scorn,
That thought could ever think thee earthly born?
Thou who canst distance motion in thy flight,
Wing with aspiring plume the wondrous height,
Swifter than light outspeed the flame of day,
Pierce thro' the dark profound, and shame the darting ray;
Throughout the universal system range,
New form old systems, and new systems change;
Thro' nature traffick on, from pole to pole,
And stamp new worlds on thy dilated soul;

(By time unlimited, unbound by space)
Sure demonstration of thy heavenly race,
Derived from that, which is derived from none,
Which ever is--but of Himself alone!
HDIS (Poetry)
Originally published in parts (1735). At least 9 entries in ECCO and ESTC (1735, 1736, 1789, 1792).

See Part I <Link to ESTC>, Part II <Link to ESTC>, Part III <Link to ESTC>, Part IV <Link to ESTC>, Part V <Link to ESTC>, Part VI <Link to ESTC>

Text from The Poetical Works of Henry Brooke ... In Four Volumes Octavo. Revised and corrected by the Original Manuscript With a Portrait of the Author, and His Life By Miss Brooke. 3rd ed. (Dublin: Printed for the Editor, 1792). [Titled "Universal Beauty: A Philosophical Poem, In Six Books."] <Link to LION>
Date of Entry

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