Memory is a fountain of "endless joy"

— Pilkington, Laetitia (c. 1709-1750)

Work Title
Place of Publication
London and Dublin
1733, 1748
Memory is a fountain of "endless joy"
Metaphor in Context
Memory, a Poem

In what recesses of the brain
Does this amazing power remain,
By which all knowledge we attain?

What art thou, Memory? What tongue can tell,
What curious artist trace thy hidden cell,
Wherein ten thousand different objects dwell?

Surprising storehouse! in whose narrow womb
All things, the past, the present, and to come,
Find ample space, and large and mighty room.

O falsely deemed the foe of sacred wit!
Thou, who the nurse and guardian art of it,
Laying it up till season due and fit.

Then proud the wond'rous treasure to produce,
As understanding points it, to conduce
Either to entertainment, or to use.

Nor love nor holy friendship, without thee,
Could ever of the least duration be;
Nor gratitude, nor turht, nor piety/

Where thou art not, the cheerless human mind
Is one vast void, all darksome, sad, and blind;
No trace of anything remains behind.

The sacred stores of learning all are thine;
'Tis only thou record'st the faithful line;
'Tis thou mak'st human-kind almost divine.

And when at length we quit this mortal scene,
Thou shalt with our tender friends remain,
And time and death shall strike at thee in vain.

Lord let me so this wond'rous gift employ,
It may a fountain be of endless joy,
Which time, or accident, may ne'er destroy.

Still let my faithful Memory impart,
And deep engrave it on my grateful heart,
How just, and good, and excellent Thou art.
(p. 138-9)
Text from Lonsdale, R. Ed. Eighteenth Century Women Poets. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

See Memoirs: of Mrs. Lætitia Pilkington, Wife to the Rev. Mr. Matthew Pilkington. Written by Herself. Wherein Are Occasionally Interspersed, All Her Poems; With Anecdotes of Several Eminent Persons, Living and Dead. Among Others, Dean Swift, Alexander Pope ([London]: Dublin printed; London reprinted: and sold by R. Griffiths, and G. Woodfall, 1748), 137-139. <Link to ECCO-TCP>
Date of Entry

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