"Neglected talents rust into decay"

— Cowper, William (1731-1800)

Work Title
Place of Publication
Joseph Johnson
"Neglected talents rust into decay"
Metaphor in Context
To dally much with subjects mean and low,
Proves that the mind is weak, or makes it so.
Neglected talents rust into decay,
And every effort ends in push-pin play.
The man that means success, should soar above
A soldier's feather, or a lady's glove,
Else summoning the Muse to such a theme,
The fruit of all her labour is whipt-cream.
As if an eagle flew aloft, and then--
Stoop'd from his highest pitch to pounce a wren.
As if the poet purposing to wed,
Should carve himself a wife in gingerbread.
(ll. 438-77, p. 253-4)
At least 24 entries in ECCO and ESTC (1782, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1790, 1792, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1798, 1799, 1800).

See Poems by William Cowper (London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1782). <Link to Google Books><Link to ECCO-TCP>

Text from The Works of William Cowper (London: Baldwin and Cradock, 1835-1837).

Reading The Poems of William Cowper, 3 vols. ed. John D. Baird and Charles Ryskamp (Oxford: Oxford UP: 1980), I, pp. 241-261.
Date of Entry

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