"So low it [my Condition] sinks me, by my Stile you'll find, / My Body's less in bondage than my Mind."

— Oldmixon, John (1672/3-1742)

Work Title
Place of Publication
Printed, and are to be sold by John Nutt
"So low it [my Condition] sinks me, by my Stile you'll find, / My Body's less in bondage than my Mind."
Metaphor in Context
King Richard II. to Queen Isabel.

What can you hope from your unhappy Lord,
Whose Pen's as useless to him as his Sword?
Both fail alike in my unskilful Hand,
And I write now, as I did once Command.
What can I say, who cou'd a Kingdom lose,
Will a young Queen the mighty Loss excuse?
What Ease will this to your Affliction bring,
From one who was, and is no more a King?
My vile Condition will my Letters stain,
And ev'ry Page be printed with my Chain.
Like a gay Dream my former Glories pass,
And scarce I can remember what I was.
So low it sinks me, by my Stile you'll find,
My Body's less in bondage than my Mind
In vain our Infamy I wou'd suppress,
These Chains, this Misery my Shame confess.
My Tongue which basely has renounc'd the Crown,
If these were wanting, wou'd my Weakness own.
My Hand that witness'd to the Deed wou'd shew,
That all this Ruin to my Fears we owe.
Cou'd you for me the Mighty Bourbon slight,
For me, your Father and your Country quit?
Young, as you were, to tempt a dangerous Sea,
And trust your Beauty to the Winds for me.
By the first Princes of your Realm ador'd,
Cou'd you leave these, to seek a Forein Lord.
Were Europe's Treasures and her Monarchs scorn'd,
That thus by me your Love shou'd be return'd.
Did you for this ungrateful England chuse,
That thus she might your Virgin Choice abuse.
For me, your Friends and better Hopes forsake,
To be thus rob'd and sent affronted back.
When sleep, which only gives the wretched rest,
Relieves the Sorrow of my lab'ring Breast.
Oft to my sick Imagination kind,
She brings my past Dominion to my mind.
A King in all my former Pride I seem,
And fancy then this Bondage but a Dream.
I view with Joy, thy visionary Charms,
And strive to clasp thee in my empty Arms.
I think 'em real, as I I'd have 'em be,
And Ixion like, embrace a Cloud for thee.
I call my Love, and waking in the Fright,
The Vision flies, and I am lost in Night.
Oft, but in vain, I hope my Queen's retir'd,
More welcom to return, and more desir'd.
The Hours to me are tardy in their course,
The past I wish for, and the present curse.
When the Sun travels on his golden way,
I wish for Night, and when 'tis Night, for Day.
Old time, methinks, is in his Race too slow,
And ev'ry minute, is an Age of Woe.
No Change for me the various Seasons bring,
And Winter is to me the same with Spring.
Happy the People of the Southern sphere,
Where Spring and Summer crown the fruitful Year.
On me the Winter Winds with fury blow,
Our Mountains cover'd with perpetual Snow.
Pomfret, a proper Mansion for Despair,
Confines me here, while you are happy there.
How did the Rout their banish'd Her'ford mourn,
And pray'd tumultuous for their Friends return.
Not their own Griefs cou'd touch the Rabble more.
Than Her'ford's, when he left the crowded Shore.
When they no longer cou'd their Darling see,
From blessing him, they turn'd to cursing me.
The Sentence lessen'd, still their Rage encrease,
They want him here, and will have nothing less.
My Friends fore saw the Mischiefs they design'd,
And I alone was to my Ruin blind.
He raises Trophies on my Father's Fame,
And with his Conquests wou'd adorn his Name
Scarce common Praise to Edward's Deeds he'll grant,
As England's Empire were deriv'd from Gaunt.
The Brother Princes to his Genius bow'd,
O're them advanc'd, as they above the Crowd.
The Mighty Father jealous of his Son,
Fear'd that his Glory wou'd eclipse his own.
So early forward in persuit of Fame,
He left the Rival King, and won the Dame.
The Brothers follow'd with unequal Pace,
The next but lagging in the noble Chase.
The first in Valour he, by Birth the first,
But Gaunt, tho' not the latest, yet the worst.
Vile as I am, the Conqu'ring Edward's Son.
Still more than Lancaster's, deserves the Throne.
Were England grateful, I had kept my Crown,
Or for my Father's merit, or my own.
His Name the Terror of the Gallick Field.
Made Armies fly, and hostile Cities yield.
Princes and Kings he led in triumph home,
Like the first C├Žsars to Imperial Rome,
But soon for England, and for me too soon,
The Glory vanish'd that so brightly shone.
Him, future Ages, like another Mars,
Shall write a God, and place among the Stars.
While none will think that I from Edward came,
Or not his Son, or if his Son, his Shame.
So late exalted, we are sunk sunk so low,
What wretch will deign to look upon us now.
Their Envy once, their Pity we are grown,
Tho' few will pity one that lost a Crown.
Betray'd, despis'd, imprison'd and forsook,
All fly from us, and run to Bullingbrook.
Such as we lov'd are from their Posts displac'd,
And such as lov'd us, in his Court disgrac'd.
He rules the Realm with Arbitrary Sway,
The People chose him, and they must obey.
He tramples on our Laws, our Acts repeals,
And ev'ry thing's a Statute that he wills.
His own Illegal Title to maintain.
He leaves no Records of the former Reign.
Thus wretchedly deprest, I bear the weight,
Of publick Infamy, and common Hate.
Whatever he inflicts, I must endure,
And never was so Rich, as now I'm Poor.
In Want abandon'd, and in Chains I lie,
But have not Courage, tho' I wish to die.
I'll take the Counsel I from you receive,
Who know too much to bid me Hope or Live.
For when our Troubles are beyond Relief,
Comfort can't lessen, but increases Grief.
To find a better Fortune, I despair,
And what is past my Hope, is past my Care,
The Pow'rs above unmindful of our Woes,
Scarce humble us so much, as raise our Foes.
Never, Oh! never be my Wrongs forgot,
But curse their Children while the Traytors rot.
Curst be the Crown the Tyrant Her'ford wears.
Wet with his Sons and with his Mother's Tears.
The Rebel Peircys will with horror see,
The Treasons punish'd they have dealt to me.
Their Pride, the same pernicious ways persue,
For, who have once been false, will ne'er be true.
No more, my Queen! No more my Griefs bewail,
The Wound's too great for Pity now to heal.
Sickness, Old Age, a Prison and Despair,
Will take the Life which I preserve by fear.
For you a better Fate remains in store,
On that look forward, and on mine no more.
Searching "bond" and "mind" in HDIS (Poetry)
John Oldmixon, Amores Britannici: Epistles Historical and Gallant (London: John Nutt, 1703). <Link to Google Books> <Link to ECCO>
Date of Entry

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