"This rivets you into his heart; for you at once applaud his wisdom, and gratify his inclination."

— Steele, Sir Richard (1672-1729)

Work Title
Place of Publication
Saturday, June 4, to Tuesday, June 7, 1709
"This rivets you into his heart; for you at once applaud his wisdom, and gratify his inclination."
Metaphor in Context
Among the many employments I am necessarily put upon by my friends, that of giving advice is the most unwelcome to me; and indeed, I am forced to use a little art in the matter; for some people will ask counsel of you, when they have already acted what they tell you is still under deliberation. I had almost lost a very good friend the other day, who came to know how I liked his design to marry such a lady. I answered, "By no means; and I must be positive against it, for very solid reasons, which are not proper to communicate." "Not proper to communicate!" said he with a grave air, "I will know the bottom of this." I saw him moved, and knew from thence he was already determined; therefore evaded it by saying, "To tell you the truth, dear Frank, of all women living, I would have her myself." "Isaac," said he, "thou art too late, for we have been both one these two months." I learned this caution by a gentleman's consulting me formerly about his son. He railed at his damned extravagance, and told me, in a very little time, he would beggar him by the exorbitant bills which came from Oxford every quarter. "Make the rogue bite upon the bridle," said I, "pay none of his bills, it will but encourage him to further trespasses." He looked plaguy sour at me. His son soon after sent up a paper of verses, forsooth, in print, on the last public occasion; upon which, he is convinced the boy has parts, and a lad of spirit is not to be too much cramped in his maintenance, lest he take ill courses. Neither father nor son can ever since endure the sight of me. These sort of people ask opinions, only out of the fulness of their heart on the subject of their perplexity, and not from a desire of information. There is nothing so easy as to find out which opinion the person in doubt has a mind to; therefore the sure way is to tell him, that is certainly to be chosen. Then you are to be very clear and positive; leave no handle for scruple. "Bless me! sir, there is no room for a question." This rivets you into his heart; for you at once applaud his wisdom, and gratify his inclination. However, I had too much bowels to be insincere to a man who came yesterday to know of me, with which of two eminent men in the City he should place his son? Their names are Paulo and Avaro. This gave me much debate with myself, because not only the fortune of the youth, but his virtue also depended upon this choice. The men are equally wealthy; but they differ in the use and application of their riches, which you immediately see upon entering their doors.
Over 50 entries in the ESTC (1709, 1710, 1711, 1712, 1713, 1716, 1720, 1723, 1728, 1733, 1737, 1743, 1747, 1749, 1750, 1751, 1752, 1754, 1759, 1764, 1772, 1774, 1776, 1777, 1785, 1786, 1789, 1794, 1795, 1797).

See The Tatler. By Isaac Bickerstaff Esq. Dates of Publication: No. 1 (Tuesday, April 12, 1709.) through No. 271 (From Saturday December 30, to Tuesday January 2, 1710 [i.e. 1711]). <Link to ESTC>

Collected in two volumes, and printed and sold by J. Morphew in 1710, 1711. Also collected and reprinted as The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq.

Consulting Donald Bond's edition of The Tatler, 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987). Searching and pasting text from The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff Esq: Revised and Corrected by the Author (London: Printed by John Nutt, and sold by John Morphew, 1712): <Link to Vol. 1><Vol. 2><Vol. 3><Vol. 4><Vol. 5>. Some text also from Project Gutenberg digitization of 1899 edition edited by George A. Aitken.
Date of Entry

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