"It was then very pleasant to look into the Hearts of the whole Company; for the Balls of Sight are so form'd, that one Man's Eyes are Spectacles to another to read his Heart with."

— Steele, Sir Richard (1672-1729)

Work Title
From Saturd. March 11. to Tuesd. March 14. 1710
"It was then very pleasant to look into the Hearts of the whole Company; for the Balls of Sight are so form'd, that one Man's Eyes are Spectacles to another to read his Heart with."
Metaphor in Context
This Representation of the present State of Affairs between the Two Sexes gave me very much Alarm; and I had no more to do, but to recollect what I had seen at any one Assembly for some Years last past, to be convinced of the Truth and Justice of this Remonstrance. If there be not a Stop put to this evil Art, all the Modes of Address, and the elegant Embellishments of Life, which arise out of the noble Passion of Love, will of Necessity decay. Who would be at the Trouble of Rhetorick, or study the Bon Mien, when his Introduction is so much easier obtained, by a sudden Reverence in a downcast Look at the meeting the Eye of a Fair Lady, and beginning again to ogle her as soon as she glances another Way? I remember very well, when I was last at an Opera, I could perceive the Eyes of the whole Audience last into particular cross Angles one upon another, without any Manner of Regard to the Stage, though King Latinus was himself present when I made that Observation. It was then very pleasant to look into the Hearts of the whole Company; for the Balls of Sight are so form'd, that one Man's Eyes are Spectacles to another to read his Heart with. The most ordinary Beholder can take Notice of any violent Agitation in the Mind, any pleasing Transport, or any inward Grief, in the Person he looks at; but one of these Oglers can see a studied Indifference, a concealed Love, or a smother'd Resentment, in the very Glances that are made to hide those Dispositions of Thought. The Naturalists tell us, That the Rattle Snake will fix himself under a Tree where he sees a Squirrel playing; and when he has once got the Exchange of a Glance from the pretty Wanton, will give it such a sudden Stroke on its Imagination, that though it may play from Bough to Bough, and strive to avert its Eyes from it for some Time, yet it comes nearer and nearer by little Intervals of looking another Way, 'till it drops into the Jaws of the Animal, which it knew gazed at it for no other Reason but to ruin it. I did not believe this Piece of Philosophy 'till that Night I was just now speaking of; but I then saw the same Thing pass between an Ogler and a Coquer. Mirtillo, the most learned of the former, had for some Time discontinued to visit Flavia, no less eminent among the latter. They industriously avoided all Places where they might probably meet, but Chance brought them together to the Playhouse, and seated them in a direct Line overagainst each other, she in a Front Box, he in the Pit next the Stage. As soon as Flavia had received the Looks of the whole Crowd below her with that Air of Insensibility, which is necessary at the first Entrance, she began to look round her and saw the Vagabond Mirtillo, who had so long absented himself from her Circle; and when she first discover'd him, she looked upon him with that Glance, which, in the Language of Oglers, is call'd the Scornful, but immediately turn'd her Observation another Way, and returned upon him with the Indifferent. This gave Mirtillo no small Resentment; but he used her accordingly. He took Care to be ready for her next Glance. She found his Eyes full in the Indolent, with his Lips crumpled up in the Posture of one Whistling. Her Anger at this Usage immediately appeared in every Muscle of her Face; and after many Emotions, which glisten'd in her Eyes, she cast them round the whole House, and gave 'em Softnesses in the Face of every Man she had ever seen before. After she thought she had reduced all she saw to her Obedience, the Play began and ended their Dialogue. As soon as the first Act was over, she stood up with a Visage full of dissembled Alacrity and Pleasure, with which she overlooked the Audience, and at last came to him; He was then placed in a Side-way, with his Hat slouching over his Eyes, and gazing at a Wench in the Side-Box, as talking of that Gipsy to the Gentleman who sate by him. But as she was fixed upon him, he turned suddenly with a full Face upon her, and with all the Respect imaginable, made her the most obsequious Bow in the Presence of the whole Theatre. This gave her a Pleasure not to be concealed, and she made him the Recovering or Second Courtesy, with a Smile that spoke a perfect Reconciliation. Between the ensuing Acts, they talked to each other with Gestures and Glances so significant, that they ridiculed the whole House in this silent Speech, and made an Appointment that Mirtillo should lead her to her Coach.
(III, pp. 150-2; cf. II, pp. 323-4 in Bond ed.)
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.