"When will our reason's long-charmed eyes unclose, / And Israel judge between her friends and foes?"

— Dryden, John (1631-1700)

Place of Publication
Jacob Tonson
"When will our reason's long-charmed eyes unclose, / And Israel judge between her friends and foes?"
Metaphor in Context
"Then Justice wake, and Rigour take her time,
For lo! our mercy is become our crime.
While halting punishment her stroke delays,
Our sovereign right, heaven's sacred trust, decays;
For whose support even subjects' interest calls,
Woe to that kingdom where the monarch falls!
That prince, who yields the least of regal sway,
So far his people's freedom does betray.
Right lives by law, and law subsists by power;
Disarm the shepherd, wolves the flock devour.
Hard lot of empire o'er a stubborn race,
Which heaven itself in vain has tried with grace!
When will our reason's long-charmed eyes unclose,
And Israel judge between her friends and foes?

When shall we see expired deceivers' sway,
And credit what our God and monarchs say?
Dissembled patriots, bribed with Egypt's gold,
Even sanhedrims in blind obedience hold;
Those patriots' falsehood in their actions see,
And judge by the pernicious fruit the tree;
If aught for which so loudly they declaim,
Religion, laws, and freedom, were their aim,
Our senates in due methods they had led,
To avoid those mischiefs which they seem'd to dread;
But first, e'er yet they propped the sinking state,
To impeach and charge, as urged by private hate,
Proves that they ne'er believed the fears they prest,
But barbarously destroyed the nation's rest.
O whither will ungoverned senates drive?
And to what bounds licentious votes arrive?
When their injustice we are pressed to share,
The monarch urged to exclude the lawful heir.
Are princes thus distinguished from the crowd,
And this the privilege of royal blood?
But grant we should confirm the wrongs they press,
His sufferings yet were than the people's less;
Condemned for life the murdering sword to wield,
And on their heirs entail a bloody field.
Thus madly their own freedom they betray,
And for the oppression which they fear make way;
Succession fixed by heaven, the kingdom's bar,
Which, once dissolved, admits the flood of war;
Waste, rapine, spoil, without the assault begin,
And our mad tribes supplant the fence within.
Since, then, their good they will not understand,
'Tis time to take the monarch's power in hand;
Authority and force to join with skill,
And save the lunatics against their will.
The same rough means that 'suage the crowd, appease
Our senates, raging with the crowd's disease.
Henceforth unbiassed measures let them draw
From no false gloss, but genuine text of law;
Nor urge those crimes upon religion's score,
Themselves so much in Jebusites abhor;
Whom laws convict, and only they, shall bleed,
Nor Pharisees by Pharisees be freed.
Impartial justice from our throne shall shower,
All shall have right, and we our sovereign power."
At least 34 entries in ESTC (1681, 1682, 1683, 1684, 1685, 1688, 1691, 1692, 1693, 1694, 1695, 1700, 1701, 1708, 1727, 1729, 1731, 1735).

See Absalom and Achitophel. A Poem. (London: Printed for J. [i.e. Jacob] T. [i.e. Tonson] and are to be sold by W. Davis in Amen-Corner, 1681) <Link to ESTC>

Some text from Absalom and Achitophel A Poem. [Dublin: s.n., 1681] <Link to EEBO-TCP>

Collected in Miscellany Poems. Containing a New Translation of Virgills Eclogues, Ovid’s Love Elegies, Odes of Horace, and Other Authors; With Several Original Poems. By the Most Eminent Hands. (London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, at the Judges-head in Chancery-Lane near Fleet-street, 1684). ["Absalom and Achitophel" has a separate title page dated 1683.] <Link to ESTC>
Date of Entry

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