Friday, November 23, 2012


The Soul's Dark Cottage

The image of the body as a house occurs in lines 13-14 of a poem by Edmund Waller (1606-1687), "Of the Last Verses in the Book," in his Poems, &c. Written upon several Occasions, and to several Persons, 10th ed. (London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1722), p. 259:
When we for Age cou'd neither read nor write,
The Subject made Us able to indite.
The Soul with nobler Resolutions deckt,
The Body stooping, does her self erect:
No mortal Parts are requisite to raise        5
Her, that unbody'd can her Maker praise.

The Seas are quiet, when the Winds give o'er;
So calm are we, when Passions are no more:
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting Things, so certain to be lost.        10
Clouds of Affection from our younger Eyes
Conceal that Emptiness, which Age descries.

The Soul's dark Cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
Lets in new Light thro' Chinks that Time has made:
Stronger by Weakness, wiser Men become,        15
As they draw near to their eternal Home:
Leaving the Old, both Worlds at once they view,
That stand upon the Threshold of the New.

———Miratur limen Olympi.                      Virgil.
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