Prejudice may take "deeper root" in "men of stronger minds"

— Cowper, William (1731-1800)

Work Title
Place of Publication
Printed for Joseph Johnson
Prejudice may take "deeper root" in "men of stronger minds"
Metaphor in Context
And thus it is. The pastor, either vain
By nature, or by flattery made so, taught
To gaze at his own splendour, and to exalt
Absurdly, not his office, but himself;
Or unenlighten'd, and too proud to learn,
Or vicious, and not therefore apt to teach,
Perverting often by the stress of lewd
And loose example, whom he should instruct,
Exposes and holds up to broad disgrace
The noblest function, and discredits much
The brightest truths that man has ever seen.
For ghostly counsel, if it either fall
Below the exigence, or be not back'd
With show of love, at least with hopeful proof
Of some sincerity on the giver's part;
Or be dishonour'd in the exterior form
And mode of its conveyance, by such tricks
As move derision, or by foppish airs
And histrionic mummery, that let down
The pulpit to the level of the stage,
Drops from the lips a disregarded thing.
The weak perhaps are moved, but are not taught,
While prejudice in men of stronger minds
Takes deeper root
, confirm'd by what they see.
A relaxation of religion's hold
Upon the roving and untutor'd heart
Soon follows, and the curb of conscience snapt,
The laity run wild.--But do they now?
Note their extravagance, and be convinced.
(Bk. II, ll. 545-73, pp. 152-3)
26 entries in the ESTC (1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1798, 1799, 1800).

See The Task, a Poem, in Six Books. By William Cowper (London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1785). <Link to ECCO>

Reading William Cowper, The Poems of William Cowper. 3 vols. ed. John D. Baird and Charles Ryskamp (Oxford: Oxford UP: 1980). Vol II.
Date of Entry

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