The Mine of Wit

’Tis strange men think so vain, and seem so sage,
And act so foolish in this latter1 age.
Their brains are always working some design,
Which plots they dig, as miners in a2 mine.
Fancies are min’rals, and3 the mine’s4 the head,                5
Some gold, some5 silver, iron, tin, some6 lead.
The furnace which ’tis melted in is great,
And motion quick doth give7 a glowing heat.
The mouth’s the gutter where the ore doth run;8
The hammer which the bars do beat’s9 the tongue.          10
The ear’s the forge to shape and form it out,
And several merchants send it all about.
And as the metal’s worth, the price is set;
Scholars, which are the buyers, most10 do get.
On gold and silver, which are fancies fine,                         15
Are poets stamped, as masters of that coin.
Hard iron of strong judgment’s11 fit for use
In12 peace or war, to join up errors loose.
Though lead is dull, yet often use13 is made,
Like to translators in every language14 trade.                    20
Tin is but15 weak, and of small strength we see,
Yet, joined with silver wits, ’t makes16 alchemy.
Half-witted men joined with strong wits might17 grow
To be of use, and make a glist’ring show.

  1. latter] later 1664, 1668
  2. a] the 1653
  3. Fancies are min’rals, and] Fancy the Minerall, 1653
  4. mine’s] Mine 1664; Mine, 1668
  5. some] are, 1653
  6. some] and 1653
  7. And motion quick doth give] Quick Motion ’tis, which gives 1653
  8. the ore doth run;] Oar runs along, 1664; Oars run along: 1668
  9. beat’s] beat, 1664, 1668
  10. Scholars, which are the buyers, most] And Schollers, which the Buyers are, 1653
  11. Hard iron of strong judgment’s] Strong Judgments Iron hard is 1653
  12. In] For 1653
  13. often use] of it there 1664, 1668
  14. Like to translators in every language] Use by Translatours, which in Language 1664; Use by Translators, which in Language 1668
  15. Tin is but] But Tin is 1653
  16. ’t makes] makes 1653
  17. Half-witted men joined with strong wits might] For Men half Witted, with strong Wits joyn’d, 1664; For, Men half-witted, with strong Wits joyn’d, 1668