C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.
Do you suppose we owe nothing to Popes deformity? He said to himself, If my person be crooked, my verses shall be straight.
In nature theres no blemish but the mind;
None can be calld deformd but the unkind:
Virtue is beauty; but the beauteous evil Are empty trunks, oer-flourishd by the devil.
Deformity of the heart I call
The worst deformity of all;
For what is form, or what is face, But the souls index, or its case?
Deformity is either natural, voluntary or adventitious, being either caused by Gods unseen Providence (by men nicknamed chance), or by mens cruelty.
Deformd, unfinishd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionably,
That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them.
But I,that am not shapd for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I that am rudely stampd, and want loves majesty, To strut before a wanton ambling nymph.
From whence comes it that a cripple in body does not irritate us, and that a crippled mind enrages us? It is because a cripple sees that we go right, and a distorted mind says that it is we who go astray. But for that we should have more pity and less rage.
Deformity is daring;
It is its essence to oertake mankind
By heart and soul, and make itself the equal
Ay, the superior of the rest. There is
A spur in its halt movements, to become
All that the others cannot, in such things
As still are free for both, to compensate For stepdame Natures avarice at first.
Nature herself started back when thou wert born,
And cried, the works not mine.
The midwife stood aghast; and when she saw
Thy mountain back and thy distorted legs,
Thy face itself,
Half-minted with the royal stamp of man,
And half oercome with beast, she doubted long
Whose right in thee were more;
And know not if to burn thee in the flames Were not the holier work.
Why, love forswore me in my mothers womb:
And, for I should not deal in her soft laws,
She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe
To shrink mine arm up like a witherd shrub,
To make an envious mountain on my back,
Where sits deformity to make my body;
To shape my legs of an unequal size;
To disproportion me in every part,
Like to a chaos, or an unlickd bear-whelp,
That carries no impression like the dam. And am I then a man to be belovd?
Am I to blame, if nature threw my body
In so perverse a mould! yet when she cast
Her envious hand upon my supple joints,
Unable to resist, and rumpled them
On heaps in their dark lodging; to revenge
Her bungled work, she stamped my mind more fair,
And as from chaos, huddled and deformd,
The gods struck fire, and lighted up the lamps
That beautify the sky; so she informd
This ill-shapd body with a daring soul, And, making less than man, she made me more.
10 Many a man has risen to eminence under the powerful reaction of his mind in fierce counter-agency to the scorn of the unworthy, daily evoked by his personal defects, who with a handsome person would have sunk into the luxury of a careless life under the tranquillizing smiles of continual admiration.