"A Man Has Shop To Mind"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: All men, whether poets or butchers, have the right and duty to a private existence behind the everyday façade that they show the world. A man's inner being, the home of his soul and intellect, is like the house he physically inhabits. Each man's mind should contain diverse interests and ideas, just as his physical house should not be entirely devoted to the occupation by which the man earns his living. The house which outwardly appears so interesting may on the inside lack all diversity. So may it be with a man's mind as well. The speaker is amazed to discover that a man's shop could so dominate his house that he retains for himself only "A hole, the wall where, heel by head,/ The owner couched, his ware behind,/ -In cupboard suited to his mind." In the same way that a man's house may be all shop, a man's inner being may gradually move away from all interests, ideas, and people, shutting the door on real living. The speaker protests:

Because a man has shop to mind
In time and place, since flesh must live,
Needs spirit lack all life behind,
All stray thoughts, fancies fugitive
All loves except what trade can give?
. . .
But–shop each day and all night long!
Friend, your good angel slept, your star
Suffered eclipse, fate did you wrong;
From where these sorts of treasures are,
There should our hearts be–Christ, how far!