"What dreadful havoc in the human breast / The passions make, when unconfin'd, and mad, / They burst, unguided by the mental eye, / The light of reason; which in various ways / Points them to good, or turns them back from ill."

— Thomson, James (1700-1748)


Place of Publication
London
Publisher
Printed for A. Millar
Date
1730
Metaphor
"What dreadful havoc in the human breast / The passions make, when unconfin'd, and mad, / They burst, unguided by the mental eye, / The light of reason; which in various ways / Points them to good, or turns them back from ill."
Metaphor in Context
MASINISSIA
[alone]
What dreadful havoc in the human breast
The passions make, when unconfin'd, and mad,
They burst, unguided by the mental eye,
The light of reason; which in various ways
Points them to good, or turns them back from ill
.
O save me from the tumult of the soul!
From the wild beasts within!--For circling sands,
When the swift whirlwind whelms them o'er the lands;
The roaring deeps that to the clouds arise,
While thwarting thick the mingled lightning flies;
The monster-brood to which this land gives birth,
The blazing city, and the gaping earth;
All deaths, all tortures, in one pang combin'd,
Are gentle to the tempest of the mind.
(I.v.6-14)
Provenance
Reading Julie K. Ellison's Cato's Tears: The Making of Anglo-American Emotion (Chicago and London: U. of Chicago Press, 1999), 63.
Citation
James Thomas. The Tragedy of Sophonisba. London: Printed for A. Millar, 1730. <Link to UVA Library>
Theme
Mind's Eye
Date of Entry
06/16/2010

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