"The Mind is out of Frame, and feels an Agony proportioned to the Violence of the reigning Passion."

— Fordyce, David (bap. 1711, d. 1751)

Place of Publication
1748, 1754
"The Mind is out of Frame, and feels an Agony proportioned to the Violence of the reigning Passion."
Metaphor in Context
It were easy, by going through the different Sets of Affections mentioned formerly,* to shew, that it is only by maintaining the Proportion settled there that the Mind arrives at true Repose and Satisfaction. If Fear exceeds that Proportion, it sinks into Melancholy and Dejection. If Anger passes just Bounds, it ferments into Rage and Revenge, or sub- [end page 139]sides into a sullen corroding Gloom, which embitters every Good, and renders one exquisitely sensible to every Ill. The Private Passions, the Love of Honour especially, whose Impulses are more generous as its Effects are more diffusive, are Instruments of private Pleasure; but if they are disproportioned to our Wants, or to the Value of their several Objects, or to the Balance of other Passions, equally necessary, and more amiable, they become Instruments of intense Pain and Misery. For, being now destitute of that Counter-poise which held them at a due pitch, they grow turbulent, peevish, and revengeful, the Cause of constant Restlessness and Torment, sometimes flying out into a wild delirious Joy, at other times settling into a deep splenetic Grief. The Concert between Reason and Passion is then broke: all is Dissonance and Distraction within. The Mind is out of Frame, and feels an Agony proportioned to the Violence of the reigning Passion.
(p. 139-40)
Searching "mind" in Liberty Fund OLL
At least 14 entries in ESTC (1748, 1749, 1754, 1758, 1761, 1763, 1765, 1769, 1775, 1783, 1786, 1793). First available in Dodsley's Preceptor in 1748, published posthumously in 1754. The Elements also appeared as an article in Encyclopaedia Britannica. Thomas Kennedy notes in the introduction to his edition: "Few essays of eighteenth-century moral philosophy can be said to have circulated so widely."

See The Elements of Moral Philosophy. In Three Books. 1. Of Man, and His Connexions. Of Duty or Moral Obligation. - Various Hypotheses Final Causes of Our Moral Faculties of Perception and Affection. 2. The Principal Distinction of Duty or Virtue. Man's Duties to Himself. - To Society. - To God. 3. Of Practical Ethics, or the Culture of the Mind. Motives to Virtue from Personal Happiness. - From the Being and Providence of God. - From the Immortality of the Soul. The Result, or Conclusion. By the Late Rev. Mr. David Fordyce. Professor of Moral Philosophy, and Author of the Art of Preaching, Inscribed to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. (London: Printed for R. and J. Dodsley in Pallmall, 1754). <Link to ESTC>

See also The Preceptor: Containing a General Course of Education. Wherein the First Principles of Polite Learning Are Laid Down in a Way Most Suitable for Trying the Genius, and Advancing the Instruction of Youth. In Twelve Parts. Viz. I. On Reading, Speaking, and Writing Letters. II. On Geometry. III. On Geography and Astronomy. IV. On Chronology and History. V. On Rhetoric and Poetry. VI. On Drawing. VII. On Logic. VIII. On Natural History. IX. On Ethics, or Morality. X. On Trade and Commerce. XI. On Laws and Government. XII. On Human Life and Manners. Illustrated With Maps and Useful Cuts. 2 vols. (London: Printed for R. Dodsley, at Tully's-Head in Pall-Mall, 1748). <Link to ESTC> [The Preceptor was reprinted 1748, 1749, 1754, 1758, 1761-65, 1763, 1765, 1769, 1775, 1783, 1786, and 1793.]

Reading and searching The Elements of Moral Philosophy, in Three Books with A Brief Account of the Nature, Progress and Origin of Philosophy, ed. Thomas Kennedy (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003). [The Liberty Fund text is based on the 1754 edition.] <Link to OLL>
Ruling Passion
Date of Entry
Date of Review

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