"I wear my Wit in my Belly, and my Guts in my Head, a very Natural might bob my Brains, my Pia-mater is not worth the ninth part of a Sparrow."

— Dunton, John (1659-1732)

Place of Publication
Printed for Richard Newcome
"I wear my Wit in my Belly, and my Guts in my Head, a very Natural might bob my Brains, my Pia-mater is not worth the ninth part of a Sparrow."
Metaphor in Context
But though there is nothing in this Book I have cudgel'd my Brains about, yet I must confess, during my Prenticeship, I was a kind of Persecutor of Nature, and would fain then have chang'd the dull Lead of my Brain into finer Mettal. And to speak the truth, I have ever had a strange hankering after Learning; but to atchieve it, Nature was too kind to me, she hope me to nothing but Patience and a Body; yet what I have, I usually have perfect; for I read it so long before I can understand it, that I get it without book. 'Tis confest I am a great Nomenclator of Authors, which I have read in general in the Catalogue, and in particular in the Title (for I seldom go so far as the Dedication.) But as for Poetry (except in the case of Rachel) I never ventured upon it, thinking it impregnable: But as for Astronomy and Logick, &c. I ventured twice in my 'Prenticeship to make a breach into it; for you must note I have an Invention, though it extends it self no further than the patching together a few Chamber-Collections, and you'll find my disposition of them to be as methodical as the Book-binders, when he places (X) in the place of (A): I wear my Wit in my Belly, and my Guts in my Head, a very Natural might bob my Brains, my Pia-mater is not worth the ninth part of a Sparrow. I cannot in circumvention deliver a Fly from a Spider, without drawing the massy Irons, and cutting the Web. O how often has my Brain turn'd at Philosophy? How often have I made J--L-- fear studying, judging it, by observing me, to be a kind of Duncery? How often in my Gown & Night-cap have I sat up till midnight in my Master's Back-Shop, to the vanquishing of some six lines in Homer or the minor Poets, being unwilling to forget all my Greek; but alas, I cou'd never yet (after a 7 years biting my Nails, & as long scratching that which goes for my Noddle) get acquaintance with above a Muse and a half, nor never drink above siz--q. of Helicon. And therefore Reader, expect here neither Squibs nor Fireworks, Stars nor Glories; for to be yet more inward with thee, the curst Carrier lost my best Book of Phrases, and the malicious Mice or Rats ate up all my Pearls and Golden Sentences. I was never yet so well accomplisht as to study the jingling and cadences of words; have not learnt to say, Yes forsooth and No forsooth, to call a Straw a Strew forsooth; nor had I ever the modishness to search in the Looking-glass, which words gave the most grceful motion to the Lips: And indeed fine Language would as ill become me, as a Poet does fine Cloaths; but it may be some may understand my plain talk better than them whose Pen drops Nectar or Life-Honey, choice and refined Conceits; not but thou shalt now and then have a similitude from the Sun, or the Moon, or so; or if they be not at leisure, from the grey-ey'd Morn, a shady Grove, or a purling Stream: But I'll engage this shan't fall out often enough to choak thee. For what canst thou expect from one, the chief burthen of whose Brain is the carriage of his Body, and the setting his Face in a good frame: From one that weighs his Breath between his Teeth, and dares not smile beyond a point, for fear t' unstarch his Look: From a Puppy-Snout, so utterly nothing, that he knows not what he would be or write: From one who is just such a Man (to a tittle) as his Taylor pleaseth to make him.
(III, pp. 25-7)
John Dunton, A Voyage Round the World: or, a Pocket-Library, Divided into several Volumes. The First of which contains the Rare Adventures of Don Kainophilus, From his Cradle to his 15th. Year. The like Discoveries in such a Method never made by any Rambler before. The whole Work intermixt with Essays, Historical, Moral and Divine; and all other kinds of Learning. Done into English by a Lover of Travels. Recommended by the Wits of both Universities. 3 vols. (London: Printed for Richard Newcome, 1691). <Link to EEBO-TCP>
Date of Entry

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