"And euerie one hath continuall warre with him selfe in the most secret closet of his minde."

— Petrarch (1304-1374); Twyne, Thomas (1543-1613)

Place of Publication
Richard Watkyns
w. 1365, trans. 1579
"And euerie one hath continuall warre with him selfe in the most secret closet of his minde."
Metaphor in Context
And therefore to conclude, all thinges, but specially the whole life of man, is a certeine kinde of contention and strife. But in the meane while, omitting this externall strife, wherof we entreated erewhile, which I would God it were lesse, & therefore lesse knowne to all men: how great is the internall contention, not only against an other, but as I haue saide, against our owne kinde, not against an other particular person, but against our selfe, and that in this bodily outward couering, which is the most vile and base part of our selues? and euerie one hath continuall warre with him selfe in the most secret closet of his minde. For as touching this our bodie, with how contrarie humours it aboundeth and is troubled, enquire of those that are called naturall Phylosophers: but with how diuerse and contrarie affections the minde striueth against it selfe, let euerie one enquire of none other than him selfe, and answere him selfe, with how variable and vncerteine motion of minde hee is drawne sometime one way, some time an other: he is neuer whole, nor neuer one man, but alwayes dissenting & deuided in himselfe. For, to speake nothing of other motions, to will, to nill, to loue, to hate, to flatter, to threaten, to mock, to deceiue, to feigne, to iest, to weepe, to pitie, to spare, to bee angrie, to bee pleased, to slide, to bee cast downe, to bee aduanced, to stumble, to stande vp, to goe forwarde, to turne backe, to begin, to leaue of, to doubt, to erre, to bee deceiued, to be ignorant, to learne, to forget, to remember, to enuie, to contemne, to wonder, to loath, to despise, and to haue in admiration, and such like, than whiche truly there can bee nothing imagined more vncerteine, and with which the life of man ebbeth and floweth vncerteinly, from the beginning to the ending without intermission. For what tempests and madnesse is there in these foure passions, to wit, to hope or desire, and to reioice, to feare and to bee sorie, whiche trouble the poore and miserable minde, by driuing him with sodeine windes and gales, in course far from the hauen into the middes of the dangerous rocks? Which passions, some one way, and some another, yea diuersly diuerse haue expressed in lesse than in an whole verse. And as Saint Augustine writeth, the Poet Virgil hath comprised in a most knowne veritie: of which passions truly I am not ignorant, that more and lesse may bee said on both sides. As for me I haue not much studied for shortnesse nor copie, but I haue set downe in writing such matter as in order hath offered it selfe to me, out of the common course of mans life, that I might not werie the Reader, either with scarcitie or tediousnesse. And let not the name of Fortune grieue thee, which is repeated not onely in the superscriptions and tytles, but also in the woork: For truly thou hast often heard mine opinion, concerning fortune. But when I foresawe that this Doctrine was most necessarie, specially for such as were not furnished with learning, I haue vsed in their behalfe the common and knowne woord, not being ignorant, what other men generally, & most briefly. S. Hierome thinketh of this matter, where he sayth, that there is neither Fortune nor destinie, so that the common sort shall acknowledge and perceiue here their manner of speaking: as for the learned, which are but scarce, they will vnderstand what I meane, and shall not bee troubled with the vsuall woord. Of the one part of this twoofold woorke, concerning passions and fortune, wee haue saide alredie, what wee thought good, & of the other we will now speake, what wee shall see conuenient.
Reading MacDonald's History of the Concept of Mind (Ashgate, 2003), 211.
Text from Phisicke against fortune, aswell prosperous, as aduerse conteyned in two bookes. Whereby men are instructed, with lyke indifferencie to remedie theyr affections, aswell in tyme of the bryght shynyng sunne of prosperitie, as also of the foule lowryng stormes of aduersitie. Expedient for all men, but most necessary for such as be subiect to any notable insult of eyther extremitie. Written in Latine by Frauncis Petrarch, a most famous poet, and oratour. And now first Englished by Thomas Twyne. (London: Printed by [Thomas Dawson for] Richard Watkyns, 1579). <Link to EEBO-TCP>
Date of Entry

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