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Date: 1641

"But I see what it is: my mind enjoys wandering off and will not yet submit to being restrained within the bounds of truth. Very well then; just this once let us give it a completely free rein, so that after a while, when it is time to tighten the reins, it may more readily submit to being curbed."

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1642, 1655, 1668

"Nor wonder, if (advantag'd in my flight, / By taking wing from thy auspicious height) / Through untrac't ways, and aery paths I fly, / More boundless in my Fancy than my eie."

— Denham, John, Sir (1615-1669)

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Date: 1657

The fancy is a "Boundlesse, restlesse faculty, free from all engagements, diggs without spade, sails without Ships, Flies without wings, builds without charges, fights without bloodshed, in a moment striding from the Center to the circumference of the world, by a kind of omnipotency creating and ...

— Poole, Joshua (c.1615–c.1656)

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Date: 1665

"Which last Expression suits very well with the present case, since, when a pious Soul is once got upon the wing of Contemplation, she must descend and stoop to exchange her converse with Heavenly objects, for one with Earthly vanities, and much more must she debase and degrade her self, if the t...

— Boyle, Robert (1627-1691)

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Date: 1667; 2nd ed. in 1674

"Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move / Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird / Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid / Tunes her nocturnal note."

— Milton, John (1608-1674)

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Date: 1681

"Here at the fountain's sliding foot, / Or at some fruit tree's mossy root, / Casting the body's vest aside, / My soul into the boughs does glide; / There like a bird it sits and sings, / Then whets, and combs its silver wings; / And, till prepar'd for longer flight, / Waves in its plumes the var...

— Marvell, Andrew (1621-1678)

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Date: 1691

"Wandring one Evening thro' a Cypress Grove--(I won't be positive, it might be Hazle, but t'other sounds better) revolving in my rambling Brain the Varietyes of Human Affairs, happen'd i' the Drove of Thoughts, that swarm'd up and down my Noddle to reflect on my own self (Sir, Your Humble Servant...

— Dunton, John (1659–1732)

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Date: 1691

"What Energy doth thrô his Vitals move; / What Magick Charm doth stirr him up to Love? / When Thoughts on winged Particles advance, / When piercing Looks the Lover's mutually entrance, / And their Souls on the fiery Atoms dance?"

— Heyrick, Thomas (bap. 1649. d. 1694)

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Date: 1700, 1717

"Thus all Things are but alter'd, nothing dies; / And here and there th' unbodied Spirit flies, / By Time, or Force, or Sickness dispossess, / And lodges, where it lights, in Man or Beast; / Or hunts without, till ready Limbs it find, / And actuates those according to their kind; / From Tenement ...

— Dryden, John (1631-1700)

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Date: May 10, 1704

"And whereas the mind of man, when he gives the spur and bridle to his thoughts, does never stop, but naturally sallies out into both extremes of high and low, of good and evil, his first flight of fancy commonly transports him to ideas of what is most perfect, finished, and exalted, till, having...

— Swift, Jonathan (1667-1745)

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