Each sinew is a small and slender string,1
Which to the body all the senses bring.2
And they like3 pipes or gutters hollow be,
Where animal spirits run continually.
Though small, yet they4 such matter do contain 5
As in the skull doth lie, which we call brain.
That makes if anyone doth strike the heel,
The thought of that sense in the brain doth feel.5
Yet ’tis6 not sympathy, but ’tis the same7
Which makes us think and feel the pain.8 10
For had the heel such quantity of brain
As9 doth the head and skull therein contain,
Then would such thoughts, which in the brain dwell high,
Descend down low, and in the heel10 would lie.
In sinews small, brain scattered lies about; 15
It wants both room and quantity, no doubt.
For if a sinew so11 much brain could hold,12
Or had so large a skin it13 to enfold
(As hath14 the skull), then might the toe or knee,
Had they an optic nerve, both hear and see. 20
Had sinews room fancy therein to breed,
Copies of verses might from the heel15 proceed.
- Each sinew is a small and slender string,] The Sinewes are small, slender Strings, 1653
- all the senses bring.] Senses brings; 1653
- And they like] Yet like to 1653
- small, yet they] they are small, 1653
- Though we do not typically record differences in punctuation, the 1664 Errata list asks the reader to remove the “stop” (a comma) after the word “that” in this line. The difference in punctuation here is potentially meaningful: “The thought of that sense in the brain doth feel” (as we have punctuated it) means “the brain feels the thought of that sense” while “The thought of that, sense in the brain doth feel” means “the sense or sensation in the brain feels the thought of that”. What is at stake in this comma, meant to be removed according to the 1664 Errata list, is sensation: the correction clarifies that sensation or feeling is a bodily experience of which the brain has a thought, not necessarily something the brain itself experiences.
- Yet ’tis] It is 1664, 1668
- but ’tis the same] but all one thing, 1664, 1668
- makes us think and feel the pain.] causes us to think, and pain doth bring; 1664; causes us to think, and Pain doth bring: 1668
- As] Which 1653
- down low, and in the heel] into our Heels, and there 1664, 1668
- so] could so 1653
- could hold,] hold, 1653
- so large a skin it] a Skin so large for 1653
- hath] in 1653
- the heel] th’Heel 1664, 1668