A bunch of keys did hang2 by Nature’s side,
Which she, to open her five3 boxes,4 tried.
The first was wit; that5 key unlocked the ear,
Opened the brain to see what things were there.
The next was beauty’s key, unlocked the eyes, 5
Opened the heart to see what therein lies.
The third was appetite, which quick did go,6
Opening the stomach to put meat into.7
The key of scent unlocked8 the brain, though hard,
For of a stink the nose is much afeard. 10
The key of pain did open9 touch, but slow,
For Nature’s loath any disease to show.10
- the Several Boxes of her Cabinet] her severall Cabinets. 1653. Before this title is the structural marker “FANCIES,” perhaps indicating that Parts I-II were made up of Poems but Part III shifts instead to Fancies.
- did hang] which hung 1653
- Which she, to open her five] Nature to unlock these her 1653
- A marginal note in Cavendish’s 1653 text reads, “The five senses are Nature’s boxes, cabinets: the brain her chief cabinet.” In 1664 and 1668, the note reads, “The five boxes are the five senses, and the cabinet is the brain.”
- that] which 1664, 1668
- which quick did go,] that Key was quick, 1653
- Opening the stomach to put meat into.] Opens the Stomack, meat to put in it. 1653
- unlocked] opens 1653
- did open] unlocked 1653
- For Nature’s loath any disease to show.] Nature is loath Diseases for to shew. 1653