A Dialogue betwixt the Body and the Mind

What bodies else but man’s did Nature make
To join with such a mind, no rest can take,1
That ebbs and flows with full and falling tide,2
As minds dejected fall, or swell with pride,
In waves of passion roll to billows high,                                    5
Always in motion, never quiet lie,
Where thoughts like fishes swim the mind about,
And greater3 thoughts the smaller thoughts eat out.
My body the bark4 rows in mind’s ocean wide,
Whose5 waves of passions6 beat on every side.                        10
When that dark cloud of ignorance hangs low,
And winds of vain opinions strong do blow,
Then showers7 of doubts into the mind rain down;
In deep vast studies8 my bark of flesh is drowned.9

Why doth the body thus complain, when I                                15
Do help it forth of every misery?
For in the world your bark is bound to swim;10
Nature hath rigged it11 out to traffic in.
Against hard rocks you12 break in pieces small,
If my invention help13 you not in all.                                          20
The loadstone of attraction I find out;
The card of observation guides about;
The needle of discretion points the way,
Which makes that14 bark get safe into each bay.

If I ’scape drowning in the15 wat’ry main,                                  25
Yet in great mighty battles I am slain.
By your ambition I am forced to fight,
When many wounds upon my body light.
For you care not, so you a fame may have
To live, if I be buried in a grave.                                                   30

If bodies fight and kingdoms win, then you
Take all the pleasure that belongs thereto.
Upon that head a glorious crown you bear,16
And on that body you rich jewels wear.17
All things are sought to please your senses five,                      35
No drug unpractised to keep you alive.
And I, to set you up in high degree,
Invent all engines used in wars18 to be.
’Tis I that make you in great triumph sit,19
Above all other creatures high to get.20                                      40
By the industrious arts, which I do find,
You other creatures in subjection bind:
You eat their flesh, and then you use21 their skin,
When winter comes, to22 lap your bodies in.
And so in everything Nature doth make,23                                45
By my direction you great pleasure take.24

What though my senses all do take delight?25
Yet you upon my entrails always bite,
My flesh eat26 up, and leave my bones all27 bare,
With the sharp teeth of sorrow, grief, and care.                       50
You draw28 my blood from th’veins29 with envious spite,
Decay30 my strength with shame, or extreme fright.
Often with31 love extremely sick I lie,
And with a32 cruel hate you make me die.

Care keeps you from all hurt, or falling low;                            55
Sorrow and grief are debts to friends we owe;
Fear makes man just, to give each one his own;
Shame makes civility; without there’s none;
Hate makes good laws, that all may live in peace;
Love brings society, and gets increase.                                       60
Besides, with joy I make the eyes look gay;
With pleasing smiles they dart forth every way.
With mirth the cheeks are fat, smooth, rosy-red;
Speech flows with33 wit when fancies fill the head.
If I were gone, you’d miss my company,                                     65
Wish we were join’d again, or you might die.

  1. take,] take? 1664, 1668
  2. falling tide,] Falling-Tide, 1668
  3. And greater] Where the great 1653
  4. body the bark] Bodie’s Barque 1664; Body’s Barque, 1668
  5. Whose] Which 1664, 1668
  6. passions] Passion 1664; Passion 1668
  7. showers] showrs 1664; show’rs 1668
  8. In deep vast studies] And studies deep 1664; And Studies deep, 1668
  9. is drowned.] do drown. 1664, 1668
  10. For in the world your bark is bound to swim;] Your barque must in this World swim, for’t has been 1664; Your Barque must in this World swim; for’t has been, 1668
  11. Nature hath rigged it] By Nature thus rigg’d 1664; By Nature, thus rigg’d 1668.
  12. you] you’ld 1664, 1668
  13. help] help’d 1664; helpt 1668
  14. that] your 1653
  15. I ’scape drowning in the] I escape Drowning in th’ 1664; Drowning I escape, i’ th’ 1668
  16. Upon that head a glorious crown you bear,] You have a Crowne, your Head for to adorne, 1653
  17. And on that body you rich jewels wear.] Upon your Body Jewels are hung on. 1653
  18. wars] Warre 1653
  19. make you in great triumph sit,] do you make in Triumph great, 1664; do you make in Triumph Great, 1668
  20. high to get.] t’have your seat; 1664; t’have your Seat: 1668
  21. then you use] after with 1653
  22. to] you 1653
  23. in everything Nature doth make,] of every thing that Nature makes, 1653
  24. take.] takes. 1653
  25. delight?] delight, 1653, 1664
  26. eat] y’eat 1664, 1668
  27. and leave my bones all] that all my bones are 1653
  28. You draw] Drawes out 1653
  29. th’veins] Veines, 1653
  30. Decay] Decaies 1653
  31. Often with] With 1653
  32. And with a] With 1653
  33. Speech flows with] Your Speech flowes 1653