Bibliography On Figurative Language

Hannaford, Renée. "'My Unwashed Muse': Sexual Play and Sociability in Carew's 'A Rapture.'" English Language Notes 27, no. 1 (September 1989): 32-39. Long, Ada, and Hugh Maclean. "'Deare Ben,' 'Great Donne' and 'My Celia': The Wit of Carew's Poetry." Studies in English Literature 1500-1800 18 (1978): 89. Miner, Earl. The Cavalier Mode from Jonson to Cotton. New York: Princeton, 1970.

"REASON WHY THE THOUGHTS ARE ONLY IN THE HEAD, THE" Margaret Cavendish, duchess of Newcastle (1653) Margaret Cavendish, duchess of Newcastle, had good reason to write specifically of the thought process. In her age scientific theory had begun to exert an influence, and as an independent woman filled with curiosity, Cavendish was under that influence. The Royal Academy of Science, to which Cavendish was the first female allowed a visit, was newly founded for learned men to gather and discuss theories such as those put forth by Robert Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621). As a precursor to the study of psychology Burton's work engaged in some fanciful explanation of the source of thoughts and the purpose and function of the brain, a lead that Cavendish followed. She included "The Reason Why the Thoughts Are Only in the Head" in her Poems, reflecting a favorite approach, the use of

FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE (FIGURE OF SPEECH). In this instance she begins by comparing what we know today as the thought process to a system of sinews resembling pipes in a building. She then muses on the possibilities of thoughts' being located in the extremities, rather than the head.

Burton had written "Nerves or sinews, are membranes without, and full of marrow within; they proceed from the brain, and carry the animal spirits for sense and motion." Cavendish could relate to such a definition and a source, as Burton's work would not be classified as hard science. She contrasted with John Donne, who wrote in "The Funeral" that "the sinewy thread" from his brain tied all his parts together, uniting them in response. Cavendish rejected the idea of any sympathy among human parts, viewing each as separate and complete entities. Her beliefs in fairies as muses, expressed in "The Fairies in the Brain May Be the Causes of Many Thoughts" (1664), would dismay another scientist, Thomas Hobbes. A famous essayist of Cavendish's era with connections to her husband's family, Hobbes had met Galileo in 1636. He then developed a social philosophy based on principles of geometry and natural science that viewed the world as in constant motion. He wrote in his most famous work, Leviathan (1651), of detesting "the demonology of the heathen poets, that is to say, their fabulous doctrine concerning demons, which are but idols, or phantasms of the brain . . . such as are dead men's ghosts, and fairies, and other matter of old wives' tales."

Cavendish's 22-line poem of rhyming couplets begins with a comparison of "Each sinew" to "a small and slender string," then explains the sinew use, "Which to the body all the senses bring." She then compares the sinews to hollow "pipes or gutters" ushering through "animal spirits continually." Despite their small size, "they such matter do contain, / As in the skull doth lie, which we call brain." Cavendish displays her knowledge of anatomy, which was accomplished for its time. She continues, explaining that if "one doth strike the heel, / the thought of that sense in the brain doth feel." However, she states emphatically, "It is not sympathy, but all one thing, / Which causes us to think, and pain doth bring." The action of the nervous system becomes an adequate topic for rhyming verse in her plain-spoken manner.

Cavendish continues her consideration by projecting the brain's duties onto other parts of the body, including the heel, which if it contained "such quantity of brain" as the head and skull, then thoughts that presently "in the brain dwell high" would "Descend into our heels, and there would lie." She muses that brain actually lies "scattered" about in the small sinews, meaning nerves, wanting "both room and quantity no doubt." Her final conclusion is that if the sinews proved large enough with "a skin" that could "enfold" as much as the skull does, then might the toe or knee, had they an optic nerve, both hear and see; Had sinews room, fancy therein to breed, Copies of verses might from the heel proceed.

While Cavendish chooses a rather indelicate topic, her rhythm and rhyme support smooth movement, literally transforming science to art. Although she at times sacrificed sound for sense in her verse, in this instance she succeeds in finding the proper balance between the two.

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