"One of her domestics, a Christian woman, had frequently talked with her on religion, and though she never renounced her idols, had made some impressions on her mind"

— Mickle, William Julius [formerly William Meikle] (1734-1788)

"One of her domestics, a Christian woman, had frequently talked with her on religion, and though she never renounced her idols, had made some impressions on her mind"
Metaphor in Context
[back] The laws of Narsinga oblige the women to throw themselves into the funeral pile, to be burnt with their deceased husbands. An infallible secret to prevent the desire of widowhood.

a from Barros, Dec. 4.

There are many accounts in different travellers of the performance of this most barbarous ceremony. The following one is selected as the most picturesque of any in the knowledge of the translator.

"At this time (1710) died the Prince of Marata, aged above eighty years. The ceremony of his funeral, where his forty-seven wives were burned with his corpse, was thus: A deep circular pit was digged in a field without the town; in the middle of the trench was erected a pile of wood, on the top of which, on a couch richly ornamented, lay the body of the deceased Prince in his finest robes. After numberless rituals performed by the Bramins, the pile was set on fire, and immediately the unhappy Ladies appeared, sparkling with jewels and adorned with flowers. These victims of this diabolical sacrifice walked several times about the burning pile, the heat whereof was felt at a considerable distance. The principal Lady then, holding the dagger of her late husband, thus addressed herself to the Prince his successor: Here, said she, is the dagger which the King made use of, to triumph over his enemies: beware never to employ it to other purpose, never to embrue it with the blood of your subjects. Govern them as a father, as he has done, and you shall live long and happy, as he did. Since he is no more, nothing can keep me longer in the world; all that remains for me is to follow him. With these words, she resigned the dagger into the Prince's hands, who took it from her without shewing the least sign of grief or compassion. The Princess now appeared agitated. One of her domestics, a Christian woman, had frequently talked with her on religion, and though she never renounced her idols, had made some impressions on her mind. Perhaps these impressions now revived. With a most expressive look she exclaimed, Alas! what is the end of human happiness! I know I shall plunge myself headlong into hell. On these words, a horror was visible on every countenance; when resuming her courage, she boldly turned her face to the burning pile, and calling upon her gods, flung herself into the midst of the flames. The second Lady was the sister of a Prince of the blood, who was present, and assisted at the detestable sacrifice. She advanced to her brother, and gave him the jewels, wherewith she was adorned. His passion gave way, he burst into tears, and fell upon her neck in the most tender embraces. She, however, remained unmoved, and, with a resolute countenance, sometimes viewed the pile, and sometimes the assistants. Then loudly exclaiming,Chiva, Chiva , the name of one of her idols, she precipitated herself into the flames, as the former had done. The other Ladies soon followed after, some decently composed, and some with the most bewildered, down-cast, sorrowful looks. One of them, shocked above the rest, ran to a Christian soldier, whom she beheld among the guards, and hanging about his neck, implored him to save her. The new convert, stunned with surprize, pushed the unfortunate Lady from him; and shrieking aloud she fell into the fiery trench. The soldier, all shivering with terror, immediately retired, and a delirious fever ended his life in the following night. Though many of the unhappy victims, discovered at first the utmost intrepidity, yet no sooner did they feel the flames, than they roared out in the most dreadful manner; and, weltering over each other, strove to gain the brim of the pit; but in vain: the assistants forced them back with their poles, and heaped new fuel upon them. The next day the Bramins gathered the bones, and threw them into the sea. The pit was levelled, a temple built on the spot, and the deceased Prince and his wives were reckoned among the Deities. To conclude, this detestable cruelty has the appearance of the free choice of the women. But that freedom is only specious; it is almost impossible to avoid it. If they do, they must lie under perpetual infamy, and the relations, who esteem themselves highly disgraced, leave no means untried to oblige them to it. Princesses, and Concubines of Princes, however, are the only persons from whom this species of suicide is expected. When women of inferior rank submit to this abominable custom, they are only urged to it by the impulse of a barbarous pride and vanity of ostentation." Extracted from a letter from Father Martin, on the mission of Coromandel, to Father de Villete, of the Society of Jesus, published at Paris, in 1719.
Searching "mind" and "impression" in HDIS (Poetry)
At least 6 entries in ECCO and ESTC (1770, 1776, 1777, 1794, 1798).

Text from The Lusiad; or, the Discovery of India. An Epic Poem. Translated from The Original Portuguese of Luís de Camões (Oxford: Printed by Jackson and Lister, and sold by Cadell, 1776). <Link to LION>

See also The First Book of the Lusiad, Published As a Specimen of a Translation of That Celebrated Epic Poem. By William Julius Mickle, Author of the Concubine, &c. (Oxford: printed by W. Jackson; and sold by Mess. Fletcher, Prince, and Bliss; T. and J. Merril in Cambridge; Cadell, Pearch, &c. London; and by Kincaid and Bell in Edinburgh, [1770?]).
Date of Entry

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