"Ha! my Brain / Is all on fire! a wild Abyss of Thought!"

— Thomson, James (1700-1748)

Place of Publication
Printed for A. Millar
"Ha! my Brain / Is all on fire! a wild Abyss of Thought!"
Metaphor in Context
Off! Set me free! Think not to bind me down,
With barbarous Friendship, to the Rack of Life!
What Hand can shut the Thousand Thousand Gates,
Which Death still opens to the Woes of Mortals?--
I shall find Means--No Power in Earth or Heaven
Can force me to endure the hateful Light,
Thus robb'd of all that lent it Joy and Sweetness!
Off! Traitors! off! or my distracted Soul
Will burst indignant from this Jail of Nature!
To where she beckons yonder--No, mild Seraph!
Point not to Life--I cannot linger here,
Cut off from Thee, the miserable Pity,
The Scorn of Human-kind!--A trampled King!
Who let his mean poor-hearted Love, one Moment,
To coward Prudence stoop; who made it not
The first undoubting Action of his Reign,
To snatch Thee to his Throne, and there to shield Thee,
Thy helpless Bosom from a Ruffian's Fury!--
O Shame! O Agony! O the fell Stings
Of late, of vain Repentance!--Ha! my Brain
Is all on fire! a wild Abyss of Thought!
Th' infernal World discloses! See! behold him!
Lo! with fierce Smiles he shakes the bloody Steel,
And mocks my feeble Tears!--Hence! quickly, hence!
Spurn his vile Carcass! give it to the Dogs!
Expose it to the Winds and screaming Ravens!
Or hurl it down that fiery Steep to Hell,
There with his Soul to toss in Flames for ever!--
Ah, Impotence of Rage!--What am I?--Where?
Sad, silent, all?--The Forms of dumb Despair,
Around some mournful Tomb!--What do I see?
This soft Abode of Innocence and Love
Turn'd to the House of Death! a Place of Horror!--
Ah! that poor Corse! pale! pale! deformed with Murder!
Is that my Sigismunda!
[Throwing himself down by Her.]
C-H Lion
At least 29 entries in ESTC (1745, 1748, 1749, 1752, 1755, 1758, 1759, 1761, 1764, 1766, 1767, 1768, 1770, 1774, 1775, 1776, 1777, 1779, 1784, 1787, 1790, 1792). [Robert Hume lists among the "few considerable new plays mounted" between 1737 and 1760.]

See Tancred and Sigismunda. A Tragedy. As it is Acted at the Theatre-Royal In Drury-Lane, By His Majesty's Servants. By James Thomson (London: Printed for A. Millar, 1745). <Link to ECCO>
Date of Entry

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