"Alas! alas! my flesh is too too weak, / And may be conquer'd; thou maist eas'ly break / This brittle Casket: but my inward minde / A jewel is which thou shalt never finde."

— Billingsley, Nicholas (bap. 1633, d. 1709)

Place of Publication
Printed by J. Cottrel [etc.]
"Alas! alas! my flesh is too too weak, / And may be conquer'd; thou maist eas'ly break / This brittle Casket: but my inward minde / A jewel is which thou shalt never finde."
Metaphor in Context
Romanus then into the fire is flung:
A storm extinguish'd it; and now his tongue
Must take a farewel of his head; his neck
Becomes the subject of a halters check.
One Gordius having liv'd a certain time
In deserts, counted it at last a crime
Not to endure; he therefore when a game
Was celebrated unto Mars, forth came,
And up in a conspicuous place b'ing got,
He said, I'm found of those that sought me not:
Then apprehended, he his faith confesses;
And in the midst of torment this expresses:
God's my adjutor, Ah! why should I than
Fear in the least the Tyranny of man?
Nothing shall me dismay, that can fall out;
Thou Lord art with me, fencing me about
With Bullwarks of thy love; thy favour still
Surrounds me: Ah! how can I then fear ill?
These torments are but light, which I endure;
Let heavier come. Tormentors, pray procure
Substantialler then these; these are too small:
Gibbits? and racks? as good have none at all.
VVhen foul means could not shake his faith in Christ,
He was by specious promises entic'd:
But Gordius said, I do expect in heaven
Greater preferments, then on earth are given.
Now for this good man going to be burn'd,
How many tender-hearted persons mourn'd!
To whom he thus; Let not your brimfill'd-eyes
Weep showres for me, but for God's enemies;
VVho make a fire for us, But in conclusion,
Purchase a greater to their own confusion:
O weep for them, or none; good people curb
Those gliding streams, and do not thus disturb
My calmed minde: for truely I could bear
A thousand deaths for Christ, and never fear.
Some pity'd him, while others, standing by,
Perswade him to deny Christ verbally,
And to himself reserve his conscience.
My tongue, said he, will under no pretence
Deny its donor: unto righteousness
Our hearts believe, but 'tis our tongues confess
Unto salvation; O let me excite
You all to suffer for a cause so right:
Good folks, fulfill a dying mans desire.
So said, he ceas'd, and leap'd into the fire.
One Menas, an Egyptian born and bred,
Leaving his temporal subsistence, led
A solitary life, in desert places;
Where he might wholly exercise his graces,
In fasting, prayer, meditation, fit
And dil'gent reading of the sacred Writ.
At last return'd to Cotis, when the croud
Were at their pastimes, he proclaim'd aloud
Himself to be a Christian: then surpriz'd,
His faith in God more boldly he agniz'd.
Torments ensu'd; no torments could revoke
His minde, but thus he confidently spoke:
In my minde, nothing comparable is
To the enjoyment of eternal bliss:
Nay, all the world, if put into one scale,
Is lighter then one soul: VVho can prevail,
To disunite us from the love of Christ?
Can tribulation? anguish? he's the high'st;
To him will I look up; he bids me fear not
Those that can kill me bodily, but are not
Able to hurt the soul; but fear him who
Hath pow'r to slay the soul and body too,
And fling them into hell. Having receiv'd
The final sentence, up to heaven he heav'd
His eyes, hands, heart, and said: O Lord my maker,
Thanks be to thee, in that I am partaker
Of Christ his precious blood: thou hast not let
My foes devour me, but hast beset
My heav'n-fix'd soul with such true constancy,
That in the faith I liv'd, for that I die.
The lift up axe, upon his neck falls down,
And so he lost his head, but found a Crown.
In Portugal a Noble Virgin nam'd
Eulalia, of twelve years old, enflam'd
With holy zeal, most earnestly desir'd
To suffer death, and heartily requir'd
The blest assistance of Gods willing arm,
And faith all her corruptions to charm:
Her godly Parents, fearing she should come
T'untimely death, did keep her close at home;
But she (not brooking long delay) by night
Stole out of doors, by that time it was light
She came into the City, and appearing
Before the Judge, spake boldly in his hearing:
What, no Shame in you? will you still be bent
To shoot your arrowes at the innocent?
Never have done (because no power controuls)
To break their bodies, and afflict their souls?
Are you desirous what I am to know?
I am a Christian, and an open foe
Unto your diabolick sacrifices:
As for your Idols, them my soul despises:
I do aknowledge, with my voice and heart,
Th' all-powerfull God: Hangman, in ev'ry part
Come cut and mangle me, dishead me, burn me;
What ever thou canst do, shall never turn me.
Alas! alas! my flesh is too too weak,
And may be conquer'd; thou maist eas'ly break
This brittle Casket: but my inward minde
A jewel is which thou shalt never finde.

Then thus the angry Judge; Here Hangman, take her,
Drag her out by the hair, to torments; make her
Be sensible of what our Gods can do,
And we: But yet before thou undergo
A miserable end, O sturdy girle,
I'de fain have thee recant; life is a pearl
Too precious to lose: call but to minde
Thy Noble Birth, and be not so unkinde
To thine own self as to neglect thy fortune;
Methinks the glist'ring Bride-bed should importune
Thee to preserve thy life: bar not thine ears,
But be entreated by thy Parents tears,
Not to contemn th' Aurora of thy time;
The flower of thy youth is in its prime,
And wilt thou slight it now? well, if thou wilt,
Know, that to make thee answer for thy guilt,
Engines are ready; if thoul't not be turn'd,
Thou shalt beheaded be, or rack'd, or burn'd:
What a small matter is't, not worth this strife,
To strew incense? yet that shall save thy life.
Eulalia not reply'd, but spurn'd abroad
The incense heaps, and did with spittle load
The tyrants face: the Hangman having retch'd her;
With wilde-beasts talons to the hard bones scratch'd her.
But she ceas'd not to praise the Lord and prize
Th' attainment of these sublime dignities.
VVith th' iron grate her mangled body's gor'd;
Her brests, with flaming torches are devour'd;
Her long hair set on fire: she opened wide
Her mouth, and sucked in the flame, and di'd.
Searching "mind" and "inward" in HDIS (Poetry)
Date of Entry

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