"Discomposure of the Mind" must "be as great a Disability as that of the Body"

— Defoe, Daniel (1660?-1731)

Place of Publication
W. Taylor
"Discomposure of the Mind" must "be as great a Disability as that of the Body"
Metaphor in Context
I immediately went to work with this Piece of Ground, and in less than a Month's Time, I had so fenc'd it round, that my Flock or Herd, call it which you please, who were not so wild now as at first they might be supposed to be, were well enough secur'd in it. So without any farther Delay, I removed ten young She-Goats and two He-Goats to this Piece; and when they were there, I continu'd to perfect the Fence till I had made it as secure as the other, which, however, I did at more Leisure, and it took me up more Time by a great deal. All this Labour I was at the Expence of, purely from my Apprehensions on the Account of the Print of a Man's Foot which I had seen; for as yet I never saw any human Creature come near the Island, and I had now liv'd two Years under these Uneasinesses, which indeed made my Life much less comfortable than it was before; as may well be imagin'd by any who know what it is to live in the constant Snare of the Fear of Man ; and this I must observe with Grief too, that the Discomposure of my Mind had too great Impressions also upon the religious Part of my Thoughts, for the Dread and Terror of falling into the Hands of Savages and Canibals, lay so upon my Spirits, that I seldom found my self in a due Temper for Application to my Maker, at least, not with the sedate Calmness and Resignation of Soul which I was wont to do; I rather pray'd to God as under great Affliction and Pressure of Mind, surrounded with Danger, and in Expectation every Night of being murder'd and devour'd before Morning; and I must testify from my Experience, that a Temper of Peace, Thankfulness, Love and Affection, is much more the proper Frame for Prayer, than that of Terror and Discomposure; and that under the Dread of Mischief impending, a Man is no more fit for a comforting Performance of the Duty of praying to God, than he is for Repentance on a sick-Bed: For these Discomposures affect the Mind as the others do the Body; and the Discomposure of the Mind must necessarily be as great a Disability as that of the Body, and much greater, praying to God being properly an Act of the Mind, not of the Body.
(pp. 192-3)
At least 33 entries in ESTC (1719, 1720, 1722, 1726, 1742, 1744, 1747, 1753, 1761, 1766, 1767, 1772, 1778, 1781, 1784, 1785, 1789, 1790, 1791, 1793, 1797, 1799, 1800).

See Daniel Defoe, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who Lived Eight and Twenty Years All Alone in an Un-Inhabited Island on the Coast of America, Near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having Been Cast on Shore by Shipwreck, Wherein All the Men Perished but Himself. With an Account How He Was at Last As Strangely Deliver'd by Pyrates. Written by Himself (London: W. Taylor at the Ship in Pater-Noster-Row, 1719). <Link to ESTC><Link to ECCO><Link to ECCO-TCP>
Mind and Body
Date of Entry

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