1653 | London

Brain Food

“Quick wit squeez’d into it.”

A brain, wherein no dullness doth appear,
From gross opinions wash’d with reasons clear,
A judgment hard and sound grated therein,
Quick wit squeez’d into it, with fancies thin;
A bunch of scent, sounds, colors tied up fast
With threads of motion, and strong nerves
 o last,
Stew’d with long time in memory close shut,
Spirits instead of wine into it put,
And then pour’d forth into a dish of touch,
’Tis good and wholesome meat, although
  not much.


Margaret Cavendish

“Head and Brain Dress’d.” While in exile in France during the English Civil War, Cavendish became acquainted with René Descartes but disagreed with his theory of mind-body dualism. Her belief was that two kinds of matter, animate and inanimate, ran throughout the natural word; man was not the “monopoler of all reason,” she wrote, “or animals of all sense.” After the Restoration began in 1660, Cavendish moved back to England, where she was by then widely known as an author of outré fiction.