John Milton

Retiring from the popular noise, I seek
This unfrequented place to find some ease,
Ease to the body some, none to the mind
From restless thoughts, that like a deadly swarm
Of Hornets arm'd, no sooner found alone,
But rush upon me thronging, and present
Times past, what once I was, and what am now.

from Samson Agonistes

Born in 1608, died in 1674, these lines sweep down the centuries as true and fresh for me as the day they were written three hundred and fifty years ago. I don't require latin to understand agonistes. I don't need to know the story of Samson to understand ruin. Restless they come to the very places we would find our ease. How likely in the middle of the night they are to pull us from our dreams.

But the mind, this mind belongs to me. And the maddened sweep it makes lessens with each day. My hand raised to slap me about of its own accord I would not tolerate. I do not think to reduce the antics of the mind altogether but progress is at hand and I am all the better for it.