blinded with an Eye... Deaf with the drumming of an Ear


Senior Member

I ask your help to try to understand some parts of this poem of Andrew Marvell, specifically the one in bold. The bolts of bones fetter the feet, right? And what it may mean «blinded with an eye» or «deaf with the drumming of an ear», that one eye is blind and there's a drumming sound that turns the soul deaf?

O Who shall, from this Dungeon, raise
A Soul inslav'd so many wayes?
With bolts of Bones, that fetter'd stands
In Feet ; and manacled in Hands.
Here blinded with an Eye ; and there
Deaf with the drumming of an Ear.

A Soul hung up, as 'twere, in Chains
Of Nerves, and Arteries, and Veins.
Tortur'd, besides each other part,1
In a vain Head, and double Heart.

Dialogue Between The Soul and The Body
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The idea seems to me to be that we don't need walls or chains to imprison us - we do that job ourselves. So our eyes are of a kind that make us blind, and our ears are just as incapable or hearing as if they were making a big noise themselves.
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