THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY
BY DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR
DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR TO THE READER 92 - 106
--- "quis enim virtutem amplectitur ipsam,
Præmia si tollas?" ---
"For who would cultivate virtue itself, if you were to take away the reward?"
He that invents anything for public good in any art or science, writes a treatise, or performs any noble exploit, at home or abroad, he shall be accordingly enriched, honoured, and preferred. I say with Hannibal in Ennius, Hostem qui feriet erit mihi Carthaginiensis, let him be of what condition he will, in all offices, actions, he that deserves best shall have best.
Tilianus in Philonius, out of a charitable mind no doubt, wished all his books were gold and silver, jewels and precious stones, to redeem captives, set free prisoners, and relieve all poor distressed souls that wanted means; religiously done, I deny not, but to what purpose? Suppose this were so well done, within a little after, though a man had Orcesus' wealth to bestow, there would be as many more.
Wherefore I will suffer no beggars, rogues, vagabonds, or idle persons at all, that cannot give an account of their lives how they maintain themselves. If they be impotent, lame, blind, and single, they shall be sufficiently maintained in several hospitals, built for that purpose; if married and infirm, past work, or by inevitable loss, or some such like misfortune cast behind, by distribution of corn, house-rent free, annual pensions or money, they shall be relieved, and highly rewarded for their good service they have formerly done; if able, they shall be enforced to work. "For I see no reason (as he said) why an epicure or idle drone, a rich glutton, a usurer, should live at ease and do nothing, live in honour, in all manner of pleasure; and oppress others, when as in the meantime a poor labourer, a smith, a carpenter, an husbandman that hath spent his time in continual labour, as an ass to carry burdens to do the commonwealth good, and without whom we cannot live, shall be left in his old age to beg or starve, and lead a miserable life worse than a jument." As all conditions shall be tied to their task, so none shall be overtired, but have their set times of recreations and holidays, indulgere genio, feasts and merry meetings, even to the meanest artificer, or basest servant, once a week to sing or dance, (though not all at once) or do whatsoever he shall please; like that Saccarum festum amongst the Persians, those Saturnals in Rome, as well as his master. If any be drunk, he shall drink no more wine or strong drink in a twelvemonth after. A bankrupt shall be Catademiatus in Amphitheatro, publicly shamed, and he that cannot pay his debts, if by riot or negligence, he have been impoverished, shall be for a twelvemonth imprisoned, if in that space his creditors be not satisfied, he shall be hanged. He that commits sacrilege shall lose his hands; he that bears false witness, or is of perjury convicted, shall have his tongue cut out, except he redeem it with his head. Murder, adultery, shall be punished by death, but not theft, except it he some more grievous offence, or notorious offenders: otherwise they shall be condemned to the galleys, mines, be his slaves whom they have offended, during their lives. I hate all hereditary slaves, and that duram Persarum legem as Brisonius calls it; or as Ammianus, impendio formidatas et abominandas leges, per quas ob noxeim unius, omnis propinquitas perit, hard law that wife and children, friends and allies, should suffer for the father's offence.
No man shall marry until he be 25, no woman till she be 20, nisi aliter dispensatum fuerit. If one die, the other party shall not marry till six months after; and because many families are compelled to live niggardly, exhaust and undone by great
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dowers, none shall be given at all, or very little, and that by supervisors rated, they that are foul shall have a greater portion; if fair, none at all, or very little: howsoever not to exceed such a rate as those supervisors shall think fit. And when once they come to those years, poverty shall hinder no man from marriage, or any other respect, but all shall be rather enforced than hindered, except they be dismembered, or grievously deformed, infirm, or visited with some enormous hereditary disease, in body or mind; in such cases upon a great pain, or mulct, man or woman shall not marry, other order shall be taken for them to their content. If people overabound, they shall be eased by colonies.
No man shall wear weapons in any city. The same attire shall be kept, and that proper to several callings, by which, they shall be distinguished. Luxus funerum shall be taken away, that intempestive expense moderated, and many others. Brokers, takers of pawns, biting usurers, I will not admit; yet because hic cum hominibus non cum diis agitur, we converse here with men, not with gods, and for the hardness of men's hearts, I will tolerate some kind of usury. If we were honest, I confess, si probi essemus, we should have no use of it, but being as it is, we must necessarily admit it.
Howsoever most divines contradict it, dicimus inficias, sed vox ea sola reperta est, it must be winked at by politicians. And yet some great doctors approve of it, Calvin, Bucer, Zanchius, P. Martyr, because by so many grand lawyers, decrees of emperors, princes' statutes, customs of commonwealths, churches' approbations, it is permitted, &c. I will therefore allow it. But to no private persons, nor to every man that will, to orphans only, maids, widows, or such as by reason of their age, sex, education, ignorance of trading, know not otherwise how to employ it; and those so approved,
not to let it out apart, but to bring their money to a common bank which shall be allowed in every city, as in Genoa, Geneva, Nuremberg, Venice, at 5, 6, 7, not above 8 per centum, as the supervisors, or ærarii præfecti shall think fit. And as it shall not be lawful for each man to be an usurer that will, so shall it not be lawful for all to take up money at use, not to prodigals and spendthrifts, but to merchants, young tradesmen, such as stand in need, or know honestly how to employ it, whose necessity, cause and condition the said supervisors shall approve of.
I will have no private monopolies, to enrich one man, and beggar a multitude, multiplicity of offices, of supplying by deputies, weights and measures, the same throughout, and those rectified by the Primum mobile, and sun's motion, threescore miles to a degree according to observation, 1000 geometrical paces to a mile, five foot to a pace, twelve inches to a foot, &c. and from measures known it is an easy matter to rectify weights, &c. to cast up all, and resolve bodies by algebra, stereometry. I hate wars if they be not ad populi salutem, upon urgent occasion, "odimus accipitre,
quia semper vivit in armis," (we hate the hawk, because he always lives in battle) offensive wars, except the cause be very just, I will not allow of. For I do highly magnify that saying of Hannibal to Scipio, in Livy, "It had been a blessed thing for you and us, if God had given that mind to our predecessors, that you had been content with Italy, we with Africa. For neither Sicily nor Sardinia are worth such cost and pains, so many fleets and armies, or so many famous Captains' lives." Omnia prius tentanda, fair means shall first be tried. Peragit tranquilla potestas, Quod violenta nequit. I will have then proceed with all moderation: but hear you, Fabius my general, not Minutius, nam qui Consilio nititur plus hostibus nocet, quam qui sine ainimi ratione viribus: And in such wars to abstain as much as is possible from depopulation; burning of towns, massacring of infants, &c. For defensive wars, I will have forces
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still ready at a small warning, by land and sea, a prepared navy, soldiers in procinctu, et quam Bonfinius apud Hungaros suos vult, virgam ferream, and money, which is nervus belli, still in a readiness, and a sufficient revenue, a third part as in old Rome and Egypt, reserved for the commonwealth; to avoid those heavy taxes and impositions, as well to defray this charge of wars, as also all other public defalcations, expenses, fees, pensions, reparations, chaste sports, feasts, donaries, rewards, and entertainments. All things in this nature especially I will have maturely done, and with great deliberation: ne quid temere, ne quid remisse at timide fiat; sed quo feror hospes? To prosecute the rest would require a volume. Manum de tabella, I have been over tedious in this subject; I could have here willingly ranged, but these straits wherein I am included will not permit.
From commonwealths and cities, I will descend to families, which have as many corsives and molestations, as frequent discontents as the rest. Great affinity there is betwixt a political and economical body; they differ only in magnitude and
proportion of business (so Scaliger writes) as they have both likely the same period, as a Bodin and Peucer hold, out of Plato, six or seven hundred years, so many times they have the same means of their vexation and overthrows; as namely, riot, a common ruin of both, riot in building, riot in profuse spending, riot in apparel, &c. be it in what kind soever, it produceth the same effects. A corographer of ours speaking obiter of ancient families, why they are so frequent in the north, continue so long, are so soon extinguished in the south, and so few, gives no other reason but this, luxus omnia dissipavit, riot hath consumed all, fine clothes and curious buildings came into this island, as he notes in his annals, not so many years since; non sine dispendio hospitalitatis, to the decay of hospitality. Howbeit many times that word is mistaken, and under the name of bounty and hospitality, is shrouded riot and prodigality, and that which is commendable in itself well used, hath been mistaken heretofore, is become by his abuse, the bane and utter ruin of many a noble family. For some men live like the rich glutton, consuming themselves and their substance by continual
feasting and invitations, with Axilon in Homer, keep open house for all comers, giving entertainment to such as visit them, keeping a table beyond their means, and a company of idle servants (though not so frequent as of old) are blown up on a sudden; and as Actæon was by his hounds, devoured by their kinsmen, friends, and multitude of followers. It is a wonder that Paulus Jovius relates of our northern countries, what an infinite deal of meat we consume on our tables; that I may truly say, 'tis not bounty, not hospitality, as it is often abused, but riot and excess, gluttony and prodigality; a mere vice; it brings in debt, want, and beggary, hereditary diseases, consumes their fortunes, and overthrows the good temperature of their bodies. To this I might here well add their inordinate expense in building, those fantastical houses,
turrets, walks, parks, &c., gaming, excess of pleasure, and that prodigious riot in apparel, by which means they are compelled to break up house, and creep into holes.
Sesellius in his commonwealth of France, gives three reasons why the French nobility were so frequently bankrupts: "First, because they had so many law-suits and contentions one upon another, which were tedious and costly; by which means it came to pass, that commnnly lawyers bought them out of their possessions. A second cause was their riot, they lived beyond their means, and were therefore swallowed up by merchants." (La Nove, a French writer, yields five reasons of his countrymens' poverty, to the same effect almost, and thinks verily if the gentry of France were divided into ten parts, eight of them would be found much impaired, by sales, mortgages, and debts, or wholly sunk in their estates.) "The last was immoderate
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excess in apparel, which consumed their revenues." How this concerns and agrees with our present state, look you. But of this elsewhere. As it is in a man's body, if either head, heart, stomach, liver, spleen, or any one part be misaffected, all the rest suffer with it: so is it with this economical body. If the head be naught, a spendthrift, a drunkard, a whoremaster, a gamester, how shall the family live at ease? Ipsa si cupiat salus serrate prorsus, non potest, hanc familiam, as Demea said in the comedy, Safety herself cannot save it. A good, honest, painful man many times hath a shrew to his wife, a sickly, dishonest, slothful, foolish, careless woman to his mate, a proud, peevish flirt, a liquorish, prodigal quean, and by that means all goes to ruin: or if they differ in nature, he is thrifty, she spends all, he wise, she sottish and soft; what agreement can there be? what friendship? Like that of the thrush and swallow in Æsop, instead of mutual love, kind compellations, whore and thief is heard, they fling stools at one another's heads. Quæ intemperies vexat hanc familiam? All enforced marriages commonly produce such effects, or if on their behalfs it be well, as to live
and agree lovingly together, they may have disobedient and unruly children, that take ill courses to disquiet them, "their son is a thief, a spendthrift, their daughter a whore;" a step-mother, or a daughter-in-law, distempers all; or else for want of means, many torturers arise, debts, dues, fees, dowries, jointures, legacies to be paid, annuities issuing out, by means of which, they have not wherewithal to maintain themselves in that pomp as their predecessors have done, bring up or bestow their children to their callings, to their birth and quality, and will not descend to their present fortunes. Oftentimes, too, to aggravate the rest, concur many other inconveniences, unthankful friends, decayed friends, bad neighbours, negligent servants, servi furaces, versipelles, callidi, occlusa sibi mille clavibus reserant, furtimque; raptant, consumunt, liguriunt; casualties, taxes, mulcts, chargeable offices, vain expenses, entertainments, loss of stock, enmities, emulations, frequent invitations, losses, suretyship, sickness, death of friends, and that which is the gulf of all, improvidence, ill husbandry, disorder and confusion, by which means they are drenched on a sudden in their estates, and at unawares precipitated insensibly into an inextricable labyrinth of debts, cares, woes, want, grief, discontent and melancholy itself.
I have done with families, and will now briefly run over some few sorts and conditions of men. The most secure, happy, jovial, and merry in the world's esteem are princes and great men, free from melancholy: but for their cares, miseries,
suspicions, jealousies, discontents, folly and madness, I refer you to Xenophon's Tyrannus, where king Hieron discourseth at large with Simonides the poet, of this subject. Of all others they are most troubled with perpetual fears, anxieties, insomuch that, as he said in Valerius, if thou knewest with what cares and miseries this robe were stuffed, thou wouldst not stoop to take it up. Or put case they be secure and free from fears and discontents, yet they are void of reason too oft, and precipitate in their actions, read all our histories, quos de stultis prodidere stulti, Iliades, Æneides,
Annales, and what is the subject?
"Stultorum regum, et populorum continet æstus,"
The giddy tumults and the foolish rage
Of kings and people.
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How mad they are, how furious, and upon small occasions, rash and inconsiderate in their proceedings, how they doat, every page almost will witness,
"--- delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi."
When doating monarchs urge
Unsound resolves, their subjects feel the scourge.
Next in place, next in miseries and discontents, in all manner of hair-brain actions, are great men, procul a Jove, procul a fulmine, the nearer the worse. If they live in court, they are up and down, ebb and flow with their princes' favours, Ingenium vultu statque caditque suo, now aloft, to-morrow down, as Polybius describes them, "like so many casting counters, now of gold, to-morrow of silver, that vary in worth as the computant will; now they stand for units, to-morrow for thousands; now before all, and anon behind." Beside, they torment one another with mutual factions, emulations: one is ambitious, another enamoured, a third in debt, a prodigal, overruns his fortunes, a fourth solicitous with cares, gets nothing, &c. But for these men's discontents, anxieties, I refer you to Lucian's Tract, de mercede conductis, Æneas Sylvius (libidinis et stultitiæ servos, he calls them), Agrippa, and many others.
Of philosophers and scholars priscæ sapientiæ dictatores, I have already spoken in general term; those superintendents of wit and learning, men above men, those refined men, minions of the muses,
--- "mentemque habere queis bonam
Et esse corculis datum est." ---
These acute and subtle sophisters, so much honoured, have as much need of hellebore as others. -- O medici mediam pertundite venam. Read Lucian's Piscator, and tell how he esteemed them; Agrippa's Tract of the vanity of Sciences; nay, read their own works, their absurd tenets, prodigious paradoxes, et risum teneatis amici? You shall find that of Aristotle true, nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementia, they have a worm as well as others; you shall find a fantastical strain, a fustian, a bombast, a vainglorious humour, an affected style, &c., like a prominent thread in an uneven woven cloth, run parallel throughout their works. And they that teach wisdom, patience, meekness, are the veriest dizzards, hairbrains, and most discontent. "In the multitude of wisdom is grief; and he that increaseth wisdom, increaseth sorrow." I need not quote mine author; they that laugh and contemn others, condemn the world of folly, deserve to be mocked, are as giddyheaded, and lie as open as any other.
Democritus, that common flouter of folly, was ridiculous himself; barking Menippus, scoffing Lucian, satirical Lucilius Petronius, Varro, Persius. &c., may be censured with the rest, Loripedem rectus derideat, Æthiopiem albus. Bale, Erasmus, Hospinian,
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Vives, Kemnisius, explode as a vast ocean of obs and sols, school divinity. A labyrinth of intricable questions, unprofitable contentions, incredibilem delirationem, one calls it, if school divinity be so censured, subtilis Scotus lima veritatis, Occam irrefragabiiis, cujus ingenium vetera omnia ingenia subvertit, &c. Baconthrope, Dr. Resolutus, and Corculum Theologia, Thomas himself, Doctor Seraphicus, cui dictavit Angelus, &c. What shall become of humanity? Ars stulta, what can she plead? What can her followers say for themselves? Much learning, cere-diminuit-brum, hath
cracked their sconce, and taken such root, that tribus Anticyris caput insanabile, hellebore itself can do no good, nor that renowned lanthorn of Epictetus, by which if any man studied, he should be as wise as he was. But all will not serve; rhetoricians, in ostentationem loquacitatis multa agitant, out of their volubility of tongue, will talk much to no purpose, orators can persuade other men what they will, quo volunt, unde volunt, move, pacify, &c., but cannot settle their own brains, what saith Tully? Malo indesertam prudentiam, quam loquacem stultitiam; and as Seneca seconds him, a wise
man's oration should not be polite or solicitous. Fabius esteems no better of most of them, either in speech, action, gesture, than as men beside themselves, insanos declamatores; so doth Gregory, Non mihi sapit qui sermone, sed qui factis sapit.
Make the best of him, a good orator is a turncoat, an evil man, bonus orator pessimus vir, his tongue is set to sale, he is a mere voice, as he said of a nightingale, dat sine mente sonum, an hyperbolical liar, a flatterer, a parasite and as Ammianus Marcellinus will, a corrupting cozener, one that doth more mischief by his fair speeches, than he that bribes by money; for a man may with more facility avoid him that circumvents by money, than him that deceives with glozing terms; which made Socrates so much abhor and explode them. Fracastorius, a famous poet, freely grants all poets to be
mad; so doth Scaliger; and who doth not? Aut insanit homo, aut versus facit (He's mad or making verses), Hor. Sat. vii. 1. 2. Insanire lubet, i.e. versus componere. Virg. 3 Ecl.; So Servius interprets it, all poets are mad, a company of bitter satirists, detractors, or else parasitical applauders: and what is poetry itself but as Austin holds, Vinum erroris ab ebriis doctoribus propinatum? You may give that censure of them in general, which Sir Thomas More once did of Germanus Brixius' poems in particular.
In rate stultitiæ, sylvam habitant Furiæ."
("They are borne in the bark of folly, and dwell in the grove of madness")
Budæus, in an epistle of his to Lupsetus, will have civil law to be the tower of wisdom; another honours physic, the quintessence of nature; a third tumbles them both down, and sets up the flag of his own peculiar science. Your supercilious critics, grammatical triflers, note-makers, curious antiquaries, find out all the ruins of wit, ineptiarum delicias, amongst the rubbish of old writers; Pro stultis habent nisi aliquid sufficiant invenire, quod in aliorum scriptis vertant vitio, all fools with them that cannot find fault; they correct others, and are hot in a cold cause, puzzle themselves to find out how many streets in Rome, houses, gates, towers, Homer's country, Æneas's mother, Niobe's daughters, an Sappho publica fuerit? ovum prius extiterit an gallina! &c. et alia quæ dediscenda essent scire, si scires, as Seneca holds. What clothes the
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senators did wear in Rome, what shoes, how they sat, where they went to the closestool, how many dishes in a mess, what sauce, which for the present for an historian to relate, according to Lodovic. Vives, is very ridiculous, is to them most precious elaborate stuff, they admired for it, and as proud, as triumphant in the meantime for this discovery, as if they had won a city, or conquered a province; as rich as if they had found a mine of gold ore. Quosvis auctores absurdis commentis suis percacant et stercorant, one saith, they bewray and daub a company of books and good authors, with their absurd comments, correctorum sterquilinia Scaliger calls them, and show their wit in censuring others, a company of foolish note-makers, humble-bees, dors, or beetles, inter stercora ut plurimum versantur, they rake over all those rubbish and dunghills, and prefer a manuscript many times before the Gospel itself; thesaurum criticum, before any treasure, and with their deleaturs, alii legunt sic, meus codex sic habet, with their postremæ editiones, annotations, castigations, &c., make books dear, themselves ridiculous, and do nobody good, yet if any man dare oppose or contradict, they are mad, up in arms on a sudden, how many sheets are written in defence, how bitter invective; what apologies? Epiphillides hæ sunt ut meræ nugæ. But I dare say no more of, for, with, or against them, because I am liable to their lash as well as others. Of these and the rest of our artists and philosophers, I will generally conclude they are a kind of madmen, as Seneca esteems of them, to make doubts and scruples, how to read them truly, to mend old authors, but will not mend their own lives, or teach us ingenia sanare, memoriam officiorum ingerere, ac fidem
in rebus humanis retinere, to keep our wits in order, or rectify our manners. Numquid tibi clemens videtur, si istus operam impenderit? Is not he mad that draws lines with Archimedes, whilst his house is ransacked, and his city besieged, when the whole world is in combustion, or we whilst our souls are in danger, (mors sequitur, vita fugit) to spend our time in toys, idle questions, and things of no worth?
That lovers are mad, I think no man will deny, Amare simul et sapetur ispi Jovi non datur; Jupiter himself cannot intend both at once.
"Non bene conveniunt, nec in una sede morantur Majestas et amor."
("Majesty and Love do not agree well, nor dwell together.")
Tully, when he was invited to a second marriage, replied, he could not simul amare et sapere, be wise and love both together. Est orcus ille, vis est immedicabilis, et rabies insana, love is madness, a hell, an incurable disease; impotentem et insanam libidinem Seneca calls it, an impotent and raging lust. I shall dilate this subject apart; in the meantime let lovers sigh out the rest.
Nevisanus the lawyer holds it for an axiom, "most women are fools," consilium foeminis invalidum; Seneca, men, be they young or old; who doubts it, youth is mad as Elius in Tully, Stulti adolescentuli, old age little better, deliri senes, &c.
Theophrastus, in the 107th year of his age, said he then began to be wise, tum sapere coepit, and therefore lamented his departure. If wisdom come so late, where shall we find a wise man? Our old ones doat at threescore-and-ten. I would cite more proofs,
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and a better author, but for the present, let one fool point at another. Nevisanus hath as hard an opinion of rich men, "wealth and wisdom cannot dwell together," stultitiam patiuntur opes, and they do commonly infatuare cor hominis, besot men; and as we see it, "fools have fortune:" Sapientia non invenitur in terra suaviter viventium. For beside a natural contempt of learning, which accompanies such kind of men, innate idleness (for they will take no pains), and which Aristotle observes, ubi mens plurima, ibi minima fortuna, ubi plurima fortuna, ibi mens perexigua, great wealth and little wit go commonly together: they have as much brains some of them in their heads as in their heels; besides this inbred neglect of liberal sciences, and all arts, which should excolere mentem, polish the mind, they have most part some gullish humour or other, by which they are led; one is an Epicure, an Atheist, a second a gamester, a third a whore-master (fit subjects all for a satirist to work upon);
"Hic nuptarum insanit amoribus, hic puerorum."
One burns to madness for the wedded dame;
Unnatural lusts anothers heart inflame.
One is mad of hawking, hunting, cocking; another of carousing, horse-riding, spending; a fourth of building, fighting, &c., Insanit veteres statuat Damasippus emendo, Damasippus hath an humour of his own, to be talked of: Heliodorus the Carthaginian, another. In a word, as Scaliger concludes of them all, they are Statuæ erectæ stultitiæ, the very statues or pillars of folly. Choose out of all stories him that hath been most admired, you shall still find, multa ad laudem, multa ad vituperationem magnifica, as Berosus of Semiramis; omnes mortales militia triumphis divitiis, &c., tum et luxu, coede, coeterisque vitiis antecessit, as she had some good, so had she many bad parts.
Alexander, a worthy man, but furious in his anger, overtaken in drink: Cæsar and Scipio valiant and wise, but vain glorious, ambitious: Vespasian a worthy prince, but covetous: Hannibal, as he had mighty virtues, so had he many vices; unam virtutem mille vitia comitantur, as Machiavel of Cosmo de Medici, he had two distinct persons in him. I will determine of them all, they are like these double or turning pictures; stand before which you see a fair maid, on the one side an ape, on the other an owl; look upon them at the first sight, all is well, but further examine, you shall find them wise on the one side, and fools on the other; in some few things praiseworthy, in the rest incomparably faulty. I will say nothing of their diseases, emulations, discontents, wants, and such miseries: let poverty plead the rest in Aristophanes' Plutus.
Covetous men, amongst others, are most mad. They have all the symptoms of melancholy, fear, sadness, suspicion, &c., as shall be proved in its proper place.
"Danda est hellebori multo pars maxima avaris."
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Misers make Anticyra their own;
Its hellebore reserv'd for them alone.
And yet methinks prodigals are much madder than they, be of what condition they will, that bear a public or private purse; as Dutch writer censured Richard the rich duke of Cornwall, suing to be emperor, for his profuse spending, qui effudet pecuniam ante pedes principium Electorum sicut aquam, that scattered money like water; I do censure them, Stulta Anglia (saith he) quæ tot denariis sponte est privata, stulti principes Alemnaniæ, qui nobiles jus suum pro pecunia vendiderunt; spendthrifts, bribers, and bribetakers are fools, and so are all they that cannot keep, disburse, or spend their moneys well.
I might say the like of angry, peevish, envious, ambitious; Anticyræ melior sorbere meracas; Epicures, Atheists, Schismatics, Heretics; hi omnes habent imaginationem læsam (saith Nymannus) "and their madness shall be evident." 2 Tim. iii. 9. Fabatus, an Italian, holds seafaring men all mad; "the ship is mad, for it never stands still; the mariners are mad, to expose themselves to such imminent dangers: the waters are raging mad, in perpetual motion: the winds are as mad as the rest, they know not whence they come, whither they would go: and those men are maddest of all that go to sea; for one fool at home, they find forty abroad." He was a madman that said it, and thou peradventure as mad to read it. Foelix Platerus is of opinion all alchemists are mad, out of their wits; Atheneus saith as much of fiddlers, et musarum
luscinias, Musicians, omna tibicines insaniunt; ubi semel efflant, avolat illico mens, in comes music at one ear, out goes wit at another. Proud and vain-glorious persons are certainly mad; and so are lascivious; I can feel their pulses beat hither; horn-mad some of them, to let others lie with their wives, and wink at it.
To insist in all particulars, were an Herculean task, to reckon up insanas substructiones, insanos labores, insanum luxum, mad labours, mad books, endeavours, carriages, gross ignorance, ridiculous actions, absurd gestures; insanum
gulam, insaniam villarum, insana jurgia, as Tullyterins them, madness of villages, stupend structures; as those Ægyptian Pyramids, Labyrinths and Sphinxes, which a company of crowned asses, ad ostentationem opum, vainly built, when neither the architect nor king that made them, or to what use and purpose, are yet known: to insist in their hypocrisy, inconstancy, blindness, rashness, dementam temeritatem, fraud, cozenage, malice, anger, impudence, ingratitude, ambition, gross superstition, tempora infecta et adulatione sordida, as in Tiberius' times, such base flattery,
stupend, parasitic fawning and colloguing, &c., brawls, conflicts, desires, contentions, it would ask an expert Vesalius to anatomize every member.
Shall I say? Jupiter himself, Apollo, Mars, &c., doated; and monster conquering Hercules that subdued the world, and helped others, could not relieve himself in this, but mad he was at last. And where shall a man walk, converse with whom, in what province, city, and not meet with Signiur Deliro, or Hercules Furens, Mænades, and Corybantes? Their speeches say no less. E fungis nati homines, or else they fetched their pedigree from those that were struck by Samson with the jaw-bone of an ass. Or from Deucalion and Pyrrha's stones, for durum genus sumus, marmorei sumus, we are stony-hearted, and savour too much of the stock, as if they had all heard that enchanted horn of Astolpho, that English duke in Ariosto, which never
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sounded but all his auditors were mad, and for fear ready to make away with themselves; or landed in the mad haven in the Euxine sea of Daphnis insana, which had a secret quality to dementate; they are a company of giddyheads, afternoon men, it is Midsummer moon still, and the dog-days last all the year long, they are all mad.
Whom shall I then except? Ulricus Huttenus Nemo, nam nemo omnibus horis sapit, Nemo nascitur sine vitiis, Crimine Nemo caret, Nemo sorte sua vivit contentus, Nemo in amore sapit, Nemo bonus, Nemo sapiens, Nemo est ex omne parte insanus, &c. (No one is wise at all hours -- no one one born without faults -- no one free from crime -- no one content with his lot -- no one in love wise -- no good, or wise man perfectly happy) and therefore: Nicholas Nemo, or Monsieur No-body, shall go free, Quid valeat nemo, Nemo referre potest? But whom shall I except in the second place? such as are silent, vir sapit qui pauca loquitur; no better way to avoid folly and madness, than by taciturnity. Whom in a third? all senators, magistrates; for all fortunate men are wise, and conquerors valiant, and so are all great men, non est bonum ludere cum diis, they are wise by authority, good by their office and place, his licet impune pessimos esse (some say) we must not speak of them, neither is it fit; per me sint ommia protinus alba, I will not think amiss of them. Whom next? Stoics? Sapiens Stoicus, and he alone is subject to no perturbations, as Plutarch scoffs at him, "he is not vexed with torments, or burnt with fire, foiled by his adversary, sold of his enemy: though he be wrinkled, sand-blind, toothless, and deformed; yet he is most beautiful, and like a god, a king in conceit, though not worth a groat." "He never doats, never mad, never sad, drunk, because virtue cannot be taken away," as Zeno holds, "by reason of strong apprehension," but he was mad to say so. Anticyræ coelo huic est opus aut dolabra, he had need to be bored, and so had all his fellows, as wise as they would seem to be. Chrysippus himself liberally grants them to be fools as well as others, at certain times, upon some occasions, amitti virtutem ait per ebrietatem, aut atrabilarium morbum, it may be lost by drunkenness or melancholy, he may be sometimes crazed as well as the rest: ad summum sapiens nisi quum pituita molesta. I should here except some Cynics, Menippus, Diogenes, that Theban Crates; or to descend to these times, that omniscious, only wise fraternity of the Rosicrucians, those great theologues, politicians, philosophers, physicians, philologers, artists, &c. of whom S. Bridget, Albas Joacchimus, Leicenbergius, and such divine spirits have
prophesied, and made promise to the world, if at least there be any such (Hen. Neuhusius makes a doubt of it, Valentinus Ancireas and others) or an Elias artifex their Theophrastian master; whom though Libavius and many deride and carp at, yet some will have to be "the renewer of all arts and sciences," reformer of the world, and now living, for so Johannes Montanus Strigoniensis, that great patron of Paracelsus, contends, and certainly avers "a most divine man," and the quintessence of wisdom wheresoever he is; for he, his fraternity, friends, &c. are all "betrothed to wisdom," if
we may believe their disciples and followers. I must needs except Lipsius and the Pope, and expunge their name out of the catalogue of fools. For besides that parasitical testimony of Dousa,
"A Sole exoriente Mæotidas usque paludes,
Nemo est qui justo se æquiparare queat."
"From the rising sun to the Mæotid Lake, there was not one that could fairly be put in comparison with them."
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Lipsius saith of himself, that he was humani generis quidem pedagogus voce et stylo, a grand signior, a master, a tutor of us all, and for thirteen years he brags how he sowed wisdom in the Low Countries, as Ammonius the philosopher sometimes did in Alexandria, cum humanitate literas et sapientiam cum prudentia: antistes sapientiæ, he shall be Sapientum Octavus. The Pope is more than a man, as his parats often make him, a demi-god, and besides his holiness cannot err, in Cathedra belike: and yet some of them have been magicians, Heretics, Atheists, children, and as Platina saith of John 22. Etsi vir literatus, multa stoliditatem et lævitatem præ se ferentia egit, stolidi et socordis vir ingenii, a scholar sufficient, yet many things he did foolishly, lightly. I can say no more than in particular, but in general terms to the rest, they are all mad, their wits are evaporated, and as Ariosto feigns 1. 34. kept in jars above the moon.
"Some lose their wits with love, some with ambition,
Some following Lords and men of high condition.
Some in fair jewels rich and costly set,
Others in Poetry their wits forget,
Another thinks to be an Alchemist,
Till all be spent, and that his number's mist."
Convicted fools they are, madmen upon record; and I am afraid past cure many of them, crepunt inguina, the symptoms are manifest, they are all of Gotam parish:
"Quum furor haud dubius, quum sit manifesta phrenesis,"
(Since madness is indisputable, since frenzy is obvious.)
what remains then but to send for Lorarios, those officers to carry them all together for company to Bedlam, and set Rabelais to be their physician.
If any man shall ask in the meantime, who I am that so boldly censure ethers, tu nullane habes vitia? have I no faults? Yes, more than thou hast, whatsoever thou art. Nos numerus sumus, I confess it again, I am as foolish, as mad as any one.
"Insanus vobis video; non deprecor ipse,
Quo minus insanus," --
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I do not deny it, demens do populo dematur. My comfort is, I have more fellows, and those of excellent note. And though I be not so right or so discreet as I should be, yet not so mad, so bad neither, as thou perhaps takest me to be.
To conclude, this being granted, that all the world is melancholy, or mad, doats, and every member of it, I have ended my task, and sufficiently illustrated that which I took upon me to demonstrate at first. At this present I have no more to say; His sanam mentem Democritus, I can but wish myself and them a good physician, and all of us a better mind.
And although for the abovenamed reasons, I had a just cause to undertake this subject, to point at these particular species of dotage, that so men might acknowledge their imperfections, and seek to reform what is amiss; yet I have a mere serious intent at this time; and to omit all impertinent digressions, to say no more of such as are improperly melancholy, or metaphorically mad, lightly mad, or in disposition, as stupid, angry, drunken, silly, sottish, sullen, proud, vain-glorious, ridiculous, beastly, peevish, obstinate, impudent, extravagant, dry, doting, dull, desperate, harebrain, &c.,
mad, frantic, foolish, heteroclites, which no new hospital can hold, no physic help; my purpose and endeavour is, in the following discourse to anatomize this humour of melancholy, through all its parts and species, as it is an habit, or an ordinary disease, and that philosophically, medicinally, to show the causes, symptoms, and several cures of it, that it may be the better avoided. Moved thereunto for the generality of it, and to do good, it being a disease so frequent, as Mercurialis observes, "in these our days; so often happening," saith Laurentius; "in our miserable times," as few there are that feel not the smart of it. Of the same mind is Ælian Montalius, Melancthon, and others; Julius Caesar Claudinus calls it the "fountain of all other diseases, and so common in this crazed age of ours, that scarce one in a thousand is free from it, and that splenetic hypochondriacal wind especially, which proceeds from the spleen and short ribs. Being then a disease so grievous, so common, I know not wherein to do a more general service, and spend my time better, than to prescribe means how to prevent and cure so universal a malady, an epidemical disease, that so often, so much crucifies the body and mind.
If I have overshot myself in this which hath been hitherto said, or that it is, which I am sure some will object, too fantastical, "too light and comical for a Divine, too satirical for one of my profession;" I will presume to answer with Erasmus, in like case, 'tis not I, but Democritus, Democritus dixit: you must consider what it is to speak in one's own or another's person, an assumed habit and name; a difference betwixt him that affects or acts a prince's, a philosopher's, a magistrate's, a fool's part, and him that is so indeed; and what liberty those old satirists have had; it is a cento collected from others; not I, but they that say it.
"Dixero si quid forte jocosius, hoc mihi juris
Cum venia dabis."--
Yet some indulgence I may justly claim,
If too familiar with another's fame.
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Take heed, you mistake me not. If I do a little forget myself, I hope you will
pardon it. And to say truth, why should any man be offended, or take exceptions at it?
"Licuit, semperque licebit,
Parcere personis, dicere de vitiis."
It lawful was of old, and still will be,
To speak of vice, but let the name go free.
I hate their vices, not their persons. If any be displeased, or take aught unto himself, let him not expostulate or cavil with him that said it (so did Erasmus excuse himself to Dorpius, si parva licet componere magnis) and so do I; "but let him be angry with himself that so betrayed and opened his own faults in applying it to himself:" if he be guilty and deserve it, let him amend, whoever he is and not be angry. "he that hateth correction is a fool," Prov. xii. 1. If he be not guilty, it concerns him not; it is not my freeness of speech, but a guilty conscience, a galled back of his own that makes him wince.
"Suspicione si quis errabit suo,
Et rapiet ad se, quod erit commune omnium,
Stulte nudabit animi conscientiam."
("If any one shall err through his own suspicion, and shall apply to himself what is common to all, he will foolishly betray a consciousness of guilt")
I deny not this which I have said savours a little of Dcmocritus; Quamvis ridentem dicere verum quid vetat; one may speak in jest, and yet speak truth. It is somewhat tart, I grant it; acriora orexim excitant embammata, as he said, sharp sauces increase appetite, nec cibus ipse juvat morsu frandatus aceti. Object then and cavil what thou wilt, I ward all with Democritus's buckler, his medicine shall salve it; strike where thou wilt, and when: Democritus dixit, Democritus will answer it. It was written by an idle fellow, at idle times, about our Saturnalian or Dyonisian feasts, when as he said, nullum libertati periculum est, servants in old Rome had liberty to say and do what them list. When our countrymen sacrificed to their goddess Vacuna, and sat tippling by their Vacunal fires, I writ this, and published this ουτις ελεγεν [oytis elegen], it is neminis nihil. The time, places persons, and all circumstances apologise for me, and why may I not then be idle with others? speak my mind freely? If you deny me this liberty, upon these presumptions I will take it: I say again, I will take it.
"Si quis est qui dictum in se inclementius
Existimavit esse, sic existimet."
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If any man take exceptions, let him turn the buckle of his girdle, I care not. I owe thee nothing (Reader), I look for no favour at thy hands, I am independent, I fear not.
No, I recant, I will not, I care, I fear, I confess my fault, acknowledge a great offence,
"--- motos praestat componere fluctus."
(--- let's first assuage the troubled waves.)
I have overshot myself; I have spoken foolishly, rashly, unadvisedly, absurdly, I have anatomized mine own folly. And now methinks upon a sudden I am awaked as it were out of a dream; I have had a raving fit, a fantastical fit, ranged up and down, in and out, I have insulted over the most kind of men, abused some, offended others, wronged myself; and now being recovered, and perceiving mine error, cry with Orlando, Solvite me, pardon (o boni) that which is past, and I will make you amends in that which is to come; I promise you a more sober discourse in my following treatise.
If through weakness, folly, passion, discontent, ignorance, I have said amiss, let it be forgotten and forgiven. I acknowledge that oft Tacitus to be true, Asperæ facetiæ ubi nimis ex vero traxere, acrem sui memoriam relinquunt, a bitter jest leaves a sting behind it: and as an honourable man observes, "They fear a satirist's wit, he their memories." I may justly suspect the worst; and though I hope I have wronged no man, yet in Medea's words I will crave pardon.
--- Illud jam voce extrema peto,
Ne si qua noster dubius effudit dolor,
Maneant in animo verba, sed melior tibi
Memoria nostri subeat, hac irae data
Obliterentur --- "
And in my last words this I do desire,
That what in passion I have said, or ire,
May be forgotten, and a better mind
Be had of us, hereafter as you find.
I earnestly request every private man, as Scaliger did Cardan not to take offence. I will conclude in his lines, Si me cognitum haberes, non solum donares nobis has facetias nostras, sed etiam indignum duceres, tam humanum animum, lene ingenium, vel minimam suspicionem deprecari oportere. If thou knewest my modesty and simplicity, thou wouldst easily pardon and forgive what is here amiss, or by thee misconceived. If hereafter anatomizing this surly humour, my hand slip, as an unskilful prentice I lance too deep, and cut through skin and all at unawares, make it smart, or cut awry, pardon a rude hand, an unskilful knife, 'tis a most difficult thing to
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keep an even tone, a perpetual tenor, and not sometimes to lash out; difficile est Satyram non scribere, there be so many objects to divert, inward perturbations to molest, and the very best may sometimes err; aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus (sometimes that excellent Homer takes a nap), it is impossible not in so much to overshoot; -- opere in longo fas est obrepere somnum. But what needs all this? I hope there will no such cause of offence be given; if there be, "Nemo aliquid recognoscit, nos mentimur omnia" ("Let not anyone take all these to himself, they are all fictions").
I'll deny all (my last refuge), recant all, renounce all I have said, if any man except, and with as much facility excuse, as he can accuse; but I presume of thy good favour, and gracious acceptance (gentle reader). Out of an assured hope and confidence thereof, I will begin.
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