THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY
BY DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR
SUBSECT. I.-- Passions and Perturbations of the Mind, how they cause Melancholy.
As that gymnosophist in Plutarch made answer to Alexander (demanding which spake best), Every one of his fellows did speak better than the other: so I may say of these causes; to him that shall require which is the greatest, every one is more grievous than other, and this of passion the greatest of all. A most frequent and ordinary cause of melancholy, fulmen perturbationum (Piccolomineus calls it) this thunder and lightning of perturbation, which causeth such violent and speedy alterations in this our microcosm, and many times subverts the good estate and temperature of it. For as the body works upon the mind by his bad humours,troubling the spirits, sending gross fumes into the brain, and so per consequens disturbing the soul, and all the faculties of it,
Hesternis vitiis animum quoque prægravat una."
(Hor. "The body oppressed by yesterday's vices weighs down the spirit also.")
with fear, sorrow, &c.,which are ordinary symptoms of this disease: so on the other side, the mind most effectually works upon the body, producing by his passions and perturbations miraculous alterations, as melancholy, despair, cruel diseases, and sometimes death itself. Insomuch that it is most true which Plato saith in his Charmides, omnia corporis mala ab animum procedere; all the mischiefs of the body proceed from the soul: and Democritus in Plutarch urgeth, Damnatum iri animam a corpore, if the body should in this behalf bring an action against the soul, surely the soul would be cast and convicted, that by her supine negligence had caused such inconveniences, having authority over the body, and using it for an instrument, as a smith does his hammer (saith Cyprian), imputing all those vices and maladies to the
mind. Even so doth Philostratus; non coinquinatur corpus, nisi consensu animæ; the body is not corrupted, but by the soul. Lodovcus Vives will have such turbulent commotions proceed from ignorance and indiscretion. All philosophers impute the miseries of the body to the soul, that should have governed it better, by command of reason, and hath not done it. The Stoics are altogether of opinion (as Lipsius and Piccolomineus record), that a wise man should be απαθης
(apathes) without all manner of passions and perturbations whatsoever, as Seneca reports of Cato, the Greeks of Socrates and Io. Aubanus of a nation in Africa, so free from passion, or rather so stupid, that if they be wounded with a sword, they will only look back. Lactantius 2 instit. will exclude "fear from a wise man:" others except all, some the
greatest passions. But let them dispute how they will, set down in Thesi, give precepts to the contrary; we find that of Lemnius true by common experience; "No mortal man is free from these perturbations: or if he be so, sure he is either a god, or a block."
They are born and bred with us, we have them from our parents by inheritance. A parentibus habemus malum hunc assens, saith Pelezius, Nascitur una nobiscum, aliturque, 'tis propagated from Adam, Cain was melancholy, as Austin hath it, and who is not? Good discipline, education, philosophy, divinity (I cannot deny), may mitigate and restrain these passions in some few men at some times, but most part they domineer, and are so violent, that as a torrent (torrens velut aggere rupto) bears
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down all before, and overflows his banks: sternit agros, sternit sata, (lays waste the fields, prostrates the crops), they overwhelm reason, judgment, and pervert the temperature of the body; Fertur equis auriga, nec audit currus habenas. Now such a man (saith Austin) "that is so led, in a wise man's eye, is no better than he that stands upon his head." It is doubted by some, Gravioresne morbi a perturbationibus, an ab humoribus, whether humours or perturbations cause the more grievous maladies. But we find that of our Saviour, Mat. xxvi, 41, most true, "The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak," we cannot resist; and this of Philo Judæus, "Perturbations often offend the body, and are most frequent causes of melancholy, turning it out of the hinges of his health." Vives compares them to "Winds upon the sea, some only move as those great gales, but others turbulent quite overturn the ship." Those which are light, easy, and more seldom, to our thinking, do us little harm, and are therefore contemned of us: yet if they be reiterated, "as the rain (saith Austin) doth a stone, so do these perturbations penetrate the mind:" and (as one observes) "produce a habit of melancholy at the last, which having gotten the mastery in our souls, may well be called diseases."
How these passions produce this effect, Agrippa hath handled at large, Occult. Philos. l. 11. c. 63. Cardan, l. 14, subtil. Lemnius, l. 1, c. 12, de occult. nat. mir. et lib. 1. cap. 16. Suarez, Met. disput. 18. sect. 1, art. 25. T. Bright, cap. 12. of his
Melancholy Treatise. Wright the Jesuit in his book of the Passions of the Mind, &c.
Thus in brief; to our imagination cometh by the outward sense or memory, some object to be known (residing in the foremost part of the brain), which he misconceiving or amplifying presently communicates to the heart, the seat of all
affections. The pure spirits forthwith flock from the brain to the heart, by certain secret channels, and signify what good or bad object was presented; which immediately bends itself to prosecute, or avoid it; and withal, draweth with it other
humours to help it: so in pleasure, concur great store of purer spirits; in sadness, much melancholy blood; in ire, choler. If the imagination be very apprehensive, intent, and violent, it sends great store of spirits to, or from the heart, and makes a deeper impression, and greater tumult, as the humours in the body be likewise prepared, and the temperature itself ill or well disposed, the passions are longer and stronger; so that the first step and fountain of all our grievances in this kind, is læsa imaginatio, which misinforming the heart, causeth all these distemperatures, alteration, and confusion of spirits and humours. By means of which, so disturbed, concoction is hindered, and the principal parts are much debilitated; as Dr. Navarra well declared, being consulted by Montanus about a melancholy Jew. The spirits so confounded, the nourishment must needs be abated, bad humours increased, crudities and thick spirits engendered with
melancholy blood. The other parts cannot perform their functions, having the spirits drawn from them by vehement passion, but fail in sense and motion; so we look upon a thing, and see it not; hear, and observe not; which otherwise would much affect us, had we been free. I may therefore conclude with Arnoldus, Maxima vis est phantasiæ, et huic uni fere, non autem corporis intemperiei, omnis melancholiæ causa est ascribenda: "Great is the force of imagination, and much more ought the cause of melancholy to be ascribed to this alone, than to the distemperature of the body." Of
which imagination, because it hath so great a stroke in producing this malady, and is so powerful of itself; it will not be improper to my discourse, to make a brief digression, and speak of the force of it, and how it causeth this alteration. Which manner of digression howsoever some dislike, as frivolous and impertinent, yet I am of Beroaldus's opinion, "Such digressions do mightily delight and refresh a weary reader, they are like sauce to a bad stomach, and I do therefore most willingly use them."
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SUBSECT. II.-- Of the force of Imagination.
WHAT imagination is, I have sufficiently declared in my digression of the anatomy of the soul. I will only now point at the wonderful effects and power of it; which, as it is eminent in all, so most especially it rageth in melancholy persons, in
keeping the species of objects so long, mistaking, amplifying them by continual and strong meditation, until at length it produceth in some parties real effects, causeth this and many other maladies. And although this fantasy of ours be a subordinate faculty to reason, and should be ruled by it, yet in many men, through inward or outward distemperatures, defect of organs, which are unapt, or otherwise contaminated, it is likewise unapt, or hindered, and hurt. This we see verified in sleepers, which by reason of humours and concourse of vapours troubling the fantasy, imagine many times absurd and prodigious things, and in such as are troubled with incubus, or witch-ridden (as we call it), if they lie on their backs, they suppose an old woman rides, and sits so hard upon them, that they are almost stifled for want of breath; when there is nothing offends, but a concourse of bad humours, which trouble the fantasy.
This is likewise evident in such as walk in the night in their sleep, and do strange feats: these vapours move the fantasy, the fantasy the appetite, which moving the animal spirits causeth the body to walk up and down as if they were awake. Fracast. l. 3. de intellect., refers all ecstasies to this force of imagination such as lie who1e days together in a trance: as that priest whom Celsus speaks of; that could separate himself from his senses when he list, and lie like a dead man, void of life and sense. Cardan brags of himself, that he could do as much, and that when he list. Many times such men when they come to themselves, tell strange things of heaven and hell, what visions they have seen; as that St. Owen, in Matthew Paris, that went into St. Patrick's purgatory, and the monk of Evesham in the same author. Those common apparitions in Bede and Gregory, Saint Bridget's revelations, Wier. l. 3. de lamiis, c. 11. Cæsar Vanninus, in his Dialogues, &c. reduceth (as I have formerly said), with all those tales of witches' progresses, dancing, riding, transformations, operations, &c. to the force of imagination, and the devil's illusions. The like effects almost are to be seen in such as are awake: how many chimeras, antics, golden mountains and castles in the air do they build unto themselves? I appeal to painters, mechanicians, mathematicians. Some ascribe all vices to a false and corrupt imagination, anger, revenge, lust, ambition, covetousness, which prefers falsehood before that which is right and good, deluding the soul with false shows and suppositions. Bernardus Penottus will have heresy and superstition to proceed from this fountain; as he falsely imagineth, so he believeth; and as he conceiveth of it, so it must be, and it shall be, contra gentes, he will have it so. But most especially in passions and affections, it shows strange and evident effects: what will not a fearful man conceive in the dark? What strange forms of bugbears, devils, witches, goblins? Livater imputes the greatest cause of spectrums, and the like apparitions, to fear, which above all other passions begets the strongest imagination (saith Wierus), and so likewise, love, sorrow, joy, &c. Some die suddenly, as she that saw her son come from the battle at Cannæ, &c. Jacob the patriarch, by force of imagination, made speckled lambs, laying speckled rods before his sheep. Persina that Æthiopian queen in Heliodorus, by seeing the picture of Perseus and Andromeda, instead of a blackamoor, was brought to bed of a fair white
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child. In imitation of whom belike, a hard-favoured fellow in Greece, because he and his wife were both deformed, to get a good brood of ehildren, Elegantissimas imagines in thalamo collocavit, &c., hung the fairest pictures he could buy for money in his chamber, "That his wife by frequent sight of them, might conceive and bear such children." And if we may believe Bale, one of Pope Nicholas the Third's concubines by seeing of a bear was brought to bed of a monster. "If a woman (saith Lemnius), at the time of her conception think of another man present or absent, the child will be like him." Great bellied women, when they long, yield us prodigious examples in this kind, as moles, warts, scars, harelips, monsters, especially caused in their children by force of a depraved fantasy in them: Ipsam speciam quam animo effigiat, foetui inducit: She imprints that stamp upon her child which she conceives unto herself. And therefore Lodovicus Vives, lib. 2. de Christ. foem. gives a special caution to great-bellied women, "That they do not admit such absurd conceits and cogitations, but by all means avoid those horrible objects, heard or seen, or filthy spectacles." Some will laugh, weep, sigh, groan; blush, tremble, sweat, at such things as are suggested unto them by their imagination. Avicenna speaks of one that could cast himself into a palsy when he list; and some can imitate the tunes of birds and beasts that they can hardly be discerned: Dagebertus' and Saint Francis' scars and wounds, like those of Christ's (if at the least any such were), Agrippa supposeth to have happened by force of imagination: that some are turned to wolves, from men to women, and women again to men (which is constantly believed) to the same imagination; or from men to asses, dogs, or any other shapes. Wierus ascribes all those famous transformations to imagination; that in hydrophobia they seem to see the picture of a dog, still in their water, that melancholy men and sick men conceive so
many fantastical visions, apparitions to themselves, and have such absurd apparitions, as that they are kings, lords, cocks, bears, apes, owls; that they are heavy, light, transparent, great and little, senseless and dead (as shall be showed more at large, in our sections of symptoms), can be imputed to nought else, but to a corrupt, false, and violent imagination. It works not in sick and melancholy men only, but even most forcibly sometimes in such as are sound: it makes them suddenly sick, and alters their temperature in an instant. And sometimes a strong conceit or apprehension, as Valesius proves, will take away diseases: in both kinds it will produce real effects.
Men, if they see but another man tremble, giddy or sick of some fearful disease, their apprehension and fear is so strong in this kind, that they will have the same disease.
Or if by some soothsayer, wiseman, fortune-teller, or physician, they be told they shall have such a disease, they will so seriously apprehend it, that they will instantly labour of it. A thing familiar in China (saith Riccius the Jesuit), "If it be told them they shall be sick on such a day, when that day comes they will surely be sick, and will be so terribly afflicted, that sometimes they die upon it." Dr. Cotta in his discovery of ignorant practitioners of physic, cap 8. hath two strange stories to this purpose, what fancy is able to do. The one of a parson's wife in Northamptonshire, An. 1607, that
coming to a physician, and told by him that she was troubled with the sciatica, as he conjectured (a disease she was free from), the same night after her return, upon his words, fell into a grievous fit of a sciatica: and such another example he hath of another good wife, that was so troubled with the cramp, after the same manner she came by it, because her physician did but name it. Sometimes death itself is caused by force of fantasy. I have heard of one that coming by chance in company of him that was thought to be sick of the plague (which was not so) fell down suddenly dead.
Another was sick of the plague with conceit. One seeing his fellow let blood falls down in a swoon. Another (saith Cardan out of Aristotle), fell down dead (which is
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familiar to women at any ghastly sight), seeing but a man hanged. A Jew in France (saith Lodovicus Vives), came by chance over a dangerous passage or plank, that lay over a brook in the dark, without harm, the next day perceiving what danger he was in, fell down dead. Many will not believe such stories to be true, but laugh commonly; and deride when they hear of them; but let these men consider with themselves, as Peter Byarus illustrates it, If they were set to walk upon a plank on high, they would be giddy, upon which they dare securely walk upon the ground. Many (saith Agrippa), "strong-hearted men otherwise, tremble at such sights, dazzle, and are sick, if they look but down from a high place, and what moves them but conceit?" As some are so molested by fantasy; so some again, by fancy alone, and a good conceit, are as easily recovered. We see commonly the tooth-ache, gout, falling-sickness, biting of a mad dog, and many such maladies, cured by spells, words, characters, and charms, and many green wounds by that now so much used Unguentum Armarium, magnetically cured, which Crollius and Goclenius in a book of late hath defended, Libavius in a
just tract as stiffly contradicts, and most men controvert. All the world knows there is no virtue in such charms or cures, but a strong conceit and opinion alone, as Pomponatius holds, "which forceth a motion of the humours, spirits, and blood, which takes away the cause of the malady from the parts affected." The like we may say of our magical effects, superstitious cures, and such as are done by mountebanks and wizards. "As by wicked incredulity many men are hurt (so saith Wierus of charms, spells, &c.), we find in our experience, by the same means many are relieved." An empiric oftentimes, and a silly chirurgeon, doth more strange cures than a rational physician. Nymannus gives a reason, because the patient puts his confidence in him, which Avicenna "prefers before art, precepts, and all remedies whatsoever." 'Tis opinion alone (saith Cardan), that makes or mars physicians, and he doth the best cures, according to Hippocrates, in whom most trust. So diversely doth this fantasy of ours affect, turn, and wind, so imperiously command our bodies, which as another Proteus, or a chameleon, can take all shapes; and is of such force (as Ficinus adds), that it can work upon others, as well as ourselves." How can otherwise blear eyes in one man cause the like affection in another? Why doth one man's yawning make another yawn? One man's pissing provoke a second many times to do the like? Why doth scraping of trenchers offend a third, or hacking of flies? Why doth a carcass bleed when the murderer is brought before it, some weeks after the murder hath been done? Why do witches and old women fascinate and bewitch children: but as Wierus, Paracelsus, Cardan, Mizaldus, Valleriola, Cæsar Vanninus, Campanella, and many philosophers think, the forcible imagination of the one party moves and alters the spirits of the other. Nay more, they can cause and cure not only diseases, maladies and several infirmities, by this means, as Avicenna de anim. l. 4. sect. 4. supposeth in parties remote, but move bodies from their places, cause thunder, lightning, tempests, which opinion Alkindus, Paracelsus, and some others, approve of: So that I may certainly conclude this strong conceit or imagination is astrum hominis, and the rudder of this our ship, which reason should steer, but overborne by fantasy cannot manage, and so suffers itself and this whole vessel of ours to be overruled, and often overturned. Read more of this in Wierus, l.3. de Lamiis, c. 8, 9, 10. Franciscus, Valesias med. controv. l. 5. cont. 6. Marcellus Donatus, l. 2. c. 1. de hist. med.
mirabil. Levinus Lemnius, de occult. nat. mir. l. 1. c. 12. Cardan, l. 18. de rerum var. Corn. Agrippa, de occult. philos. cap. 64, 65. Camerarius, 1 cent. cap. 54. horarum subcis. Nymannus, morat. de Imag. Laurentius, and him that is instar omnium, Fienus, a famous physician of Antwerp that wrote three books de viribus imaginationis. I have thus far digressed, because this imagination is the medium
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deferens of passions, by whose means they work and produce many times prodigious effects: and as the fantasy is more or less intended or remitted, and their humours disposed, so do perturbations move, more or less, and take deeper impression.
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SUBSECT. III.-- Division of Perturbations.
Perturbations and passions, which trouble the fantasy, though they dwell between the confines of sense and reason, yet they rather follow sense than reason because they are drowned in corporeal organs of sense. They are commonly reduced into two inclinations, irascible and concupiscible. The Thomists subdivide them into eleven, six in the coveting, and five in the invading. Aristotle reduceth all to pleasure and pain, Plato to love and hatred, Vives to good and bad. If good, it is present, and then we absolutely joy and love; or to come, and then we desire and hope for it. If evil, we absolutely hate it; if present, it is sorrow; if to come, fear. These four passions Bernard compares "to the wheels of a chariot, by which we are carried in this world."
All other passions are subordinate unto these four, or six, as some will: love, joy, desire, hatred, sorrow, fear; the rest, as anger, envy, emulation, pride, jealousy, anxiety, mercy, shame, discontent, despair, ambition, avarice, &c., are reducible unto the first; and if they be immoderate, they consume the spirits, and melancholy is especially caused by them. Some few discreet men there are, that can govern themselves, and curb in these inordinate affections, by religion, philosophy, and such divine precepts, of meekness, patience, and the like; but most part for want of government, out of indiscretion, ignorance, they suffer themselves wholly to be led by sense, and are so far from repressing rebellious inclinations, that they give all encouragement unto them, leaving the reins, and using all provocations to further them: bad by nature, worse by art, discipline, custom, education, and a perverse will of their own, they follow on, wheresoever their unbridled affection will transport them, and do more out of custom, self-will, than out of reason. Contumax voluntas, as Melancthon calls it, malum facit: this stubborn will of ours perverts judgment, which sees and knows what should and ought to be done, and yet will not do it. Mancipia gulæ, slaves to their several lusts and appetite, they precipitate and plunge themselves into a labyrinth of cares blinded with lust, blinded with ambition; "They seek that at
God's hands which they may give unto themselves, if they could but refrain from those cares and perturbations, wherewith they continually macerate their minds." But giving way to these violent passions of fear, grief, shame, revenge, hatred, malice, &c., they are torn in pieces. as Actæon was with his dogs, and crucify their own souls.
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SUBSECT. IV.-- Sorrow a cause of Melancholy.
Sorrow. Insanus dolor.] In this catalogue of passions, which so much torment the soul of man, and cause this malady (for I will briefly speak of them all, and in their order). the first place in this irascible appetite, may justly be challenged by
sorrow. An inseparable companion, "The mother and daughter of melancholy, her epitome, symptom, and chief cause:" as Hippocrates hath it, they beget one another, and tread in a ring, for sorrow is both cause and symptom of this disease. How it is a symptom shall be shown in its place. That it is a cause all the world acknowledgeth, Dolor nonnullus insaniæ causa fuit, et aliorum morborum insanabilium, saith Plutarch to Apollonius; a cause of madness, a cause of many other diseases, a sole cause of this mischief, Lemnius calls it. So doth Rhasis, cont. l. 1. tract. 9. Guianerius, Tract. 15, c. 5. And if it take root once, it ends in despair, as Felix Plater observes, and as in Cebes' table may well be coupled with it. Chrysostom in his seventeenth epistle to Olympia, describes it to be a cruel torture of the soul, a most inexplicable grief, poisoned worm, consuming body and soul, and gnawing the very heart, a perpetual
executioner, continual night, profound darkness, a whirlwind, a tempest, an ague not appearing, heating worse than any fire, and a battle that hath no end. It crucifies worse than any tyrant; no torture, no strappado, no bodily punishment is like unto it. 'Tis the eagle without question which the poets feigned to gnaw Prometheus' heart, and "no heaviness is like unto the heaviness of the heart," Eccles. xxv. 15, 16. "Every perturbation is a misery, but grief a cruel torment," a domineering passion: as in old Rome, when the Dictator was created, all inferior magistracies ceased; when grief appears, all other passions vanish. "It dries up the bones," saith Solomon, ch. 17. Prov., "makes them hollow-eyed, pale, and lean, furrow-faced, to have dead looks, wrinkled brows, shrivelled cheeks, dry bodies, and quite perverts their temperature that are misaffected with it." As Eleonora, that exiled mournful duchess (in our English Ovid), laments to her noble husband Humphrey, duke of Glocester
"Sawest thou those eyes in whose sweet cheerful look
Duke Humphry once such joy and pleasure took,
Sorrow hath so despoil'd me of all grace,
Thou could'st not say this was my Elnor's face.
Like a foul Gorgon," &c.
"it hinders concoction, refrigerates the heart, takes away stomach, colour, and sleep, thickens the blood (Fernelius l. 1. cap. 18, de morb. causis), contaminates the spirits." (Piso.) Overthrows the natural heat, perverts the good estate of body and mind, and makes them weary of their lives, cry out, howl and roar for very anguish of their souls. David confessed as much, Psalm xxxviii. 8, "I have roared for the very disquietness of my heart." And Psalm cxix. 4 part, 4 v. "Mv soul melteth away for very heaviness," v. 83, "I am like a bottle in the smoke." Antiochus complained that he could not sleep. and that his heart fainted for grief, Christ himself, Vir dolorum, out of an apprehension of grief; did sweat blood, Mark xiv. "His soul was heavy to the
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death. and no sorrow was like unto his." Crato consil. 21, l. 2, gives instance in one that was so melancholy by reason of grief; and Montanus consil. 30, in a noble matron, "that had no other cause of this mischief." I. S. D. in Hildesheim, fully cured a patient of his that was much troubled with melancholy, and for many years, "but afterwards, by a little occasion of sorrow, he fell into his former fits, and was tormented as before." Examples are common, how it causeth melancholy, desperation, and sometimes death itself; for (Eccles. xxxviii. 15), "Of heaviness comes death; worldly sorrow causeth death." 2 Cor. vii. 10, Psalm xxxi. 10. "My life is wasted with heaviness, and my years with mourning." Why was Hecuba said to be turned to a dog? Niobe into a stone? but that for grief she was senseless and stupid. Severus the Emperor died for grief; and how many myriads besides? Tanta illi est feritas, tanta est insania luctus. Melancthon gives a reason of it, "the gathering of much melancholy blood about the heart, which collection extinguisheth the good spirits, or at least dulleth them,sorrow strikes the heart, makes it tremble and pine away, with great pain; and the black blood drawn from the spleen, and diffused under the ribs, on the left side, makes those perilous hypochondriacal convulsions, which happen to them that are troubled with sorrow."
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SUBSECT. V.-- Fear, a Cause.
COUSIN-GERMAN to sorrow, is fear, or rather a sister, fidus Achates, and continual companion, an assistant and a principal agent in procuring of this mischief; a cause and symptom as the other. In a word, as Virgil of the Harpies, I may justly say of them both,
Tristius haud illis monstrum, nec sævior ulla
Pestis et Ira Deum stygiis sese extulit undis."
"A sadder monster, or more cruel plague so fell,
Or vengeance of the gods, ne'er came from Styx or Hell."
This foul fiend of fear was worshipped heretofore as a god by the Lacedæmonians, and most of those other torturing affections, and so was sorrow amongst the rest, under the name of Angerona Dea, they stood in such awe of them, as Austin de Civitat. Dei, lib. 4. cap. 8. noteth out of Varro, fear was commonly adored and painted in their temples with a lion's head; and as Macrobius records l. 10. Saturnalium; "in the calends of January, Angerona had her holy day, to whom in the temple of Volupia, or goddess of pleasure, their augurs and bishops did yearly sacrifice; that, being propitious to them, she might expel all cares, anguish, and vexation of the mind for that year following." Many lamentable effects this fear causeth in men, as to be red, pale, tremble, sweat, it makes sudden cold and heat to come over all the body, palpitation of the heart, syncope, &c. It amazeth many men that are to speak, or show themselves in public assemblies, or before some great personages, as Tully confessed of himself, that he trembled still at the beginning of his speech; and Demosthenes, that great orator of Greece, before Philippus. It confounds voice and memory, as Lucian wittingly brings in Jupiter Tragoedus, so much afraid of his auditory, when he was to make a speech to the rest of the gods, that he could not utter a ready word, but was compelled to use Mercury's help in prompting. Many men are so amazed and astonished with fear, they know not where they are, what they say, what they do, and that which is worse, it tortures them many days before with continual affrights and suspicion. It hinders most honourable attempts, and makes their hearts ache, sad and heavy. They that live in fear are never free, resolute, secure, never merry, but in continual pain: that, as Vives truly said, Nulla est miseria major quam metus, no greater misery, no rack, nor torture like unto it, ever suspicious, anxious, solicitous, they are childishly drooping without reason, without judgment, "especially if some terrible object be offered," as Plutarch hath it. It causeth oftentimes sudden madness, and almost all manner of diseases, as I have sufficiently illustrated in my digression of the force of imagination, and shall do more at large in my section of terrors. Fear makes our imagination conceive what it list, invites the devil to come to us, as Agrippa and Cardan avouch, and tyrannizeth over our fantasy more than all other afflictions, especially in the dark. We see this verified in most men, as Lavater saith, Quæ metuunt, fingunt; what they fear they conceive, and feign unto themselves; they think they see goblins, hags, devils, and many times become melancholy thereby.
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Cardan subtil. lib. 18. hath an example of such an one, so caused to be melancholy (by sight of a bugbear) all his life after. Augustus Cæsar durst not sit in the dark, nisi aliquo assidente, saith Suetonius, Nunquam tenebris evigilavit. And 'tis strange what women and children will conceive unto themselves, if they go over a church-yard in the night, lie, or be alone in a dark room, how they sweat and tremble on a sudden.
Many men are troubled with future events, foreknowledge of their fortunes, destinies, as Severus the emperor, Adrian and Domitian, Quod sciret ultimum vitæ diem, saith Suetonius, valde solicitus, much tortured in mind because he foreknew his end; with many such, of which I shall speak more opportunely in another place. Anxiety, mercy, pity, indignation, &c., and such fearful branches derived from these two stems of fear and sorrow, I voluntarily omit; read more of them in Carolus Pascalius, Dandinus, &c.
SUBSECT. VI.-- Shame and Disgrace, Causes.
SHAME and disgrace cause most violent passions and bitter pangs. Ob pudorem et dedecus publicum, ob errorem coimmissum sæpe moventur generosi animi (Felix Plater lib. 3. de alienat. mentis): Generous minds are often moved with shame, to despair for some public disgrace. And he, saith Philo lib. 2. de provid. Dei. "that subjects himself to fear, grief, ambition, shame, is not happy, but altogether miserable, tortured with continual labour, care, and misery." It is as forcible a batterer as any of the rest: Many men neglect the tumults of the world, and care not for glory, and yet they are afraid of infamy, repulse, disgrace, (Tul. offic. l. 1.) they can severely contemn pleasure, bear grief indifferently, but they are quite battered and broken with reproach and obloquy:" (siquidem vita et fama pari passu ambulant) and are so
dejected many times for some public injury, disgrace, as a box on the ear by their inferior, to be overcome of their adversary, foiled in the field, to be out in a speech, some foul fact committed or disclosed, &c. that they dare not come abroad all their lives after, but melancholize in corners, and keep in holes. The most generous spirits are most subject to it; Spiritus altos frangit et generosos: Hieronymus. Aristotle, because he could not understand the motion of Euripus, for grief and shame drowned himself: Coelius Rodiginus antiquar. lec. lib. 29. cap. 8. Homerus pudore consumptus, was swallowed up with this passion of shame "because he could not unfold the fisherman's riddle." Sophocles killed himself, for that a tragedy of his was hissed off the stage: Valer. Max. lib. 9. cap. 12. Lucretia stabbed herself, and so did Cleopatra, "when she saw that she was reserved for a triumph, to avoid the infamy." Antonius the Roman, "after he was overcome of his enemy, for three days' space sat solitary in the fore-part of the ship, abstaining from all company, even of Cleopatra herself; and afterwards for very shame butchered himself," Plutarch vita ejus. "Apollonius Rhodius wilfully banished himself forsaking his country, and all his dear friends, because he was out in reciting his poems," Plinius lib. 7. cap. 23. Ajax ran mad, because his arms were adjudged to Ulysses. In China 'tis an ordinary thing for such as are excluded in those famous trials of theirs, or should take degrees, for shame and grief to lose their wits, Mat. Riccius expedit. ad Sinus, l. 3. c. 9. Hostratus the friar took that book which Reuclin had writ against him, under the name of Epist. obscurorum virorum, so to heart, that for shame and grief he made away himself; Jovius in elogiis. A grave and learned minister, and an ordinary preacher at Alcmar in Holland, was (one day as he walked in the fields for his recreation) suddenly taken with a lax or looseness, and thereupon compelled to retire to the next ditch; but being
surprised at unawares, by some gentlewomen of his parish wandering that way, was so abashed, that he did never after show his head in public, or come into the pulpit, but pined away with melancholy: (Pet. Forestus med. observat. lib. 10. observat. 12.)
So shame amongst other passions can play his prize.
I know there be many base, impudent, brazen-faced rogues, that will Nulla pallescere culpa, be moved with nothing, take no infamy or disgrace to heart, laugh at all; let them be proved perjured, stigmatized, convict rogues, thieves, traitors, lose their ears, be whipped, branded, carted, pointed at, hissed, reviled, and derided with
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Baillo the Bawd in Plautus, they rejoice at it, Cantores probos; "babæ and bombax,"
what care they? We have too many such in our times,
"-- Exclamat Melicerta perisse
-- Frontem de rebus."
("Melicerta exclaims, all shame has vanished from human transactions")
Yet a modest man, one that hath grace, a generous spirit, tender of his reputation, will be deeply wounded, and so grievously affected with it, that he had rather give myriads of crowns, lose his life, than suffer the least defamation of honour, or blot in his good name. And if so be that he cannot avoid it, as a nightingale, Quæ cantando victo moritur (saith Mizaldus), dies for shame if another bird sing better, he languisheth and pineth away in the anguish of his spirit.
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SUBSECT. VII.-- Envy, Malice, Hatred, Causes.
Envy and malice are two links of this chain, and both, as Guianerius Tract. 15. cap. 2. proves out of Galen 3. Aphorism. com. 22. "cause this malady by themselves, especially if their bodies be otherwise disposed to melancholy". 'Tis Valescus de Taranta, and Foelix Platerus' observation, "Envy so gnaws many men's come altogether melancholy" And therefore belike Solomon, Prov. xiv. 13. calls it, "the rotting of the bones," Cyprian, vulnus occultum;
"-- Siculi non invenire tyranni
The Sicilian tyrants never invented the like torment. It crucifies their souls, withers their bodies, makes them hollow-eyed, pale, lean, and ghastly to behold, Cyprian ser. 2. de zelo et livore. "As a moth gnaws a garment, so," saith Chrysostom, "doth envy consume a man; to be a living anatomy: a skeleton, to be a lean and pale carcass, quickened with a fiend," Hall in Charact. for so often as an envious wretch sees another man prosper, to be enriched, to thrive, and be fortunate in the world, to get honours, offices, or the like, he repines and grieves.
"-- Intabescitque videndo
Successus hominum -- suppliciumque suum est"
(Ovid. He pines away at the sight of another's success -- It is his special torture.)
He tortures himself if his equal, friend, neighbour, be preferred, commended, do well; if he understand of it, it galls him afresh; and no greater pain can come to him than to hear of another man's well-doing; 'tis a dagger at his heart every such object. He looks at him as they that fell down in Lucian's rock of honour, with an envious eye, and will damage himself, to do another a mischief: Atque cadet subito, dum super hoste cadat.
As he did in Æsop, lose one eye willingly, that his fellow might lose both, or that rich man in Quintilian that poisoned the flowers in his garden, because his neighbour's bees should get no more honey from them. His whole life is sorrow, and every word he speaks a satire: nothing fats him but other men's ruins. For to speak in a word, envy is nought else but Tristita de bonis alienis, sorrow for other men's good, be it present, past, or to come: et gaudium de adversis, and joy at their harms, opposite to mercy, which grieves at other men's mischances, and misaffects the body in another kind; so
Damascen defines it, lib. 2. de orthod. fid. Thomas 2. 2. quæst. 36. art. 1., Aristotle l. 2. Rhet. c. 4. et 10., Plato Philebo., Tully 3. Tusc. Greg. Nic. l. de virt. animæ, c. 12., Basil. de Invidia, Pindarus Od. 1. ser. 5. and we find it true. 'Tis a common disease, and almost natural to us, as Tacitus holds, to envy another man's prosperity. And 'tis in most men an incurable disease. "I have read," saith Marcus Aurelius, "Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee authors; I have consulted with many wise men for a remedy for
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envy, I could find none, but to renounce all happiness, and to be a wretch, and miserable for ever." 'Tis the beginning of hell in this life, and a passion not to be excused. "Every other sin hath some pleasure annexed to it, or will admit of an
excuse; envy alone wants both. Other sins last but for awhile; the gut may be satisfied, anger remit, hatred hath an end, envy never ceaseth." Cardan lib. 2. de sap. Divine and human examples are very familiar; you may run and read them, as that of Saul and David, Cain and Abel, angebat illum non proprium peccatum, sed fratris prosperitas, saith Theodoret, it was his brother's good fortune galled him. Rachel envied her sister, being barren, Gen. xxx. Joseph's brethren, him, Gen. xxxvii. David had a touch of this vice, as he confesseth, Ps. 37. Jeremy and Habakkuk, they repined
at others' good, but in the end they corrected themselves. Ps. 75. "fret not thyself," &c. Domitian spited Agricola for his worth, "that a private man should be so much glorified." Cecinna was envied of his fellow-citizens, because he was more richly adorned. But of all others, women are most weak, ob pulchritudinem invidæ sunt foeminæ (Musæus) aut amat, aut odit, nihil est tertium (Granaiensis). They love or hate, no medium amongst them. Implacabiles plerumque læsæ mulieres, Agrippina like, "A woman if she see her neighbour more neat or elegant, richer, in tires, jewels, or apparel is enraged, and like a lioness sets upon her husband, rails at her, scoffs at her, and cannot abide her;" so the Roman ladies in Tacitus did at Solonina, Cecinna's wife, "because she had a better horse, and better furniture," as if she had hurt them with it; they were much offended. In like sort our gentlewomen do at their usual meetings, one repines or scoffs at another's bravery and happiness. Myrsine, an Attic wench, was murdered of her fellows, "because she did excel the rest in beauty," Constantine Agricult. l. 11. c. 7. Every village will yield such examples.
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SUBSECT. VIII.-- Emulation, Hatred, Faction, Desire of Revenge, Causes.
OUT of this root of envy spring those feral branches of faction, hatred, livor, emulation, which cause the like grievances, and are, serræ animæ, the saws of the soul, consternationes plenæ affectus, affections full of desperate amazement; or as Cyprian describes emulation, it is "a moth of the soul, a consumption to make another man's happiness his misery, to torture, crucify, and execute himself, to eat his own heart. Meat and drink can do such men no good, they do always grieve, sigh, and groan, day and night without intermission, their breast is torn asunder:" and a little after, "Whomsoever he is whom thou dost emulate and envy, he may avoid thee, but thou canst neither avoid him, nor thyself; wheresoever thou art he is with thee, thine enemy is ever in thy breast, thy destruction is within thee, thou art a captive, bound hand and foot, as long as thou art malicious and envious, and canst not be comforted.
It was the devil's overthrow;" and whensoever thou art thoroughly affected with this passion, it will be thine. Yet no perturbation so frequent, no passion so common.
Και κεραμολις κεραμει κοτεει και τεκτονι τεκτων,
Και πτωλυς πτωχω φθονεει και ύοιδος ύoιδω
[Kai keramolis keramei koteei kai tektoni tekton
Kai ptolys ptocho phthoneei kai yoidos yoido]
A potter emulates a potter:
One smith envies another
A beggar emulates a beggar,
A singing man his brother.
Every society, corporation, and private family is full of it, it takes hold almost of all sorts of men, from the prince to the ploughman, even amongst gossips it is to be seen, scarce three in a company but there is siding, faction, emulation, between two of them, some simultas, jar, private grudge, heart-burning in the midst of them. Scarce two gentlemen dwell together in the country (if they be not near kin or linked in marriage), but there is emulation betwixt them and their servants, some quarrel or some grudge betwixt their wives or children, friends and followers, some contention about wealth, gentry, precedency, &c., by means of which, like the frog in Æsop, "that would swell till she was as big as an ox, burst herself at last;" they will stretch beyond their fortunes, callings, and strive so long that they consume their substance in law-suits, or otherwise in hospitality, feasting, fine clothes, to get a few bombast titles, for ambitiosa paupertate laboramus omnes, to outbrave one another, they will tire their bodies, macerate their souls, and through contentions or mutual invitations beggar themselves. Scarce two great scholars in an age, but with bitter invectives they
fall foul one on the other, and their adherents; Scotists, Thomists, Reals, Nominals, Plato and Aristotle, Galenists and Paracelsians, &c., it holds in all professions.
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Honest emulation in studies, in all callings is not to be disliked, 'tis ingeniorum cos, as one calls it, the whetstone of wit, the nurse of wit and valour, and those noble Romans out of this spirit did brave exploits. There is a modest ambition, as
Themistocles was roused up with the glory of Miltiades; Achilles' trophies moved Alexander,
"Ambire semper, stulta confidentia est,
Ambire nunquam, deses arrogantia est."
(Grotius. Epig. lib. 1. "Ambition always, is a foolish confidence, never, a slothful
'Tis a sluggish humour not to emulate or to sue at all, to withdraw himself neglect, refrain from such places, honours, offices, through sloth, niggardliness, fear, bashfulness, or otherwise, to which by his birth, place, fortunes, education, he is called, apt, fit, and well able to undergo; but when it is immoderate, it is a plague and a miserable pain. What a deal of money did Henry VII. and Francis I. king of France, spend at that famous interview? and how many vain courtiers, seeking each to outbrave other, spent themselves, their livelihood and fortunes, and died beggars?
Adrian the emperor was so galled with it, that he killed all his equals; so did Nero.
This passion made Dionysius the tyrant banish Plato and Philoxenus the poet, because they did excel and eclipse his glory, as he thought; the Romans exile Coriolanus, confine Camillus, murder Scipio; the Greeks by ostracism to expel Aristides, Nicias, Alcibiades, imprison Theseus, make away Phocion, &c. When Richard I. and Philip of France were fellow soldiers together, at the siege of Acon in the Holy Land, and Richard had approved himself to be the more valiant man, insomuch that all men's eyes were upon him, it so galled Philip, Francum urebat Regis victoria, saith mine author, tam ægre ferebat Richardi gloriam, ut carpere dicta, calumniari facta; that he cavilled at all his proceedings, and fell at length to open defiance; he could contain no longer, but hasting home, invaded his territories, and professed open war. "Hatred stirs up contention," Prov. x. 12., and they break out at last into immortal enmity, into virulency, and more than Vatinian hate and rage; they persecute each other, their friends, followers, and all their posterity, with bitter taunts, hostile wars, scurrile invectives, libels, calumnies, fire, sword, and the like, and will not be reconciled.
Witness that Guelph and Ghibelline faction in Italy; that of the Adurni and Fregosi in Genoa; that of Cneius Papirius, and Quintus Fabius in Rome; Cæsar and Pompey; Orleans and Burgundy in France; York and Lancaster in England: yea, this passion so rageth many times, that it subverts not men only, and families, but even populous cities, Carthage and Corinth can witness as much, nay flourishing kingdoms are brought into a wilderness by it. This hatred, malice, faction, and desire of revenge, invented first all those racks and wheels, strapadoes, brazen bulls, feral engines, prisons, inquisitions, severe laws to macerate and torment one another. How happy might we be, and end our time with blessed days and sweet content, if we could contain ourselves, and, as we ought to do, put up injuries, learn humility, meekness,
patience, forget and forgive, as in God's word we are enjoined, compose such final controversies amongst ourselves, moderate our passions in this kind, "and think better of others," as Paul would have us, "than of ourselves: be of like affection one towards another, and not avenge ourselves, but have peace with all men." But being that we are so peevish and perverse, insolent and proud, so factious and seditious, so
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malicious and envious; we do invicem angariare, maul and vex one another, torture, disquiet, and precipitate ourselves into that gulf of woes and cares, aggravate our misery and melancholy, heap upon us hell and eternal damnation.
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SUBSECT. IX.-- Anger, a Cause.
ANGER, a perturbation, which carries the spirits outwards, preparing the body to melancholy, and madness itself: Ira furor brevis est, "anger is temporary madness;" and Piccolomineus accounts it, one of the three most violent passions. Areteus sets it down for an especial cause (so doth Seneca, ep. 18. l. 1.) of this malady. Magninus gives the reason, Ex frequenti ira supra modum calefiunt; it overheats their bodies, and if it be too frequent, it breaks out into manifest madness, saith St. Ambrose. 'Tis a known saying, Furor fit læsa sæpius patientia, the most patient spirit that is, if he be
often provoked, will be incensed to madness; it will make a devil of a saint: and therefore Basil (belike) in his Homily de Ira, calls it tenebras rationis, morbum animæ, et dæmonem pessimum; the darkening of our understanding, and a bad angel. Lucian, in Abdicato, tom. 1. will have this passion to work this effect, especially in old men and women. "Anger and calumny (saith he) trouble them at first, and after a while break out into madness: many things cause fury in women, especially if they love or hate overmuch, or envy, be much grieved or angry; these things by little and little lead them on to this malady." From a disposition they proceed to an habit, for there is no difference between a mad man, and an angry man, in the time of his fit; anger, as Lactantius describes it. L. de Ira Dei, ad Donatum, c. 5. is sæva animi
tempestas &c., a cruel tempest of the mind; "making his eyes sparkle fire, and stare, teeth gnash in his head, his tongue stutter, his face pale, or red, and what more filthy imitation can be of a mad man?"
"Ora tument ira, fervescunt sanguine venæ,
Lumina Gorgonio sævius angue micant."
They are void of reason, inexorable, blind, like beasts and monsters for the time, say and do they know not what, curse, swear, rail, fight, and what not? How can a mad man do more? as he said in the comedy, Iracundia non sum apud me, I am not mine own man. If these fits be immoderate, continue long, or be frequent, without doubt they provoke madness. Montanus, consil. 21, had a melancholy Jew to his patient, he ascribes this for a principal cause: Irascebatur levibus de caucis, he was easily moved to anger. Ajax had no other beginning of his madness; and Charles the Sixth, that lunatic French king, fell into this misery, out of the extremity of his passion, desire of revenge and malice, "incensed against the duke of Britain, he could neither eat, drink, nor sleep for some days together, and in the end, about the calends of July, 1392, he became mad upon his horseback, drawing his sword, striking such as came near him promiscuously, and so continued all the days of his life," Æmil. lib. 10. Gal. Hist. Ægesippus de excid. urbis Hieros. l. 1. c. 37. hath such a story of Herod, that out of an angry fit, became mad, leaping out of his bed, he killed Josippus, and played many such bedlam pranks, the whole court could not rule him for a long time after: sometimes he was sorry and repented, much grieved for that he had done, Postquam deferbuit ira, by and by outrageous again. In hot choleric bodies, nothing so soon causeth madness, as this passion of anger, besides many other diseases, as Pelesius
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observes, cap. 21. l. 1. de hum. afect. causis; Saguinem imminuit, fel auget: and as Valesius controverts, Med. controv. lib. 5. contro. 8. many times kills them quite out.
If this were the worst of this passion, it were more tolerable, "but it ruins and subverts whole towns, cities, families and kingdoms;" Nulla pestis humano generi pluris stetit, saith Seneca, de Ira, lib. 1. No plague hath done mankind so much harm. Look into our histories, and you shall almost meet with no other subject, but what a company of hare-brains have done in their rage. We may do well therefore to put this in our procession amongst the rest; "From all blindness of heart, from pride, vain-glory, and hypocrisy, from envy, hatred and malice, anger, and all such pestiferous perturbations,
good Lord deliver us."
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SUBSECT. X.-- Discontent, Cares, Miseries, &c. Causes.
DISCONTENTS, cares, crosses, miseries, or whatsoever it is, that shall cause any molestation of spirits, grief, anguish, and perplexity, may well be reduced to this head (preposterously placed here in some men's judgments they may seem), yet in that Aristotle in his Rhetoric defines these cares, as he doth envy, emulation, still by grief I think I may well rank them in this irascible row; being that they are as the rest, both causes and symptoms of this disease, producing the like inconveniences, and are most part accompanied with anguish and pain. The common etymology will evince it, Cura, quasi cor uro, Dementes curæ, insomnes curæ, damnosæ curæ, tristes, mordaces, carnifices, &c., biting, eating, gnawing, cruel, bitter, sick, sad, unquiet, pale, tetric, miserable, intolerable cares, as the poets call them, worldly cares, and are as many in number as the sea sands. Galen, Fernelius, Felix Plater, Valescus de Taranta, &c., reckon afflictions, miseries, even all these contentions, and vexations of the mind, as principal causes, in that they take away sleep, hinder concoction, dry up the body, and consume the substance of it. They are not so many in number, but their
causes be as divers, and not one of a thousand free from them, or that can vindicate himself; whom that Ate dea,
"Per hominum capita molliter ambulans,
Plantas pedum teneras habens:"
"Over men's heads walking aloft,
With tender feet treading so soft,"
Homer's Goddess Ate hath not involved into this discontented rank, or plagued with some misery or other. Hyginus, fab. 220, to this purpose hath a pleasant tale. Dame Cura by chance went over a brook, and taking up some of the dirty slime, made an image of it; Jupiter eftsoons coming by, put life to it, but Cura and Jupiter could not agree what name to give him, or who should own him; the matter was referred to Saturn as judge, he gave this arbitrement: his name shall be Homo ab humo, Cura eum possideat quamdiu vivrat, Care shall have him whilst he lives, Jupiter his soul, and Tellus his body when he dies. But to leave tales. A general cause, a continuate cause, an inseparable accident, to all men, is discontent, care, misery: were there no other particular affliction (which who is free from?) to molest a man in this life, the very cogitation of that common misery were enough to macerate, and make him weary of his life; to think that he can never be secure, but still in danger, sorrow, grief, and persecution. For to begin at the hour of his birth, as Pliny doth elegantly describe it, "he is born naked, and falls a whining at the very first, he is swaddled and bound up like a prisoner, cannot help himself; and so he continues to his life's end." Cujusque feræ pabulum, saith Seneca, impatient of heat and cold, impatient of labour, impatient of idleness, exposed to fortune's contumelies. To a naked mariner Lucretius compares him, cast on shore by shipwreck, cold and comfortless in an unknown land: no estate, age, sex, can secure himself from this common misery. "A man that is born of a
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woman is of short continuance, and full of trouble." Job xiv. 1, 22. "And while his flesh is upon him he shall be sorrowful, and while his soul is in him it shall mourn."
"All his days are sorrow and his travels griefs; his heart also taketh not rest in the night," Eccles. ii. 23. and ii. 11. "All that is in it is sorrow and vexation of spirit."
Ingress, progress, regress, egress, much alike: blindness seizeth on us in the beginning, labour in the middle, grief in the end, error in all. What day ariseth to us without some grief; care, or anguish? Or what so secure and pleasing a morning have we seen, that hath not been overcast before the evening? One is miserable, another ridiculous, a third odious. One complains of this grievance, another of that. Aliquando nervi, aliquando pedes vexant, (Seneca) nunc distillatio, nunc hepatis morbus; nunc deest, nunc superest sanguis: now the head aches, then the feet, now the lungs, then the liver, &c. Huic sensus exuberat, sed est pudori degener sanguis, &c. He is rich, but base born; he is noble, but poor; a third hath means, but he wants health peradventure, or wit to manage his estate; children vex one, wife a second, &c. Nemo facile cum conditione sua concordat, no man is pleased with his fortune, a pound of sorrow is familiarly mixed with a dram of content, little or no joy, little comfort, but evervwhere danger, contention, anxiety, in all places: go where thou wilt, and thou shalt find discontents, cares, woes, complaints, sickness, diseases, incumbrances, exclamations: "If thou look into the market, there (saith Chrysostom) is brawling and contention; if to the court, there knavery and flattery, &c.; if to a private man's house, there's cark and care, heaviness," &c. As he said of old, Nil homine in terra spirat miserum magis alma? No creature so miserable as man, so generally molested, "in miseries of body, in miseries of mind, miseries of heart, in miseries asleep, in miseries awake, in miseries wheresoever he turns," as Bernard found, Nunquid tentatio est vita humana super terram? A mere temptation is our life (Austin, confess. lib. 10, cap. 28), catena perpetuorum malorum, et quis potest molestias et difficultates pati? Who can endure the miseries of it? "In prosperity we are insolent and intolerable, dejected in adversity, in all fortunes foolish and miserable." In adversity I wish for prosperity,
and in prosperity I am afraid of adversity. What mediocrity may be found? Where is no temptation? What condition of life is free? Wisdom hath labour annexed to it, glory envy; riches and cares, children and incumbrances, pleasure and diseases, rest and beggary, go together: as if a man were therefore born (as the Platonists hold) to be punished in this life for some precedent sins. Or that, as Pliny complains, "Nature may be rather accounted a step-mother, than a mother unto us, all things considered: no creature's life so brittle, so full of fear, so mad, so furious; only man is plagued with envy, discontent, griefs, covetousness, ambition, superstition." Our whole life is an Irish sea, wherein there is nought to be expected but tempestuous storms and troublesome waves, and those infinite,
"Tantum malorum pelagus aspicio,
Ut non sit inde enatandi copia,"
(Euripides. "I perceive such an ocean of troubles before me, that no means of escape
no halcyonian times, wherein a man can hold himself secure, or agree with his present estate; but as Boethius infers, "There is something in every one of us which before trial we seek, and having tried abhor: we earnestly wish, and eagerly covet, and are
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eftsoons weary of it." Thus between hope and fear, suspicions, angers, Inter spemque metumque, timores inter et iras, betwixt falling in, falling out, &c., we bangle away our best days, befool out our times, we lead a contentious, discontent, tumultuous, melancholy, miserable life; insomuch, that if we could foretell what was to come, and it put to our choice, we should rather refuse than accept of this painful life. In a word, the world itself is a maze, a labyrinth of errors, a desert, a wilderness, a den of thieves, cheaters, &c., full of filthy puddles, horrid rocks, precipitiums, an ocean of adversity, an heavy yoke, wherein infirmities and calamities overtake, and follow one another, as the sea waves; and if we scape Scylla, we fall foul on Charybdis, and so in perpetual fear, labour, anguish, we run from one plague, one mischief, one burden to another, duram servientes servitutem, and you may as soon separate weight from lead, heat from fire, moistness from water, brightness from the sun, as misery, discontent, care, calamity, danger, from a man. Our towns and cities are but so many dwellings of human misery. "In which grief and sorrow (as he right well observes out of Solon)
innumerable troubles, labours of mortal men, and all manner of vices, are included, as in so many pens." Our villages are like mole-hills, and men as so many emmets, busy, busy still, going to and fro, in and out, and crossing one another's projects, as the lines of several sea-cards cut each other in a globe or map. "Now light and merry, but (as one follows it) by-and-by sorrowful and heavy; now hoping, then distrusting; now patient, to-morrow crying out; now pale, then red; running, sitting, sweating, trembling, halting," &c. Some few amongst the rest, or perhaps one of a thousand, may be Pullus Jovis, in the world's esteem, Gallinæ filius albæ, an happy and fortunate man, ad invidiam felix, because rich, fair, well allied, in honour and office; yet peradventure ask himself, and he will say, that of all others, he is most miserable and unhappy. A fair shoe, Hic soccus novus, elegans, as he said, sed nescis ubi urat, but thou knowest not where it pincheth. It is not another man's opinion can make me happy: but as Seneca well hath it, "He is a miserable wretch that doth not account himself happy; though he be sovereign lord of a world, he is not happy, if he think himself not to be so; for what availeth it what thine estate is, or seem to others, if thou thyself dislike it?" A common humour it is of all men to think well of other men's fortunes, and dislike their own: Cui placet alterius, sua nimirum est odio sors; but qui fit Mæcenas, &c., how comes it to pass, what's the cause of it? Many men are of such a perverse nature, they are well pleased with nothing, (saith Theodoret) "neither with riches nor poverty, they complain when they are well and when they are sick, grumble at all fortunes, prosperity and adversity; they are troubled in a cheap year, in a barren,
plenty or not plenty, nothing pleaseth them, war nor peace, with children, nor without." This for the most part is the humour of us all, to be discontent, miserable, and most unhappy, as we think at least; and show me him that is not so, or that ever was otherwise. Quintus Metellus his felicity is infinitely admired amongst the Romans, insomuch that as Paterculus mentioneth of him, you can scarce find of any nation, order, age, sex, one for happiness to be compared unto him: he had, in a word, Bona animi, corporis et fortunæ, goods of mind, body, and fortune, so had P. Mutianus, Crassus. Lampsaca, that Lacedemonian lady was such another in Pliny's conceit, a king's wife, a king's mother, a king's daughter: and all the world esteemed as much of Polycrates of Samos. The Greeks brag of their Socrates, Phocion,
Aristides; the Psophidians in particular of their Aglaus, Omni vita felix, ab omni periculo immunis (which by the way Pausanias held impossible); the Romans of their Cato, Curius, Fabricius, for their composed fortunes, and retired estates, government of passions, and contempt of the world: yet none of all these were happy, or free from discontent, neither Metellus, Crassus, nor Polycrates, for he died a violent death, and
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so did Cato; and how much evil doth Lactantius and Theodoret speak of Socrates, a weak man, and so of the rest. There is no content in this life, but as he said, "All is vanity and vexation of spirit;" lame and imperfect. Hadst thou Sampson's hair, Milo's strength, Scanderbeg's arm, Solomon's wisdom, Absalom's beauty, Croesus's wealth, Pasetis obulum, Cæsar's valour, Alexander's spirit, Tully's or Demosthenes' eloquence, Gyges' ring, Perseus' Pegasus, and Gorgon's head, Nestor's years to come, all this would not make thee absolute, give thee content and true happiness in this life, or so continue it. Even in the midst of all our mirth, jollity, and laughter, is sorrow and grief; or if there be true happiness amongst us, 'tis but for a time,
"Desinit in piscem mulier formosa superne:"
"A handsome woman with a fish's tail."
a fair morning turns to a lowering afternoon. Brutus and Cassius, once renowned, both eminently happy, yet you shall scarce find two, (saith Paterculus) Quos fortuna maturius destituerit, whom fortune sooner forsook. Hannibal, a conqueror all his life, met with his match, and was subdued at last, Occurrit forti, qui mage fortis erit. One is brought in triumph, as Cæsar into Rome, Alcibiades into Athens, coronis aureis donatus, crowned, honoured, admired; by-and-by his statues demolished, he hissed out, massacred, &c. Magnus Gonsalva, that famous Spaniard, was of the prince and
people at first honoured, approved; forthwith confined and banished. Admirandas actiones, graves plerumque sequuntur invidiæ, et acres calumniæ: 'tis Polybius his observation, grievous enmities, and bitter calumnies, commonly follow renowned actions. One is born rich, dies a beggar; sound to-day, sick tomorrow; now in most flourishing estate, fortunate and happy, by-and-by deprived of his goods by foreign enemies, robbed by thieves, spoiled, captivated, impoverished as they of "Rabbah, put under iron saws, and under iron harrows, and under axes of iron, and cast into the tile kiln,"
"Quid me felicem toties jactastis amici,
Qui cecidit, stabili non erat ille gradu."
He that erst marched like Xerxes with innumerable armies, as rich as Croesus, now shifts for himself in a poor cock-boat, is bound in iron chains, with Bajazet the Turk, and a footstool with Aurelian, for a tyrannising conqueror to trample on. So many casualties there are, that as Seneca said of a city consumed with fire, Una dies interest inter maximam civitatem et nullam, one day betwixt a great city and none: so many grievances from outward accidents, and from ourselves, our own indiscretion, inordinate appetite, one day betwixt a man and no man, And which is worse, as if discontents and miseries would not come fast enough upon us: homo homini dæmon, we maul, persecute, and study how to sting, gall, and vex one another with mutual hatred, abuses, injuries; preying upon and devouring as so many ravenous birds; and as jugglers, panders, bawds, cozening one another; or raging as wolves, tigers, and devils, we take a delight to torment one another; men are evil, wicked, malicious, treacherous, and naught, not loving one another, or loving themselves, not hospitable, charitable, nor sociable as they ought to be, but counterfeit, dissemblers, ambidexters,
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all for their own ends, hard-hearted, merciless, pitiless, and to benefit themselves, they care not what mischief they procure to others. Praxinoe and Gorgo in the poet, when they had got in to see those costly sights, they then cried bene est, and would thrust out all the rest: when they are rich themselves, in honour, preferred, full, and have even that they would, they debar others of those pleasures which youth requires, and they formerly have enjoyed. He sits at table in a soft chair at ease, but he doth not remember in the meantime that a tired waiter stands behind him, "an hungry fellow
ministers to him full, he is athirst that gives him drink (saith Epictetus) and is silent whilst he speaks his pleasure: pensive, sad, when he laughs." Pleno se proluit auro: he feasts, revels, and profusely spends, hath variety of robes, sweet music, ease, and all the pleasures the world can afford, whilst many an hunger-starved poor creature pines in the street, wants clothes to cover him, labours hard all day long, runs, rides for a trifle, fights peradventure from sun to sun, sick and ill, weary, full of pain and grief; is in great distress and sorrow of heart. He loathes and scorns his inferior, hates or emulates his equal, envies his superior, insults over all such as are under him, as if he were of another species, a demi-god, not subject to any fall, or human infirmities.
Generally they love not, are not beloved again: they tire out others' bodies with continual labour, they themselves living at ease, caring for none else, sibi nati; and are so far many times from putting to their helping hand, that they seek all means to depress, even most worthy and well deserving, better than themselves, those whom they are by the laws of nature bound to relieve and help, as much as in them lies, they will let them caterwaul, starve, beg, and hang, before they will any ways (though it be in their power) assist or ease: unnatural are they for the most part, so unregardful; so
hard-hearted, so churlish, proud, insolent, so dogged, of so bad a disposition. And being so brutish, so devilishly bent one towards another, how is it possible but that we should be discontent of all sides, full of cares, woes, and miseries?
If this be not a sufficient proof of their discontent and misery, examine every condition and calling apart. Kings, princes, monarchs, and magistrates seem to be most happy, but look into their estate, you shall find them to be most encumbered
with cares, in perpetual fear, agony, suspicion, jealousy that as he said of a crown, if they knew but the discontents that accompnay it, they would not stoop to take it up. Quem mihi regem dabis, (saith Chrysostom) non curis plenum? What king canst thou show me, not full of cares? "Look not on his crown, but consider his afflictions; attend not his number of servants, but multitude of crosses." Nihil aliud potesas culminis, quam tempestas mentis, as Gregory seconds him; sovereignty is a tempest of the soul: Sylla-like, they have brave titles but terrible fits: splendorem titulo, cruciatum animo, which made Demosthenes vow, si vel ad tribunal, vel ad interitum duceretur: if to be a judge, or to be condemned, were put to his choice, he would be condemned. Rich men are in the same predicament; what their pains are, stulta nesciunt, ipsi sentiunt: they feel, fools perceive not, as I shall prove elsewhere, and their wealth is brittle, like children's rattles: they come and go, there is no certainty in them: those whom they elevate, they do as suddenly depress, and leave in a vale of misery. The middle sort of men are as so many asses to bear burdens; or if they be free, and live at ease, they spend themselves, and consume their bodies and fortunes with luxury and riot, contention, emulation, &c. The poor I reserve for another place, and their discontents.
For particular professions, I hold as of the rest, there's no content or security in any; on what course will you pitch; how resolve? to be a divine, 'tis contemptible in the world's esteem; to be a lawyer, 'tis to be a wrangler; to be a physician, pudet lotii,
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'tis loathed; a philosopher, a madman; an alchymist, a beggar; a poet, esurit, an hungry jack; a musician, a player; a schoolmaster, a drudge; an husbandman, an emmet; a merchant, his gains are uncertain; a mechanician, base; a chirurgeon, fulsome; a tradesman, a liar; a tailor, a thief; a serving-man, a slave; a soldier, a butcher; a smith, or a metalman, the pot's never from's nose; a courtier, a parasite, as he could find no tree in the wood to hang himself; I can show no state of life to give content. The like you may say of all ages; children live in a perpetual slavery, still under that tyrannical government of masters; young men, and of riper years, subject to labour, and a thousand cares of the world, to treachery, falsehood and cozenage,
"-- Incedit per ignes,
Suppositos cineri doloso,"
"-- you incautious tread
On fires, with faithless ashes overhead,"
old are full of aches in their bones, cramps and convulsions, silicernia, dull of hearing, weak sighted, hoary, wrinkled, harsh, so much altered as that they cannot know their own face in a glass, a burthen to themselves and others, after 70 years, "all is sorrow" (as David hath it), they do not live but linger. If they be sound, they fear diseases; if sick, weary of their lives: Non est vivere sed valere, vita. One complains of want, a second of servitude, another of a secret or incurable disease; of some deformity of body, of some loss, danger, death of friends, shipwreck, persecution, imprisonment, disgrace, repulse, contumely, calumny, abuse, injury, contempt, ingratitude, unkindness, scoffs, flouts, unfortunate marriage, single life, too many children, no children, false servants, unhappy children, barrenness, banishment, oppression, frustrate hopes and ill success, &c.
"Talia de genere hoc adeo sunt multa, loquacem ut
Delassare valent Fabium.--"
"But every various instance to repeat
Would tire even Fabius of incessant prate."
Talking Fabius will be tired before he can tell half of them; they are the subject of whole volumes, and shall (some of them) be more opportunely dilated elsewhere. In the meantime thus much I may say of them, that generally they crucify the soul of man, attenuate our bodies, dry them, wither them, shrivel them up like old apples, make them as so many anatomies (ossa atque pellus est totus, ita curis macet), they cause tempus foedum et squalidum, cumbersome days, ingrataque tempora, slow, dull, and heavy times: make us howl, roar, and tear our hairs, as sorrow did in Cebes' table,
and groan for the very anguish of our souls. Our hearts fail us as David's did, Psal. xl. 12, "for innumerable troubles that compassed him;" and we are ready to confess with Hezekiah, Isaiah lviii. 17, "behold, for felicity I had bitter grief;" to weep with Heraclitus, to curse the day of our birth with Jeremy, xx. 14, and our stars with Job: to hold that axiom of Silenus, "better never to have been born, and the best next of all, to die quickly:" or if we must live, to abandon the world, as Timon did; creep into caves and holes, as our anchorites; cast all into the sea, as Crates Thebanus; or as
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Theombrotus Ambrociato's 400 auditors, precipitate ourselves to be rid of these miseries.
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