THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY
BY DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR
SUBSECT. I.-- Non-necessary, remote, outward adventitious, or accidental causes: as first from the Nurse.
OF those remote, outward, ambient, necessary causes, I have sufficiently discoursed in the precedent member, the non-necessary follow; of which, saith Fuchsius, no art can be made, by reason of their uncertainty, casualty, and multitude; so called "not necessary" because according to Fernelius, "they may be avoided, and used without necessity." Many of these accidental causes, which I shall entreat of here, might have well been reduced to the former, because they cannot be avoided, but fatally happen to us, though accidentally, and unawares, at some time or other: the rest are contingent and inevitable, and more properly inserted in this rank of causes. To reckon up all is a thing impossible; of some therefore most remarkable of these contingent causes which produce melancholy, I will briefly speak and in their order.
From a child's nativity, the first ill accident that can likely befall him in this kind is a bad nurse, by whose means alone he may be tainted with this malady from his cradle, Aulus Gellius l. 12. c. 1. brings in Phavorinus, that eloquent philosopher, proving this at large, "that there is the same virtue and property in the milk as in the seed, and not in men alone, but in all other creatures; he gives instance in a kid and lamb, if either of them suck of the other's milk, the lamb of the goat's, or the kid of the ewe's, the wool of the one will he hard, and the hair of the other soft." Giraldus Cambrensis Itinerar. Cambriæ, l. 1. c. 2. confirms this by a notable example which happened in his time. A sow-pig by chance sucked a brach, and when he was grown, "would miraculously hunt all manner of deer, and that as well, or rather better, than any ordinary hound." His conclusion is, "that men and beasts participate of her nature and conditions by whose milk they are fed." Phavorinus urges it further, and demonstrates it more evidently, that if a nurse be "misshapen, unchaste, dishonest, impudent, cruel, or the like, the child that sucks upon her breast will be so too;" all
other affections of the mind and diseases are almost ingrafted, as it were, and imprinted into the temperature of the infant, by the nurse's milk; as pox, leprosy, melancholy, &c. Cato for some such reason would make his servants' children suck upon his wife's breast, because by that means they would love him and his the better, and in all likelihood agree with them. A more evident example that the minds are altered by milk cannot be given, than that of Dion, which he relates of Caligula's cruelty; it could neither be imputed to father nor mother, but to his cruel nurse alone, that anointed her paps with blood still when he sucked, which made him such a murderer, and to express her cruelty to a hair: and that of Tiberius, who was a common drunkard, because his nurse was such a one. Et si delira fuerit (one observes) infantulum delirum faciet, if she be a fool or dolt, the child she nurseth will take after her, or otherwise be misaffected; which Franciscus Barbarus, l. 2. c. ult. de re uxoria, proves at full, and Ant. Guivarra. lib. 2. de Marco Aurelio: the child will surely participate. For bodily sickness there is no doubt to be made. Titus, Vespasian's son, was therefore sickly, because the nurse was so, Lampridius. And if we may believe
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physicians, many times children catch the pox from a bad nurse, Botaldus, cap. 61. de lue vener. Besides evil attendance, negligence, and many gross inconveniences, which are incident to nurses, much danger may so come to the child. For these causes Aristotle, Polit. lib. 7. c. 17. Phavorinus and Marcus Aurelius would not have a child put to nurse at all, but every mother to bring up her own, of what condition soever she be; for a sound and able mother to put out her child to nurse, is naturæ intemperies, so Guatso calls it, 'tis fit therefore she should be nurse herself; the mother will be more careful, loving, and attendant, than any servile woman, or such hired creatures; this all the world ackowledgeth, convenientissimum est (as Rod. a Castro de nat. mulierum, lib. 4. c. 12. in many words confesseth) matrem ipsam lactare infantem, "It is most fit that the mother should suckle her own infant"-- who denies that it should be so?-- and
which some women most curiously observe; amongst the rest, that queen of France, a Spaniard by birth, that was so precise and zealous in this behalf, that when in her absence a strange nurse had suckled her child, she was never quiet till she had made the infant vomit it up again. But she was too jealous. If it be so, as many times it is, they must be put forth, the mother be not fit or well able to be a nurse, I would then advise such mothers, as Plutarch doth in his book de liberis educandis, and S. Hierom, li. 2. epist. 27. Lætæ de institut. fil. Magninus part. 2. Reg. sanit. cap. 7. and the said
Rodericus, that they make choice of a sound woman, of a good complexion, honest, free from bodily diseases, if it be possible, all passions and perturbations of the mind, as sorrow, fear, grief, folly, melancholy. For such passions corrupt the milk, and alter the temperature of the child, which now being Udum et molle lutum, "a moist and soft clay" is easily seasoned and perverted. And if such a nurse may be found out, that will be diligent and careful withal, let Phavorinus and M. Aurelius plead how they can against it, I had rather accept of her in some cases than the mother herself and which Bonacialus the physician, Nic. Biesius the politician, lib. 4. de repub. cap. 8. approves, "Some nurses are much to be preferred to some mothers." For why may not the mother be naught, peevish drunken flirt, a waspish choleric slut, a crazed piece, a fool (as many mothers are), unsound, as soon as the nurse? There is more choice of nurses than mothers; and therefore except the mother be most virtuous, staid, a woman of excellent good parts, and of a sound complexion, I would have all children in such cases committed to discreet strangers. And 'tis the only way; as by marriage they are ingrafted to other families to alter the breed, or if anything be amiss in the mother, as Ludovicus Mercatus contends, Tom. 2. lib. de morb. hæred. to prevent diseases and future maladies, to correct and qualify the child's ill-disposed temperature, which he had from his parents. This is an excellent remedy, if good choice be made of such a nurse.
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SUBSECT. II.-- Education a Cause of Melancholy.
EDUCATION, of these accidental causes of Melancholy, may justly challenge the next place, for if a man escape a bad nurse, he may be undone by evil bringing up. Jason Pratensis puts this of education for a principal cause; bad parents, step-mothers, tutors, masters, teachers, too rigorous, too severe, too remiss or indulgent on the other side, are often fountains and fartherers of this disease. Parents and such as have the tuition and oversight of children, offend many times in that they are too stern, always threatening, chiding, brawling, whipping, or striking; by means of which their poor children are so disheartened and cowed, that they never after have any courage, a merry hour in their lives, or take pleasure in any thing. There is a great moderation to be had in such thngs, as matters of so great moment to the making or marring of a child. Some fright their children with beggars, bugbears, and hobgoblins, if they cry, or be otherwise unruly: but they are much to blame in it, many times, saith Lavater, de spectris, part 1. cap. 5. ex metu in morbos graves incidunt et noctu dormientes clamant, for fear they fall into many diseases, and cry out in their sleep, and are much the worse for it all their lives: these things ought not at all, or to be sparingly done, and upon just occasion. Tyrannical, impatient, hare-brained schoolmasters, aridi magistri, so Fabius terms them Ajaces flagelliferi, are in this kind as bad as hangmen and executioners, they make many children endure a martyrdom all the while they are at school, with bad diet, if they board in their houses, too much severity and ill-usage, they quite pervert their temperature of body and mind: still chiding, railing, frowning, lashing, tasking, keeping, that they are fracti animis, moped many times weary of their lives, nimia severitate deficiunt et desperant, and think no slavery in the world (as once I did myself) like to that of a grammar scholar. Præceptorum ineptiis discruciantur ingenia puerorum, (The pupil's faculties are perverted by the indiscretion of the master) saith Erasmus, they tremble at his voice, looks, coming in.
St. Austin, in the first book of his confess. et 4. ca. calls this schooling meticulosam necessitatem, and elsewhere a martyrdom, and confesseth of himself; how cruelly he was tortured in mind for learning Greek, nulla verba noveram, et sævis terroribus et poenis, ut nossem, instabatur mihi vehementer, I knew nothing, and with cruel terrors and punishment I was daily compelled. Beza complains in like case of a rigorous schoolmaster in Paris, that made him by his continual thunder and threats once in a mind to drown himself; had he not met by the way with an uncle of his that vindicated him from that misery for the time, by taking him to his house. Trincavellius, lib. 1. consil. 16. had a patient nineteen years of age, extremely melancholy, ob nimium studium, Tarvitii et preceptoris minas, by reason of overmuch study, and his tutor's threats. Many masters are hard-hearted, and bitter to their servants, and by means do so deject, with terrible speeches and hard usage so crucify them, that they become desperate, and can never be recalled.
Others again, in that opposite extreme, do as great harm by their too much remissness, they give them no bringing up, no calling to busy themselves about, or to live in, teach them no trade, or set them in any good course; by means of which their servants, children, scholars, are carried away with that stream of drunkenness, idleness, gaming, and many such irregular courses, that in the end they rue it, curse
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their parents, and mischief themselves. Too much indulgence causeth the like, inepta patris lenitas et facilitas prava, when as Mitio-like, with too much liberty and too great allowance, they feed their children's humours, let them revel, wench, riot, swagger, and do what they will themselves, and then punish them with noise of musicians;
"Obsonet, potet, oleat unguenta de meo:
Amat? dabitur a me argentum ubi erit commodum.
Fores effregit? restituentur: descidit
Vestem? reasarcietur.-- Faciat quod lubet.
Sumat, consumat, perdat, decretum est pati."
(Let him feast, drink, perfume himself at my expense: If he be in love, I shall supply him with money. Has he broken in the gates? they shall be repaired. Has he torn his garments? they shall be replaced. Let him do what he pleases, take, spend, waste, I am resolved to submit.)
But as Demeo told him, tu illum corrumpi sinis, your lenity will be his undoing, prævidere videor jam diem ilium, quum hic egens profugiet aliquo militatum, I foresee his ruin. So parents often err, many fond mothers especially, dote so much upon their children, like Æsop's ape, till in the end they crush them to death, Corporum nutrices animarum novercæ, pampering up their bodies to the undoing of their souls; they will not let them be corrected or controlled, but still soothed up in every thing they do, that in conclusion "they bring sorrow, shame, heaviness to their parents (Ecclus. cap. xxx. 8, 9.) become wanton, stubborn, wilful, and disobedient; rude, untaught, headstrong, incorrigible, and graceless;" "they love them so foolishly," saith Cardan, "that they rather seem to hate them, bringing them not up to virtue but injury, not to learning but to riot, not to sober life and conversation, but to all pleasure and licentious behaviour." Who is he of so little experience that knows not this of Fabius to be true!
"Education is another nature, altering the mind and will, and I would to God (saith he) we ourselves did not spoil our children's manners, by our overmuch cockering and nice education, and weaken the strength of their bodies and minds, that causeth custom, custom nature," &c. For these causes Plutarch in his book de lib. educ. and Hierom, epist. lib 1. epist. 17. to Læta de institut. filiæ, gives a most especial charge to all parents, and many good cautions about bringing up of children, that they be not committed to indiscreet, passionate, bedlam tutors, light, giddy-headed, or covetous
persons, and spare for no cost, that they may be well nurtured and taught, it being a matter of so great consequence. For such parents as do otherwise, Plutarch esteems of them "that are more careful of their shoes than of their feet," that rate their wealth above their children. And he, saith Cardan, "that leaves his son to a covetous schoolmaster to be informed, or to a close Abbey to fast and learn wisdom together, doth no other, than that he be a learned fool, or a sickly wise man."
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SUBSECT. III.-- Terrors and Affrights, Causes of Melancholy.
TULLY, in the fourth of his Tusculans, distinguishes these terrors which arise from the apprehension of some terrible object heard or seen, from other fears, and so doth Patritius, lib. 5. Tit. 4. de regis institut. Of all fears they are most pernicious and violent, and so suddenly alter the whole temperature of the body, move the soul and spirits, strike such a deep impression, that the parties can never be recovered, causing more grievous and fiercer melancholy, as Felix Plater, c. 3. dementis alienat. speaks out of his experience, than any inward cause whatsoever: and imprints itself so
forcibly in the spirits, brain, humours, that if all the mass of blood were let out of the body, it could hardly be extracted. This horrible kind of melancholy (for so he terms it) had been often brought before him, "and troubles and affrights commonly men and women, young and old of all sorts." Hercules de Saxonia calls this kind of melancholy (ab agitatione spirituum) by a peculiar name, it comes from the agitation, motion, contraction, dilatation of spirits, not from any distemperature of humours, and produceth strong effects. This terror is most usually caused, as Plutarch will have, from some imminent danger, when a terrible object is at hand, heard, seen, or conceived, "truly appearing, or in a dream:" and many times the more sudden the accident, it is the more violent.
"Stat terror animis, et cor attonitum salit,
Pavidumque trepidis palpitat venis jecur."
"Their souls affright, their heart amazed quakes,
The trembling liver pants i' th' veins, and aches."
Arthemedorus the grammarian lost his wits by the unexpected sight of a crocodile, Laurentius, 7. de melan. The massacre at Lyons, 1572, in the reign of Charles IX., was so terrible and fearful, that many ran mad, some died, great-bellied women were brought to bed before their time, generally all affrighted aghast. Many lose their wits "by the sudden sight of some spectrum or devil, a thing very common in all ages," saith Lavater, part 1. cap. 9. as Orestes did at the sight of the Furies, which appeared to him in black (as Pausanias records). The Greeks call them μοζμολυχεια,
[mozmolycheia] which so terrify their souls, or if they be but affrighted by some counterfeit devils in jest,
"-- ut pueri trepidant, atque omnia cæcis
In tenebris metuunt --"
as children in the dark conceive hobgoblins, and are so afraid, they are the worse for it all their lives. Some by sudden fires, earthquakes, inundations, or any such dismal objects: Themison the physician fell into a hydrophobia, by seeing one sick of that disease: (Dioscurides l. 6. c. 33.) or by the sight of a monster, a carcase, they are
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disquieted many months following, and cannot endure the room where a corpse hath been, for a world would not be alone with a dead man, or lie in that bed many years after in which a man hath died. At Basel many little children in the spring time went to gather flowers in a meadow at the town's end, where a malefactor hung in gibbets; all gazing at it, one by chance flung a stone, and made it stir, by which accident, the children affrighted ran away; one slower than the rest, looking back, and seeing the stirred carcase wag towards her, cried out it came after, and was so terribly affrighted, that for many days she could not rest, eat, or sleep, she could not be pacified, but melancholy, died. In the same town another child, beyond the Rhine, saw a grave opened, and upon the sight of a carcase, was so troubled in mind that she could not be comforted, but a little after departed, and was buried up. Platerus, observat. l. 1, a gentlewoman of the same city saw a fat hog cut up, when the entrails were opened, and a noisome savour offended her nose, she much misliked, and would not longer abide: a physician in presence told her, as that hog, so was she, full of filthy excrements, and aggravated the matter by some other loathsome instances, insomuch this nice gentlewoman apprehended it so deeply, that she fell forthwith a-vomiting, was so mightily distempered in mind and body, that with all his art and persuasions, for some months after, he could not restore her to herself again, she could not forget it, or remove the object out of her sight, Idem. Many cannot endure to see a wound opened, but they are offended: a man executed, or labour of any fearful disease, as possession, apoplexies, one bewitched; or if they read by chance of some terrible thing, the symptoms alone of such a disease, or that which they dislike, they are instantly troubled in mind, aghast, ready to apply it to themselves, they are as much disquieted as if they had seen it, or were so affected themselves. Hecatas sibi videntur somniare, they dream and continually think of it. As lamentable effects are caused by
such terrible objects heard, read, or seen, auditus maximos motus in corpora facit, as Plutarch holds, no sense makes greater alteration of body and mind: sudden speech sometimes, unexpected news, be they good or bad, prævisa minus oratio, will move as much, animum obruere, et de sede sua dejicere, as a philosopher observes, will take away our sleep and appetite, disturb and quite overturn us. Let them bear witness that have heard those tragical alarms, outcries, hideous noises, which are many times suddenly heard in the dead of the night by irruption of enemies and accidental fires, &c., those panic fears, which often drive men out of their wits, bereave them of sense, understanding and all, some for a time, some for their whole lives, they never recover it. The Midianites were so affrighted by Gideon's soldiers, they breaking but every one a pitcher; and Hannibal's army by such a panic fear was discomfited at the walls of Rome. Augusta Livia hearing a few tragical verses recited out of Virgil, Tu Marcellus eris, &c., fell down dead in a swoon. Edinus king of Denmark, by a sudden sound which he heard, "was turned into fury with all his men," Crauzius, l. 5,
Dan. hist. et Alexander ab Alexandro l. 3. c. 5. Amatus Lusitanus had a patient, that by reason of bad tidings became epilepticus, cen. 2. cura 90, Cardan subtil. l. 18, saw one that lost his wits by mistaking of an echo. If one sense alone can cause such violent commotions of the mind, what may we think when hearing, sight, and those other senses are all troubled at once? as by some earthquakes, thunder, lightning, tempest; &c. At Bologna in Italy, Anno 1504, there was such a fearful earthquake about eleven o'clock in the night (as Beroaldus, in his book de terræ motu, hath commended to posterity) that all the city trembled, the people thought the world was at an end, actum de mortalibus, such a fearful noise, it made such a detestable smell, the inhabitants were infinitely affrighted, and some ran mad. Audi rem atrocem, at annalibus memorandam (mine author adds), hear a strange story, and worthy to be chronicled: I
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had a servant at the same time called Fulco Argelanus, a bold and proper man, so grievously terrified with it, that he was first melancholy, after doted, at last mad, and made away himself: At Fuscinum in Japona "there was such an earthquake, and darkness on a sudden, that many men were offended with headache, many overwhelmed with sorrow and melancholy. At Meacum whole streets and goodly palaces were overturned at the same time, and there was such a hideous noise withal, like thunder, and filthy smell, that their hair started for fear, and their hearts quaked, men and beasts were incredibly terrified. In Sacai, another city, the same earthquake was terrible unto them, that many were bereft of their senses; and others by that horrible spectacle so much amazed, that they knew not what they did." Blasius, a Christian, the reporter of the news,was so affrighted for his part, that though it were two months after, he was scarce his own man, neither could he drive the remembrance of it out of his mind. Many time, some years following, they will tremble afresh at the remembrance or conceit of such a terrible object, even all their lives long, if mention be made of it. Cornelius Agrippa relates out of Gulielmus Parisiensis, a story of one, that after a distasteful purge which a physician had prescribed unto him, was so much moved, "that at the very sight of physic he would be distempered," though he never so much as smelled to it, the box of physic long after would give him a purge; nay, the very remembrance of it did effect it; "like travellers and seamen," saith Plutarch, "that when they have been sanded, or dashed on a rock, for ever after fear not that mischance only, but all such dangers whatsoever."
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SUBSECT. IV.-- Scoffs, Calumnies, bitter Jests, how they cause Melancholy
IT is an old saying, "A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword" and many men are as much galled with a calumny, a scurrilous and bitter jest, a libel, a pasquil, satire, apologue, epigram, stage-play or the like, as with any misfortune whatsoever. Princes and potentates that are otherwise happy, and have all at command, secure and free, quibus potentia sceleris impunitatem fecit, are grievously vexed with these pasquilling libels, and satires: they fear a railing Aretine more than an enemy in the field, which made most princes of his time (as some relate) "allow him a liberal pension, that he should not tax them in his satires." The gods had their Momus, Homer his Zoilus, Achilles his Thersites, Philip his Demades: the Cæsars themselves in Rome were commonly taunted. There was never wanting a
Petronius, a Lucian in those times, nor will be a Rabelais, an Euphormio, a Boccalinus in ours. Adran the sixth pope was so highly offended, and grievously vexed with Pasquillers at Rome, he gave command that his statue should be demolished and burned, the ashes flung into the river Tiber, and had done it forthwith, had not Lodovicus Suessanus, a facete companion, dissuaded him to the contrary, by telling him, that Pasquil's ashes would turn to frogs in the bottom of the river, and croak worse and louder than before, -- genus irritabile vatum, and therefore Socrates in Plato adviseth all his friends, "that respect their credits, to stand in awe of poets, for they are terrible fellows, can praise and dispraise as they see cause." Hinc quam sit calamus sævior ense, patet. The prophet David complains, Psalm cxxiii. 4. "that his soul was full of the mocking of the wealthy, and of the despitefulness of the proud," and Psalm lv. 4. "for the voice of the wicked, &c., and their hate: his heart trembled within him, and the terrors of death came upon him; fear and horrible fear," &c., and Psalm lxix. 20. "Rebuke hath broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness." Who hath not like cause to complain, and is not so troubled, that shall fall into the mouths of such men? for many are of so petulant a spleen; and have that figure Sarcasmus so often in their mouths, so bitter, so foolish, as Baltasar Castilio notes of them, that "they cannot speak, but they must bite;" they had rather lose a friend than a jest; and what company soever they come in, they will be scoffing, insulting over their inferiors, especially over such as any way depend upon them, humouring, misusing, or putting gulleries on some or other till they have made by their humouring or gulling ex stulto insanum, a mope or a noddy, and all to make themselves merry:
"-- dummodo risum
Excutiat sibi; non hic cuiquam pareit amico;"
(Hor. ser. lib. 2 sat. 4 "Provided he can only excite laughter, he spares not his best
Friends, neuters, enemies, all are as one, to make a fool a madman, is their sport, and they have no greater felicity than to scoff and deride others; they must sacrifice to the
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god of laughter, with them in Apuleius, once a day, or else they shall be melancholy themselves; they care not how they grind and misuse others, so they may exhilarate their own persons. Their wits indeed serve them to that sole purpose, to make sport, to break a scurrile jest, which is levissimus ingenii fructus, the froth of wit, as Tully holds, and for this they are often applauded, in all other discourse, dry, barren, stramineous, dull and heavy, here lies their genius, in this they alone excel, please themselves and others. Leo Decimus, that scoffing pope, as Jovius hath registered in the Fourth book of his life, took an extraordinary delight in humouring of silly fellows, and to put gulleries upon them, by commending some, persuading others to this or that; he made ex stolidis stultissimos, et maxime ridiculos, ex stultis insanos; soft fellows, stark noddies; and such as were foolish, quite mad before he left them.
One memorable example he recites there, of Tarascomus of Parma, a musician that was so humoured by Leo Decimus, and Bibiena his second in this business, that he thought himself to be a man of most excellent skill (who was indeed a ninny), they "made him set foolish songs, and invent new ridiculous precepts, which they did highly commend," as to tie his arm that played on the lute, to make him strike a sweeter stroke, "and to pull down the Arras hangings, because the voice would be clearer, by reason of the reverberation of the wall." In the like manner they persuaded one Baraballius of Caieta, that he was as good a poet as Petrarch; would have him to be made a laureate poet, and invite all his friends to his instalment; and had so possessed the poor man with a conceit of his excellent poetry, that when some of his more discreet friends told him of his folly, he was very angry with them, and said "they envied his honour, and prosperity:" it was strange (saith Jovius) to see an old man of 60 years, a venerable and grave old man, so gulled. But what cannot such scoffers do, especially if they find a soft creature, on whom they may work? nay, to say truth, who is so wise, or so discreet, that may not be humoured in this kind, especially if some excellent wits shall set upon him; he that made others, if he were so humoured, would be as mad himself as much grieved and tormented; he might cry with him in the comedy, Proh Jupiter, tu homo me adigas ad insaniam. For all is in these things as they are taken; if he be a silly soul, and do not perceive it, 'tis well, he may haply make others sport, and be no whit troubled himself; but if he be apprehensive of his folly, and take it to heart, then it torments him worse than any lash: a bitter jest, a slander, a calumny, pierceth deeper than any loss, danger, bodily pain, or injury whatsoever; laviter enim volat (it flies swiftly), as Bernard of an arrow, sed graviter vulnerat (but wounds deeply), especially if it shall proceed from a virulent tongue, "it cuts (saith David) like a two-edged sword. They shoot bitter words as arrows," Psalm lxiv. 3. "And they smote with their tongues", Jer. xviii. 18. and that so hard, that they leave an incurable wound behind them. Many men are undone by this means, moped, and so dejected, that they are never to be recovered; and of all other men living, those which are actually melancholy, or inclined to it, are most sensible (as being suspicious, choleric, apt to mistake) and impatient of an injury in that kind: they aggravate, and so meditate continually of it, that it is a perpetual corrosive, not to be removed till time wear it out Although they peradventure that so scoff, do it alone in mirth and merriment, and hold it optimum aliena frui insania, an excellent thing to enjoy another man's madness; yet they must know, that it is a mortal
sin (as Thomas holds), and as the prophet David denounceth, "they that use it, shall never dwell in God's tabernacle."
Such scurrilous jests, flouts, and sarcasms, therefore, ought not at all to be used; especially to our betters, to those that are in misery, or any way distressed: for to such, ærumnarum incrementa sunt, they multiply grief; and as he perceived, in multis
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pudor, in multis iracundia, &c., many are ashamed, many vexed, angered, and there is no greater cause or furtherer of melancholy. Martin Cromerus, in the Sixth book of his history, hath a pretty story to this purpose, of Uladislaus, the second king of Poland, and Peter Dunnius, earl of Shrine; they had been hunting late, and were enforced to lodge in a poor cottage. When they went to bed, Uladislaus told the earl in jest, that his wife lay softer with the abbot of Shrine; he not able to contain, replied, Et tua cum Dabesso, and yours with Dabessus, a gallant young gentleman in the court, whom Christina the queen loved. Tetigit id dictum Principis animum, these words of his so galled the prince, that he was long after tristis et cogiabundus, very sad and melancholy for many months; but they were the earl's utter undoing: for when Christina heard of it, she persecuted him to death. Sophia the empress, Justinian's wife, broke a bitter jest upon Narsetes the eunuch, a famous captain then disquieted for an overthrow which he lately had: that he was fitter for a distaff and to keep women company, than to wield a sword, or to be general of an army: but it cost her dear, for he so far distasted it, that he went forthwith to the adverse part, much troubled in his thoughts, caused the Lombards to rebel, and thence procured many miseries to the commonwealth. Tiberius the emperor withheld a legacy from the people of Rome, which his predecessor Augustus had lately given, and perceiving a fellow round a dead corse in the ear, would needs know wherefore he did so; the fellow replied, that he wished the departed soul to signify to Augustus, the commons of Rome were yet unpaid: for this bitter jest the emperor caused him forthwith to be slain, and carry the news himself. For this reason, all those that otherwise approve of jests in some cases, and facete companions, (as who doth not?) let them laugh and be merry, rumpantur et ilia Codro, 'tis laudable and fit, those yet will by no means admit
them in their companies, that are any way inclined to this malady; non jocandum cum iis qui miseri sunt, et ærumnosi, no jesting with a discontented person, 'Tis Castilio's caveat, Jo. Pontanus, and Galateus, and every good man's.
Play with me, but hurt me not:
Jest with me, but shame me not.
Comitas is a virtue between rusticity and scurrility, two extremes, as affability is between flattery and contention, it must not exceed; but be still accompanied with that αβλβαεια [ablabeia] or innocency, quæ nemini nocet, omnem injuriæ oblationem abhorrens, hurts no man, abhors all offer of injury. Though a man be liable to such a jest or obloquy, have been overseen, or committed a foul fact, yet it is no good manners or humanity to upbraid, to hit him in the teeth with his offence, or to scoff at such a one; 'tis an old axiom, turpis in reum omnis exprobratio (every reproach
uttered against one already condemned, is mean-spirited). I speak not of such as generally tax vice, Barclay, Gentilis, Erasmus, Agrippa, Fishcartus, &c., the Varronists and Lucians of our time, satirists, epigrammatists, comedians, apologists, &c., but such as personate, rail, scoff, calumniate, perstringe by name, or in presence offend;
"Ludit qui stolida procacitate,
Non est Sestius ille sed caballus;"
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'Tis horse-play this, and those jests (as he saith) "are no better than injuries," biting jests, mordentes et aculeati, they are poisoned jests, leave a sting behind them, and ought not to be used.
"Set not thy foot to make the blind to fall;
Nor wilfully offend thy weaker brother:
Nor wound the dead with thy tongues' bitter gall,
Neither rejoice thou in the fall of other."
If these rules could be kept, we should have much more ease and quietness then we have, less melancholy; whereas, on the contrary, we study to misuse each other, how to sting and gall, like two fighting boors, bending all our force and wit, friends, fortune, to crucify one another's souls; by means of which, there is little content and charity, much virulency, hatred, malice, and disquietness among us.
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SUBSECT. V.-- Loss of Liberty, Servitude, Imprisonment, how they cause Melancholy.
To this catalogue of causes, I may well annex loss of liberty, servitude, or imprisonment, which to some persons is as great a torture as any of the rest. Though they have all things convenient, sumptuous houses to their use, fair walks and
gardens, delicious bowers, galleries, good fare and diet, and all things correspondent, yet they are not content, because they are confined, may not come and go at their pleasure, have and do what they will, but live aliena quadra, at another man's table and command. As it is in meats so it is in all other things, places, societies, sports; let them be never so pleasant, commodious, wholesome, so good; yet omnium rerum est satietas, there is a loathing satiety of all things. The children of Israel were tired with manna, it is irksome to them so to live, as to a bird in a cage, or a dog in his kennel, they are weary of it. They are happy, it is true, and have all things, to another man's judgment, that heart can wish, or that they themselves can desire, bona si sua norint: yet they loathe it, and are tired with the present: Est natura hominum novitatis avida; men's nature is still desirous of news, variety, delights; and our wandering affections are so irregular in this kind, that they must change, though it must be to the worst.
Bachelors must be married, and married men would be bachelors; they do not love their own wives, though otherwise fair, wise, virtuous, and well qualified, because they are theirs; our present estate is still the worst, we cannot endure one course of life long, et quod modo voverat, odit, one calling long, esse in honore juvat, mox displicet; one place long, Romæ Tybur amo, ventosus Tybure Romam, that which we earnestly sought, we now contemn. Hoc quosdam agit ad mortem (saith Seneca) quod proposita sæpe mutando in eadem revolvuntur, et non relinquunt novitati locum: Fastidio cæpit esse vita, et ipsus mundus, et subit illud rapidissimarum deliciarum, Quousque eadem? this alone kills many a man, that they are tied to the same still, as a horse in a mill, a dog in a wheel, they run round, without alteration or news, their life groweth odious, the world loathsome, and that which crosseth their furious delights, what? still the same? Marcus Aurelius and Solomon, that had experience of all worldly delights and pleasure, confessed as much of themselves; what they most desired, was tedious at last, and that their lust could never be satisfied, all was vanity and affliction of mind.
Now if it be death itself another hell, to be glutted with one kind of sport, dieted with one dish, tied to one place; though they have all things otherwise as they can desire, and are in heaven to another man's opinion, what misery and discontent shall they have, that live in slavery, or in prison itself? Quod tristius morte, in servitute vivendum, as Hermolaus told Alexander in Curtius, worse than death is bondage: hoc animo scito omnes fortes ut mortem servituti anteponant, All brave men at arms (Tully holds) are so affected. Equidem ego is sum qui servitutem extremum omnium malorum esse arbitror: I am he (saith Boterus) that account servitude the extremity of misery. And what calamity do they endure, that live with those hard taskmasters, in gold mines (like those 30,000 lndian slaves at Potosi, in Peru), tinmines, lead-mines, stone-quarries, coal-pits, like so many mouldwarps under ground, condemned to the galleys, to perpetual drudgery, hunger, thirst, and stripes, without
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all hope of delivery. How are those women in Turkey affected, that most part of the year come not abroad; those Italian and Spanish dames, that are mewed up like hawks, and locked up by their jealous husbands? how tedious is it to them that live in stoves and caves half a year together? as in Iceland, Muscovy, or under the pole itself where they have six months' perpetual night. Nay, what misery and discontent do they endure, that are in prison? They want all those six non-natural things at once, good air, good diet, exercise, company, sleep, rest, ease, &c., that are bound in chains all day long, suffer hunger, and (as Lucian describes it) "must abide that filthy stink, and rattling of chains, howlings, pitiful outcries, that prisoners usually make; these things are not only troublesome, but intolerable." They lie nastily among toads and frogs in a dark dungeon, in their own dung; in pain of body, in pain of soul, as Joseph did, Psalm cv. 18, "They hurt his feet in the stocks, the iron entered his soul." They live solitary, alone, sequestered from all company but heart-eating melancholy; and for want of meat, must eat that bread of affliction, prey upon themselves. Well might Arculanus put long imprisonment for a cause, especially to such as have lived jovially, in all sensuality and lust, upon a sudden are estranged and debarred from all manner of pleasures: as were Huniades, Edward, and Richard II., Valerian the Emperor, Bajazet the Turk. If it be irksome to miss our ordinary companions and repast for once a day, or an hour, what shall it be to lose them for ever? If it be so great a delight to live at liberty, and to enjoy that variety of objects the world affords; what misery and discontent must it needs bring to him, that shall now be cast headlong into that Spanish inquisition, to fall from heaven to hell, to be cubbed up upon a sudden, how shall he be perplexed, what shall become of him? Robert Duke of Normandy being imprisoned by his youngest brother Henry I., ab illo die inconsolabili dolore in carcere contabuit, saith Matthew Paris, from that day forward pined away with grief. Jugurtha that generous captain, "brought to Rome in triumph, and after imprisoned, through anguish of his soul, and melancholy, died." Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, the second man from King Stephen, (he that built that famous castle of Devizes in Wiltshire), was so tortured in prison with hunger, and all those calamities accompanying such men, ut vivere noluerit, non nescierit, he would not live, and could not die, between fear of death, and torments of life. Francis, King of France, was taken prisoner by Charles V., ad mortem fere melancholicus, saith Guicciardini, melancholy almost to death, and that in an instant. But this is as clear as the sun, and needs no further illustration.
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SUBSECT. VI.-- Poverty and Want, Causes of Melancholy.
POVERTY and want are so violent oppugners, so unwelcome guests, so much abhorred of all men, that I may not omit to speak of them apart. Poverty, although (if considered aught, to a wise, understanding, truly regenerate, and contented man) it be donum Dei, a blessed estate, the way to heaven, as Chrysostom calls it, God's gift, the mother of modesty, and much to be preferred before riches (as shall be shown in his place), yet as it is esteemed in the world's censure, it is a most odious calling, vile and base, a severe torture, summum scelus, a most intolerable burden; we shun it all, cane
pejus et angue (worse than a dog or a snake), we abhor the name of it, Paupertas fugitur, totoque arcessitur orbe, as being the fountain of all other miseries, cares, woes, labours, and grievances whatsoever. To avoid which, we will take any pains,-- extremos currit mercator ad Indos, we will leave no haven, no coast, no creek of the world unsearched, though it be to the hazard of our lives; we will dive to the bottom of the sea, to the bowels of the earth, five, six, seven, eight, nine hundred fathom deep, through all five zones, and both extremes of heat and cold: we will turn parasites and slaves, prostitute ourselves, swear and lie, damn our bodies and souls, forsake God, abjure religion, steal, rob, murder, rather than endure this insufferable yoke of poverty, which doth so tyrannise, crucify, and generally depress us.
For look into the world, and you shall see men most part esteemed according to their means, and happy as they are rich: Ubique tanti quisque quantum habuit fuit.
If he be likely to thrive, and in the way of preferment, who but he? In the vulgar opinion, if a man be wealthy, no matter how he gets it, of what parentage, how qualified, how virtuously endowed, or villainously inclined; let him be a bawd, a
gripe, an usurer, a villain, a pagan, a barbarian, a wretch, Lucian's tyrant, "on whom you may look with less security than on the sun;" so that he be rich (and liberal withal) he shall be honoured, admired, adored, reverenced, and highly magnified.
"The rich is had in reputation because of his goods," Eccl. x. 31. He shall be befriended: "for riches gather many friends," Prov. xix. 4.-- multos numerabit amicos, all happiness ebbs and flows with his money. He shall be accounted a gracious lord, a Mecænas, a benefactor, a wise, discreet, a proper, a valiant, a fortunate man, of a generous spirit, Pullus Jovis, et gallinus filius albæ: a hopeful, a good man, a virtuous, honest man. Quando ego te Junonium puerum et matris partum vere aureum, as Tully said of Octavianus, while he was adopted Cæsar, and an heir apparent of so great a monarchy, he was a golden child. All honour, offices, applause, grand titles, and turgent epithets are put upon him, omnes omnia bona dicere; all men's eyes are upon him, God bless his good worship, his honour; every man speaks well of him, every man presents him, seeks and sues to him for his love, favour and protection, to serve him, belong unto him, every man riseth to him, as to Themistocles in the Olympics, if he speak, as of Herod, Vox Dei, non hominis, the voice of God, not of man. All the graces, Veneres, pleasures, elegances attend him, golden fortune accompanies and
lodgeth with him; and as to those Roman emperors, is placed in his chamber.
"-- Secura naviget aura
Fortunamque suo temperet arbitrio:"
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he may sail as he will himself; and temper his estate at his pleasure, jovial days, splendour and magnificence, sweet music, dainty fare, the good things, and fat of the land, fine clothes, rich attires, soft beds, down pillows are at his command, all the world labours for him, thousands of artificers are his slaves to drudge for him, run, ride, and post for him: Divines (for Pythia Philippisat), lawyers, physicians, philosophers, scholars are his, wholly devote to his service. Every man seeks his acquaintance, his kindred, to match with him, though he be an oaf; a ninny, a monster, a goosecap, uxorem ducat Danaën (He may have Danae to wife), when and whom he will, hunc optant generum Rex et Regina -- he is an excellent match for my son, my daughter, my niece, &c. Quicquid calcaverit hic, Rosa fiet, let him go whither he will, trumpets sound, bells ring, &c., all happiness attends him, every man is willing to entertain him, he sups in Apollo wheresoever he comes; what preparation is made for his entertainment, fish and fowl, spices and perfumes, all that sea and land affords.
What cookery, masking, mirth to exhilarate his person!
"Da Trebio, pone ad Trebium, vis frater ab illis
What dish will your good worship eat of?
"-- dulcia poma,
Et quoscunque feret cultus tibi fundus honores,
Ante Larem, gustet venerabilior Lare dives."
"Sweet apples, and whate'er thy fields afford.
Before thy Gods be served, let serve thy Lord."
What sport will your honour have? hawking, hunting, fishing, fowling, bulls, bears, cards, dice, cocks, players, tumblers, fiddlers, jesters, &c., they are at your good worship's command. Fair houses, gardens, orchards, terraces, galleries, cabinets, pleasant walks, delightsome places, they are at hand: in aureis lac, vinum in argenteis, adolescentulæ ad nutum speciosæ, wine, wenches, &c., a Turkish paradise, a heaven upon earth. Though he be a silly soft fellow, and scarce have common sense, yet if he be born to fortunes (as I have said), jure hæreditario sapere jubetur, he must have
honour and office in his course: Nemo nisi dives honore dignis (Ambros. offic. 21.) none so worthy as himself: he shall have it, atque esto quicquid Servius aut Labeo.
Get money enough and command kingdoms, provinces, armies, hearts, hands, and affections; thou shalt have popes, patriarchs to be thy chaplains and parasites: thou shalt have (Tamerlane-like) kings to draw thy coach, queens to be thy laundresses, emperors thy footstools, build more towns and cities than great Alexander, Babel towers, pyramids and mausolean tombs, &c., command heaven and earth, and tell the world it is thy vassal, auro emitur diadema, argento coelum panditur, denarius philosophum conducit, nummus jus cogit, obolus literatum pascit, metallum sanitatem conciliat, æs amicos conglutinat (a diadem is purchased with gold; silver opens the way to heaven; philosophy may be hired for a penny; money controls justice; one obolus satisfies a man of letters; precious metal procures health; wealth attaches
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friends.) And therefore not without good cause, John de Medicis, that rich Florentine, when he lay upon his death-bed, calling his sons, Cosmo and Laurence, before him, amongst other sober sayings, repeated this, animo quieto digredior, quod vos sanos et divites post me relinquam, "It doth me good to think yet, though I be dying, that I shall leave you, my children, sound and rich:" for wealth sways all. It is not with us, as amongst those Lacedemonian senators of Lycurgus in Plutarch, "He preferred that deserved best, was most virtuous and worthy of the place, not swiftness, or strength,
or wealth, or friends carried it in those days:" but inter optimos optimus, inter temperantes temperantissimus, the most temperate and best. We have no aristocracies but in contemplation, all oligarchies, wherein a few rich men domineer, do what they list, and are privileged by their greatness. They may freely trespass, and do as they please, no man dare accuse them, no not so much as mutter against them, there is no notice taken of it, they may securely do it, live after their own laws, and for their money get pardons, indulgences, redeem their souls from purgatory and hell itself,
clausum possidet arca Jovem. Let them be epicures, or atheists, libertines, machiavelians (as they often are), "Et quam vis perjurus erit, sine gente, cruentus," they may go to heaven through the eye of a needle, if they will themselves, they may be canonised for saints, they shall be honourably interred in mausolean tombs, commended by poets, registered in histories, have temples and statues erected to their names, -- e manibus illis -- nascentur violæ.-- If he be bountiful in his life, and liberal at his death, he shall have one to swear, as he did by Claudius the Emperor in Tacitus, he saw his soul go to heaven, and be miserably lamented at his funeral. Ambubaiarum collegiæ, &c. Trimalcionis topanta in Petronius recta in coelum abiit, went right to heaven: a base quean, "thou wouldst have scorned once in thy misery to have a penny from her;" and why? modio nummos metiit, she measured her money by the bushel.
These prerogatives do not usually belong to rich men, but to such as are most part seeming rich, let him have but a good outside, he carries it, and shall be adored for a god, as Cyrus was amongst the Persians, ob splendidum apparatum, for his gay attires; now most men are esteemed according to their clothes. In our gullish times, whom you peradventure in modesty would give place to, as being deceived by his habit, and presuming him some great worshipful man, believe it, if you shall examine his estate, he will likely be proved a serving man of no great note, my lady's tailor, his lordship's barber, or some such gull, a Fastidius Brisk, Sir Petronel Flash, a mere outside. Only this respect is given him, that wheresoever he comes, he may call for what he will, and take place by reason of his outward habit.
But on the contrary, if he be poor, Prov. xv. 15. "all his days are miserable," he is under hatches, dejected, rejected and forsaken, poor in purse, poor in spirit; prout res nobis fluit, ita et animus se habet; money gives life and soul. Though he be honest, wise, learned, well deserving, noble by birth, and of excellent good parts; yet in that he is poor, unlikely to rise, come to honour, office or good means, he is contemned, neglected, frustra sapit, inter literas esurit, amicus molestus. "If he speak, what babbler is this?" Ecclus. his nobility without wealth, is projecta vilior alga, (Hor. "more worthless than rejected weeds.") and he not esteemed: nos viles pulli nati infelicibus ovis, if once poor, we are metamorphosed in an instant, base slaves, villains, and vile drudges: for to be poor, is to be a knave, a fool, a wretch, a wicked, an odious fellow, a common eye-sore, say poor and say all: they are born to labour, to misery, to carry burdens like juments, piscum stercus comedere with Ulysses' companions, and as Chremilus objected in Aristophanes, salem lingere, lick salt, to empty jakes, fay channels, carry out dirt and dunghills, sweep chimneys, rub horseheels, &c. I say nothing of Turks, galley-slaves, which are bought and sold like
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juments, or those African negroes, or poor Indian drudges, qui indies hinc inde deferendis oneribus occumbunt, nam quod apud nos boves et asini vehunt, trahunt, &c. ("Who daily faint beneath the burdens they are compelled to carry from place to place: for they carry and draw the loads which oxen and asses formerly use, &c.") Id omne misellis indis, they are ugly to behold, and though erst spruce, now rusty and squalid, because poor, immundas fortunas æqum est squalorum sequi, it is ordinarily so. "Others eat to live, but they live to drudge," Servilis et misera gens nihil recusare
audit, a servile generation, that dare refuse no task.--"Heus tu, dromo, cape hoc flabellum, ventulum hinc facito dum lavamus," sirrah, blow wind upon us while we wash, and bid your fellow get him up betimes in the morning, be it fair or foul, he shall run fifty miles afoot to-morrow, to carry me a letter to my mistress, Socia ad pistrinum, Socia shall tarry at home and grind malt all day long, Tristan thresh. Thus are they commanded, being indeed some of them as so many footstools for rich men to tread on, blocks for them to get on horseback, or as "walls for them to piss on."
They are commonly such people, rude, silly, superstitious idiots, nasty, unclean, lousy, poor, dejected, slavishly humble: and as Leo Afer observes of the commonalty of Africa, natura viliores sunt, nec apud suos duces majore in precio quam si canes assent: base by nature, and no more esteemed than dogs, miseram, laboriosam, calamitosam vitam agunt, et inopem, infoelicem, rudiores asinis, ut e brutis plane natos dicas: no learning, no knowledge, no civility, scarce common sense, naught but barbarism amongst them, belluino more vivunt, neque calceos gestant, neque vestes, like rogues and vagabonds, they go barefooted and barelegged, the soles of their feet being as hard as horsehoofs, as Radzivilus observed at Damietta in Egypt, leading a laborious, miserable, wretched, unhappy life, "like beasts and juments, if not worse:" (for a Spaniard in Incatan, sold three Indian boys for a cheese, and a hundred negro slaves for a horse) their discourse is scurrility, their summum bonum a pot of ale.
There is not any slavery which these villains will not undergo, interillos plerique latrinas evacuant, alii culinarum curant, alii stabularios agunt, urinatores, et id genus similia exercent, &c. like those people that dwell in the Alps, chimneysweepers, jakes-farmers, dirt-daubers, vagrant rogues, they labour hard some, and yet cannot get clothes to put on, or bread to eat. For what can filthy poverty give else, but beggary, fulsome nastiness, squalor, content, drudgery, labour, ugliness, hunger and thirst; pediculorum, et pulicum numerum? as he well followed it in Aristophanes, fleas and lice, pro pallium vestem laceram, et pro pulvinari lapidem bene magnum ad caput, rags for his raiment, and a stone for his pillow, pro cathedra, ruptæ caput urnæ, he sits in a broken pitcher, or on a block for a chair, et malvæ ramos pro
panibus comedit, he drinks water, and lives on wort leaves, pulse, like a hog, or scraps like a dog, ut nunc nobis vita afficitur, quis non putabit insaniam esse, infelicitatemque? as Chremilus concludes his speech, as we poor men live now-adays, who will not take our life to be infelicity, misery, and madness?
If they be of little better condition than those base villains, hunger-starved beggars, wandering rogues, those ordinary slaves and day-labouring drudges; yet they are commonly so preyed upon by polling officers for breaking the laws, by their tyrannizing landlords, so flayed and fleeced by perpetual exactions, that though they do drudge, fare hard, and starve their genius, they cannot live in some countries; but what they have is instantly taken from them, the very care they take to live, to be drudges, to maintain their poor families, their trouble and anxiety "takes away their sleep," Sirac. xxxi. 1. it makes them weary of their lives: when they have taken all pains, done their utmost and honest endeavours, if they be cast behind by sickness, or overtaken with years, no man pities them, hard-hearted and merciless, uncharitable as
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they are, they leave them so distressed, to beg, steal, murmur, and rebel, or else starve.
The feeling and fear of this misery compelled those old Romans, whom Menenius Agrippa pacified, to resist their governors, outlaws, and rebels in most places, to take up seditious arms, and in all ages hath caused uproars, murmurings, seditions, rebellions, thefts, murders, mutinies, jars and contentions in every commonwealth: grudging, repining, complaining, discontent in each private family, because they want means to live according to their callings, bring up their children, it breaks their hearts, they cannot do as they would. No greater misery than for a lord to have a knight's living, a gentleman a yeoman's, not to be able to live as his birth and place require.
Poverty and want are generally corrosives to all kind of men, especially to such as have been in good and flourishing estate, are suddenly distressed, nobly born, liberally brought up, and by some disaster and casualty miserably dejected. For the rest, as they have base fortunes, so have they base minds correspondent, like beetles, e stercore orti, e stercore victus, in stercore delicium, as they were obscurely born and bred, so they delight in obscenity; they are not so thoroughly touched with it. Angustas animas angusto in pectore versant ("A narrow breast conceals a narrow soul"). Yea, that which is no small cause of their torments, if once they come to be in distress, they are forsaken of their fellows, most part neglected, and left unto themselves; as poor Terence in Rome was by Scipio, Iselius, and Furius, his great and noble friends.
"Nil Publius Scipio profuit, nil ei Lælius, nil Furius,
Tres per idem tempus qui agitabant nobiles facillime,
Horum ille opera ne domum quidem habuit conductitiam."
("Publius Scipio, Lælius and Furius, three of the most distinguished noblemen at that
day in Rome, were of so little service to him, that he could scarcely procure a lodging
through their patronage.")
'Tis generally so, Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris, he is left cold and comfortless, nullus ad amissas ibit amicus opes, all flee from him as from a rotten wall, now ready to fall on their heads. Prov. xix. 4. "Poverty separates them from their neighbours."
"Dum fortuna favet, vultum servatis, amici,
Cum cecidit, turpi vertitis ora fuga."
"Whilst fortune favour'd, friends, you smiled on me,
But when she fled, a friend I could not see."
Which is worse yet, if he be poor every man contemns him, insults over him,
oppresseth him, scoffs at, aggravates his misery.
"Quum coepit quassata dumus subsidere, partes
in proclinitas omne recumbit onus."
"When once the totteritg house begins to shrink,
Thither comes all the weight by an instinct."
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Nay, they are odious to their own brethren and dearest friends, Prov. xix. 7, "His brethren hate him if he be poor," omnes vicini oderunt, "his neighbours hate him," Prov. xiv. 20. omnes me noti ac ignoti deserunt, as he complained in the comedy, friends and strangers, all forsake me. Which is most grievous, poverty makes men ridiculous, Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se, quam quod ridiculos homines facit, they must endure jests, taunts, flouts, blows of their betters, and take all in good part to get a meal's meat: magnum pauperies opprobrium, jubet quidvis et facere et
pati. He must turn parasite, jester, fool, cum desipientibus desipere; saith Euripides, slave, villain, drudge to get a poor living, apply himself to each man's humours, to win and please, &c., and be buffeted when he hath all done, as Ulysses was by Melanthius in Homer, be reviled, baffled, insulted over, for potentiorum stultitia perferenda est, and may not so much as mutter against it. He must turn rogue and villain; for as the saying is, Necessitas cogit ad turpia, poverty alone makes men thieves, rebels, murderers, traitors, assassins, "because of poverty we have sinned," Ecclus. xxvii. 1. swear and forswear, bear false witness, lie, dissemble, any thing, as I say, to advantage themselves, and to relieve their necessities: Culpæ sclerisque magistra est, when a man is driven to his shifts, what will he not do?
"-- sit miserium fortuna Sinonem
Finxit, vanum etiam mendacemque improba finget"
("Since cruel fortune has made Sinon poor, she has made him vain and mendacious")
he will betray his father, prince, and country, turn Turk, forsake religion, abjure God and all, nulla quam Horrenda proditio, quam illi lucri causa (saith Leo Afer) perpetrare nolint. Plato, therefore, calls poverty, "thievish, sacrilegious, filthy, wicked and mischievous:" and well he might. For it makes many an upright man otherwise, had he not been in want, to take bribes, to be corrupt, to do against his conscience, to sell his tongue, heart, hand, &c., to be churlish, hard, unmerciful, uncivil, to use indirect means to help his present estate. It makes princes to exact upon their subjects, great men tyrannise, landlords oppress, justice mercenary, lawyers vultures, physicians harpies, friends importunate, tradesmen liars, honest men thieves, devout assassins, great men to prostitute their wives, daughters, and themselves, middle sort to repine, commons to mutiny, all to grudge, murmur, and complain. A great temptation to all mischief it compels some miserable wretches to counterfeit several diseases, to dismember, make themselves blind, lame, to have a more plausible cause to beg, and lose their limbs to recover their present wants. Jodocus Damhoderius, a lawyer of Bruges, praxi rerum criminal. c. 112, hath some notable examples of such counterfeit cranks, and every village almost will yield abundant testimonies amongst us; we have dummerers, Abraham men, &c. And that which is the extent of misery, it enforceth them, through anguish and wearisomeness of their lives, to make away themselves: they had rather be hanged, drowned, &c., than to live without means.
"In mare coetiferum, ne te premet aspera egestas,
Desili, et a celsis corrue Cerne jugis."
"Much better 'tis to break thy neck,
Or drown thyself I' the sea,
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Than suffer irksome poverty;
Go make thyself away."
A Sybarite of old, as I find it registered in Athenæus, supping in Phiditiis in Sparta, and observing their bad fare, said it was no marvel if the Lacedæmonians were valiant men; "for his part he would rather run upon a sword point (and so would any man in his wits), than live with such base diet, or lead so wretched a life." In Japonia 'tis a common thing to stifle their children if they be poor, or to make an abortion, which Aristotle commends. In that civil commonwealth of China, the mother strangles her child if she be not able to bring it up, and had rather lose than sell it, or have it endure
such misery as poor men do. Arnobius, lib. 7. adversus gentes, Lactantius, lib. 5. cap. 9. objects as much to those ancient Greeks and Romans, "they did expose their children to wild beasts, strangle or knock out their brains against a stone, in such cases." If we may give credit to Munster, amongst us Christians in Lithuania, they voluntarily mancipate and sell themselves, their wives and children to rich men, to avoid hunger and beggary; many make away themselves in this extremity. Apicius the Roman, when he cast up his accounts, and found but 100,000 crowns left, murdered himself for fear he should be famished to death. P. Forestus, in his medicinal observations, hath a memorable example of two brothers of Louvain that, being destitute of means, became both melancholy, and in a discontented humour massacred
themselves. Another of a merchant, learned, wise otherwise and discreet, but out of a deep apprehension he had of a loss at seas, would not be persuaded but as Ventidius in the poet, he should die a beggar. In a word, thus much I may conclude of poor men, that though they have good parts they cannot show or make use of them: ab inopia ad virtutem obsepta est via, 'tis hard for a poor man to rise, haud facie emergunt, quoram virtutibus obstat rea angusta domi. (They cannot easily rise in the world who are pinched by povery at home.) "The wisdom of the poor is despised, and his words are not heard." Eccles. vi. 19. His works are rejected, contemned, for the baseness and obscurity of the author, though laudable and good in themselves, they will not likely take.
"Nulla placere diu, neque vivere carmine possunt,
Quæ scribuntur aquæ potoribus"--
"No verses can please men or live long that are written by water-drinkers." Poor men cannot please, their actions, counsels, consultations, projects, are vilified in the world's esteem, amittunt consilium in re, which Gnatho long since observed. Sapiens crepidas sibi nunquam nec soleas fecit, a wise man never cobbled shoes; as he said of
old, but how doth he prove it? I am sure we find it otherwise in our days, pruinosis horret facundia pannis. Homer himself must beg if he want means, and as by report sometimes he did "go from door to door, and sing ballads, with a company of boys about him." This common misery of theirs must needs distract, make them discontent and melancholy, as ordinarily they are, wayward, peevish, like a weary traveller, for Fames et mora bilem in nares conciunt, still murmuring and repining: Ob inopiam morosi sunt, quibus est male, as Plutarch quotes out of Euripides, and that comical
poet well seconds,
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"Omnes quibus res sunt minus secundæ, nescio, quomodo
Suspitiosi, ad contumeliam omnia accipiunt magis,
Propter suam impotentiam se credunt negligi."
"If they be in adversity, they are more suspicious and apt to mistake: they think themselves scorned by reason of their misery:" and therefore many generous spirits in such cases withdraw themselves from all company, as that comedian Terence is said to have done; when he perceived himself to be forsaken and poor, he voluntarily banished himself to Stymphalus, a base town in Arcadia, and there miserably died.
"-- ad summam inopiam redactus,
Itaque e conspectu omnium abiit Græciæ in terram ultimam."
("Reduced to the greatest necessity, he withdrew from the gaze of the public to the
most remote village in Greece")
Neither is it without cause, for we see men commonly respected according to their means (an dives sit omnes querunt, nemo an bonus), and vilified if they be in bad clothes. Philophæmen the orator was set to cut wood, because he was so homely attired, Terentius was placed at the lower end of Cecilius' table, because of his homely outside. Dante, that famous Italian poet, by reason his clothes were but mean, could not be admitted to sit down at a feast. Gnatho scorned his old familiar friend because of his apparel, Hominem video pannis, annisque obsitum, hice ego ilium contempsi præ me. King Persius overcome sent a letter to Paulus Æmilius, the Roman general; Persius P. Consuli, S. but he scorned him any answer, tacite exprobrans fortunam suam (saith mine author), upbraiding him with a present fortune. Carolus Pugnax, that great duke of Burgundy, made H. Holland, late duke of Exeter, exiled, run after his horse like a lackey, and would take no notice of him; 'tis the common fashion of the world. So that such men as are poor may justly be discontent, melancholy, and complain of their present misery, and all may pray with Solomon, "Give me, O Lord, neither riches nor poverty; feed me with food convenient for me."
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SUBSECT. VII.-- A heap of other Accidents causing Melancholy, Death of Friends, Losses, &c.
IN this labyrinth of accidental causes, the farther I wander, the more intricate I find the passage, multæ ambages, and new causes as so many by-paths offer themselves to be discussed: to search out all, were an Herculean work, and fitter for Theseus: I will follow mine intended thread; and point only at some few of the chiefest.
Death of Friends.] Amongst which, loss and death of friends may challenge a first place, multi tristantur, as Vives well observes, post delicias, convivia, dies festos, many are melancholy after a feast, holiday, merry meeting, or some pleasing sport, if they be solitary by chance, left alone to themselves, without employment, sport, or want their ordinary companions, some at the departure of friends only whom they shall shortly see again, weep and howl, and look after them as a cow lows after her calf, or a child takes on that goes to school after holidays. Ut me levarat tuus adventus, sic discessus afflixit, (which Tully writ to Atticus) thy coming was not so welcome to me, as thy departure was harsh. Montanus, consil. 132. makes mention of a country woman that parting with her friends and native place, became grievously melancholy for many years; and Trallianus of another, so caused for the absence of her husband: which is an ordinary passion amongst our good wives, if their husband tarry out a day longer than his appointed time, or break his hour, they take on presently with sighs and tears, he is either robbed, or dead, some mischance or other is surely befallen him, the cannot eat, drink, sleep, or be quiet in mind, till they see him again. If parting of friends, absence alone can work such violent effects, what shall death do, when they must eternally be separated, never in this world to meet again.
This is so grievous a torment for the time, that it takes away their appetite, desire of life, extinguisheth all delights, it causeth deep sighs and groans, tears, exclamations,
("O dulce germen matris, o sanguis meus,
Eheu tepentes, &c. -- o flos tener.")
(Oh sweet offspring, oh my very blood: oh tender flower, &c.)
howling, roaring, many bitter pangs (lamentis gemituque et foemineo ululatu Tecta fremunt), and by frequent meditation extends so far sometimes, "they think they see their dead friends continually in their eyes," observantes imagines, as Conciliator confesseth he saw his mother's ghost presenting herself still before him. Quod nimis miseri volunt, hoc facile credunt, still, still, still, that good father, that good son, that good wife,that dear friend runs in their minds: Totus animus hac una cogitatione defixus est, all the year long, as Pliny complains to Romanus, "methinks I see
Virginius, I hear Virginius, I talk with Virginius," &c.
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Te sine, væ misero mihi, lilia nigra videntur,
Pallentesque rosæ, nec dulce rubens hyacinthus,
Nullos nec myrtus, nec laurus spirat odores."
(Calphurnius Græcus. "Without thee, ah! wretched me, the lilies lose their whiteness, the roses become pallid, the hyacinths forget to blush; neither the myrtle nor the laurel retains its colours.")
They that are most staid and patient, are so furiously carried headlong by the passion of sorrow in this case, that brave discreet men otherwise, oftentimes forget themselves, and weep like children many months together, "as if that they to water would," and will not be comforted. They are gone, they are gone; what shall do?
"Abstulit atra dies et funere mersit acerbo,
Quis dabit in lachrymas fontem mihi? qui satis altos
Accendet gemitus, et acerbo verba dolori?
Exhaurit pietas oculos, et hiantia frangit
Pectora, nec plenos avido sinit edere questus,
Magna adea jactura premit," &c.
"Fountains of tears who gives, who lends me groans,
Deep sighs sufficient to express my moans?
Mine eyes are dry, my breast in pieces torn,
My loss so great, I cannot enough mourn."
So Stroza Filius, that elegant Italian poet, in his Epicedium, bewails his father's death, he could moderate his passions in other matters (as he confesseth), but not in this, he yields wholly to sorrow,
"Nunc fateor do terra malis, mens illa fatiscit,
Indomitus quondam vigor et constantia mentis."
How doth Quintilian complain for the loss of his son, to despair almost: Cardan lament his only child in his book de libris propiis, and elsewhere in many other of his tracts, St. Ambrose his brother's death? an ego possum non cogitare de te, aut sine lachrymis cogitare? O amari dies, o flebiles noctes, &c. "Can I ever cease to think of thee, and to think with sorrow? O bitter days, O nights of sorrow," &c. Gregory Nazianzen, that noble Pulcheria! O decorem, &c. flos recens, pullulans, &c. Alexander, a man of most invincible courage, after Hephestion's death, as Curtius relates, triduum jacuit ad moriendum obstinatus, lay three days together upon the ground, obstinate, to die with him, and would neither eat, drink, nor sleep. The woman that communed with Esdras (lib. 2. cap. 10.) when her son fell down dead, "fled into the field, and would not return into the city, but there resolved to remain, neither to eat nor drink, but mourn and fast until she died." "Rachel wept for her children, and would not be comforted because they were not." Matt. ii. 18. So did Adrian the emperor bewail his Antinous; Hercules, Hylas; Orpheus, Eurydice; David, Absalom; (O my dear son Absalom;) Austin his mother Monica, Niobe her children, insomuch that the poets feigned her to be turned into a stone, as being stupified
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through the extremity of grief. Ægeus, signo lugubri filii consternatus, in mare se prætipitem dedit, impatient of sorrow for his son's death, drowned himself. Our late physicians are full of such examples. Montanus, consil. 242. had a patient troubled with this infirmity, by reason of her husband's death, many years together.
Trincavellius, l. 1. c. 14. hath such another, almost in despair, after his mother's departure, ut se ferme præcipitem
daret; and ready through distraction to make away himself: and in his Fifteenth counsel, tells a story of one fifty years of age, "that grew desperate upon his mother's death;" and cured by Fallopius, fell many years after into
a relapse, by the sudden death of a daughter which he had, and could never after be recovered. The fury of this passion is so violent sometimes, that it daunts whole kingdoms and cities. Vespasian's death was pitifully lamented all over the Roman empire, totus orbis lugebat, saith Aurelius Victor. Alexander commanded the battlements of houses to be pulled down, mules and horses to have their manes shorn off and many common soldiers to be slain, to accompany his dear Hephestion's death; which is now practised amongst the Tartars, when a great Cham dieth, ten or twelve thousand must be slain, men and horses, all they meet; and among those the pagan Indians, their wives and servants voluntarily die with them. Leo Decimus was so much bewailed in Rome after his departure, that as Jovius gives out, communis salus,
publica hilaritas, the common safety of all good fellowship, peace, mirth, and plenty died with him, tanquam eodem sepulchro cum Leone condita lugebantur; for it was a golden age whilst he lived, but after his decease, an iron season succeeded, barbara vis et foeda vastitas, et dira malorum omnium incommoda, wars, plagues, vastity, discontent. When Augustus Cæsar died, saith Paterculus, orbis ruinam timueramus, we were all afraid, as if heaven had fallen upon our heads. Budatus records, how that, at Lewis the Twelfth his death, tam subita mutatio, ut qui prius digito coelum attingere videbantur, nunc humi derepente serpere, sideratos esse diceres, they that were erst in heaven, upon a sudden, as if they had been planet-strucken, lay grovelling on the ground;
"Concussis cecidere animis, seu frondibus ingens
Sylva dolet lapsis"--
(Maph. "They became fallen in feelings, as the great forest laments its fallen leaves")
they looked like cropped trees. At Nancy in Lorraine, when Claudia Valesia, Henry the Second French king's sister, and the duke's wife deceased, the temples for forty days were all shut up, no prayers nor masses, bat in that room where she was. The senators all seen in black, and for a twelvemonth's space throughout the city, they were forbid to sing or dance.
"Non ulli pastores illis egere diebus
Frigida (Daphne) boves ad flumina, nulla nec amnem
Libavit quadrupes nec graminis attigit herbam."
"The swains forget their sheep, nor near the brink
Of running waters brought their herds to drink;
The thirsty cattle, of themselves, abstain'd
From water, and their grassy fare disdain'd."
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How were we affected here in England for our Titus, deliciæ humani generis, Prince Henry's immature death, as if all our dearest friends' lives had exhaled with his?
Scanderbeg's death was not so much lamented in Epirus. In a word, as he saith of Edward the First at the news of Edward of Caernarvon his son's birth, immortaliter gavisus, he was immortally glad, may we say on the contrary of friends' deaths, immortaliter gementes, we are diverse of us as so many turtles, eternally dejected with it.
Loss of goods] There is another sorrow, which arises from the loss of temporal goods and fortunes, which equally afflicts, and may go hand in hand with the preceding; loss of time, loss of honour, office, of good name, of labour, frustrate hopes, will much torment; but in my judgment, there is no torture like unto it, or that sooner procureth this malady and mischief:
"Ploratur lachrymis anima pecunia veris:"
"Lost money is bewailed with grief sincere:"
it wrings true tears from our eyes, many sighs, much sorrow from our hearts, and often causes habitual melancholy itself. Guianerius, tract. 15. 5. repeats this for an especial cause: "Loss of friends, and loss of goods, make many men melancholy, as I have often seen by continual meditation of such things." The same causes Arnoldus Villanovanus inculcates, Breviar. l. 1. c. 18. ex rerum emissione, damno, amicorum morte, &c. Want alone will make a man mad, to be Sans argent will cause a deep and grievous melancholy. Many are affected like Irishmen in this behalf, who if they have
a good scimitar, had rather have a blow on their arm, than their weapon hurt: they will sooner lose their life, than their goods: and the grief that cometh hence, continueth long (saith Plater) "and out of many dispositions procureth an habit." Montanus and Frisemelica cured a young man of 22 years of age, that so became melancholy, ob amissam pecuniam, for a sum of money which he had unhappily lost. Skenckius hath such another story of one melancholy, because he overshot himself and spent his stock in unnecessary building. Roger, that rich bishop of Salisbury, exutus opibus et castris a Rege Stephano, spoiled of his goods by king Stephen, vi doloris absorptus, atque in amentiam versus, indecentia fecit, through grief ran mad, spoke and did he knew not what. Nothing so familiar, as for men in such cases, through anguish of mind to make away themselves. A poor fellow went to hang himself (which Ausonius hath elegantly expressed in a neat Epigram), but finding by chance a pot of money, flung away the rope, and went merrily home, but he that hid the gold, when he missed it, hanged himself with that rope which the other man had left, in a discontented humour.
"At qui condiderat postquam non reperit aurum,
Apavit collo, quem reperit, laqueum"
Such feral accidents can want and penury produce. Be it by suretyship, shipwreck, fire, spoil and pillage of soldiers, or what loss soever, it boots not, it will work the like effect, the same desolation in provinces and cities, as well as private persons. The Romans were miserably dejected after the battle of Cannæ, the men amazed for fear,
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the stupid women tore their hair and cried. The Hungarians, when their king Ladislaus and bravest soldiers were slain by the Turks, Luctus publicus, &c. The Venetians, when their forces were overcome by the French king Lewis, the French and Spanish kings, pope, emperor, all conspired against them at Cambray, the French herald denounced open war in the senate: Lauredane Venetorum dux, &c., and they had lost Padua, Brixia, Verona, Forum Julii, their territories in the continent, and had now nothing left but the city of Venice itself, et urbi quoque ipsi, (saith Bembus) timendum putarent, and the loss of that was likewise to be feared, tantus repente dolor omnnes tenuit, ut nunquam alias, &c., they were pitifully plunged, never before in such lamentable distress. Anno 1527, when Rome was sacked by Burbonius, the common soldiers made such spoil, that fair churches were turned to stables, old monuments and books made horse-litter, or burned like straw; relics, costly pictures defaced; altars demolished, rich hangings, carpets, &c., trampled in the dirt. Their wives and loveliest daughters constuprated by every base cullion, as Sejanus' daughter was by the hangman in public, before their fathers' and husbands' faces. Noblemen's children, and of the wealthiest citizens, reserved for princes' beds, were prostitute to every common soldier, and kept for concubines; senators and cardinals themselves dragged along the streets, and put to exquisite torments, to confess where their money was hid; the rest
murdered on heaps, lay stinking in the streets; infants' brains dashed out before their mothers' eyes. A lamentable sight it was to see so goodly a city so suddenly defaced, rich citizens sent a begging to Venice, Naples, Ancona, &c., that erst lived in all manner of delights. "Those proud palaces that even now vaunted their tops up to heaven, were dejected as low as hell in an instant." Whom will not such misery make discontent? Terence the poet drowned himself (some say) for the loss of his comedies, which suffered shipwreck. When a poor man hath made many hungry meals, got together a small sum, which he loseth in an instant; a scholar spent many an hour's study to no purpose, his labours lost, &c., how should it otherwise be? I may conclude with Gregory, temporalium amor, quantum afficit cum hoeret possessio, tantum quum subtrahitur, urit dolor; riches do not so much exhilarate us with their possession, as they torment us with their loss.
Fear] Next to sorrow still I may annex such accidents as procure fear; for besides those terrors which I have before touched, and many other fears (which are infinite) there is a superstitious fear, one of the three great causes of fear in Aristotle, commonly caused by prodigies and dismal accidents, which much trouble many of us.
(Nescio quid animus mihi præsagit mali.) As if a hare cross the way at our going forth, or a mouse gnaw our clothes: if they bleed three drops at nose, the salt fall towards them, a black spot appear in their nails, &c., with many such, which Delrio, Tom. 2. l. 3. sect. 4, Austin Niphus in his book de Auguriis, Polydore Virg., l. 3. de Prodigiis, Sarisburiensis, Polycrat. l. 1. c. 13., discuss at large. They are so much affected, that with the very strength of imagination, fear, and the devil's craft, ""they pull those misfortunes they suspect upon own heads, and that which they fear shall come upon them," as Solomon foretelleth, Prov. x. 24. and Isaiah denounceth, lxvi. 4. which if "they could neglect and contemn, would not come to pass, Eorum vires nostra resident opinione, ut morbi gravitos ægrotantium cogitatione, they are
intended and remitted, as our opinion is fixed, more or less. N. N. dat poenas, saith Crato of such a one, utinam non attraheret: he is punished, and is the cause of it himself: Dum fata fugimus, fates stulti incurrimus, the thing that I feared, saith Job, is fallen upon me.
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As much we may say of them that are troubled with their fortunes; or ill destinies foreseen: multos angit præscientia malorum: The foreknowledge of what shall come to pass, crucifies many men: foretold by astrologers, or wizards, iratum ob coelum, be it ill accident, or death itself: which often falls out by God's permission; quia dæmonem timent (saith Chrysostom) Deus ideo permittit accidere. Severus, Adrian, Domitian, can testify as much, of whose fear and suspicion, Sueton, Herodian, and the rest of those writers, tell strange stories in this behalf. Montanus, consil. 31. hath one example of a young man, exceeding melancholy upon this occasion. Such fears have still tormented mortal men in all ages, by reason of those lying oracles, and juggling priests. There was a fountain in Greece, near Ceres' temple in Achaia, where the event of such diseases was to be known; "A glass let down by a thread," &c. Amongst those Cyanean rocks at the springs of Lycia, was the oracle of Thrixeus Apollo, "where all fortunes were foretold, sickness, health, or what they would besides:" so common people have been always deluded with future events. At this day, Metus futurorum maxime torquet Sinas, this foolish fear mightily crucifies them in China: as Matthew Riccius the Jesuit informeth in his commentaries of those countries, of all nations they are most superstitious, and much tormented in this kind, attributing so much to their divinators, ut ipse metus fidem faciat, that fear itself and conceit cause it to k fall out: if he foretell sickness such a day, that very time they will be sick, vi metus afflicti in ægritudinem cadunt; and many times die as it is foretold. A true saying, Timor mortis, morte pejor, the fear of death is worse than death itself and the memory of that sad hour, to some fortunate and rich men, "is as bitter as gall," Ecclus. xli. 1. Inquietam nobis vitam facit mortis metus, a worse plague cannot happen to a man, than to be so troubled in his mind; 'tis triste divortium, a heavy separation, to leave their goods, with so much labour got, pleasures of the world,which they have so deliciously enjoyed, friends and companions whom they so dearly loved, all at once. Axicchus the philosopher was bold and courageous all his life, and gave good precepts de contemnenda morte, and against the vanity of the world, to others; but being now ready to die himself, he was mightily dejected, hac luce privabor? his orbabor bonis? ("Must I be deprived of this life,-- of those possessions?") he lamented like a child, &c. And though Socrates himself was there to comfort him, ubi pristina virtuum jactatio, O Axioche? "where is all your boasted virtue now, my friend?" yet he was very timorous and impatient of death, much troubled in his mind, imbellis pavor et impatientia,&c. "O Clotho," Megapetus the tyrant in Lucian exclaims, now ready to depart, "let me live a while longer. I will give thee a thousand
talents of gold, and two boles besides, which I took from Cleocritus, worth a hundred talents apiece." "Woe's me," saith another, "what goodly manors shall I leave! what fertile fields! what a fine house! what pretty children! how many servants! Who shall gather my grapes, my corn? Must I now die so well settled? Leave all, so richly and well provided? Woe's me, what shall I do?" Animula vagula, blandula, quæ nunc abibis in loca?
To these tortures of fear and sorrow, may well be annexed curiosity, that irksome, that tyrannising care, nimia solicitudo, "superfluous industry about unprofitable things and their qualities," as Thomas defines it; an itching humour or a kind of longing to see that which is not to be seen, to do that which ought not to be done, to know that secret which should not be known, to eat of the forbidden fruit.We commonly molest and tire ourselves about things unfit and unnecessary, as Martha troubled herself to little purpose. Be it in religion, humanity, magic, philosophy, policy, any action or study, 'tis a needless trouble, a mere torment. For what else is school divinity, how many doth it puzzle? what fruitless questions about the Trinity,
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resurrection, election, predestination, reprobation, hell-fire, &c., how many shall be saved, damned? What else is all superstition, but an endless observation of idle ceremonies, traditions? What is most of our philosophy but a labyrinth of opinions, idle questions, propositions, metaphysical terms? Socrates, therefore, held all philosophers, cavillers, and mad men, circa subtila Cavillatores pro insanis habuit, palam eos arguens, saith Eusebius, because they commonly sought after such things, quæ nec percipi a nobis neque comprehendi possent, or put case they did understand, yet they were altogether unprofitable. For what matter is it for us to know how high the Pleiades are, how far distant Perseus and Cassiopea from us, how deep the sea. &c.? we are neither wiser, as he follows it, nor modester, nor better, nor richer, nor stronger for the knowledge of it. Quod supra nos nihil ad nos, I may say the same of those genethliacal studies, what is astrology but vain elections, predictions? all magic, but a troublesome error, a pernicious foppery? physic, but intricate rules and prescriptions? philology, but vain criticisms? logic, needless sophisms? metaphysics themselves, but intricate subtilties and fruitless abstractions? alchemy, but a bundle of errors? to what end are such great tomes? why do we spend so many years in their studies? Much better to know nothing at all, as those barbarous Indians are wholly
ignorant, than as some of us, to be sore vexed about unprofitable toys: stultus labor est ineptiarum, to build a house without pins, make a rope of sand, to what end? cui bono? He studies on, but as the boy told St Austin, when I have laved the sea dry, thou shalt understand the mystery of the Trinity. He makes observations, keeps times and seasons; and as Conradus the emperor would not touch his new bride, till an astrologer had told him a masculine hour, but with what success? He travels into Europe, Africa, Asia, searcheth every creek, sea, city, mountain, gulf, to what end?
See one promontory (said Socrates of old), one mountain, one sea, one river, and see all. An alchemist spends his fortunes to find out the philosopher's stone forsooth, cure all diseases, make men long-lived, victorious, fortunate, invisible, and beggars himself misled by those seducing impostors (which he shall never attain) to make gold; an antiquary consumes his treasure and time to scrape up a company of old coins, statues, rules, edicts, manuscripts, &c., he must know what was done of old in Athens, Rome, what lodging, diet, houses they had, and have all the present news at first, though never so remote, before all others, what projects, counsels, consultations, &c., quid Juno in aurem insusurret Jovi, what's now decreed in France, what in Italy: who was he, whence comes he, which way, whither goes he, &c., Aristotle must find out the motion of Euripus; Pliny must needs see Vesuvius, but how sped they? One loseth goods, another his life; Pyrrhus will conquer Africa first, and then Asia; he will be a sole monarch, a second immortal, a third rich, a fourth commands. Turbine magno spes solicitæ in urbibus errant; we run, ride, take indefatigable pains, all up early, down late, striving to get that which we had better be without (Ardelion's busy-bodies as we are), it were much fitter for us to be quiet, sit still, and take our ease. His sole study is for words, that they be -- Lepidæ lexeis compostæ ut tesserulæ omnes, not a syllable misplaced, to set out a stramineous subject; as thine is about apparel, to follow the fashion, to be terse and polite, 'tis thy sole business: both with like profit.
His only delight is building, he spends himself to get curious pictures, intricate models and plots, another is wholly ceremonious about titles, degrees, inscriptions: a third is over-solicitous about his diet, he must have such and such exquisite sauces, meat so dressed, so far fetched, peregrini æris volucres, so cooked, &c., something to provoke thirst, something anon to quench his thirst. Thus he redeems his appetite with extraordinary charge to his purse, is seldom pleased with any meal, whilst a trivial stomach useth all with delight, and is never offended. Another must have roses in
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winter, alieni temperis flores, snow-water in summer, fruits before they can be or are usually ripe, artificial gardens and fish-ponds on the tops of houses, all things opposite to the vulgar sort, intricate and rare, or else they are nothing worth. So busy, nice, curious wits, make that insupportable in all vocations, trades, actions, employments, which to duller apprehensions is not offensive, earnestly seeking that which others so scornfully neglect. Thus through our foolsh curiosity do we macerate ourselves, tire our souls, and run headlong, through our indiscretion, perverse will, and want of
government, into many needless cares and troubles, vain expenses, tedious journeys, painful hours; and when all is done, quorsum hæc? cui bono? to what end?
Nescire velli quæ magister Maximus
Docere non vult, eriduta inscita est."
(Jos. Scaliger in Gnomit. "To profess a disinclination for that knowledge which is
beyond our reach, is pedantic ignorance.")
Unfortunate marriage] Amongst these passions and irksome accidents, unfortunate marriage maybe ranked: a condition of life appointed by God himself in Paradise, an honourable and happy estate, and as great a felicity as can befall a man in this world, if the parties can agree as they ought, and live as Seneca lived with his Paulina; but if they be unequally matched, or at discord, a greater misery cannot be expected, to have a scold, a slut, a harlot, a fool, a fury or a fiend, there can be no such plague. Eccles. xxvi. 14. "He that hath her is as if he held a scorpion," &c. xxvi. 25, "a
wicked wife makes a sorry countenance, a heavy heart, and he had rather dwell with a lion than keep house with such a wife." Her properties Jovianus Pontanus hath described at large, Ant. dial. Tom. 2, under the name of Euphorbia. Or if they be not equal in years, the like mischief happens. Cecilius in Agellius lib. 2. cap. 23, complains much of an old wife, dum ejus morti inhio, egomet mortuus vivo inter vivos, whilst I gape after her death, I live a dead man amongst the living, or if they dislike upon any occasion,
"Judge who that are unfortunately wed
What 'tis to come into a loathed bed."
The same inconvenience befals women.
"At vos o dure miseram lugete parentes,
Si ferro aut laqueo læva hac me exolvere sorte
"Hard hearted parents both lament my fate,
If self I kill or hang, to ease my state."
A young gentlewoman in Basil was married, saith Felix Plater, observat. l. 1, to an ancient man against her will, whom she could not affect; she was continually melancholy, and pined away for grief; and though her husband did all he could
possibly to give her content, in a discontented humour at length she hanged herself.
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Many other stories he relates in this kind. Thus men are plagued with women; they again with men, when they are of divers humours and conditions; he a spendthrift, she sparing; one honest, the other dishonest, &c. Parents many times disquiet their children, and they their parents. "A foolish son is an heaviness to his mother." Injusta noverca: a stepmother often vexeth a whole family, is matter of repentance, exercise of patience, fuel of dissension, which made Cato's son expostulate with his father, why he should offer to marry his client Solinius' daughter, a young wench, Cujus
causa novercam induceret; what offence had he done, that he should marry again?
Unkind, unnatural friends, evil neighbours, bad servants, debts, and debates &c.] 'Twas Chion's sentence, comes æris alieni et litis est miseria, misery and usury do commonly together; suretyship is the bane of many families, Sponde, præsto noxa est: "he shall be sore vexed that is surety for a stranger," Prov. xi, 15, "and he that hateth suretyship is sure." Contention, brawling, lawsuits, falling out of neighbours and friends.--discardia demens (Virg. Æn. 6,) are equal to the first, grieve many a man, and vex his soul. Nihil sane miserabilius eorum mentibus (as Boter holds), "nothing so miserable as such men, full of cares, griefs, anxieties, as if they were stabbed with a sharp sword, fear, suspicion, desperation, sorrow, are their ordinary companions." Our Welshmen are noted by some of their own writers, to consume one another in this kind; but whosoever they are that use it, these are their common symptoms, especially if they be convict or overcome, cast in a suit. Arius put out of a bishopric by Eustathias, turned heretic, and lived after discontented all his life. Every repulse is of like nature; heu quanta de spe decidi! Disgrace, infamy, detraction, will almost affect as much, and that a long time after. Hipponax, a satirical poet, so vilified and lashed two painters in his iambics, ut ambo laqueo se suffocarent, Pliny saith, both hanged themselves. All oppositions, dangers, perplexities, discontents, to live in any suspense, are of the same rank: potes hoc sub casu ducere somnos? Who can be secure in such cases? Ill-bestowed benefits, ingratitude, unthankful friends, and much disquiet molest some. Unkind speeches trouble as many: uncivil carriage or dogged answers, weak women above the rest, if they proceed from their sirly husbands, are as bitter as gall, and not to be digested. A glassman's wife in Basil became melancholy because her husband said he would marry again if she died. "No cut to unkindness," as the saying is, a frown and hard speech, ill respect, a brow-beating, or bad look, especially to courtiers, or such as attend upon great persons, is present death:
ingenium vulte statque caditque suo, they ebb and flow with their masters' favours.
Some persons are at their wits' ends, if by chance they overshoot themselves, in their ordinary speeches, or actions, which may after turn to their disadvantage or disgrace, or have any secret disclosed. Ronseus, epist. miscel. 3, reports of a gentlewoman, 25 years old, that falling foul with one of her gossips, was upbraided with a secret infirmity (no matter what) in public, and so much grieved with it, that she did thereupon solitudines quærere, omnes ab se ablegare, ac tandem ingravissimam inindens melancholiam, contabescere, forsake all company, quite moped, and in a melancholy humour pine away. Others arc as much tortured to see themselves rejected, contemned, scorned, disabled, defamed, detracted, undervalued, or "left behind their fellows." Lucian brings in Ætamacles, a philosopher in his Lapith.
convivio, much discontented that he was not invited amongst the rest, expostulating the matter, in a long epistle, with Aristenetus their host. Prietextatus, a robed gentleman in Plutarch, would not sit down at a feast, because he might not sit highest, but went his ways all in a chafe. We see the common quarrellings that are ordinary with us, for taking of the wall, precedency, and the like, which though toys in themselves, and things of no moment, yet they cause many distempers, much heart
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burning amongst us. Nothing pierceth deeper than a contempt or disgrace, especially if they be generous spirits, scarce any thing affects then more than to be despised or vilified. Crato, consil. 16, l. 2, exemplifies it, and common experience confirms it. Of the same nature is oppression, Eccles. vii. 7, "surely oppression makes a man mad," loss of liberty, which made Brutus venture his life, Cato kill himself and Tully complain, Omnem hilaritem in perpetuum amisi, mine heart's broken, I shall never look up, or be merry again, hæc jactura intolerabilis, to some parties 'tis a most intolerable loss. Banishment a great misery, as Tyrteus describes it in an epigram of his,
"Nam miserum est patria amissa, laribusque vagari
Mendicum, et timida voce rogare cibos:
Omnibus invisus, quocunque accesserit exul
Semper erit, semper spretus egensque jacet," &c.
"A miserable thing 'tis so to wander,
And like a beggar for to whine at door,
Contemn'd of all the world, an exile is,
Hated, rejected, needy still and poor."
Polynices in his conference with Jocasta in Euripides, reckons up five miseries of a banished man, the least of which alone were enough to deject some pusillanimous creatures. Oftentimes a too great feeling of our own infirmities or imperfections of body or mind, will shrivel us up; as if we be long sick:
"O beata sanitas, te presentæ, amoenum
Ver floret gratiis, absque te nemo beatus:"
O blessed health! "thou art above all gold and treasure," Eccles. xxx. 15, the poor man's riches, the rich man's bliss, without thee there can be no hapiness: or visited with some loathsome disease, offensive to others, or troublesome to ourselves; as a stinking breath, deformity of our limbs, crookedness, loss of an eye, leg, hand, paleness, leanness, redness, baldness, loss or want of hair, &c., hic ubi fluere coepit, diros ictus cordi infert, saith Synesius, he himself troubled not a little ob comæ defectum, the loss of hair alone, strikes a cruel stroke to the heart. Acco, an old woman, seeing by chance her face in a true glass (for she used false flattering glasses belike at other times, as most gentlewomen do), animi dolore in insaniam delapsa est (Coelius Rhodiginus, l. 17, c. 2), ran mad. Brotheus, the son of Vulcan, because he was ridiculous for his imperfections, flung himself into the fire. Lais of Corinth, now grown old, gave up her glass to Venus, for she could not abide to look upon it. Qualis sum nolo, qualis cram nequeo. Generally to fair nice pieces, old age and foul linen are two most odious things, a torment of torments, they may not abide the thought of it,
"--- O deorum
Quisquis hæc audis, utinam intererrem
Antequam turpis macies decentes
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Occupat malas, teneræque succus
Defluat prædaæ, speciosa quæro
"Hear me, some gracious heavenly power,
Let lions dire this naked corse devour.
My cheeks ere hollow wrinkles seize,
Ere yet their rosy bloom decays;
While youth yet rolls its vital flood,
Let tigers friendly riot in my blood."
To be foul, ugly, and deformed, much better be buried alive. Some are fair but barren, and that galls them. "Hannah wept sore, did not eat, and was troubled in spirit, and all for her barrenness," 1 Sam. i. and Gen. xxx. Rachel said "in the anguish of her soul, give me a child, or I shall die:" another hath too many: one was never married, and that's his hell, another is, and that's his plague. Some are troubled in that they are obscure; others by being traduced, slandered, abused, disgraced, vilified, or any way injured: minime miror eos (as he said) qui insanire occipiunt ex injuria. I marvel not at all if offences make men mad. Seventeen particular causs of anger and offence Aristotle reckons them up, which for brevity's sake I must omit. No tidings troubles one; ill reports, rumours, bad tidings or news, hard hap, ill success, cast in a suit, vain hopes, or hope deferred, another: expectation, adeo omnibus in rebus molesta semper est expectatio, as Polybius observes; one is too eminent, another too base born, and that alone tortures him as much as the rest: one is out of action, company, employment; another overcome and tormented with worldly cares, and onerous business. But what tongue can suffice to speak of all?
Many men catch this malady by eating certain meats, herbs, roots, at unawares; as henbane, nightshade, cicuta, mandrakes, &c. A company of young men at Agrigentam in Sicily, came into a tavern; where after they had freely taken their liquor, whether it were the wine itself; or something mixed with it 'tis not yet known, but upon a sudden they began to be so troubled in their brains, and their phantasy so crazed, that they thought they were in a ship at sea, and now ready to be cast away by reason of a tempest. Wherefore to avoid shipwreck and present drowning, they flung all the goods in the house out at the windows into the street, or into the sea, as they supposed; thus they continued mad a pretty season, and being brought before the magistrate to give an account of this their fact, they told him (not yet recovered of their madness) that what was done they did for fear of death, and to avoid imminent danger: the spectators were all amazed at this their stupidity, and gazed on them still, whilst one of the ancientest of the company, in a grave tone, excused himself to the magistrate upon his knees, O viri Tritones, ego in imo jacui, I beseech your deities, &c., for I was in the bottom of the ship all the while: another besought them as so many sea gods to be good unto them, and if ever he and his fellows came to land again, he would build an altar to their service. The magistrate could not sufficiently
laugh at this their madness, bid them sleep it out, and so went his ways. Many such accidents frequently happen, upon these unknown occasions. Some are so caused by philters, wandering in the sun, biting of a mad dog, a blow on the head, stinging with that kind of spider called tarantula, an ordinary thing if we may believe Skenck., l. 6. de Venenis, in Calabria and Apulia in Italy, Cardan., subtil. l. 9. Scaliger, exercitat. 185. Their symptoms are merrily described by Jovianus Pontanus, Ant. dial. how they
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dance altogether, and are cured by music. Cardan speaks of certain stones, if they be carried about one, which will cause melancholy and madness; he calls them unhappy, as an adamant, selenites, &c., "which dry up the body, increase cares, diminish sleep:"
Ctesias in Persicis, makes mention of a well in those parts, of which if any man drink, "he is mad for 24 hours?" Some lose their wits by terrible objects (as elsewhere I have more copiously dilated) and life itself many times, as Hippolitus affrighted by Neptune's sea-horses, Athemas by Juno's furies: but these relations are common in all writers.
"Hic alias poteram, et plures subnectere causas
Sed jumenta vocant, et Sol inclinat, Eundum est."
"Many such causes, much more could I say,
but that for provender my cattle stay:
The sun declines, and I must needs away."
These causes if they be considered, and come alone, I do easily yield, can do little of themselves, seldom, or apart (an old oak is not felled at a blow), though many times they are all sufficient every one: yet if they concur, as often they do, vis unita fortior; et quæ non obsunt singula, multa nocent, they may batter a strong constitution; as Austin said, "many grains and small sands sink a ship, many small drops make a flood," &c., often reiterated; many dispositions produce an habit.
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