THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY
BY DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR
SECT. III. MEMB. I.
SUBSECT. I.-- Symptoms, or Signs of Melancholy in the Body.
PARRHASIUS, a painter of Athens, amongst those Olynthian captives Philip of Macedon brought home to sell, bought one very old man; and when he had him at Athens, put him to extreme torture and torment, the better by his example to express the pains and passions of his Prometheus, whom he was then about to paint. I need not be so barbarous, inhuman, curious, or cruel, for this purpose to torture any poor melancholy man, their symptoms are plain, obvious and familiar, there needs no such accurate observation or far-fetched object, they delineate themselves, they voluntarily
betray themselves, they are too frequent in all places, I meet them still as I go, they cannot conceal it, their grievances are too well known, I need not seek far to describe them.
Symptoms therefore are either universal or particular, saith Gordonius, lib. med. cap. 19, part. 2, to persons, to species: "some signs are secret, some manifest, some in the body, some in the mind, and diversely vary, according to the inward or outward causes," Cappivaccius: or from stars, according to Jovianus Pontanus, de reb. coelest. lib. 10. cap. 13, and celestial influences, or from the humours diversely mixed, Ficinus, lib. 1, cap. 4, de sanit. tuenda: as they are hot, cold, natural, unnatural, intended or remitted, so will Ætius have melancholica deliria multiformia, diversity of melancholy signs. Laurentius ascribes them to their several temperatures, delights, natures, inclinations, continuance of time, as they are simple or mixed with other diseases, as the causes are divers, so must the signs be almost infinite, Altomarus, cap. 7. art. med. And as wine produceth divers effects, or that herb Tortocolla in Laurentius, "which makes some laugh, some weep, some sleep, some dance, some sing, some howl, some drink," &c., so doth this our melancholy humour work several signs in several parties.
But to confine them, these general symptoms may be reduced to those of the body or the mind. Those usual signs appearing in the bodies of such as are melancholy, be these cold and dry, or they are hot and dry, as the humour is more or less adust. From these first qualities arise many other second, as that of colour black, swarthy, pale, ruddy, &c., some are impense rubri, as Montaltus, cap. 16, observes out of Galen, lib. 3, de locis affectis, very red and high coloured. Hippocrates in his book de insania et melan. reckons up these signs, that they are "lean, withered, hollow-eyed, look old, wrinkled, harsh, much troubled with wind, and a griping in their bellies, or belly-ache, belch often, dry bellies and hard, dejected looks, flaggy beards, singing of the ears, vertigo, light-headed, little or no sleep, and that interrupt, terrible and fearful dreams," Anna soror, quæ me suspensam insomnia terrent? The same symptoms are repeated byMelanelius in his book of melancholy collected out of Galen, Buffus, Ætius, by Rhasis, Gordonius, and all the juniors, "continual, sharp, and stinking belchings, as if their meat in their stomachs were putrefied, or that they had eaten fish, dry bellies, absurd and interrupt dreams, and many phantastical visions
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about their eyes, vertiginous, apt to tremble, and prone to venery." Some add palpitation of the heart, cold sweat, as usual symptoms, and a leaping in many parts of the body, saltum in multis corporis partibus, a kind of itching, saith Laurentius, on the superficies of the skin, like a flea-biting sometimes. Montaltus, cap. 21. puts fixed eyes and much twinkling of their eyes for a sign, and so doth Avicenna, oculos habentes palpitantes, tremuli, vehementer rubicundi, &c., lib. 3. Fen. 1. Tract. 4. cap. 18. They stut most part, which he took out of Hippocrates' aphorisms. Rhasis makes
"head-ache and a binding heaviness for a principal token, much leaping of wind about the skin, as well as stutting, or tripping in speech, &c., hollow eyes, gross veins, and broad lips." To some too, if they be far gone, mimical gestures are too familiar, laughing, grinning, fleering, murmuring, talking to themselves, with strange mouths and faces, articulate voices, exclamations, &c. And although they be commonly lean, hirsute, uncheerful in countenance, withered, and not so pleasant to behold, by reason of those continual fears, griefs, and vexations, dull, heavy, lazy, restless, unapt to go about any business; yet their memories are most part good, they have happy wits, and excellent apprehensions. Their hot and dry brains make them they cannot sleep, Ingentes habent et erebras vigilias (Areteus), mighty and oft-watchings, sometimes waking for a month, a year together. Hercules de Saxonia faithfully averreth, that he hath heard his mother swear, she slept not for seven months together: Trincavellius, Tom. 2. cons. 16. speaks of one that waked 50 days, and Skenckius hath examples of two years, and all without offence. In natural actions their appetite is greater than their
concoction, multa appetunt, pauca digerunt, as Rhasis hath it, they covet to eat, but cannot digest. And although they "do eat much, yet they are lean, ill-liking," saith Areteus, "withered and hard, much troubled with costiveness," crudities, oppilations, spitting, belching, &c. Their pulse is rare and slow, except it be of the Carotides, which is very strong; but that varies according to their intended passions or perturbations, as Struthius hath proved at large. Spigmaticæ artis, l. 4. c. 13. To say truth, in such chronic diseases the pulse is not much to be respected, there being so
much superstition in it, as Crato notes, and so many differences in Galen, that he dares say they may not be observed, or understood of any man.
Their urine is most part pale, and low coloured, urina pauca, acris, biliosa, (Areteus), not much in quantity; but this, in my judgment, is all out as uncertain as the other, varying so often according to several persons, habits, and other occasions not to be respected in chronic diseases. "Their melancholy excrements in some very much, in others little, as the spleen plays his part," and thence proceeds wind, palpitation of the heart, short breath, plenty of humidity in the stomach, heaviness of heart and heartache, and intolerable stupidity and dulness of spirits. Their excrements or stool
hard, black to some and little. If the heart, brain, liver, spleen, be misaffected, as usually they are, many inconveniences proceed from them, many diseases accompany, as incubus, apoplexy, epilepsy, vertigo, those frequent wakings and terrible dreams, intempestive laughing, weeping, sighing, sobbing, bashfulness, blushing, trembling, sweating, swooning, &c. All their senses are troubled, they think they see, hear, smell, and touch that which they do not, as shall be proved in the following discourse.
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SUBSECT. II.-- Symptoms or Signs in the Mind.
Fear.] ARCULANUS in 9 Rhasis ad Almansor. cap. 16. will have these symptoms to be infinite, as indeed they are, varying according to the parties, "for scarce is there one of a thousand that dotes alike," Laurentius, c. 16. Some few of
greater note I will point at; and amongst the rest, fear and sorrow, which as they are frequent causes, so if they persevere long, according to Hippocrates and Galen's aphorisms, they are most assured signs, inseparable companions, and characters of melancholy; of present melancholy and habituated, saith Montaltus, cap. 11. and common to them all, as the said Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna, and all Neoterics hold.
But as hounds many times run away with a false cry, never perceiving themselves to be at a fault, so do they. For Diocles of old (whom Galen confutes), and amongst the juniors, Hercules de Saxonia, with Lod. Mercatus, cap. 17. l. 1. de melan. take just exceptions at this aphorism of Hippocrates, 'tis not always true, or so generally to be understood, "fear and sorrow are no common symptoms to all melancholy; upon more serious consideration, I find some (saith he) that are not so at all. Some indeed are sad, and not fearful; some fearful and not sad; some neither fearful nor sad; some both."
Four kinds he excepts, fanatical persons, such as were Cassandra, Nanto, Nicostrata, Mopsus, Proteus, the Sybils, whom Aristotle confesseth to have been deeply melancholy. Baptista Porta seconds him, Physiog. lib. 1. cap. 8, they were atra bile perciti: dæmoniacal persons, and such as speak strange languages, are of this rank: some poets, such as laugh always, and think themselves kings, cardinals, &c., sanguine they are, pleasantly disposed most part, and so continue. Baptista Porta confines fear and sorrow to them that are cold; but lovers, sybils, enthusiasts, he wholly excludes. So that I think I may truly conclude, they are not always sad and fearful, but usually so: and that "without a cause, timent de non timendis (Gordonius), quæque momenti non sunt, "although not all alike (saith Altomarus), yet all likely fear, some with an extraordinary and a mighty fear," Areteus. "Many fear death, and yet in a contrary humour, make away themselves," Galen, lib. 3. de loc. affect. cap. 7.
Some are afraid that heaven will fall on their heads: some they are damned, or shall be. "They are troubled with scruples of consciences, distrusting God's mercies, think they shall go certainly to hell, the devil will have them, and make great lamentation," Jason Pratensis. Fear of devils, death, that they shall be so sick of some such or such disease, ready to tremble at every object, they shall die themselves forthwith, or that some of their dear friends or near allies are certainly dead; imminent danger, loss, disgrace, still torment others, &c.; that they are all glass, and therefore will suffer no man to come near them: that they are all cork, as light as feathers; others as heavy as lead; some are afraid their heads will fall off their shoulders, that they have frogs in their bellies, &c. Montanus, Consil. 23, speaks of one "that durst not walk alone from home, for fear he should swoon or die." A second "fears every man he meets will rob him, quarrel with him, or kill him." A third dares not venture to walk alone, for fear he should meet the devil, a thief, be sick; fears all old women as witches, and every black dog or cat he sees he suspecteth to be a devil, every person comes near him is malificiated, every creature, all intend to hurt him, seek his ruin; another dares not go over a bridge, come near a pool, rock, steep hill, lie in a chamber where cross beams are, for fear he be tempted to hang, drown, or precipitate himself. If he be in a silent
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auditory, as at a sermon, he is afraid he shall speak aloud at unawares, something indecent, unfit to be said. If he be locked in a close room, he is afraid of being stifled for want of air, and still carries biscuit, aquavitæ, or some strong waters about him, for fear of deliquiums, or being sick; or if he be in a throng, middle of a church, multitude, where he may not well get out, though he sit at ease, he is so misaffected.
He will freely promise, undertake any business beforehand, but when it comes to be performed, he dare not adventure, but fears an infinite number of dangers, disasters, &c. Some are "afraid to be burned, or that the ground will sink under them, or swallow them quick, or that the king will call them in question for some fact they never did (Rhasis cont.) and that they shall surely be executed." The terror of such a death troubles them, and they fear as much and are equally tormented in mind, "as they that have committed a murder, and are pensive without a cause, as if they were now presently to be put to death." Plater, cap. 3. de mentis alienat. They are afraid of some loss, danger, that they shall surely lose their lives, goods, and all they have, but why they know not. Trincavellius, consil. 13. lib. 1. had a patient that would needs make away himself; for fear of being hanged, and could not be persuaded for three years together, but that he had killed a man. Plater, observat. lib. 1. hath two other examples of such as feared to be executed without a cause. If they come in a place where a robbery, theft, or any such offence hath been done, they presently fear they are suspected, and many times betray themselves without a cause. Lewis XI., the French king, suspected every man a traitor that came about him, durst trust no officer. Alii formidolosi omnium, alii quorundam (Fracastorius, lib. 2. de Intellect.) "some fear all alike, some certain men, and cannot endure their companies, are sick in them, or if they be from home." Some suspect treason still, others "are afraid of their dearest and nearest friends." (Melanelius a Galeno, Ruff, Ætio,) and dare not be alone in the dark for fear of hobgoblins and devils: he suspects every thing he hears or sees to be a devil, or enchanted, and imagineth a thousand chimeras and visions, which to his thinking he certainly sees, bugbears, talks with black men, ghosts, goblins, &c., Omnes se terrent auræ, sonus excitat omnis. Another through bashfulness, suspicion, and timorousness, will not he seen abroad, "loves darkness as life, and cannot endure the light," or to sit in lightsome places, his hat still in his eyes, he will neither see nor be seen by his goodwill, Hippocrates, lib. de Insania et Melancholia. He dare not come in company for fear he should be misused, disgraced, overshoot himself in
gesture or speeches, or be sick; he thinks every man observes him, aims at him, derides him, owes him malice. Most part "they are afraid they are bewitched, possessed, or poisoned by their enemies, and sometimes they suspect their nearest friends: he thinks something speaks or talks with him, or to him, and he belcheth of the poison." Christopherus a Vega, lib. 2. cap. 1. had a patient so troubled, that by no persuasion or physic he could be reclaimed. Some are afraid that they shall have every fearful disease they see others have, hear of, or read, and dare not therefore bear or read of any such subject, no not of melancholy itself; lest by applying to themselves that which they hear or read, they should aggravate and increase it. If they see one possessed, bewitched, an epileptic paroxysm, a man shaking with the palsy, or giddyheaded, reeling or standing in a dangerous place, &c., for many days after it runs in their minds, they are afraid they shall be so too, they are in like danger, as Perk. c. 12. sc. 2. well observes in his Cases of Consc., and many times by violence of imagination they produce it. They cannot endure to see any terrible object, as a monster, a man executed, a carcase, hear the devil named, or any tragical relation seen, but they quake for fear, Hecatas somniare sibi videntur (Lucian), they dream of hobgoblins, and may not get it out of their minds a long time after: they apply (as I
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have said) all they hear, see, read, to themselves; as Felix Plater notes of some young physicians, that study to cure diseases, catch them themselves, will be sick, and appropriate all symptoms they find related of others, to their own persons. And therefore (quod iterum moneo, licet nauseam paret lectori, malo decem potius verba, decies repetita licet, abundare, quam unum desiderari) I would advise him that is actually melancholy not to read this tract of Symptoms, lest he disquiet or make himself for a time worse, and more melancholy than he was before. Generally of them all take this, de inanibus semper conqueruntur et timent, saith Areteus: they complain of toys, and fear without a cause and still think their melancholy to be most grievous, none so bad as they are, though it be nothing in respect, yet never any man sure was so troubled, or in this sort. As really tormented and perplexed, in as great an agony for toys and trifles (such things as they will after laugh at themselves) as if they were most material and essential matters indeed, worthy to be feared, and will not be satisfied. Pacify them for one, they are instantly troubled with some other fear; always afraid of something which they foolishly imagine or conceive to themselves, which never peradventure was, never can be, never likely will be; troubled in mind upon every small occasion, unquiet, still complaining, grieving, vexing, suspecting, grudging, discontent, and cannot be freed so long as melancholy continues. Or if their minds be more quiet for the present, and they free from foreign fears, outward accidents, yet their bodies are out of tune, they suspect some part or other to be amiss, now their head aches, heart, stomach, spleen, &c. is misaffected, they shall surely have this or that disease; still troubled in body, mind, or both, and through wind, corrupt fantasy, some accidental distemper, continually molested. Yet for all this, as Jacchinus notes, "in all other things they are wise, staid, discreet and do nothing unbeseeming their dignity, person, or place, this foolish, ridiculous, and childish fear excepted; which so much, so continually tortures and crucifies their souls, like a barking dog that always bawls, but seldom bites, this fear ever molesteth, and so long as melancholy lasteth, cannot be avoided."
Sorrow is that other character, and inseparable companion, as individual as Saint Cosmus and Damian, fidus Achates, as all writers witness, a common symptom, a continual, and still without any evident cause, mærent omnes, et si roges eos reddere causam, non possunt: grieving still, but why they cannot tell: Agelasti, moesti, cogitabundi, they look as if they had newly come forth of Trophonius' den. And though they laugh many times, and seem to be extraordinary merry (as they will by fits), yet extreme lumpish again in an instant, dull and heavy, semel et simul, merry and sad, but most part sad: Si qua placent, abeunt; inimica tenacius hærent: sorrow sticks by them still continually, gnawing as the vulture did Titius' bowels, and they cannot avoid it, No sooner are their eyes open, but after terrible and troublesome dreams their heavy hearts begin to sigh: they are still fretting, chafing, sighing, grieving, complaining, finding faults, repining, grudging, weeping, Heautontimorumenoi, vexing themselves, disquieted in mind, with restless, unquiet thoughts, discontent, either for their own, other men's or public affairs, such as concern them not; things past, present, or to come, the remembrance of some disgrace, loss, injury, abuses, &c. troubles them now being idle afresh, as if it were new done;
they are afflicted otherwise for some danger, loss, want, shame, misery, that will certainly come, as they suspect and mistrust. Lugubris Ate frowns upon them, insomuch that Areteus well calls it angorem animi, a vexation of the mind, a perpetual agony. They can hardly be pleased or eased, though in other men's opinion most happy, go, tarry, run, ride, -- post equitens sedet atra cura: they cannot avoid this feral plague, let them come in what company they will, hæret lateri lethalis arundo,
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as to a deer that is struck, whether he run, go, rest with the herd, or alone, this grief remains: irresolution, inconstancy, vanity of mind, their fear, torture, care, jealousy, suspicion, &c., continues, and the cannot be relieved. So he complained in the poet,
"Domum revertur mætus, atque animo fere
Perturbato, atque incerto, præ ægritudine,
Assido, accurunt servi: soccos detrahunt,
Video alios festinare, lectos sternere,
Coenam apparare, pro se quisque sedulo
Faciebant, quo illam mihi lenirent miseriam."
"He came home sorrowful, and troubled in his mind, his servants did all they possibly could to please him; one pulled off his socks, another made ready his bed, a third his supper, all did their utmost endeavours to ease his grief, and exhilarate his person, he was profoundly melancholy, he had lost his son, illud angebat,that was his Cordolium, his pain, his agony which could not be removed."
Tædium vitæ.] Hence it proceeds many times, that they are weary of their lives, and feral thoughts to offer violence to their own persons come into their minds, tædium vitæ is a common symptom, tarda fluunt, ingrataque tempora, they are soon tired with all things; they will now tarry, now be gone; now in bed they will rise, now up, then go to bed, now pleased, then again displeased; now they like, by and by dislike all, weary of all, sequitur nunc vivendi, nunc moriendi cupido, saith Aurelianus, lib. 1. cap. 6, but most part vitam damnant, discontent, disquieted, perplexed upon every light, or no occasion, object: often tempted, I say, to make away themselves: Vivere nolunt, mori nesciunt: they cannot die, they will not live: they complain, weep, lament, and think they lead a most miserable life, never was any man so bad, or so before, every poor man they see is most fortunate in respect of them, every beggar that comes to the door is happier than they are, they could be contented to change lives with them, especially if they be alone, idle, and parted from their
ordinary company, molested, displeased, or provoked: grief, fear, agony, discontent, wearisomeness, laziness, suspicion, or some such; passion forcibly seizeth on them.
Yet by and by when they come in company again, which they like, or be pleased, suam sententiam rursus damnant, et vitæ solatio delectantur, as Octavius Horatianus observes, lib. 2. cap. 5, they condemn their former dislike, and are well pleased to live. And so they continue, till with some fresh discontent they be molested again, and then they are weary of their lives, weary of all, they will die, and show rather a necessity to live, than a desire. Claudius the emperor, as Sueton describes him, had a spice of this disease, for when he was tormented with the pain of his stomach, he had a conceit to make away himself. Julius Cæsar Claudinus, consil. 84. had a Polonian to his patient, so affected, that through fear and sorrow, with which he was still disquieted, hated his own life, wished for death every moment, and to be freed of his misery. Mercurialis another, and another that was often minded to dispatch himself, and so continued for many years.
Suspicion, jealousy.] Suspicion, and jealousy, are general symptoms: they are commonly distrustful, apt to mistake, and amplify, facile irascibiles, testy, pettish, peevish, and ready to snarl upon every small occasion, cum amicissimis, and without a cause, datum vel non datum, it will be scandalum acceptum. If they speak in jest, he takes it in good earnest. If they be not saluted, invited, consulted with, called to
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counsel, &c., or that any respect, small compliment, or ceremony be omitted, they think themselves neglected, and contemned; for a time that tortures them. If two talk together, discourse, whisper, jest, or tell a tale in general, he thinks presently they mean him, applies all to himself de se putat omnia dici. Or if they talk with him, he is ready to misconstrue every word they speak, and interpret it to the worst; he cannot endure any man to look steadily on him, speak to him almost, laugh, jest, or be familiar, or hem, or point, cough, or spit, or make a noise sometimes, &c. He thinks they laugh or point at him, or do it in disgrace of him, cirumvent him, contemn him, every man looks at him, he is pale, red, sweats for fear and anger lest somebody should observe him. He works upon it, and long after this false conceit of an abuse troubles him. Montanus, consil. 22. gives instance in a melancholy Jew, that was Iracundior Adria, so waspish and suspicious, tam facile iratus, that no man could tell how to carry himself in his company.
Inconstancy.] Inconstant they are in all their action; vertiginous, restless, unapt to resolve of any business, they will and will not, persuaded to and fro upon every small occasion, or word spoken: and yet if once they be resolved, obstinate, hard to be reconciled. If they abhor, dislike, or distaste, once settled, though to the better by odds, by no counsel, or persuasion to be removed. Yet in most things wavering, irresolute, unable to deliberate, through fear, faciunt, et mox facti poenitunt (Areteus), avari, et paulo post prodigi. Now prodigal, and then covetous, they do, and by-and-by repent them of that which they have done, so that both ways they are troubled, whether they do or do not, want or have, hit or miss, disquieted of all hands, soon weary, and still seeking change, restless, I say, fickle, fugitive, they may not abide to
tarry in one place long.
"Romæ rus optans, absentem rusticus urbem
Tollit ad astra --"
(Hor. "At Rome, wishing for the fields; in the country, extolling the city to the skies.")
no company long, or to persevere in any action or business.
"Et similis regum pueris, pappare minutum
Poscit, et iratus mammæ lallare recusat."
(Pers. Sat. 3. 18. "And like the children of nobility, require to eat pap, and, angry at the nurse, refuse her to sing lullaby.")
eftsoons pleased, and anon displeased, as a man that's bitten with fleas, or that cannot sleep turns to and fro in his bed, their restless minds are tossed and vary, they have no patience to read out a book, to play out a game or two, walk a mile, sit an hour, &c., erected and dejected in an instant; animated to undertake, and upon a word spoken again discouraged.
Passionate.] Extreme passionate, Quicquid volunt valde volunt; and what they desire, they do most furiously seek: anxious ever and very solicitous, distrustful, and timorous, envious, malicious, profuse one while, sparing another, but most part covetous, muttering, repining, discontent, and still complaining, grudging, peevish,
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injuriarum tenaces, prone to revenge, soon troubled, and most violent in all their imaginations, not affable in speech, or apt to vulgar compliment, but surly, dull, sad, austere; cogitabundi still, very intent, and as Albertus Durer paints melancholy, like a sad woman leaning on her arm with fixed looks, neglected habit, &c., held therefore by some proud, soft, sottish, or half-mad, as the Abderites esteemed of Democritus: and yet of a deep reach, excellent apprehension, judicious, wise, and witty: for I am of that nobleman's mind, "Melancholy advanceth men's conceits, more than any humour whatsoever," improves their meditations more than any strong drink or sack. They are of profound judgment in some things, although in others non recte judicant inquieti, saith Fracastorius, lib. 2. de Intell. And as Arculanus, c. 16. in 9. Rhasis terms it, Judicium plerumque perversum corrupti, cum judicant honesta inhonesta, at amicitam habent pro inimicitia: they count honesty dishonesty, friends as enemies, they will abuse their best friends, and dare not offend their enemies. Cowards most part et ad inferendiam injuriam timidissimi saith Cardan, lib. 8. cap. 4. de rerum
varietate: loth to offend, and if they chance to overshoot themselves in word or deed: or any small business or circumstance be omitted, forgotten, they are miserably tormented, and frame a thousand dangers and inconveniences to themselves, ex musca elephantem, if once they conceit it: overjoyed with every good rumour, tale, or prosperous event, transported beyond themselves: with every small cross again, bad news, misconceived injury, loss, danger, afflicted beyond measure, in great agony, perplexed, dejected, astonished, impatient, utterly undone: fearful, suspicious of all.
Yet again, many of them desperate harebrains, rash, careless, fit to be assassins, as being void of all fear and sorrow, according to Hercules de Saxonia, "Most audacious, and such as dare walk alone in the night, through deserts and dangerous places, fearing none."
Amorous.] "They are prone to love," and easy to be taken; Propensi ad amorem et excandescentiam (Montaltus, cap. 2l), quickly enamoured, and dote upon all, love one dearly, till they see another, and then dote on her, Et hanc, et hanc, et illam, et omnes, the present moves most, and the last commonly they love best. Yet some again Anterotes, cannot endure the sight of a woman, abhor the sex, as that same melancholy duke of Muscovy, that was instantly sick if he came but in sight of them; and that Anchorite, that fell into a cold palsy when a woman was brought before him.
Humorous.] Humorous they are beyond all measure, sometimes profusely laughing, extraordinarily merry, and then again weeping without a cause (which is familiar with many gentlewomen), groaning, sighing, pensive, sad, almost distracted, multa absurda fingunt, et a ratione aliena (saith Frambesarius), they feign many absurdities, vain, void of reason: one supposeth himself to be a dog, cock, bear, horse, glass, butter, &c. He is a giant, a dwarf; as strong as an hundred men, a lord, duke, prince, &c. And if he be told he hath a stinking breath, a great nose, that he is sick, or inclined to such or such a disease, he believes it eftsoons, and peradventure by force of imagination will work it out. Many of them are immovable, and fixed in their conceit; others vary upon every object, heard or seen. If they see a stage-play, they run upon that a week after; if they hear music,or see dancing, they have nought but bagpipes in their brain; if they see a combat, they are all for arms. "If abused, an abuse troubles them long after; if crossed, that cross, &c. Restless in their thoughts and actions, continually meditating, Velet ægri somnia, vanæ finguntur species; more like
dreams, than men awake, they fain a company of antic, fantastical conceits, they have most frivolous thoughts, impossible to be effected; and sometimes think verily they hear and see present before their eyes such phantasms or goblins, they fear, suspect, or
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conceive, they still talk with, and follow them. In fine, cogitationes somniantibus similes, id vigilant, quod alli somniant cogitabundi: still, saith Avicenna, they wake, as others dream, and such for the most part are their imaginations and conceits, absurd, vain, foolish toys, yet they are most curious and solicitous, continual, et supra modum, Rhasis, cont. lib. 1. cap. 9. præmeditantur de aliqua re. As serious in a toy, as if it were a most necessary business, of great moment, importance, and still, still, still thinking of it: sæviunt in se, macerating themselves. Though they do talk with you, and seem to be otherwise employed, and to your thinking very intent and busy, still that toy runs in their mind, that fear, that suspicion, that abuse, that jealousy, that agony, that vexation, that cross, that castle in the air, that crotchet, that whimsy, that fiction, that pleasant waking dream, whatsoever it is. Nec interrogant (saith Fracastorius) nec irrogatis recte respondent. They do not much heed what you say, their mind is on another matter; ask what you will, they do not attend, or much intend that business they are about, but forget themselves what they are saying, doing, or should otherwise say or do, whither they are going, distracted with their own melancholy thoughts. One laughs upon a sudden, another smiles to himself, a third frowns, calls, his lips go still, he acts with his hand as he walks, &c. 'Tis proper to all
melancholy men, saith Mercurialis, con. 11. "What conceit they have once entertained, to be most intent, violent, and continually about it." Invitus occurrit, do what they may they cannot be rid of it, against their wills they must think of it a thousand times over, Perpetuo molestantur nec oblivisci possunt, they are continually troubled with it, in company, out of company; at meat, at exercise, at all times and places, non desinunt ea, quæ minime volunt, cogitare, if it be offensive especially, they cannot forget it, they may not rest or sleep for it, but still tormenting themselves, Sysiphi saxum volvunt sibi ipsis, as Bruner observes, Perpetua calamitas et miserabile flagellum.
Bashfulness] Crato, Laurentius, and Fernelius, put bashfulness for an ordinary symptom, subrusticus pudor, or vitiosus pudor, is a thing which much haunts and torments them. If they have been misused, derided, disgraced, chidden, &c., or by any perturbation of mind misaffected, it so far troubles them, that they become quite moped many times and so disheartened, dejected, they dare not come abroad, into strange companies especially, or manage their ordinary affairs, so childish, timorous, and bashful, they can look no man in the face; some are more disquieted in this kind, some less, longer some, others shorter, by fits, &c., though some on the other side (according to Fracastorius) be inverecundi et pertinaces, impudent and peevish. But most part the are very shamefaced, and that makes them with Pet. Blesensis,
Christopher Urswick, and many such, to refuse honours, offices and preferments, which sometimes fall into their mouths, they cannot speak, or put forth themselves as others can, timor hos, pudor impedit illos, timorousness and bashfulness hinder their proceedings, they are contented with their present estate, unwilling to undertake any office, and therefore never likely to rise. For that cause they seldom visit their friends, except some familiars: pauciloqui, of few words, and oftentimes wholly silent. Frambeserius, a Frenchman, had two such patients, omnino taciturnos, their friends could not get them to speak: Rodericus a Fonseca, consult. tom. 2. 85. consil. gives instance in a young man, of twenty-seven years of age, that was frequently silent, bashful, moped, solitary, that would not eat his meat, or sleep, and yet again by fits apt to be angry, &c.
Solitariness.] Most part they are, as Plater notes, desides, taciturni, ægre impulsi nec nisi coacti procedunt, &c., they will scarce be compelled to do that which
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concerns them, though it be for their good, so diffident, so dull, of small or no compliment, unsociable, hard to be acquainted with, especially of strangers; they had rather write their minds than speak, and above all things love solitariness. Ob voluptatem, an ob timorem soli sunt? Are they so solitary for pleasure (one asks) or pain? for both; yet I rather think for fear and sorrow, &c.
"Hinc metuunt cupiuntque, dolent fugiuntque, nec auras
Respiciunt, clausi tenebris, et carcere cæco."
"Hence they they grieve and fear, avoiding light,
And shut themselves in prison dark from sight."
As Bellerophon in Homer,
"Qui miser in sylvis moerens errabat opacis,
Ipse suum cor edens, hominum vestigia vitans."
"That wandered in the woods, sad, all alone,
Forsaking men's society, making great moan."
They delight in floods and waters, desert places, to walk alone in orchards, gardens, private walks, back lanes, averse from company, as Diogenes in his tub, or Timon Misanthropus, they abhor all companions at last, even their nearest acquaintances and most familiar friends, for they have a conceit (I say) every man observes them, will deride, laugh to scorn, or misuse them, confining themselves therefore wholly to their private houses or chambers fugiunt homines sine causa (saith Rhasis) et odio habent, cont. l. 1. c. 9. they will diet themselves, feed and live alone. It was one of the chiefest reasons why the citizens of Abdera suspected Democritus to be melancholy and mad, because that, as Hippocrates related in his epistle to Philopoemnes, "he forsook the city, lived in groves and hollow trees, upon a green bank by a brook side or confluence of waters all day long, and all night." Quæ quidem (saith he) plurimum atra bile vexatis et melancholicis eveniunt, deserta frequentant, hominumque congressum aversantur; which is an ordinary thing with melancholy men. The Egyptians therefore in their hieroglyphics expressed a melancholy man by a hare sitting in her form, as being a most timorous and solitary creature, Pierius, Hieroglyph. l. 12. But this, and all precedent symptoms, are more or less apparent, as the humour is intended or remitted, hardly perceived in some, or not at all, most manifest in others. Childish in some, terrible in others; to be derided in one, pitied or admired in another; to him by fits, to a second continuate: and howsoever these symptoms be common and incident to all persons, yet they are the more remarkable, frequent, furious and violent in melancholy men. To speak in a word, there is nothing so vain, absurd, ridiculous, extravagant, impossible, incredible, so monstrous a chimera, so prodigious and strange, such as painters and poets durst not attempt, which they will not really fear, feign, suspect and imagine unto themselves: and that which Lod. Viv. said in a jest of a silly country fellow, that killed his ass for drinking up the moon, ut lunam mundo redderet, you may truly say of them in earnest; they will act, conceive all extremes, contrarieties, and contradictions, and that in infinite varieties. Melancholici plane incredibilia sibi persuadent, ut vix omnibus sæculis duo
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reperti sint, qui idem imaginati sint (Erastus de Landis), scarce two of two thousand that concur in the same symptoms. The tower of Babel never yielded such confusion of tongues, as the chaos of melancholy doth variety of symptoms. There is in all melancholy, similitudo dissimilis, like men's faces, a disagreeing likeness still; and as in a river we swim in the same place, though not in the same numerical water; as the same instrument affords several lessons, so the same disease yields diversity of symptoms. Which howsoever they be diverse, intricate, and hard to be confined, I will adventure yet in such a vast confusion and generality to bring them into some order; and so descend to particulars.
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SUBSECT. III.-- Particular Symptoms from the influence of Stars, parts of the Body, and Humours.
Some men have peculiar symptoms, according to their temperament and crisis, which they had from the stars and those celestial influences, variety of wits and dispositions, as Anthony Zara contends, Anat. ingen. sect. 1. memb. 11. 12, 13, 14, plurimum irritant influentiæ coelestes, unde cientur animi ægritudines et morbi corporum. One saith, diverse diseases of the body and mind proceed from their influences, as I have already proved out of Ptolemy, Puntanus, Lemnius, Cardan, and others, as they are principal significators of manners, diseases, mutually irradiated, or lords of the geniture, &c. Ptolomeus in his centiloquy, Hermes, or whosoever else the author of that tract, attributes all these symptoms, which are in melancholy men, to celestial influences; which opinion, Mercurialis de affect. lib. cap. 10. rejects; but, as I say, Jovianus Pontanus and others stiffly defend. That some are solitary, dull, heavy, churlish; some again blithe, buxom, light, and merry, they ascribe wholly to the stars.
As if Saturn be predominant in his nativity, and cause melancholy in his temperature, then he shall be very austere, sullen, churlish, black of colour, profound in his cogitations, full of cares, miseries, and discontents, sad and fearful, always silent, solitary, still delighting in husbandry, in woods, orchards, gardens, rivers, ponds, pools, dark walks and close: Cogitationes sunt velle ædificare, velle arbores plantare, agros colere, &c. To catch birds, fishes, &c., still contriving and musing of such matters. If Jupiter domineers, they are more ambitious, still meditating of kingdoms, magistracies, offices, honours, or that they are princes, potentates, and how they would carry themselves, &c. If Mars, they are all for wars, brave combats, monomachies, testy, choleric, harebrain, rash, furious, and violent in their actions.
They will feign themselves victors, commanders, are passionate and satirical in their speeches, great braggers, ruddy of colour. And though they be poor in show, vile and base, yet like Telephus and Peleus in the poet, Ampullas jactant et sesquipedalia verba, "forget their swelling and gigantic words," their mouths are full of myriads, and tetrarchs at their tongues' end. If the sun, they will be lords, emperors, in conceit at least, and monarchs, give offices, honours, &c. If Venus, they are still courting of their mistresses, and most apt to love, amorously given, they seem to hear music, plays, see fine pictures, dancers, merriments, and the like. Ever in love, and dote on all they see. Mercurialists are solitary, much in contemplation, subtile, poets, philosophers, and musing most part about such matters. If the moon have a hand, they are all for peregrinations, sea voyages, much affected with travels, to discourse, read, meditate of such things; wandering in their thoughts, diverse, much delighting in waters, to fish, fowl, &c. But the most immediate symptoms proceed from the temperature itself; and the organical parts, as head, liver, spleen, meseraic veins, heart, womb, stomach, &c., and most especially from distemperature of spirits (which, as Hercules de Saxonia contends, are wholly immaterial), or from the four humours in those seats, whether they be hot or cold, natural, unnatural, innate or adventitious, intended or remitted, simple or mixed, their diverse mixtures, and several adustions, combinations, which may be as diversely varied, as those four first qualities in Clavius, and produce as many several symptoms and monstrous fictions as wine doth
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effect, which as Andreas Bachius observes, lib. 3. de vino, cap. 20. are infinite. Of greater note be these.
If it be natural melancholy, as Lod. Mercatus, lib. 1. cap. 17. de melan. T. Bright, c. 16. hath largely described, either of the spleen, or of the veins, faulty by excess of quantity, or thickness of substance, it is a cold and dry humour, as Montanus affirms, consil. 26. the parties are sad, timorous and fearful. Prosper Calenus, in his book de atra bile, will have them to be more stupid than ordinary, cold, heavy, dull, solitary, sluggish; Si multam atram bilem et frigidam habent. Hercules de Saxonia, c. 19. l. 7. "holds these that are naturally melancholy, to be of a leaden colour or black,"
and so doth Guianerius, c. 3. tract. 15. and such as think themselves dead many times, or that they see, talk with black men, dead men, spirits and goblins frequently, if it be in excess. These symptoms vary according to the mixture of those four humours adust, which is unnatural melancholy. For as Trallianus hath written, cap. 16, l. 7.
"Thre is not one cause of this melancholy, nor one humour which begets, but diverse diversely intermixed, from whence proceeds this variety of symptoms:" and those varying again as they are hot or cold. "Cold melancholy (saith Benedic. Vittorius Faventinus pract. mag.) is a cause of dotage, and more mild symptoms; if hot or more adust, of more violent passions, and furies." Fracastorius, l. 2. de intellect, will have us to consider well of it, "with what kind of melancholy every one is troubled, for it much avails to know it; one is enraged by fervent heat, another is possessed by sad and cold; one is fearful, shamefaced; the other impudent and bold; as Ajax, Arma rapit superosque furens in proelia poscit: quite mad or tending to madness: Nunc hos, nunc impetit illos. Bellerophon on the other side, solis errat male sanus in agris, wanders alone in the woods; one despairs, weeps, and is weary of his life, another laughs, &c. All which variety is produced from the several degrees of heat and cold, which Hercules de Saxonia will have wholly proceed from the distemperature of spirits alone, animal especially, and those immaterial, the next and immediate causes of melancholy, as they are hot, cold, dry, moist, and from their agitation proceeds that diversity of symptoms, which he reckons up in the thirteenth chap. of his Tract of Melancholy, and that largely through every part. Others will have them come from the diverse adustion of the four humours, which in this unnatural melancholy, by corruption of blood, adust choler, or melancholy natural, "by excessive distemper of heat turned, in comparison of the natural, into a sharp lye by force of adustion, cause, according to the diversity of their matter, diverse and strange symptoms," which T. Bright reckons up in his following chapter. So doth Arculanus, according to the four principal humours adust, and many others.
For example, if it proceed from phlegm (which is seldom and not so frequently as the rest), it stirs up dull symptoms, and a kind of stupidity, or impassionate hurt: they are sleepy, saith Savanarola, dull, slow, cold, blockish, ass-like, Asininam
melancholicam, Melancthon calls it, "they are much given to weeping and delight in waters, ponds, pools, rivers, fishing, fowling," &c. (Arnoldus, breviar. 1. cap. 18.)
They are pale of colour, slothful, apt to sleep, heavy; much troubled with head-ache, continual meditation, and muttering to themselves; they dream of waters, that they are in danger of drowning, and fear such things, Rhasis. They are fatter than others that are melancholy, of a muddy complexion, apter to spit, sleep, more troubled with rheum than the rest, and have their eyes still fixed on the ground. Such a patient had Hercules de Saxonia, a widow in Venice, that was fat and very sleepy still; Christophorus a Vega another affected in the same sort. If it be inveterate or violent, the symptoms are more evident, they plainly denote and are ridiculous to others, in all
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their gestures, actions, speeches; imagining impossibilities, as he in Christophorus a Vega, that thought he was a tun of wine, and that Siennois, that resolved within himself not to piss, for fear he should drown all the town.
If it proceed from blood adust, or that there be a mixture of blood in it, "such as are commonly ruddy of complexion, and high-coloured," according to Salust Salvianus, and Hercules de Saxonia. And as Savanarola, Vittorius Faventinus Emper. farther adds, "the veins of their eyes be red, as well as their faces." They are much inclined to laughter, witty and merry, conceited in discourse, pleasant, if they be not far gone, much given to music, dancing, and to be in women's company. They meditate wholly on such things, and think they see or hear plays, dancing, and suchlike sports (free from all fear and sorrow, as Hercules de Saxonia supposeth). If they be more strongly possessed with this kind of melancholy, Arnoldus adds, Breviar., lib. 1. cap. 18., like him of Argos in the Poet, that sate laughing all day long, as if he had been at a theatre. Such another is mentioned by Aristotle, living at Abydos, a town of Asia Minor, that would sit after the same fashion, as if he had been upon a stage, and sometimes act himself; now clap his hands, suck laugh, as if he had been well pleased with the sight. Woltius relates of a country fellow called Brunsellius, subject to this humour, "that being by chance at a sermon, saw a woman fall off from a form half asleep, at which object most of the company laughed, but he for his part was so much moved, that for three whole days after he did nothing but laugh, by which means he was much weakened, and worse a long time following." Such a one was old Sophocles, and Democritus himself had hilare delirium, much in this vein. Laurentius, cap. 3. de melan. thinks this kind of melancholy, which is a little adust with some mixture of blood, to be that which Aristotle meant, when he said melancholy men of all others are most witty, which causeth many times a divine ravishment, and a kind of enthusiasmus, which stirreth them up to be excellent philosophers, poets, prophets, &c. Mercurialis consil. 110. gives instance in a young man his patient, sanguine melancholy, "of a great wit, and excellently learned."
If it arise from choler adust, they are bold and impudent, and of a more harebrain disposition, apt to quarrel, and think of such things, battles, combats, and their manhood, furious; impatient in discourse, stiff, irrefragable and prodigious in
their tenets; and if they be moved, most violent, outrageous, ready to disgrace, provoke any, to kill themselves and others; Arnoldus adds, stark mad by fits, "they sleep little, their urine is subtile and fiery. (Guianerius.) In their fits you shall hear them speak all manner of languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, that never were taught or knew them before." Apponensis in com. in Pro. sec. 30. speaks of a mad woman that spake excellent good Latin: and Rhasis knew another, that could prophesy in her fit, and foretel things truly to come. Guianerius had a patient could make Latin
verses when the moon was combust, otherwise illiterate. Avicenna and some of his adherents will have these symptoms, when they happen, to proceed from the devil, and that they are rather dæmoniaci, possessed, than mad or melancholy, or both together, as Jason Pratensis thinks, Immiscent se mali genii, &c., but most ascribe it to the humour, which opinion Montaltus, cap. 21. stiffly maintains, confuting Avicenna and the rest, referring it wholly to the quality and disposition of the humour and subject. Cardan de rerum var. lib. 8. cap. 10. holds these men of all others fit to be assassins, bold, hardy, fierce, and adventurous, to undertake any thing by reason of their choler adust. "This humour, says he, prepares them to endure death itself and all manner of torments with invincible courage, and 'tis a wonder to see with what alacrity they will undergo such tortures," ut supra naturam res videatur: he ascribes
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this generosity, fury, or rather stupidity, to this adustion of choler and melancholy: but I take these rather to be mad or desperate, than properly melancholy: for commonly this humour so adust and hot, degenerates into madness.
If it come from melancholy itself adust, those men, saith Avicenna, "are usually sad and solitary, and that continually, and in excess, more than ordinarily suspicious, more fearful, and have long, sore, and most corrupt imaginations;" cold
and black, bashful, and so solitary, that as Arnoldus writes, "they will endure no company, they dream of graves still, and dead men, and think themselves bewitched or dead:" if it be extreme, they think they hear hideous noises, see and talk "with black men, and converse familiarly with devils, and such strange chimeras and visions" (Gordonius), or that they are possessed by them, that somebody talks to them, or within them. Tales melancholici plerumque dæmoniaci, Montaltus, consil. 26. ex Avicennna. Valescus de Taranta had such a woman in cure, "that thought she had to do with the devil:" and Gentilis Fulgosus quæst 55. writes that he had a melancholy friend, that "had a black man in the likeness of a soldier" still following him wheresoever he was. Laurentius, cap. 7., hath many stories of such as have thought themselves bewitched by their enemies; and some that would eat no meat as being dead. Anno 1550 an advocate of Paris fell into such a melancholy fit, that he believed verily he was dead, he could not be persuaded otherwise, or to eat or drink, till a kinsman of his, a scholar of Bourges, did eat before him dressed like a corse. The
story, saith Serres, was acted in a comedy before Charles the Ninth. Some think they are beasts, wolves, hogs, and cry like dogs, foxes, bray like asses, and low like kine, as King Prætus' daughters. Hildesheim, spicel. 2. de mania, hath an example of a Dutch baron so affected, and Trincavellius, lib. 1. consil. 11., another of a nobleman in his country, "that thought he was certainly a beast, and would imitate most of their voices," with many such symptoms, which may properly be reduced to this kind.
If it proceed from the several combinations of these four humours, or spirits, Herc. de Saxon. adds hot, cold, dry, moist, dark, confused, settled, constringed, as it participates of matter, or is without matter, the symptoms are likewise mixed. One thinks himself a giant, another a dwarf; one is heavy as lead, another is as light as a feather. Marcellus Donatus, l. 2. cap. 41. makes mention out of Seneca, of one Senecchio, a rich man, "that thought himself and every thing else he had, great: great wife, great horses, could not abide little things, but would have great pots to drink in, great hose, and great shoes bigger than his feet." Like her in Trallianus, that supposed she "could shake all the world with her finger," and was afraid to clinch her hand together, lest she should crush the world like an apple in pieces: or him in Galen, that thought he was Atlas, and sustained heaven with his shoulders. Another thinks himself so little, that he can creep into a mouse-hole: one fears heaven will fall on his head: a second is a cock; and such a one, Guianerius saith he saw at Padua, that would clap his hands together and crow. Another thinks he is a nightingale, and therefore sings all the night long; another he is all glass, a pitcher, and will therefore let nobody come near him, and such a one Laurentius gives out upon his credit, that he knew in France. Christophorus a Vega, cap. 3., l. 14., Skenckius and Marcellus Donatus, l. 2.
cap. 1. have many such examples, and one amongst the rest of a baker in Ferrara, that thought he was composed of butter, and durst not sit in the sun, or come near the fire for fear of being melted: of another that thought he was a case of leather, stuffed with wind. Some laugh, weep; some are mad, some dejected, moped, in much agony, some by fits, others continuate, &c. Some have a corrupt ear, they think they hear music, or some hideous noise as their phantasy conceives, corrupt eyes, some smelling: some
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one sense, some another. Lewis the Eleventh had a conceit every thing did stink about him, all the odoriferous perfumes they could get, would not ease him, but still he smelled a filthy stink. A melancholy French poet in Laurentius being sick of a fever, and troubled with waking, by his physicians was appointed to use ungentum populeum to anoint his temples; but he so distasted the smell of it, that for many years after, all that came near him he imagined to scent of it, and would let no man talk with him but aloof off, or wear any new clothes, because he thought still they smelled of it; in all other things wise and discreet, he would talk sensibly, save only in this. A gentleman in Limousin, saith Anthony Verdeur, was persuaded he had but one leg, affrighted by a wild boar, that by chance struck him on the leg; he could not be satisfied his leg was sound (in all other things well) until two Franciscans by chance coming that way, fully removed him from the conceit. Sed abunde fabularum audivimus,-- enough of story-telling.
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SUBSECT. IV.-- Symptoms from Education, Custom, Continuance of Time, our Condition, mixed with other Diseases, by Fits, Inclination, &c.
ANTHER great occasion of the variety of these symptoms proceeds from custom, discipline, education, and several inclinations, "this humour will imprint in melancholy men the objects most answerable to their condition of life, and ordinary actions, and dispose men according to their several studies and callings." If an ambitious man become melancholy, he forthwith thinks he is a king, an emperor, a monarch, and walks alone, pleasing himself with a vain hope of some future preferment, or present as he supposeth, and withal acts a lord's part, takes upon him to be some statesman or magnifico, makes congés, gives entertainment, looks big, &c. Francisco Sansovino records of a melancholy man in Cremona, that would not be induced to believe but that he was pope, gave pardons, made cardinals, &c. Christophorus a Vega makes mention of another of his acquaintance, that thought he was a king, driven from his kingdom, and was very anxious to recover his estate. A covetous person is still conversant about purchasing of lands and tenements, plotting in his mind how to compass such and such manors, as if he were already lord of, and able to go through with it; all he sees is his, re or spe, he hath devoured it in hope, or else in conceit esteems it his own: like him in Athenæus, that thought all the ships in the haven to be his own. A lascivious inamorato plots all the day long to please his mistress, acts and struts, and carries himself as if she were in presence, still dreaming of her, as Pamphilus of his Glycerium, or as some do in their morning sleep.
Marcellus Donatus knew such a gentlewoman in Mantua, called Elionora Meliorina, that constantly believed she was married to a king, and "would kneel down and talk with him, as if he had been there present with his associates; and if she had found by chance a piece of glass in a muck-hill or in the street, she would say that it was a jewel sent from her lord and husband." If devout and religious, he is all for fasting, prayer, ceremonies, alms, interpretations, visions, prophecies, revelations, he is inspired by the Holy Ghost, full of the Spirit: one while he is saved, another while damned, or still troubled in mind for his sins, the devil will surely have him, &c. More of these in the third partition of love-melancholy. A scholar's mind is busied about his studies, he applauds himself for what he hath done, or hopes to do, one while fearing to be out in his next exercise, another while contemning all censures; envies one, emulates another; or else with indefatigable pains and meditation, consumes himself.
So of the rest, all which vary according to the more remiss and violent impression of the object, or as the humour itself is intended or remitted. For some are so gently melancholy, that in all their carriage, and to the outward apprehension of others it can hardly be discerned, yet to them an intolerable burden, and not to be endured.
Quædam occulta quædam manifesta, some signs are manifest and obvious to all at all times, some to few or seldom, or hardly perceived; let them keep their own counsel, none will take notice or suspect them. They do not express in outward show their depraved imaginations," as Hercules de Saxonia observes, "but conceal them wholly to themselves, and are very wise men, as I have often seen; some fear, some do not fear at all, as such as think themselves kings or dead, some have more signs, some fewer, some great, some less, some vex, fret, still fear, grieve, lament, suspect, laugh, sing, weep, chafe, &c. by fits (as I have said) or more during and permanent." Some
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dote in one thing, are most childish, and ridiculous, and to be wondered at in that, and yet for all other matters most discreet and wise. To some it is in disposition, to another in habit; and as they write of heat and cold, we may say of this humour, one is melancholicus ad octo, a second two degrees less, a third half-way. 'Tis superparticular, sesquialtera, sesquitertia, and superbipartiens tertias, quintas Melancholiæ, &c., all those geometrical proportions are too little to express it. "It comes to many by fits, and goes; to others it is continuate: many (saith Faventinus) in spring and fall only are molested, some once a year, as that Roman Galen speaks of: one, at the conjunction of the moon alone, or some unfortunate aspects, at such and such set hours and times, like the sea-tides, to some women when they be with child, as Plater notes, never otherwise: to others 'tis settled and fixed: to one led about and variable still by that ignis fatuus of phantasy, like an arthritis or running gout, 'tis here and there, and in every joint, always molesting some part or other; or if the body be free, in a myriad of forms exercising the mind. A second once peradventure in his life hath a most grievous fit, once in seven years, once in five years, even to the extremity of madness, death, or dotage, and that upon some feral accident or perturbation, terrible object, and that for a time, never perhaps so before, never after. A third is
moved upon all such troublesome objects, cross fortune, disaster, and violent passions, otherwise free, once troubled in three or four years. A fourth, if things be to his mind, or he in action, well pleased, in good company, is most jocund, and of a good complexion: if idle, or alone, à la mort, or carried away wholly with pleasant dreams and phantasies, but if once crossed and displeased,
"Pectore concipiet nil nisi triste suo;"
"He will imagine naught save sadness in his heart;"
his countenance is altered on a sudden, his heart heavy, irksome thoughts crucify his soul, and in an instant he is moped or weary of his life, he will kill himself. A fifth complains in his youth, a sixth in his middle age, the last in his old age.
Generally thus much we may conclude of melancholy; that it is most pleasant at first, I say, mentis gratissimus error, (a most agreeable mental delusion) a most delightsome humour, to be alone, dwell alone, walk alone, meditate, lie in bed whole days, dreaming awake as it were, and frame a thousand fantastical imaginations unto themselves. They are never better pleased then when they are so doing, they are in paradise for the time, and cannot well endure to be interrupt; with him in the poet, pol me occidistis, amici, non servastis, ait? you have undone him, he complains if you trouble him: tell him what inconvenience will follow, what will be the event, all is one, canis ad vomitum, 'tis so pleasant he cannot refrain. He may thus continue peradventure many years by reason of a strong temperature, or some mixture of business, which may divert his cogitations: but at the last læsa imaginatio, his phantasy is crazed, and now habituated to such toys, cannot but work still like a fate, the scene alters upon a sudden, fear and sorrow supplant those pleasing thoughts, suspicion, discontent, and perpetual anxiety succeed in their places; so by little and little, by that shoeing-horn of idleness, and voluntary solitariness, melancholy this feral fiend is drawn on, et quantum vertice ad auras Æthereas, tantum radice in Tartara tendit, "extending up, by its branches, so far towards Heaven, as, by its roots it does down towards Tartarus;" it was not so delicious at first, as now it is bitter and harsh; a cankered soul macerated with cares and discuntents, tædium vitæ, impatience,
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agony, inconstancy, irresolution, precipitate them unto unspeakable miseries. They cannot endure company, light, or life itself, some unfit for action, and the like. Their bodies are lean and dried up, withered, ugly, their looks harsh, very dull, and their souls tormented, as they are more or less entangled, as the humour hath been intended, or according to the continuance of time they have been troubled.
To discern all which symptoms the better, Rhasis the Arabian makes three degrees of them. The first is, falsa cogitatio, false conceits and idle thoughts: to misconstrue and amplify, aggravating every thing they conceive or fear; the second is, falso cogitata loqui, to talk to themselves, or to use inarticulate incondite voices, speeches, obsolete gestures, and plainly to utter their minds and conceits of their hearts, by their words and actions, as to laugh, weep, to be silent, not to sleep, eat their meat, &c.: the third is to put in practice that which they think or speak. Savanarola, Rub. 11. Tract. 8. cap. 1. de ægritudine, confirms as much, "when he begins to express that in words, which he conceives in his heart, or talks idly, or goes from one thing to another," which Gordonius calls nec caput habentia nec caudam ("having neither head nor tail"), he is in the middle way: "but when he begins to act it likewise, and to put his fopperies in execution, be is then in the extent of melancholy, or madness itself." This progress of melancholy you shall easily observe in them that have been so affected, they go smiling to themselves at first, at length they laugh out; at first solitary, at last they can endure no company: or if they do, they are now dizzards, past sense and shame, quite moped, they care not what they say or do, all their actions, words, gestures, are furious or ridiculous. At first his mind is troubled, he doth not attend what is said, if you tell him a tale, he cries at last, what said you? but in the end he mutters to himself; as old women do many times, or old men when they sit alone, upon a sudden they laugh, whoop, halloo, or run away, and swear they see or hear players, devils, hobgoblins, ghosts, strike, or strut, &c., grow humorous in the end: like him in the poet, sæpe ducentos, sæpe decem servos ("at one time followed by two hundred servants, at another only by ten"), he will dress himself; and undress, careless at last, grows insensible, stupid, or mad. He howls like a wolf; barks like a dog, and raves like Ajax and Orestes, hears music and outcries, which no man else hears. As he did whom Amatus Lusitanus mentioneth cent. 3, cura. 55, or that woman in Springer, that spake many languages, and said she was possessed: that
farmer in Prosper Calenus, that disputed and discoursed learnedly in philosophy and astromomy with Alexander Achilles his master, at Bologna, in Italy. But of these I have already spoken.
Who can sufficiently speak of these symptoms, or prescribe rules to comprehend them? as Echo to the painter in Ausonius, vane, quid afectas, &c., foolish fellow; what wilt? if you must needs paint me, paint a voice, et similem si vis pingere, pinge sonum; if you will describe melancholy, describe a phantastical conceit, a corrupt imagination, vain thoughts and different, which who can do? The four and twenty letters make no more variety of words in diverse languages, than melancholy conceits produce diversity of symptoms in several persons. They are irregular, obscure, various, so infinite, Proteus himself is not so diverse, you may as well make the moon a new coat, as a true character of a melancholy man; as soon find the motion of a bird in the air, as the heart of man, a melancholy man. They are so confused, I say, diverse, intermixed with other diseases. As the species be confounded (which I have shewed) so are the symptoms: sometimes with headache, cachexia, dropsy, stone; as you may perceive by those several examples and illustrations, collected by Hildesheim, spicel. 2, Mercurialis, consil. 118. cap. 6 and 11, with headache,
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epilepsy, priapismus. Trincavellius, consil. 12. lib. 1. consil. 49. with gout: caninus appetitus. Montanus, consil. 26, &c. 23, 234, 249, with falling-sickness, headache, vertigo, lycanthropia, &c. I. Cæsar Claudinus, consult. 4. consult. 89 and 116, with gout, agues, hæmorrhoids, stone, &c., who can distinguish these melancholy symptoms so intermixed with others, or apply them to their several kinds, confine them into method? 'Tis hard I confess, yet I have disposed of them as I could, and will descend to particularise them according to their species. For hitherto I have expatiated in more general lists or terms, speaking promiscuously of such ordinary signs, which occur amongst writers. Not that they are all to be found in one man, for that were to paint a monster or chimera, not a man: but some in one, some in another, and that successively, or at several times.
Which I have been the more curious to express and report; not to upbraid any miserable man, or by way of derision (I rather pity them), but the better to discern, to apply remedies unto them; and to show that the best and soundest of us all is in great danger; how much we ought to fear our own fickle estates, remember our miseries and vanities, examine and humiliate ourselves, seek to God, and call to Him for mercy, that needs not look for any rods to scourge ourselves, since we carry them in our bowels, and that our souls are in a miserable captivity, if the light of grace and heavenly truth doth not shine continually upon us: and by our discretion to moderate ourselves, to be more circumspect and wary in the midst of these dangers.
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