THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY
BY DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR
SUBSECT. III.-- Custom of Diet, Delight, Appetite, Necessity, how they cause or hinder.
NO rule is so general, which admits not some exception; to this, therefore, which hath been hitherto said (for I shall otherwise put most men out of commons), and those inconveniences which proceed from the substance of meats, an intemperate or unseasonable use of them, custom somewhat detracts and qualifies, according to that of Hippocrates 2, Aphorism. 50, "Such things as we have been long accustomed to, though they be evil in their own nature yet they are less offensive." Otherwise it might well be objected that it were a mere tyranny to live after those strict rules of physic; for custom doth alter nature itself, and to such as are used to them it makes bad meats wholesome, and unseasonable times to cause no disorder. Cider and perry are windy drinks, so are all fruits windy in themselves, cold most part, yet in some shires of England, Normandy in France, Guipuscoa in Spain, 'tis their common drink, and they are no whit offended with it. In Spain, Italy, and Africa, they live most on roots, raw herbs, camel's milk, and it agrees well with them: which to a stranger will cause much grievance. In Wales, lacticiniis vescuntur, as Humphrey Llwyd confesseth, a Cambro-Briton himself, in his elegant epistle to Abraham Ortelius, they live most on white meats: in Holland on fish, roots, butter, and so at this day in Greece, as Bellonius observes, they had much rather feed on fish than flesh. With us,
Maxima pars victus in carne consistit, we feed on flesh most part, saith Polydor Virgil, as all northern countries do; and it would be very offensive to us to live after their diet, or they to live after ours. We drink beer, they wine; they use oil, we butter; we in the north are great eaters; they most sparing in those hotter countries; and yet they and we following our own customs are well pleased. An Ethiopian of old seeing an European eat bread, wondered, quomodo stercoribus vescentes viverimus, how we could eat such kind of meats: so much differed his countrymen from ours in diet, that as mine author infers, si quis illorum victum apud nos æmulari vellet; if any man should so feed with us, it would be all one to nourish, as Cicuta, Aconitum, or Hellebore itself. At this day in China, the common people live in a manner altogether
on roots and herbs, and to the wealthiest, horse, ass, mule, dogs, cat-flesh, is as delightsome as the rest, so Mat. Riccius the jesuit relates, who lived many years amongst them. The Tartars eat raw meat, and most commonly horse-flesh, drink milk and blood, as the Nomades of old. Et lac concretum cum sanquine potat equino. They scoff at our Europeans for eating bread, which they call tops of weeds, and horse meat, not fit for men; and yet Scaliger accounts them a sound and witty nation, living a hundred years; even in the civilest country of them they do thus, as Benedict the
jesuit observed in his travels, from the great Mogul's Court by land to Pekin, which Riccius contends to be the same with Cambula in Cataia. In Scandia their bread is usually dried fish, and so likewise in the Shetland isles; and their other fare, as in Iceland, saith Dithmarus Bleskenius, butter, cheese, and fish; their drink water, their lodging on the ground. In America in many places their bread is roots, their meat palmitos, pinas, potatoes, &c., and such fruits. There be of them too that familiarly drink salt sea-water all their lives, eat raw meat, grass, and that with delight. With some, fish, serpents, spiders; and in divers places they eat man's flesh, raw and roasted, even the Emperor Montezuma himself. In some coasts, again, one tree yields
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them cocoa-nuts, meat and drink, fire, fuel, apparel; with his leaves, oil, vinegar, cover for houses, &c., and yet these men going naked, feeding coarse, live commonly a hundred years, are seldom or never sick; all which diet our physicians forbid. In Westphalia they feed most part on fat meats and wourts, knuckle deep, and call it cerebrum Iovis: in the low countries with roots, in Italy frogs and snails are used. The Turks, saith Busbequius, delight most in fried meats. In Muscovy, garlic and onions are ordinary meat and sauce, which would be pernicious to such as are unaccustomed to them, delightsome to others; and all is because they have been brought up unto it.
Husbandmen, and such as labour, can eat fat bacon, salt gross meat, hard cheese, &c. (O dura messorum ilia), coarse bread at all times, go to bed and labour upon a full stomach, which to some idle persons would be present death, and is against the rules of physic, so that custom is all in all. Our travellers find this by common experience when they come in far countries and use their diet, they are suddenly offended, as our Hollanders and Englishmen when they touch upon the coasts of Africa, those Indian capes and islands are commonly molested with calentures, fluxes, and much
distempered by reason of their fruits. Peregrina, etsi suavia, solent vescentibus perturbationes insignes adferre, strange meats, though pleasant, cause notable alterations and distempers. On the other side, use or custom mitigates or makes all good again. Mithridates by often use, which Pliny wonders at, was able to drink poison, and a maid, as Curtius records, sent to Alexander from K. Porus, was brought up with poison from her infancy. The Turks, saith Bellonius, lib. 3, c. 15, eat opium familiarly, a drachm at once, which we dare not take in grains. Garcius ab Horto writes of one whom he saw at Goa in the East Indies, that took ten drachms of opium in three days; and yet consulto loquebatur, spake understandingly, so much can custom do. Theophrastus speaks of a shepherd that could eat hellebore in substance.
And therefore Carcian concludes out of Galen, Consuetudinem utcunque ferendam, nisi valde malam. Custom is howsoever to be kept, except it be extremely bad: he adviseth all men to keep their old customs, and that by the authority of Hippocrates himself, Dandum aliquid tempori, ætati, regioni, consuetudini, and therefore continue as they began, be it diet, bath, exercise, &c., or whatsoever else.
Another exception is delight, or appetite, to such and such meats; though they be hard of digestion, melancholy; yet as Fuchsius excepts cap. 6. lib. 2. Institut. sect.
2. "The stomach doth really digest, and willingly entertain such meats we love most, and are pleasing to us, abhors on the other side such as we distaste." Which Hippocrates confirms, Aphorism. 2, 38. Some cannot endure cheese out of a secret antipathy, or to see a roasted duck, which to others is a delightsome meat.
The last exception is necessity, poverty, want, hunger, which drives men many times to do that which otherwise they are loth, cannot endure, and thankfully to accept of it: as beverage in ships, and in sieges of great cities, to feed on dogs, cats, rats, and men themselves. Three outlaws in Hector Boethius, being driven to their shifts, did eat raw flesh, and flesh of such fowl as they could catch, in one of the Hebrides for some few months. These things do mitigate or disannul that which hath been said of melancholy meats, and make it more tolerable; but to such as are wealthy, live plenteously, at ease, may take their choice, and refrain if they will, these viands are to be forborne, if they be inclined to, or suspect; melancholy, as they tender their healths: Otherwise if they be intemperate, or disordered in their diet, at their peril be it. Qui monet amat, Ave et cave.
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He who advises is your friend,
Farewell and to your health attend.
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SUBSECT. IV.-- Retention and Evacuation a cause, and how.
OF retention and evacuation, there be divers kinds, which are either concomitant, assisting, or sole causes many times of melancholy. Galen reduceth defect and abundance to this head; others "All that is separated, or remains."
Costiveness.] In the first rank of these, I may well reckon up costiveness, and keeping in of our ordinary excrements, which as it often causeth other diseases, so this of melancholy in particular. Celsus, lib. 1. cap. 3. saith, "It produceth inflammation of the head, dulness, cloudiness, headache, &c." Prosper Calenus, lib. de atra bile, will have it distemper not the organ only, "but the mind itself by troubling of it:" and sometimes it is a sole cause of madness, as you may read in the first book of Skenkius's Medicinal Observations. A young merchant going to Nordeling fair in Germany, for ten days' space never went to stool; at his return he was grievously melancholy, thinking that he was robbed, and would not be persuaded but that all his money was gone; his friends thought he had some philtrum given him, but Onelius, a physician, being sent for, found his costiveness alone to be the cause, and thereupon gave him a clyster, by which he was speedily recovered. Trincavelius, consult. 35 lib. 1. saith as much of a melancholy lawyer, to whom he administered physic, and Rodericus a Fonseca, consult. 85. tom. 2. of a patient of his, that for eight days was found, and therefore melancholy affected. Other retentions and evacuations there are, not simply necessary, but at some times; as Fernelius accounts them. Path. lib. 1. cap. 15. as suppression of hæmorrhoids, or monthly issues in women, bleeding at nose, immoderate or no use at all of Venus: or any other ordinary issues.
Detention of hæmorrhoids, or monthly issues, Villanovanus Breviar. lib. 1. cap. 18. Arculanus, cap. 16. in 9. Rhasis, Vittorius Faventinus, pract. mag. Tract. 2. cap. 15. Bruel, &c. put for ordinary causes. Fuchsius, l. 2. sect. 5. c. 30. goes farther, and saith, "That many men unseasonably cured of the hemorrhoids have been corrupted with melancholy, seeking to avoid Scylla, they fall into Charybdis. Galen, l. de hum. commen. 3. ad text. 26. illustrates this by an example of Lucius Martius, whom he cured of madness, contracted by this means: And Skenkius hath two other instances of two melancholy and mad women, so caused from the suppression of their months. The same may be said of bleeding at the nose, if it be suddenly stopped, and have been formerly used, as Villanovanus urgeth: And Fuchsius, lib. 2. sect. 5. cap.
33. stiffly maintains, "That without great danger, such an issue may not be stayed."
Venery omitted produceth like effects. Mathiolus, epist. 5. 1. penult. "avoucheth of his knowledge, that some through bashfulness abstained from venery, and thereupon became very heavy and dull; and some others that were very timorous, melancholy, and beyond all measure sad." Oribasius, med. collect. l. 6. c. 37. speaks of some, "That if they do not use carnal copulation, are continually troubled with heaviness and headache; and some in the same case by intermission of it." Not use of it hurts many, Arculanus, c. 6. in 9. Rhasis, et Magninus, part. 3. cap. 5. think, because it "sends up poisonous vapours to the brain and heart." And so doth Galen himself hold, "That if this natural seed be over-long kept (in some parties) it turns to poison." Hieronymus Mercurialis, in his chapter of Melancholy, cites it for an especial cause of this malady, Priapismus, Satyriasis, &c., Haliabbas, 5. Theor. c. 36. reckons up this and many other diseases. Villanovanus Breviar. l. 1. c. 18. saith, "He knew
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monks and widows grievously troubled with melancholy, and that for this sole cause." Lodovicus Mercatus, l. 2. de mulierum affect. cap. 4. and Rodericus a Castro, de morbis mulier. l. 2. c. 3 treat largely of this subject, and will have it produce a peculiar kind of melancholy in stale maids, nuns, and widows, Ob suppressionem mensium et venerem omissam, timidæ, moestæe, anxiæ, verecundæ, supiciosæ, languentes, consilii inopes, cum summa vitæ et rerum meliorum desperatione, &c., they are melancholy in the highest degree, and all for want of husbands. Ælianus Montaltus, cap. 37. de melanchol. confirms as much out of Galen; so doth Wierus, Christoferus a Vega de art. med lib. 3. c. 14, relates many such examples of men and women, that he had seen so melancholy. Foelix Plater in the first book of his Observations, "tells a story of an ancient gentleman in Alsatia, that married a young wife, and was not able to pay his debts in that kind for a long time together, by reason of his several infirmities: but she, because of this inhibition of Venus, fell into a horrible fury, and desired every one that came to see her, by words, looks, and gestures, to have to do with her," &c. Bernardus Patarnus, a physician, saith, "He knew a good honest godly priest, that because he would neither willingly marry, nor make use of the stews, fell into grievous melancholy fits." Hildesheim, spicel. 2. hath such another example of an Italian melancholy priest, in a consultation had Anno 1580. Jason Pratensis gives instance in a married man, that from his wife's death abstaining, "after marriage, became exceedingly melancholy," Rodericus a Fonseca in a young man so misaffected, Tom. 2. consult. 85. To these you may add, if you please, that conceited tale of a Jew, so visited in like sort, and so cured, out of Poggius Florentinus.
Intemperate Venus is all but as bad in the other extreme. Galen. 1. 6. de morbis popular. sect. 5. text. 26, reckons up melancholy amongst those diseases which are "exasperated by venery:" so doth Avicenna, 2, 3. c. 11. Oribisius, loc. citat. Ficinus, lib. 2. de sanitate tuenda. Marsiius Cognatus, Montaltus, cap. 27. Guianerius, Tract. 3. cap. 2. Maguinus, cap. 5, part. 3. gives the reason, because "it infrigidates and dries up the body, consumes the spirits, and would therefore have all such as are cold and dry to take heed of and to avoid it as a mortal enemy." Jacchinus in 9. Rhasis, cap. 15, ascribes the same cause, and instanceth in a patient of his, that married a young wife in a hot summer, "and so dried himself with chamber-work, that he became in short space from melancholy, mad:" he cured him by moistening
remedies. The like example I find in Lælius a Fonte Eugubinus, consult. 129. of a gentleman of Venice, that upon the same occasion was first melancholy, afterwards mad. Read in him the story at large.
Any other evacuation stopped will cause it, as well as these above named, be it bile, ulcer, issue, &c. Hercules de Saxonia, lib. 1. c. 16. and Gordornius, verify this out of their experience. They saw one wounded in the head, who as long as the sore was open, Lucida habuit mentis intervallia, was well; but when it was stopped, Rediit melancholia, his melancholy fit seized on him again.
Artificial evacuations are much like in effect, as hot houses, baths, bloodletting, purging, unseasonably and immoderately used. Baths dry too much, if used in excess, be they natural or artificial, and offend extreme hot or cold; bone dries, the other refrigerates over much. Montanus, consil. 137, saith, they over-heat the liver. Joh. Struthius, Stigmat. artis. l. 4. c. 9. contends, "that if one stays longer than ordinary at the bath, go in too oft, or at unseasonable times, he putrefies the humours in his body." To this purpose writes Magnini, l. 3. c. 5. Guianerius, Tract. 15. c. 21, utterly disallows all hot baths in the melancholy adust. "I saw (saith he) a man that laboured of the gout,who to be freed of his malady came to the bath, and was
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instantly cured of his disease, but got another worse, and that was madness." But this judgment varies as the humour doth, in hot or cold: baths may be good for one melancholy man, bad for another; that which will cure it in this party, may cause it in a second.
Phlebotomy.] Phlebotomy, many times neglected, may do much harm to the body, when there is a manifest redundance of bad humour; and melancholy blood; and when these humours heat and boil, if this be not used in time, the parties affected, so inflamed, are in great danger to be mad; but if it be unadvisedly, importunely, immoderately used, it doth as much harm by refrigerating the body, dulling the spirits, and consuming them: as Job. Curio in his 10th Chapter well reprehends, such kind of letting blood doth more hurt than good: "The humours rage much more than they did before, and is so far from avoiding melancholy, that it increaseth it, and weakeneth the sight." Prosper Calenus observes as much of all phlebotomy, except they keep a very good diet after it; yea, and as Leonartus Jacchinus speaks out of his own experience, "The blood is much blacker to many men after their letting of blood than, it was at first." For this cause belike Salust. Salvinianus, l. 2. c. 1. will admit or hear of no blood-letting at all in this disease, except it be manifest it proceed from blood: he was (it appears) by his own words in that place, master of an hospital of mad men, "and found by long experience, that this kind of evacuation, either in head, arm, or any other part, did more harm than good." To this opinion of his, Felix Plater is quite opposite, "though some wink at, disallow and quite contradict all phlebotomy in
melancholy, yet by long experience I have found innumerable so saved, after they had been twenty, nay, sixty times let blood, and to live happily after it. It was an ordinary thing of old, in Galen's time, to take at once from such men six pounds of blood, which now we dare scarce take in ounces; sed viderint medici;" great books are written of this subject.
Purging upward and downward, in abundance of bad humours omitted, may be for the worst; so likewise as in the precedent, if overmuch, too frequent or violent, it weakeneth their strength, saith Fuchsius, l. 2. sect. 2. c. 17. or if they be strong or able to endure physic, yet it brings them to an ill habit, they make their bodies no better than apothecaries' shops, this and such like infirmities must needs follow.
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SUBSECT. V.-- Bad Air, a Cause of Melancholy.
AIR is a cause of great moment, in producing this, or any other disease, being that it is still taken into our bodies by respiration, and our more inner parts. "If it be impure and foggy, it dejects the spirits, and causeth diseases by infection of the heart," as Paulus hath it, lib. 1. c. 49. Avicenna lib. 1. Gal. de. san. tuenda. Mercurialis, Montaltus, &c. Fernelius saith, "A thick air thickeneth the blood and humours." Lemnius reckons up two main things most profitable, and most pernicious to our bodies; air and diet: and this peculiar disease, nothing sooner causeth (Jobertus holds) "than the air wherein we breathe and live." Such as is the air, such be our spirits; and as our spirits, such are our humours. It offends commonly if it be too hot and dry. thick, fuliginous, cloudy, blustering, or a tempestuous air., Bodine in his fifth Book,
De repub. cap. 1,5. of his Method of History, proves that hot countries are most troubled with melancholy, and that there are therefore in Spain, Africa, and Asia Minor, great numbers of mad men, insomuch that they are compelled in all cities of note, to build hospitals for them. Leo Afer, lib. 3. de Fessa urbe, Ortelius and Zuniger, confirm as much: they are ordinarily so choleric in their speeches, that scarce two words pass without railing or chiding in common talk, and often quarrelling in the streets. Gordonius will have every man take notice of it: "Note this (saith he) that in hot countries it is far more familiar than in cold." Although this we have now said be not continually so, for as Acosta truly saith, under the Equator itself, is a most temperate habitation, wholesome air, a paradise of pleasure: the leaves ever green, cooling showers. But it holds in such as are intemperately hot, as Johannes a Meggen found in Cyprus, others in Malta, Apulia, and the Holy Land, where at some seasons of the year is nothing but dust, their rivers dried up, the air scorching hot, and earth inflamed; insomuch that many pilgrims going barefoot for devotion sake, from Joppa to Jerusalem upon the hot sands, often run mad, or else quite overwhelmed with sand, profundis arenis, as in many parts of Africa, Arabia Deserta, Bactriana, now Charassan, when the west wind blows Involuti arenis transeunta necantur (They perish in clouds of sand). Hercules de Saxonia, a professor in Venice, gives this cause why so nany Venetiaa women are melancholy, Quod diu sub sole degant, they tarry too long in the sun. Montanus, consil. 21. amongst other causes assigns this; Why that Jew his patient was mad, Quod tam multum exposuit se calori et frigori: he exposed
himself so much to heat and cold, and for that reason in Venice, there is little stirring in those brick paved streets in summer about noon, they are most part then asleep: as they are likewise in the great Mogol's countries, and all over the East Indies. At Aden in Arabia, as Lodovicus Vertomannus relates in. his travels, they keep their markets in the night, to avoid extremity of heat; and in Ormus, like cattle in a pasture, people of all sorts lie up to the chin in water all day long. At Braga in Portugal; Burgos in Castile; Messina in Sicily, all over Spain and Italy, their streets are most part narrow, to avoid the sunbeams. The Turks wear great turbans ad fugandos solis radios, to refract the sunbeams; and much inconvenience that hot air of Bantam in Java yields to our men, that sojourn there for traffic; where it is so hot, "that they that are sick of the pox, lie commonly bleaching in the sun to dry up their sores." Such a complaint I read of those isles of Cape Verde, fourteen degrees from the Equator, they do male audire:
One calls them the unhealthiest clime of the world, for fluxes, fevers, frenzies,
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calentures, which commonly seize on seafaring men that touch at them, and all by reason of a hot distemperature of the air. The hardiest men are offended with this heat, and stiffest clowns cannot resist it, as Constantine affirms, Agricult. l. 2. c. 45. They that are naturally born in such air, may not endure it, as Niger records of some part of Mesopotamia, now called Diarbecha: Quibusdam in locis sævienti æstui adeo subjecta est, ut pleraque animalia fervore solis et coeli extinguantur, 'tis so hot there in some places, that men of the country and cattle are killed with it; and Adricomius of Arabia Felix, by reason of myrrh, frankincense, and hot spices there growing, the air is so obnoxious to their brains, that the very inhabitants at some times cannot avoid it, much less weaklings and strangers. Arnatus Lusitanus, cent. 1.
curat. 45, reports of a young maid, that was one Vincent a currier's daughter, some thirteen years of age, that would wash her hair in the heat of the day (in July) and so let it dry in the sun, "to make it yellow, but by that means tarrying too long in the heat, she inflamed her head, and made herself mad."
Cold air in the other extreme is almost as bad as hot, and so doth Montaltus esteem of it, c. 11. if it be dry withal. In those northern countries, the people are therefore generally dull, heavy, and many witches, which (as I have before quoted) Saxo Grammaticus, Olaus, Baptista Porta ascribe to melancholy. But these cold climes are more subject to natural melancholy (not this artificial) which is cold and dry: for which cause Mercurius Britannicus belike puts melancholy men to inhabit just under the Pole. The worst of the three is a thick, cloudy, misty, foggy air, or such as come from fens, moorish grounds, lakes, muckhills, draughts, sinks, where any carcasses or carrion lies, or from whence any stinking fulsome smell comes: Galen, Avicenna, Mercurialis, new and old physicians, hold that such air is unwholesome,
and engenders melancholy, plagues, and what not? Alexandretta an haven-town in the Mediterranean Sea, Saint John do Ulloa, an haven in Nova-Hispania, are much condemned for a bad air, so are Durazzo in Albania, Lithuania, Ditmarsh, Pomptinæ Paludes in Italy, the territories about Pisa, Ferrara, &c., Romney Marsh with us; the Hundreds in Essex, the fens in Lincolnshire. Cardan, de rerum varietate, l. 17. c. 96. finds fault with the sight of those rich, and most populous cities in the Law Countries, as Bruges, Ghent, Amsterdam, Leyden, Utrecht, &c., the air is bad; and so at
Stockholm in Sweden; Rezium in Italy, Salisbury with us, Hull and Lynn: they may be commodious for navigation, this new kind of fortification, and many other good necessary uses; but are they so wholesome? Old Rome hath descended from the hills to the valley, 'tis the site of most of our new cities, and held best to build in plains, to take the opportunity of rivers. Leander Albertus pleads hard for the air and site of Venice, though the black Moorish lands appear at every low water: the sea, fire, and smoke (as he thinks) qualify the air; and some suppose, that a thick foggy air helps the
memory, as in them of Pisa in Italy; and our Cambden, out of Plato, commends the site of Cambridge, because it is so near the fens. But let the site of such places be as it may, how can they be excused that have a delicious seat, a pleasant air, and all that nature can afford, and yet through their own nastiness, and sluttishness, immund and sordid manner of life, suffer their air to putrefy, and themselves to be choked up?
Many cities in Turkey do male audire in this kind: Constantinople itself where commonly carrion lies in the street. Some find the same fault in Spain, even in Madrid, the king's seat, a most excellent air, a pleasant site; but the inhabitants are
sloven; and the streets uncleanly kept.
A troublesome tempestuous air is as bad as impure, rough and foul weather, impetuous winds, cloudy dark days, as it is commonly with us, Coelum visu foedum,
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Polydore calls it a filthy sky, et in quo facilæ generantur nubes; as Tully's brother Quintus wrote to him in Rome, being then Quæstor in Britain. "In a thick and cloudy air (saith Lemaius) men are tetric, sad, and peevish: And if the western winds blow, and that there be a calm, or a fair sunshine day, there is a kind of alacrity in men's minds; it cheers up men and beasts: but if it be a turbulent, rough, cloudy, stormy weather, men are sad, lumpish, and much dejected, angry, waspish, dulll, and melancholy." This was Virgil's experiment of old,
"Verum ubi tempestas, et coeli mobilis humor
Mutavere vices, et Jupiter humidus Astro,
Vertuntur species animorum, et pectore motus
"But when the face of heaven changed is
To tempests, rain, from season fair:
Our minds are altered, and in our breasts
Fortwith some new conceits appear."
And who is not weather-wise against such and such conjunctions of planets, moved in foul weather, dull and heavy in such tempestuous seasons? Gelidum contristat Aquarius annum: the time requires, and the autumn breeds it; winter is like unto it, ugly, foul, squalid, the air works on all men, more or less, but especially on such as are melancholy, or inclined to it, as Lemnius holds, "They are most moved with it, and those which are already mad, rave downright, either in, or against a tempest.
Besides, the devil many times takes his opportunity of such storms, and when the humours by the air be stirred, he goes in with them, exagitates our spirits, and vexeth our souls; as the sea waves, so are the spirits and humours in our bodies tossed with tempestuous winds and storms." To such as are melancholy therefore, Montanus, consil. 24, will have tempestuous and rough air to be avoided, and consil. 27, all night air, and would not have them to walk abroad, but in a pleasant day. Lemnius, l. 3. c. 3. discommends the south and eastern winds, commends the north. Montanus, consil. 31,
"wills not any windows to be opened in the night." Consil. 229. et consil. 230, he discommends especially the south wind, and nocturnal air: So doth Plutarch. The night and darkness makes men sad, the like do all subterranean vaults, dark houses in caves and rocks, desert places cause melancholy in an instant, especially such as have not been used to it, or otherwise accustomed. Read more of air in Hippocrates Ætius, l. 3. a c. 171. ad 175. Oribasius, a c. 1. ad 21. Avicen. l. 1. can. Fen. 2, doc. 2, Fen. 1. c. 123. to the 12, &c.
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SUBSECT. VI.-- Immoderate Exercise a Cause, and how. Solitariness, Idleness.
NOTHING so good but it may be abused: nothing better than exercise (if opportunely used) for the preservation of the body: nothing so bad if it be unseasonable, violent, or overmuch. Fernelius out of Galen, Path. lib. 1. c. 16.. saith, "That much exercise and weariness consumes the spirits and substance, refrigerates the body: and such humours which Nature would have otherwise concocted and expelled, it stirs up and makes them rage: which being so enraged, diversely affect and trouble the body and mind." So doth it, if it be unseasonably used, upon a full stomach, or when the body is full of crudities, which Fuchsius so much inveighs against, lib. 2. instit. sect. 2. c. 4. giving that for a cause why school-boys in Germany are so often scabbed, because they use exercise presently after meats. Bayerus puts in a caveat against such exercise, because "it corrupts the meat in the stomach, and carries the same juice raw, and as yet undigested, into the veins (saith Lemnius), which there putrefies and confounds the animal spirits." Crato, consil. 21. l. 2. protests against all such exercise after meat, as being the greatest enemy to concoction that may be, and cause of corruption of humours, which produce this and many other diseases. Not without good reason then doth Salust. Salvianus, l. 2. c. 1. and Leonartus Jacchinus, in 9, Rhasis. Mercurialis, Arcubanus, and many others set down immoderate exercise as a most forcible cause of melancholy.
Opposite to exercise is idleness (the badge of gentry) or want of exercise, the bane of body and mind, the nurse of naughtiness, stepmother of discipline, the chief author of all mischief, one of the seven deadly sins, and a sole cause of this and many other maladies, the devil's cushion, as Gualter calls it, his pillow and chief reposal.
"For the mind can never rest, but still meditates on one thing or other, except it be occupied about some honest business, of his own accord it rusheth into melancholy.
As too much and violent exercise offends on the one side, so doth an idle life on the other (saith Crato), it fills the body full of phlegm, gross humours, and all manner of obstructions, rheums, catarrhs," &c. Rhasis, cont. lib. 1. tract. 9, accounts of it as the greatest cause of melancholy. "I have often seen (saith he) that idleness begets this humour more than anything else." Montaltus, c. 1, seconds him out of his experience, "They that are idle are far more subject to melancholy than such as are conversant or employed about any office or business." Plutarch reckons up idleness for a sole cause of the sickness of the soul: "There are they (saith he) troubled in mind, that have no other cause but this." Homer, Iliad. 1, brings in Achilles eating of his own heart in his idleness, because he might not fight. Mercurialis,
consil. 86, for a melancholy young man urgeth it is a chief cause; why was he melancholy? because idle. Nothing begets
it sooner, increaseth and continueth it oftener than idleness. A disease familiar to all idle persons, an inseparable companion to such as live at ease, Pingui otio desidose agentes, a life out of action, and have no calling or ordinary employment to busy themselves about, that have small occasions; and though they have such is their laziness, dulness, they will not compose themselves to do aught; they cannot abide work, though it be necessary; easy as to dress themselves, write a letter or the like; yet as he that is benumbed with cold sits still shaking, that might relieve himself with a little exercise or stirring do they complain, but will not use the facile and ready means
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to do themselves good; and so are still tormented with melancholy. Especially if they have been formerly brought up to business, or to keep much company, and upon a sudden come to lead a sedentary life; it crucifies their souls, and seizeth on them in an instant; for whilst they are any ways employed, in action, discourse, about any business, sport or recreation, or in company to their liking; they are very well: but it alone or idle, tormented instantly again; one day's solitariness, one hour's sometimes, doth them more harm, than a week's physic, labour, and company can do good.
Melancholy seizeth on them forthwith being alone, and is such a torture, that as wise Seneca well saith, Malo mihi male quam molliter esse, I had rather be sick than idle.
This idleness is either of body or mind. That of body is nothing but a kind of benumbing laziness, intermitting exercise, which if we may believe Fernelius; "causeth crudities, obstructions, excremental humours, quencheth the natural heat,
dulls the spirits, and makes them unapt to do any thing whatsoever."
"Neglectis urenda filix innascitur agris"
--"for, a neglected field
Shall for the fire its thorns and thistles yield."
As fern grows in untilled grounds, and all manner of weeds, so do gross humours in an idle body, Ignavum corrumpunt otia corpus. A horse in a stable that never travels, a hawk in a mew that seldom flies, are both subject to diseases; which left unto themselves, are most free from any such incumbrances. An idle dog will be mangy, and how shall an idle person think to escape? Idleness of the mind is much worse than this of the body; wit without employment is a disease, Ærugo animi, rubigo ingenii: the rust of the soul, a plague, a hell itself; Maximum animi nocumentum, Galen calls
it. "As in a standing pool, worms and filthy creepers increase (et vitium capiunt ni moveantur aquæ, the water itself putrefles, and air likewise, if it be not continually stirred by the wind), so do evil and corrupt thoughts in an idle person," the soul is contaminated. In a commonwealth, where is no public enemy, there is likely civil wars, and they rage upon themselves: this body of ours, when it is idle, and knows not how to bestow itself, macerates and vexeth itself with cares, griefs. These fears, discontents, and suspicions; it tortures and preys upon his own bowels, and is never at rest. Thus much I dare boldly say, "He or she that is idle, be they of what condition they will, never so rich, so well allied, fortunate, happy, let them have all things in abundance and felicity that heart can wish and desire, all contentment, so long as he or she or they are idle, they shall never be pleased, never well in body and mind, but weary still, sickly still, vexed still, loathing still, weeping, sighing, grieving, suspecting, offended with the world, with every object, wishing themselves gone or dead, or else carried away with some foolish phantasy or other. And this is the true cause that so many great men, ladies, and gentlewomen, labour of this disease in country and city; for idleness is an appendix to nobility; they count it a disgrace to work, and spend all their days in sports, recreations, and pastimes, and will therefore
take no pains; be of no vocation; they feed liberally; fare well, want exercise, action, employment (for to work, I say, they may not abide), and company to their desires, and thence their bodies become full of gross humours, wind, crudities; their minds disquieted, dull, heavy, &c. care, jealousy, fear of some diseases, sullen fits, weeping fits seize too familiarly on them. For what will not fear and phantasy work in an idle body? what distempers will they not cause? when the children of Israel murmured
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against Pharaoh in Egypt, he commanded his officers to double their task, and let them get straw themselves, and yet make their full number of bricks; for the sole cause why they mutiny, and are evil at ease, is, "they are idle." When you shall hear and see so many discontented persons in all places where you come, so many several grievances, unnecessary complaints, fear, suspicions, the best means to redress it is to set them awork, so to busy their minds: for the truth is, they are idle. Well they may build castles in the air for a time, and soothe up themselves with phantastical and pleasant humours, but in the end they will prove as bitter as gall, they shall be still I say discontent, suspicious, fearful, jealous, sad, fretting and vexing of themselves; so long as they be idle, it is impossible to please them, Otio qui nescit uti, plus habet negotii quam qui negotium in negotio, as that Agellius could observe: He that knows not how to spend his time, hath more business, care, grief, anguish of mind, than he that is most busy in the midst of all his business, Otiosus animus nescit quid volet: An idle person (as he follows it) knows not when he is well, what he would have, or whither he would go, Quum illuc ventum est illic lubet, he is tired out with everything, displeased with all, weary of his life: Nec bene domi, nec militiæ neither at home nor abroad, errat, et præter vitam vivitur, he wanders and lives besides himself. In a word, What the mischievous effects of laziness and idleness are, I do not find any where more accurately expressed, than in these verses of Philolaches in the Comical Poet, which for their elegancy I will in part insert.
"Novarum ædium esse arbitror similem ego homninem,
Quando hic natus est: Et rei argumenta dicam.
Ædes quando sunt ad amussim expolitæ,
Quisque laudat fabrum, atque exemplum, expetit, &c.
At ubi illi migrat nequam homo indiligensque, &c.
Tempestas venit, contingit tegulas, imbricesque,
Putrefacit aer operam fabri, &c.
Dicam ut homines similes esse ædium arbitremini,
Fabri parentas fundamentum substruunt liberorum,
Expoliunt, docent literas, nec parcunt sumptui,
Ego autem sub fabrorum potestate frugi fui,
Postquam autem migravi in ingenium meum,
Perdidi operam fabrorum illico, oppido,
Venit ignavia, et mihi tempestas fuit,
Adventuque suo grandinem et imbrem attulit,
Illa mihi virtutem deturbavit, &c."
("A young man is like a fair new house, the carpenter leaves it well built, in good repair of solid stuff; but a bad tenant lets it rain in, and for want of reparation, fall to decay, &c. Our parents, tutors, friends, spare no cost to bring us up in our youth, in all manner of virtuous education; but when we are left to ourselves, idleness as a tempest drives all virtuous motions out of our minds, et nihili sumus, on a sudden, by sloth and such bad ways, we come to nought.")
Cousin german to idleness, and a concomitant cause, which goes hand in hand with it, is nimia solitudo, too much solitariness, by the testimony of all physicians, cause and symptom both, but as it is here put for a cause it is either coact, enforced, or else voluntarily. Enforced solitariness is commonly seen in students, monks, friars, anchorites, that by their order and course of life must abandon all company, society of
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other men, and betake themselves to a private cell: Otio superstitioso seclusi, as Bale and Hospinian well term it, such as are the Carthusians of our time, that eat no flesh (by their order), keep perpetual silence, never go abroad. Such as live in prison, or some desert place, and cannot have company, as many of our country gentlemen do in solitary houses, they must either be alone without companions, or live beyond their means, and entertain all comers as so many hosts, or else converse with their servants and hinds, such as are unequal, inferior to them, and of a contrary disposition: or else
as some do, to avoid solitariness, spend their time with lewd fellows in taverns, and in alehouses, and thence addict themselves to some unlawful disports, or dissolute courses. Divers again are cast upon this rock of solitariness for want of means, or out of a strong apprehension of some infirmity, disgrace, or through bashfulness, rudeness, simplicity, they cannot apply themselves to others' company. Nullum solum infelici gratius solitudine, ubi nullus sit qui miseriam exprobret; this enforced solitariness takes place, and produceth his effect soonest in such as have spent their time jovially, peradventure in all honest recreations, in good company, in some great family or populous city, and are upon a sudden confined to a desert country cottage far off, restrained of their liberty, and barred from their ordinary associates; solitariness is very irksome to such, most tedious, and a sudden cause of great inconvenience.
Voluntary solitariness is that which is familiar with melancholy, and gently brings on like a syren, a shoeing-horn, or some sphinx to this irrevocable gulf, a primary cause, Piso calls it; most pleasant it is at first, to such as are melancholy
given, to lie in bed whole days, and keep their chambers, to walk alone in some solitary grove, betwixt wood and water, by a brook side, to meditate upon some delightsome and pleasant subject, which shall affect them most; amabilis insania, et mentus gratissimus error: a most incomparable delight it is so to melancholize, and build castles in the air, to go smiling to themselves, acting an infinite variety of parts, which they suppose and strongly imagine they represent, or that they see acted or done: Blandæ quidem ab initio, saith Lemnius, to conceive and meditate of such pleasant things, sometimes, "present, past, or to come," as Rhasis speaks. So delightsome these toys are at first, they could spend whole days and nights without sleep, even whole years alone in such contemplations, and fantastical meditations, which are like unto dreams, and they will hardly be drawn from them, or willingly interrupt, so pleasant their vain conceits are, that they hinder their ordinary tasks and necessary business, they cannot address themselves to them, or almost to any study or employment, these fantastical and bewitching thoughts so covertly, so feelingly; so urgently, so continually set upon, creep in, insinuate, possess, overcome, distract, and detain them, they cannot, I say, go about their more necessary business, stave off or extricate themselves, but are ever musing, melancholizing, and carried along, as he (they say) that is led round about a heath with a Puck in the night, they run earnestly on in this labyrinth of anxious and solicitous melancholy meditations, and cannot well or willingly refrain, or easily leave off; winding and unwinding themselves, as so many clocks, and still pleasing their humours, until at last the scene is turned upon a sudden, by some bad object, and they being now habituated to such vain meditations and solitary places, can endure no company, can ruminate of nothing but harsh and distasteful subjects. Fear, sorrow, suspicion, subrusticus pudor, discontent, cares, and
weariness of life surprise them in a moment, and they can think of nothing else, continually suspecting no sooner are their eyes open, but this infernal plague of melancholy seizeth on them, and terrifies their so representing some dismal object to their minds, which now by no means, no labour, no persuasions they can avoid, hæret
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lateri lethalis arundo (the arrow of death still remains in the side), they may not be rid of it, they cannot resist. I may not deny but that there is some profitable meditation, contemplation, and kind of solitariness to be embraced, which the fathers so highly commended, Hierom, Chrysostom, Cyprian, Austin, in whole tracts, which Petrarch, Erasmus, Stella, and others, so much magnify in their books; a paradise, a heaven on earth, if it be used aright, good for the body, and better for the soul: as many of those old monks used it, to divine contemplations, as Simulus a courtier in Adrian's time,
Dioclesian the emperor, retired themselves, &c., in that sense, Vatia solus scit vivere, Vatia lives alone, which the Romans were wont to say, when they commended a country life. Or to the bettering of their knowledge, as Democritus, Cleanthus, and those excellent philosophers have ever done, to sequester themselves from the tumultuous world, or as in Pliny's villa Laurentana, Tully's Tusculan, Jovius' study, that they might better vacare studiis et Deo, serve God, and follow their studies. Methinks, therefore, our too zealous innovators were not so well advised in that general subversion of abbeys and religious houses, promiscuously to fling down all; they might have taken away those gross abuses crept in amongst them, rectified such inconveniences, and not so far to have raved and raged against these fair buildings, and everlasting monuments of our forefathers' devotion, consecrated to pious uses; some monasteries and collegiate cells might have been well spared, and their revenues otherwise employed, here and there one, in good towns or cities at least, for men and women of all sorts and conditions to live in, to sequester themselves from the cares and tumults of the world, that were not desirous, or fit to marry; or otherwise willing to be troubled with common affairs,and know not well where to bestow themselves, to live apart in, for more conveniency, good education, better company sake, to follow
their studies (I say), to the perfection of arts and sciences, common good, and as some truly devoted monks of old had done, freely and truly to serve God. For these men are neither solitary, nor idle, as the poet made answer to the husbandman in Æsop, that objected idleness to him; he was never so idle as in his company; or that Scipio Africanus in Tully, Nunquam minus solus, qum cum solus; nunquam minus otiosus, quam quum esset otiosus; never less solitary, than when he was alone, never more busy, than when he seemed to be most idle. It is reported by Plato in his dialogue de Amore, in that prodigious commendation of Socrates, how a deep meditation coming into Socrates' mind by chance, he stood still musing, eodem vestigio cogitabundus, from morning to noon, and when as then he had not yet finished his meditation, perstabat cogitans, he so continued till the evening, the soldiers (for he then followed the camp) observed him with admiration, and on set purpose watched all night, but he persevered immoveable ad exortum solis, till the sun rose in the morning, and then saluting the sun, went his ways. In what humour constant Socrates did thus, I know not, or how he might be affected, but this would be pernicious to another man; what intricate business might so really possess him, I cannot easily guess but this is otiosum otium, it is far otherwise with these men, according to Seneca, Omnia nobis mala solitudo persuadet; this solitude undoeth us, pugnat cum vita sociali; 'tis a destructive solitariness. These men are devils alone, as the saying is, Homo solus aut Deus, aut Dæmon: a man alone, is either a saint or a devil, mens ejus aut languescit, aut tumesci;t and Væ soli in this sense, woe be to him that is so alone. These wretches do frequently degenerate from men, and of sociable creatures become beasts, monsters, inhumane, ugly to behold, Misanthropi; they do even loathe themselves, and hate the company of men, as so many Timons, Nebuchadnezzars, by too much indulging to these pleasing humours, and through their own default. So that which Mercurialis, consil. 11. sometimes expostulated with his melancholy patient, may be justly applied
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to every solitary and idle person in particular. Natura de te videtur conqueri posse, &c. "Nature may justly complain of thee, that whereas she gave thee a good wholesome temperature, a sound body, and God hath given thee so divine and
excellent a soul, so many good parts, and profitable gifts, thou hast not only contemned and rejected, but hast corrupted them, polluted them, overthrown their temperature, and perverted those gifts with riot, idleness, solitariness, and many other ways, thou art a traitor to God and nature, an enemy to thyself and to the world." Perditio tua ex te; thou hast lost thyself wilfully, cast away thyself; "thou thyself art the efficient cause of thine own misery, by not resisting such vain cogitations, but giving way unto them."
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SUBSECT. VII.-- Sleeping and Waking, Causes.
WHAT I have formerly said of exercise, I may now repeat of sleep. Nothing better than moderate sleep, nothing worse than it, if it be in extremes, or unseasonably used. It is a received opinion, that a melancholy man cannot sleep overmuch; Somnus supra modum prodest, as an only antidote, and nothing offends them more, or causeth this malady sooner, than waking, yet in some cases sleep may do more harm than good, in that phlegmatic, swinish, cold, and sluggish melancholy which Melancthon speaks of, that thinks of waters, sighing most part, &c. It dulls the spirits, if
overmuch, and senses; fills the head full of gross humours; causeth distillations, rheums, great store of excrements in the brain, and all the other parts, as Fuchsius speaks of them, that sleep like so many dormice. Or if it be used in the day-time, upon a full stomach, the body ill-composed to rest, or after hard meats, it increaseth fearful dreams, incubus, night walking, crying out, and much unquietness; such sleep prepares the body, as one observes, "to many perilous diseases." But, as I have said, waking overmuch, is both a symptom, and an ordinary cause. "It causeth dryness of the brain, frenzy, dotage, and makes the body dry, lean, hard, and ugly to behold," as Lemnius hath it. "The temperature of the brain is corrupted by it, the humours adust, the eyes made to sink into the head, choler increased, and the whole body inflamed:" and, as may be added out of Galen 3. de sanitate tuenda, Avicenna 3. 1. "It overthrows the natural heat, it causeth crudities, hurts concoction," and what not? Not without good cause therefore Crato consil. 21, lib. 2; Hildesheim, spicel. 2, de Delir. et Mania, Jacchinus, Arculanus on Rhasis, Guianerius and Mercurialis, reckon up this
overmuch waking as a principal cause.
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