THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY
BY DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR
SUBSECT. XI.-- Concupiscible Appetite, as Desires, Ambition, Causes.
THESE concupiscible and irascible appetites are as the two twists of a rope, mutually mixed one with the other, and both twining about the heart: both good, as Austin holds, l. 14, c. 9, de civ. Dei, "if they be moderate; both pernicious if they be exorbitant." This concupiscible appetite, howsoever it may seem to carry with it a show of pleasure and delight, and our concupiscences most part affect us with content and a pleasing object, yet if they be in extremes, they rack and wring us on the other side. A true saying it is, "Desire hath no rest;" is infinite in itself endless; and as one calls it, a perpetual rack, or horse-mill, according to Austin, still going round as in a ring. They are not so continual, as divers, felicius atomos denumerare possem, saith Bernard, quam motus cordis; nunc hæc, nunc illa cogito, you may as well reckon up the motes in the sun as them. "It extends itself to every thing," as Guianerius will have it, "that is superfluously sought after:" or to any desire, as Fernelius interprets it; be it in what kind soever, it tortures if immoderate, and is (according to Plater and others) an especial cause of melancholy. Multuosis concupiscenutiis dilaniantur cogitationes meæ. Austin confessed, that he was torn a pieces with his manifold desires: and so doth Bernard complain, "that he could not rest for them a minute of an hour: this I would have, and that, and then I desire to be such and such." 'Tis a hard matter therefore so confine them, being they are so various and many, impossible to
apprehend all. I will only insist upon some few of the chief; and most noxious in their kind, as that exorbitant appetite and desire of honour, which we commonly call ambition; love of money, which is covetousness, and that greedy desire of gain: selflove, pride, and inordinate desire of vain-glory or applause, love of study in excess; love of women (which will require a just volume of itself), of the other I will briefly speak, and in their order.
Ambition, a proud covetousness, or a dry thirst of honour, a great torture of the mind, composed of envy, pride, and covetousness, a gallant madness, one defines it a pleasant poison, Ambrose, "a canker of the soul, an hidden plague:" Bernard, "a secret poison, the father of livor, and mother of hypocrisy, the moth of holiness, and cause of madness, crucifying and disquieting all that it takes hold of." Seneca calls it, rem solicitam, timidam, vanam, ventosam, a windy thing, a vain, solicitous, and fearful thing. For commonly they that, like Sysiphus, roll this restless stone of ambition, are
in a perpetual agony, still perplexed, semper taciti, tristesque recedunt (Lucretius), doubtful, timorous, suspicious, loath to offend in word or deed, still cogging and collogueing, embracing, capping, cringing, applauding, flattering, fleering, visiting, waiting at men's doors, with all affability, counterfeit honesty and humility.
If that will not serve, if once this humour (as Cyprian describes it) possess his thirsty soul, ambitionis salsugo ubi bibulam animam possidet, by hook and by crook he will obtain it, "and from his hole he will climb to all honours and offices, if it be possible for him to get up, flattering one, bribing another, he will leave no means unessay'd to win all." It is a wonder to see how slavishly these kind of men subject themselves, when they are about a suit, to every inferior person; what pains they will take, run, ride, cast, plot, countermine, protest and swear, vow, promise, what labours undergo, early up, down late; how obsequious and affable they are, how popular and courteous, how they grin and fleer upon every man they meet; with what feasting and
- 241 -
inviting, how they spend themselves and their fortunes, in seeking that many times, which they had much better be without; as Cyneas the orator told Pyrrhus: with what waking nights, painful hours, anxious thoughts, and bitterness of mind, inter spemque metumque, distracted and tired, they consume the interim of their time. There can be no greater plague for the present. If they do obtain their suit, which with such cost and solicitude they have sought, they are not so freed, their anxiety is anew to begin, for they are never satisfied, nihil aliud nisi imperium spirunt, their thoughts, actions, endeavours are all for sovereignty like Lues Sforsia that huffing duke of Milan, "a man of singular wisdom but profound ambition, born to his own, and to the destruction of Italy," though it be to their own ruin, and friends' undoing, they will contend, they may not cease, but as a dog in a wheel, a bird in a cage, or a squirrel in a chain, so Budæus compares them; they climb and climb still, with much labour, but never make an end, never at the top. A knight would be a baronet, and then a lord, and then a viscount, and then an earl, &c.; a doctor, a dean, and then a bishop; from tribune to præetor; from bailiff to major; first this office, and then that; as Pyrrhus in Plutarch, they will first have Greece, then Africa, and then Asia, and swell with Æsop's frog so long, till in the end they burst, or come down with Sejanus, ad Gemonias scalas, and break their own necks; or as Evangelus the piper in Lucian, that blew his pipe so long, till he fell down dead. If he chance to miss, and have a canvass, he is in a hell on the other side; so dejected, that he is ready to hang himself, turn heretic, Turk or traitor in an instant. Enraged against his enemies, he rails, swears, fight; slanders, detracts, envies, murders: and for his own part, si appetitum explere non potest, furore corripitur; if he cannot satisfy his desire (as Bodine writes) he runs mad. So that both ways, hit or miss, he is distracted so long as his ambition lasts, he can look for no other but anxiety and care, discontent and grief in the meantime, madness itself; or violent death in the end. The event of this is common to be seen in populous cities, or in princes' courts for a courtier's life (as Budæus describes it) "is a gallimaufry of ambition, lust, fraud, imposture, dissimulation, detraction, envy, pride; the court, a common conventicle of flatterers, time-servers, politicians," &c.; or as Anthony Perez will, "the suburbs of hell itself." If you will see such discontented persons, there you shall likely find them. And which he observed of the markets of old
Qui perjurum convenire vult hominum, mitto in Comitium;
Qui mendacem et gloriosum, apud Cluasinæ sacrum;
Dites, damnosos marisos, sub basilica quærito," &c.
Perjured knaves, knights of the post, liars, crackers, bad husbands, &c. keep their
several stations; they do still, and always did in every commonwealth.
- 242 -
SUBSECT. XII.-- Φιλαργυρια [Philargyria], Covetousness, a Cause.
PLUTARCH, in his book whether the diseases of the body be more grievous than those of the soul, is of opinion, "if you will examine all the causes of our miseries in this life, you shall find them most part to have had their beginning from
stubborn anger, that furious desire of contention, or some unjust or immoderate affection, as covetousness," &c. "From whence are wars and contentions amongst you?" St. James asks: I will add usury, fraud, rapine, simony, oppression, lying, swearing, bearing false witness, &c. are they not from this fountain of covetousness, that greediness in getting, tenacity in keeping, sordity in spending; that they are so wicked, "unjust against God, their neighbour, themselves;" all comes hence. "The desire of money is the root of all evil, and they that lust after it, pierce themselves through with many sorrows," 1 Tim. vi. 10. Hippocrates therefore in his Epistle to Crateva, an herbalist, gives him this good counsel, that if it were possible, "amongst other herbs, he should cut up that weed of covetousness by the roots, that there be no
remainder left, and then know this for a certainty, that together with their bodies, thou mayst quickly cure all the diseases of their minds." For it is indeed the pattern, image, epitome of all melancholy, the fountain of many miseries, much discontented care and woe; this "inordinate or immoderate desire of gain, to get or keep money," as Bonaventure defines it: or, as Austin describes it, a madness of the soul, Gregory, a torture; Chrysostom, an insatiable drunkennese; Cyprian, blindness, speciosum supplicium, a plague subverting kingdoms, families, an incurable disease; Budæus, an
ill habit, "yielding to no remedies:" neither, Æsculapius nor Plutus can cure them: a continual plague, saith Solomon, and vexation of spirit, another hell. I know there be some of opinion, that covetous men are happy, and worldly-wise, that there is more pleasure in getting of wealth than in spending, and no delight in the world like unto it.
'Twas Bias' problem of old, "With what art thou not weary I with getting money.
What is more delectable? to gain." What is it, trow you, that makes a poor man labour all his lifetime, carry such great burdens, fare so hardly, macerate himself; and endure so much misery, undergo such base offices with so great patience, to rise up early, and lie down late, if there were not an extraordinary delight in getting and keeping of money? What makes a merchant that hath no need, satis superque domi, to range all over the world, through all those intemperate Zones of heat and cold; voluntarily to venture his life, and be content with such miserable famine, nasty usage, in a stinking ship; if there were not a pleasure and hope to get money, which doth season the rest, and mitigate his indefatigable pains? What makes them go into the bowels of the earth, an hundred fathom deep, endangering their dearest lives, enduring damps and filthy smells, when they have enough already, if they could be content, and no such cause to labour, but an extraordinary delight they take in riches. This may seem plausible at first show, a popular and strong argument; but let him that so thinks, consider better of it, and he shall soon perceive, that it is far otherwise than he supposeth; it may be haply pleasing at the first, as most part all melancholy is. For such men likely have some lucida intervalla, pleasant symptoms intermixed; but you must note that of Chrysostom, "Tis one thing to be rich, another to be covetous:" generally they are all fools, dizzards, mad-men, miserable wretches, living beside themselves, sine arte fruendi, in perpetual slavery, fear, suspicion, sorrow, and
- 243 -
discontent, plus aloes quam mellis habent; and are indeed, "rather possessed by their money, than possessors:" as Cyprian hath it, mancipati pecuniis; bound prentice to their goods, as Pliny; or as Chrysostom, servi divitiarum, slaves and drudges to their substance; and we may conclude of them all, as Valerius doth of Ptolomæus king of Cyprus, "He was in title a king of that island, but in his mind, a miserable drudge of money:"
"-- potiore metallis
Libertate carens --"
wanting his liberty, which is better than gold. Damasippus the Stoic, in Horace, proves that all mortal men dote by fits, some one way, some another, but that covetous men "are madder than the rest; and he that shall truly look into their estates, and examine their symptoms, shall find no better of them, but that they are all fools, as Nabal was, Re et nomine (1. Reg. 25). For what greater folly can there be, or madness, than to macerate himself when he need not? and when, as Cyprian notes, "he may be freed from his burden, and eased of his pains, will go on still, his wealth increasing, when he hath enough, to get more, to live besides himself," to starve his genius, keep back from his wife and children, neither letting them nor other friends use or enjoy that which is theirs by right, and which they much need perhaps; like a hog, or dog in the manger, he doth only keep it, because it shall do nobody else good, hurting himself and others: and for a little momentary pelf damn his own soul! They are commonly sad and tetric by nature, as Ahab's spirit was, because he could not get Naboth's vineyard, (3. Reg. 21.) and if he lay out his money at any time, though it be to necessary uses, to his own children's good, he brawls and scolds, his heart is heavy, much disquieted he is, and loath to part from it: Miser abstinet et timet uti, Hor. He is of a wearish, dry, pale constitution, and cannot sleep for cares and worldly business; his riches, saith Solomon, will not let him sleep, and unnecessary business which he heapeth on himself; or if he do sleep, 'tis a very unquiet, interrupt, unpleasing sleep: with his bags in his arms,
"--- congestis undique saccis
And though he be at a banquet, or at some merry feast, "he sighs for grief of heart (as Cyprian hath it) and cannot sleep though it be upon a down bed; his wearish body takes no rest, troubled in his abundance, and sorrowful plenty, unhappy for the present, and more unhappy in the life to come." Basil. He is a perpetual drudge, restless in his thoughts, and never satisfied, a slave, a wretch, a dust-worm, semper quod idolo suo immolet, sedulus observat, Cypr. prolog. ad sermon. still seeking what sacrifice he may offer to his golden god, per fas et nefas, he cares not how, his trouble is endless, crescunt divinæ, tamen curtæ nescio quid semper abest rei: his wealth increaseth, and the more he hath, the more he wants: like Pharaoh's lean kine, which devoured the fat, and were not satisfied. Austin therefore defines covetousness, quarumlibet rerum inhonestam et insatiabilem cupiditatem, a dishonest and insatiable desire of gain; and in one of his epistles compares it to hell; "which devours all, and yet never hath enough, a bottomless pit," an endless misery; in quem scopulum
- 244 -
avaritiæ cadaverosi senes ut plurimum impingunt, and that which is their greatest corrosive, they are in continual suspicion, fear, and distrust. He thinks his own wife and children are so many thieves, and go about to cozen him, his servants are all false:
"Rem suam perlisse, seque eradicarier,
Et divium atque hominum clamat continuo fidem
De suo tigillo fumus si qua exit foras."
"If his doors creak, then out he cries anon,
His goods are gone, and he is quite undone."
Timidus Plutus, an old proverb, As fearful as Plutus; so doth Aristophanes and Lucian bring him in fearful still, pale, anxious, suspicious, and trusting no man, "They are afraid of tempests for their corn; they are afraid of their friends lest they should ask something of them, beg or borrow; they are afraid of their enemies lest they hurt them, thieves lest they rob them; they are afraid of war and afraid of peace, afraid of rich and afraid of poor; afraid of all." Last of all, they are afraid of want, that they shall die beggars, which makes them lay up still, and dare not use that they have: what if a dear
year come, or dearth, or some loss? and were it not that they are loath to lay out money on a rope, they would be hanged forthwith, and sometimes die to save charges, and make away themselves, if their corn and cattle miscarry; though they have abundance left, as Agellius notes. Valerius makes mention of one that in a famine sold a mouse for 200 pence, and famished himself: such are their cares, griefs and perpetual fears. These symptoms are elegantly expressed by Theophrastus in his character of a covetous man; "lying in bed, he asked his wife whether she shut the
trunks and chests fast, the carcase be sealed, and whether the hall door be bolted; and though she say all is well, he riseth out of his bed in his shirt, barefoot and barelegged, to see whether it be so, with a dark lantern searching every corner, scarce sleeping a wink all night." Lucian in that pleasant and witty dialogue called Gallas, brings in Mycillus the cobbler disputing with his cock, sometimes Pythagoras; where after much speech pro and con to prove the happiness of a mean estate, and discontents of a rich man, Pythagoras' cock in the end, to illustrate by examples that which he had
said, brings him to Gryphon the usurer's house at midnight, and after that to Eucrates; whom they found both awake, casting up their accounts, and telling of their money, lean, dry, pale and anxious, still suspecting lest somebody should make a hole through the wall, and so get in; or if a rat or mouse did but stir, starting upon a sudden, and running to the door to see whether all were fast. Plautus, in his Aulularia, makes old Euclio commanding Staphyla his wife to shut the doors fast, and the fire to be put out, lest any body should make that an errand to come to his house: when he washed his hands, he was loath to fling away the foul water, complaining that he was undone, because the smoke got out of his roof. And as he went from home, seeing a crow scratch upon the muck-hill, returned in all haste, taking it for malum omen, an ill sign, his money was digged up; with many such. He that will but observe their actions, shall find these and many such passages not feigned for sport, but really performed, verified indeed by such covetous and miserable wretches, and that it is,
"-- manifesta phrenesis
Ut locuples moriaris egenti vivrere fato."
- 245 -
A mere madness, to live like a wretch, and die rich.
SUBSECT. XIII.-- Love of Gaming, &c., and pleasures immoderate, Causes.
IT is a wonder to see, how many poor, distressed, miserable wretches, one shall meet almost in every path and street, begging for an alms, that have been well descended, and sometimes in flourishing estate, now ragged, tattered, and ready to be starved, lingering out a painful life, in discontent and grief of body and mind, and all through immoderate lust, gaming, pleasure and riot. 'Tis the common end of all sensual epicures and brutish prodigals, that are stupified and carried away headlong with their several pleasures and lusts. Cebes in his table, S. Ambrose in his second book of Abel and Cain, and amongst the rest Lucian in his tract de Mercede conductis, hath excellent well deciphered such men's proceedings in his picture of Opulentia, whom he feigns to dwell on the top of a high mount, much sought after by many
suitors; at their first coming they are generally entertained by pleasure and dalliance, and have all the content that possibly may be given, so long as their money lasts: but when their means fail, they are contemptibly thrust out at a back door, headlong, and there left to shame, reproach, despair. And he at first that had so many attendants, parasites, and followers, young and lusty, richly arrayed, and all the dainty fare that might be had, with all kind of welcome and good respect, is now upon a sudden stript of all, pale, naked, old, diseased and forsaken, cursing his stars, and ready to strangle himself; having no other company but repentance, sorrow, grief, derision, beggary and contempt, which are his daily attendants to his life's end. As the prodigal son had exquisite music, merry company, dainty fare at first; but a sorrowful reckoning in the end; so have all such vain delights and their followers. Tristes voluptatum exitus, et quisquis voluptatum suarum reminisci volet, intelliget, as bitter as gall and wormwood is their last; grief of mind, madness itself. The ordinary rocks upon which such men do impinge and precipitate themselves, are cards, dice, hawks and hounds, Insanum venandi studium, one calls it, insanæ substractiones: their mad structures, disports, plays &c., when they are unseasonably used, imprudently handled, and beyond their fortunes. Some men are consumed by mad fantastical buildings, by making galleries, cloisters, terraces, walks, orchards, gardens, pools, rillets, bowers, and such like places of pleasure; Inutiles domos, Xenophon calls them, which howsoever they be delightsome things in themselves, and acceptable to all beholders, an ornament and befitting some great men; yet unprofitable to others, and the sole overthrow of their estates. Forestus in his observations hath an example of such a one that became melancholy upon the like occasion, having consumed his substance in an unprofitable building, which would afterward yield him no advantage. Others, I say, are overthrown by those mad sports of hawking and hunting; honest recreations, and fit for some great men, but not for every base interior person; whilst they will maintain their falconers, dogs, and hunting nags, their wealth, saith Salimutze, "runs away with hounds, and their fortunes fly away with hawks." They persecute beasts so long, till in the end they themselves degenerate into beasts, as Agrippa taxeth them, Actæon-like, for as he was eaten to death by his own dogs, so do they devour themselves and their patrimonies, in such idle and unnecessary disports, neglecting in the mean time their
- 246 -
more necessary business, and to follow their vocations. Over-mad too sometimes are our great men in delighting, and doting too much on it. "When they drive poor husbandmen from their tillage," as Sarisburiensis objects, Polycrat. l. 1. c. 4. "fling down country farms, and whole towns, to make parks, and forests, starving men to feed beasts, and punishing in the mean time such a man that shall molest their game, more severely than him that is otherwise a common hacker, or a notorious thief." But great men are some ways to be excused, the meaner sort have no evasion why they should not be counted mad. Poggius the Florentine tells a merry story to this purpose, condemning the folly and impertinent business of such kind of persons. A physician of Milan, saith he, that cured mad men, had a pit of water in his house, in which he kept his patients, some up to their knees, some to the girdle, some to the chin, pro mode insaniæ, as they were more or less affected. One of them by chance, that was well recovered, stood in the door, and seeing a gallant ride by with a hawk on his fist, well mounted, with his spaniels after him, would needs know to what use all this preparation served; he made answer to kill certain fowls; the patient demanded again, what his fowl might be worth which he killed in a year; he replied 5 or 10 crowns; and when he urged him farther what his dogs, horse, and hawks stood him in, he told him 400 crowns; with that the patient bade him be gone, as he loved his life and welfare, for if our master come and find thee here, he will put thee in the pit amongst mad men up to the chin: taxing the madness and fully of such vain men that spend themselves in those idle sports, neglecting their business and necessary affairs. Leo decimus, that hunting pope, is much discommended by Jovius in his life, for his immoderate desire of hawking and hunting, in so much that (as he saith) he would sometimes live about Ostia weeks and months together, leave suitors unrespected, bulls and pardons
unsigned, to his own prejudice, and many private men's loss. "And if he had been by chance crossed in his sport, or his game not so good, he was so impatient, that he would revile and miscall many times men of great worth with most bitter taunts, look so sour, be so angry and waspish, so grieved and molested, that it is incredible to relate it." But if he had good sport, and been well pleased,on the other side, incredibili munificentia, with unspeakable bounty and munificence he would reward all his fellow hunters, and deny nothing to any suitor when he was in that mood. To say truth, 'tis the common humour of all gamesters, as Galatæus observes, if they win, no men living are so jovial and merry, but if they lose, though it be but a trifle, two or three games at tables, or a dealing at cards for twopence a game, they are so choleric and testy that no man may speak with them, and break many times into violent passions, oaths, imprecations, and unbeseeming speeches, little differing from mad men for the time. Generally of all gamesters and gaming, if it be excessive, thus much we may conclude, that whether they win or lose for the present, their winnings are not Munera fortunæ, sed insidiæ, as that wise Seneca determines, not fortune's gifts, but baits, the common catastrophe is beggary, Ut pestis vitam, sic adimit alea pecuniam, as the plague takes away life, doth gaming goods, for omnes nudi, inopes et egeni;
"Alea Scylla vorax, species certissima furti,
Non contenta bonis animum quoque perfida mergit,
Foeda, furax, infamis, iners, furiosa, ruina."
For a little pleasure they take, and some small gains and gettings now and then, their
wives and children are wringed in the mean time, and they themselves with loss of
body and soul rue it in the end. I will say nothing of those prodigious prodigals,
- 247 -
perdendæ pecuniæ genitos, as he taxed Anthony, Qui patrimonium sine ulla fori calumnia amittunt, saith Cyprian, and mad Sybaritical spendthrifts, Quique una comedunt patrimonia coena; that eat up all at a breakfast, at a supper, or amongst bawds, parasites, and players, consume themselves in an instant, as if they had flung it into the Tiber with great wagers, vain and idle expenses, &c., not themselves only, but even all their friends, as a man desperately swimming drowns him that comes to help him, by suretiship and borrowing they will willingly undo all their associates and allies. Irati pecuniis, as he saith, angry with their money: "what with a wanton eye, a liquorish tongue, and a gamesome hand, when they have indiscreetly impoverished themselves, mortgaged their wits together with their lands, and entombed their ancestors' fair possessions in their bowels, they may lead the rest of their days in prison, as many times they do; they repent at leisure; and when all is gone begin to be thrifty: but Sera est in fundo parsimonia, 'tis then too late to look about; their end is misery, sorrow, shame, and discontent. And well they deserve to be infamous and discontent. Catamidiari in Amphitheatro, as Adrian the emperor's edict they were of old, decoctores bonorurn suorum, so he calls them, prodigal fools, to be publicly shamed, and hissed out of all societies, rather than to be pitied or relieved. The Tuscans and Boëtians brought their bankrupts into the market place in a bier with an empty purse carried before them, all the boys following, where they sat all day circumstante plebe, to be infamous and ridiculous. At Patina in Italy they have a stone called the stone of turpitude, near the senate house, where spendthrifts, and such as disclaim non-payment of debts, do sit with their hinder parts bare, that by that note of disgrace, others may be terrified from all such vain expense, or borrowing more than they can tell how to pay. The civilians of old set guardians over such brain-sick prodigals, as they did over madmen, to moderate their expenses, that they should not so loosely consume their fortunes, to the utter undoing of their families.
I may not here omit those two main plagues, and common dotages of human kind, wine and women, which have infatuated and besotted myriads of people: they go commonly together.
"Qui vino indulget, quemque alea decoquit, ille
In venerem putret --"
(Persius, Sat. 5. "One indulges in wine, another the die consumes, a third is
decomposed by venery")
To whom is sorrow, saith Solomon Pro. xxiii. 29. to whom is woe, but to such a one as loves drink? it causeth torture (vino tortus et ira), and bitterness of mind, Sirac. 31. 21. Vinum furoris, Jeremy calls it, 15. cap. wine of madness, as well he may, for insanire facit sanos, it makes sound men sick and sad, and wise men mad, to say and do they know not what. Accidit hodie terribilis casus (saith Austin), hear a miserable accident; Cyrillus' son this day in his drink, Matrem prægnantem nequiter oppressit, sororem violare voluit, patrem occidit fere, et duas alias sorores ad mortem vulneravit, would have violated his sister, killed his father, &c. A true saying it was of him, Vino dari lætitiam et dolorem, drink causeth mirth, and drink causeth sorrow, drink "causeth poverty and want," (Prov. xxi.) shame and disgrace. Multi ignobiles evasere ob vini potum, et (Austin) amissis honoribus profugi aberrarunt: many men have made shipwreck of their fortunes, and go like rogues and beggars, having turned all their substance into aurum potabile, that otherwise might have lived in good worship and happy estate, and for a few hours' pleasure, for their Hilary term's but
- 248 -
short, or free madness, as Seneca calls it, purchase unto themselves eternal tediousness and trouble.
That other madness is on women, Apostatare facit cor, saith the wise man, Atque homini cerebrum minuit. Pleasant at first she is, like Dioscorides' Rhododaphne, that fair plant to the eye, but poison to the taste, the rest as bitter as wormwood in the end (Prov. v. 4.) and sharp as a two-edged sword. (vii. 27.) "Her house is the way to hell, and goes down to the chambers of death." What more sorrowful can be said? they are miserable in this life, mad, beasts, led like "oxen to the slaughter:" and that which is worse, whoremasters and drunkards shall be judged, amittunt gratiam, saith Austin, perdunt gloriam, incurrunt damnationem æternam.
They lose grace and glory;
"-- brevis illa voluptas
Abrogat æternum coeli decus --"
they gain hell and eternal damnation.
- 249 -
SUBSECT. XIV.-- Philautia, or Self-love, Vain-glory, Praise, Honour, Immoderate Applause, Pride, over-much Joy, &c., Causes.
SELF-LOVE, pride, and vain-glory, cæcus amor sui, which Chrysostom calls one of the devil's three great nets; Bernard, "an arrow which pierceth the soul through, and slays it; a sly, insensible enemy, not perceived," are main causes. Where neither anger, lust, covetousness, fear, sorrow, &c., nor any other perturbation can lay hold; this will slily and insensibly pervert us, Quem non gula vincit, Philautia superavit, (saith Cyprian) whom surfeiting could not overtake, self-love hath overcome. "He hath scorned all money, bribes, gifts, upright otherwise and sincere, hath inserted himself to no fond imagination, and sustained all those tyrannical concupiscences of the body, hath lost all his honour, captivated by vain-glory." Chrysostom. sup. Io. Tu sola animum mentemque peruris, gloria. A great assault and cause of our present malady, although we do most part neglect, take no notice of it, yet this is a violent batterer of our souls, causeth melancholy and dotage. This pleasing humour; this soft and whispering popular air, Amabilis insania; this delectable frenzy, most irrefragable passion, Mentis gratissimus error, this acceptable disease, which so sweetly sets upon us, ravisheth our senses, lulls our souls asleep, puffs up our hearts as so many bladders, and that without all feeling, insomuch as "those that are misaffected with it, never so much as once perceive it, or think of any cure." We commonly love him best in this malady, that doth us most harm, and are very willing to be hurt; adulationibus nostris libenter favemus (saith Jerome) we love him, we love him for it: O Bonciari, suave suave fuit a te tali hæc tribui; 'Twas sweet to hear it. And as Pliny doth ingenuously confess to his dear friend Augurinus, "all thy writings are most acceptable, but those especially that speak of us." Again, a little after to Maximus, "I cannot express how pleasing it is to me to hear myself commended." Though we smile to ourselves, at least ironically, when parasites bedaub us with false encomiums, as many princes cannot choose but do, Quum tale quid nihil intra se repererint, when they know they come as far short, as a mouse to an elephant, of any such virtues; yet it doth us good. Though we seem many times to be angry, "and blush at our own praises, yet our souls inwardly rejoice, it puffs us up;" 'tis fallax suavitas, blandus
dæmon, "makes us swell beyond our bounds, and forget ourselves." Her two daughters are lightness of mind, immoderate joy and pride, not excluding those other concomitant vices, which Iodocus Lorichius reckons up; bragging, hypocrisy, peevishness, and curiosity.
Now the common cause of this mischief, ariseth from ourselves or others, we are active and passive. It proceeds inwardly from ourselves, as we are active causes, from an overweening conceit we have of our good parts, own worth, (which indeed is no worth) our bounty, favour, grace, valour, strength, wealth, patience, meekness, hospitality, beauty, temperance, gentry, knowledge, wit, science, art, learning, our excellent gifts and fortunes, for which, Narcissus-like, we admire, flatter, and applaud ourselves, and think all the world esteems so of us; and as deformed women easily believe those that tell them they be fair, we are too credulous of our own good parts and praises, too well persuaded of ourselves. We brag and venditate our own works, and scorn all others in respect of us; Inflati scientia (saith Paul), our wisdom, our
- 250 -
learning, all our geese are swans, and we as basely esteem and vilify other men's, as we do over-highly prize and value our own. We will not suffer them to be in secundis, no, not in tertiis; what, Mecum confertur Ulysses? they are Mures, Muscæ, culices præ se, nits and flies compared to his inexorable and supercilious, eminent and arrogant worship: though indeed they be far before him. Only wise, only rich, only fortunate, valorous, and fair, puffed up with this tympany of self-conceit; as that proud Pharisee, they are not (as they suppose) "like other men," of a purer and more precious metal: Soli rei gerendi sunt efficaces, which that wise Periander held of such: meditantur omne qui prius negotium &c. Novi quendam (saith Erasmus) I knew one so arrogant that he thought himself inferior to no man living, like Callisthenes the philosopher, that neither held Alexander's acts, or any other subject worthy of his pen, such was his insolency; or Seleucus king of Syria, who thought none fit to contend with him but the Romans. Eos solos dignos ratus quibuscum de iiperio certaret. That which Tully writ to Atticus long since, is still in force, "There was never yet true poet nor orator, that thought any other better than himself." And such for the most part are your princes, potentates, great philosophers, historiographers, authors of sects or heresies, and all our great scholars, as Hierom defines; "a natural philosopher is a glorious creature, and a very slave of rumour, fame, and popular opinion," and though they write de contemptu gloriæ, yet as he observes, they will put their names to their books. Vobis et famæ me semper dedi, saith Trebellius Pollio, I have wholly consecrated myself to you and fame. "'Tis all my desire, night and day, 'tis all my
study to raise my name." Proud Pliny seconds him; Quanquam O! &c. and that vainglorious orator, is not ashamed to confess in an Epistle of his to Marcus Lecceius Ardeo incredibili cupiditate, &c. "I burn with an lucreclible desire to have my name registered in thy book." Out of this fountain proceed all those cracks and brags, -- speramus carmina fingi Posse linenda cedro, et leni servanda cupresso -- Non usitata nec tenui ferar penna -- nec in terra morabur longius. Nil parvum aut humili modo, nil mortale loquor. Dicar qua violens obstrepit Ausidas.-- Exegi monumentum ære perennius. Jamque opus exegi, quod nec Jovis ira, nec ignis, &c., cum venit ille dies, &c., parte tamen meliore mei semper alta perennis astra ferar, nomenque erit indelebile nostrum. (This of Ovid I have paraphrased in English.)
"And when I am dead and gone
My corpse laid under a stone
My fame shall yet survive
And I shall be alive
In these my works for ever,
My glory shall persever," &c.
And that of Ennius,
"Nemo me lachrymis decoret, neque funera fictu
Faxit, cur? volito docta per ora virum."
"Let none shed tears over me, or adorn my bier with sorrow -- because I am eternally in the mouths of men." With many such proud strains, and foolish flashes too common with writers. Not so much as Democharis on the Topics, but he will be
- 251 -
immortal. Typotius de fama, shall be famous, and well he deserves, because he writ of fame; and every trivial poet must be renowned, "-- Plausuque petit clarescere vulgi." "He seeks the applause of the public." This puffing humour it is, that hath produced so many great tomes, built such famous monuments, strong castles, and Mausolean tombs, to have their acts eternised, "Digito monstrari, et dicier hic est;" "to be pointed at with the finger, and to have it said, 'there he goes,'" to see their names inscribed, as Phryne on the walls of Thebes, Phryne fecit; this causeth so many bloody battles, "et noctes cogit vigilare serenas;" "and induces us to watch during calm nights." Long journeys, "Magnum iter intendo, sed dat mihi gloria vires," "I contemplate a monstrous journey, but the love of glory strengthens me for it," gaining honour, a little applause, pride, self-love, vain-glory. This is it which makes them take such pains, and break out into those ridiculous strains, this high conceit of themselves to scorn all others; ridiculo fastu et intolerando
contemptu; as Palæmon the grammarian contemned Varro, secum et natas et morituras literas jactans, and brings them to that height of insolency, that they cannot endure to be contradicted, or "hear of any thing but their own commendation," which Hierom notes of such kind of men. And as Austin well seconds him, "'tis their sole study day and night to be commended and applauded." When as indeed, in all wise men's judgments, quibus cor sapit, they are "mad, empty vessels, funges, beside themselves, derided, et ut Camelus in proverbio quærens cornua, etiam quas habebat aures amisit, ("As Camelus in the novel who lost his ears while he was looking for a pair of horns") their works are toys, as an almanac out of date, authoris pereunt garrulitate sui, they seek fame and immortality, but reap dishonour and infamy, they are a common obloquy, insensati, and come far short of that which they suppose or expect. O puer ut sis vitalis metuo.
"-- How much I dread
Thy days are short, some lord shall strike thee dead"
Of so many myriads of poets, rhetoricians, philosophers, sophisters,as Eusebius well observes, which have written in former ages, scarce one of a thousand's works remains, nomina et libri simul cum corporibus interierunt, their books and bodies are perished together. It is not as they vainly think, they shall surely be admired and immortal, as one told Philip of Macedon insultingly, after a victory, that his shadow was no longer than before, we may say to them,
"Nos demiramur, sed non cum deside vulgo,
Sed velut Harpyas, Gorgonas, et Furias."
"We marvel too, not as the vulgar we,
But as we Gorgons, Harpies, or Furies see."
Or if we do applaud, honour and admire, quota pars, how small a part, in respect of the whole world, never so much as hears our names, how few take notice of us, how slender a tract, as scant as Alcibiades's land in a map! And yet every man must and will be immortal, as he hopes, and extend his fame to our antipodes, when as half no not a quarter of his own province or city, neither knows nor hears of him: but say they did, what's a city to a kingdom, a kingdom to Europe, Europe to the world, the world itself that must have an end, if compared to the least visible star in the
- 252 -
firmament, eighteen times bigger than it? and then if those stars be infinite, and every star there be a sun, as some will, and as this sun of ours hath his planets about him, all inhabited, what proportion bear we to them, and where's our glory? Orbem terrarum victor Romanus habebat, as he cracked in Petronius, all the world was under Augustus: and so in Constantine's time, Eusebius brags he governed all the world, universum mundum præclare admodum administravit,-- et omnis orbis gentes Imperatori subjecti: so of Alexander it is given out, the four monarchies, &c., when as neither Greeks nor Romans ever had the fifteenth partof the now known world, nor half of that which was then described. What braggadocioes are they and we then? quam brevis hic de nobis sermo, as he said, pudebit aucti nominis, how short a time, how little a while doth this fame of ours continue? Every private province, every small territory and city, when we have all done, will yield as generous spirits, as brave examples in all respects, as famous as ourselves, Cadwallader in Wales, Rollo in Normandy, Robin Hood and Little John, are as much renowned in Sherwood, as Cæsar in Rome, Alexander in Greece, or his Hephestion, Omnis ætas omnisque populus in exemplum et admirationem veniet, every town, city, book, is full of brave soldiers, senators, scholars; and though Bracydas was a worthy captain, a good man, and as they thought, not to be matched in Lacedæmon, yet as his mother truly said, plures habet Sparta Bracyda meliores, Sparta had many better men than ever he was; and howsoever thou admirest thyself thy friend, many an obscure fellow the world never took notice of, had he been in place or action, would have done much better than he or he, or thou thyself.
Another kind of mad men there is opposite to these, that are insensibly mad, and know not of it, such as contemn all praise and glory, think themselves most free, when as indeed they are most mad: calcant sed alio fastu: a company of cynics, such as are monks, hermits, anchorites, that contemn the world, contemn themselves, contemn all titles, honours, offices: and yet in that contempt are more proud than any man living whatsoever. They are proud in humility, proud in that they are not proud, sæpe homo de vanæ gloriæ contemptu, vanius gloriatur, as Austin hath it, confess. lib.
10. cap. 38, like Diogenes, intus gloriantur, they brag inwardly, and feed themselves fat with a self-conceit of sanctity, which is no better than hypocrisy. They go in sheep's russet, many great men that might maintain themselves in cloth of gold, and seem to be dejected, humble by their outward carriage, when as inwardly they are swoln full of pride, arrogancy, and self-conceit. And therefore Seneca adviseth his friend Lucilius, "in his attire and gesture, outward actions, especially to avoid all such things as are more notable in themselves: as a rugged attire, hirsute head, horrid beard, contempt of money, coarse lodging, and whatsoever leads to fame that opposite way."
All this madness yet proceeds from ourselves, the main engine which batters us is from others, we are merely passive in this business: from a company of parasites and flatterers, that with immoderate praise, and bombast epithets, glozing titles, false eulogiums, so bedaub and applaud, gild over many a silly and undeserving man, that they clap him quite out of his wits. Res imprimis violenta est, as Hierom notes, this common applause is a most violent thing, laudum placenta, a drum, fife, and trumpet cannot so animate; that fattens men, erects and dejects them in an instant. Palma negata macrum, donata reducit opimum. It makes them fat and lean, as frost doth conies. "And who is that mortal man that can so contain himself, that if he be immoderately commended and applauded, will not be moved?" Let him be what he
will, those parasites will overturn him: if he be a king, he is one of the nine worthies,
- 253 -
more than a man, a god forthwith, -- edictum Domini Deique nostri: and they will
sacrifice unto him,
"-- divinos si tu patiaris honores,
Ultro ipsi dabimus meritasque sacrabimus aras.
(Stroza. "If you will accept divine honours, we will willingly erect and consecrate
altars to you.")
If he be a soldier, then Themistocles, Epaminondas, Hector, Achilles, duo fulmina belli, triumviri terrarum, &c., and the valour of both Scipios is too little for him, he is invictissimus, serenissimus, multis trophæis ornatissimus, naturæ dominus, although he be lepus galeatus, indeed a very coward, a milksop, and as he said of Xerxes, postremus in pugna, primus in fuga, and such a one as never durst look his enemy in the face. If he be a big man, then is he a Samson, another Hercules; if he pronounce a speech, another Tully or Demosthenes: as of Herod in the Acts, "the voice of God and not of man;" if he can make a verse, Homer, Virgil, &c. And then my silly weak patient takes all these eulogiums to himself; if he be a scholar so commended for his much reading, excellent style, method, &c., he will eviscerate himself like a spider, study to death, Laudatas ostendit avis Junonia pennas, peacock-like he will display all his feathers. If he be a soldier, and so applauded, his valour extolled, though it be impar congressus, as that of Troilus, and Achilles, Infelix puer, he will combat with a giant, run first upon a breach, as another Philippus, he will ride into the thickest of his enemies. Commend his housekeeping, and he will beggar himself; commend his temperance, he will starve himself.
"-- Laudataque virtus
Crescit, et immensum gloria calcar habet."
("Applauded virtue grows apace, and glory includes within it an immense impulse.")
he is mad, mad, mad, no woe with him;-- impatiens consortis erit, he will over the Alps to be talked of; or to maintain his credit. Commend an ambitious man, some proud prince or potentate, si plus æquo laudetur (saith Erasmus) cristas erigit, exuit hominem, Deum se putat, he sets up his crest, and will be no longer a man but a god.
"-- nihil est quod credere de se
Non audet quum laudatur diis æqua potestas."
("There is nothing which over-lauded power will not presume to imagine of itself.")
How did this work with Alexander, that would needs be Jupiter's son, and go like Hercules in a lion's skin? Domitian a god (Dominus Deus noster sic fieri jubet), like the Persian kings, whose image was adored by all that came into the city of Babylon. Commodus the emperor was so gulled by his flattering parasites, that he must be called Hercules. Antonius the Roman would be crowned with ivy, carried in a chariot, and adored for Bacchus. Cotys, king of Thrace, was married to Minerva, and sent
- 254 -
three several messengers one after another, to see if she were come to his bedchamber.
Such a one was Jupiter Menecrates, Maximinus Jovianus, Dioclesianus Herculeus, Sapor the Persian king, brother of the sun and moon, and our modern Turks, that will be gods on earth, kings of kings, God's shadow, commanders of all
that may be commanded, our kings of China and Tartary in this present age. Such a one was Xerxes, that would whip the sea, fetter Neptune, stulta jactantia, and send a challenge to Mount Athos; and such are many sottish princes, brought into a fool's paradise by their parasites, 'tis a common humour, incident to all men, when they are in great places, or come to the solstice of honour, have done or deserved well, to applaud and flatter themselves. Stultitiam suam produnt, &c., (saith Platerus) your very tradesmen if they be excellent, will crack and brag, and show their folly in
excess. They have good parts, and they know it, you need not tell them of it; out of a conceit of their worth, they go smiling to themselves, a perpetual meditation of their trophies and plaudits, they run at last quite mad, and lose their wits. Petrarch, lib. 1. de contemptu mundi, confessed as much of himself, and Cardan, in his fifth book of wisdom, gives an instance in a smith of Milan, a fellow-citizen of his, one Galeus de Rubeis, that being commended for refining of an instrument of Archimedes, for joy ran mad. Plutarch in the life of Artaxerxes, hath such a like story of one Chamus, a
soldier, that wounded king Cyrus in battle, and "grew thereupon so arrogant, that in a short space after he lost his wits." So many men, if any new honour, office, preferment, booty, treasure, possession, or patrimony, ex insperato fall unto them, for immoderate joy, and continual meditation of it, cannot sleep or tell what they say or do, they are so ravished on a sudden; and with vain conceits transported, there is no rule with them. Epaminondas, therefore, the next day after his Leuctrian victory, "came abroad all squalid and submiss," and gave no other reason to his friends of so
doing, than that he perceived himself the day before, by reason of his good fortune, to be too insolent, overmuch joyed. That wise and virtuous lady, queen Katherine, Dowager of England, in private talk, upon like occasion, said, "that she would not willingly endure the extremity of either fortune, but if it were so, that of necessity she must undergo the one, she would be in adversity, because comfort was never wanting in it, but still counsel and government were defective in the other:" they could not moderate themselves.
- 255 -