THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY
BY DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR
SUBSECT. III.-- Of Witches and Magicians, how they cause Melancholy.
You have heard what the devil can do of himself, now you shall hear what he can perform by his instruments, who are many times worse (if it be possible) than he himself, and to satisfy their revenge and lust cause more mischief, Multa enim mala non egisset dæmon, nisi provocatus a sagis, as Erastus thinks; much harm had never been done, had he not been provoked by witches to it. He had not appeared in Samuel's shape, if the Witch of Endor had let him alone; or represented those serpents in Pharo's presence, had not the magicians urged him unto it; Nec morbus vel hominibus, vel brutus infligeret (Erastus maintains) si sagæ quiescerent; men and cattle might go free, if the witches would let him alone. Many deny witches at all, or if there be any they can do no harm; of this opinion is Wierus, lib. 3. cap. 53. de
præstig. dæm. Austin Lerchemer a Dutch writer, Biarmannus, Ewichius, Euwaldus, our countryman Scot; with him in Horace,
"Somnia, terrores Magicos, miracula, sagas,
Nocturnos Lemures, portentaque Thessala risu
Say, can you laugh indignant at the schemes
Of magic terrors, visionary dreams,
Portentous wonders, witching imps of hell,
The nightly goblin, and enchanting spell?
They laugh at all such stories; but on the contrary are most lawyers, divines, physicians, philosophers, Austin, Hemingius, Danæus, Chytræus, Zanchius, Aretius, &c. Delrio, Springer, Niderus lib. 5. Fornicar. Cuiatius, Bartolus, consil. 6. tom. 1. Bodine dæmoniant. lib. 2. cap. 8. Godelman, Damhoderius, &c. Paracelsus, Erastus, Scribanius, Camerarius, &c. The parties by whom the devil deals, may be reduced to these two, such as command him in show at least, as conjurors, and magicians, whose detestable and horrid mysteries are contained in their book called Arbatell; dæmones enim advocati præsto sunt, seque exorcismis et conjurationibus quasi cogi patiuntur, ut miserum magorum genus, in impietate detineant. Or such as are commanded, as witches, that deal ex parte implicite, or explicite, as the tking hath well defined; many subdivisions there are, and many several species of sorcerers, witches, enchanters, charmers, &c. They have been tolerated heretofore some of them; and magic hath been publicly professed in former times, in Salamanca, Cracow, and other places, though after censured by several Universities, and now generally contradicted, though practised by some still, maintained and excused, Tanquam res secreta quæ non nisi viris magnis et peculiari beneficio de Coelo instructis communicatur (I use Boesartus his words) and so far approved by some princes, Ut nihil ausi aggredi in politicis, in sacris, in consiliis, sine eorum arbitrio; they consult still with them, and dare indeed do nothing without their advice. Nero and Heliogabalus, Maxentius, and Julianus Apostata, were never so much addicted to magic of old, as some of our modern princes and popes themselves are now-a-days. Erricus King of Sweden had an
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enchanted cap, by virtue of which, and some magical murmur or whispering terms, he could command spirits, trouble the air, and make the wind stand which way he would, insomuch that when there was any great wind or storm, the common people were wont to say, the king now had on his conjuring cap. But such examples are infinite.
That which they can do, is as much almost as the devil himself, who is still ready to satisfy their desires, to oblige them the more unto him. They can cause tempests, storms, which is familiarly practised by witches in Norway, Iceland, as I have proved.
They can make friends enemies, and enemies friends by philters; Turpes amores conciliare, enforce love, tell any man where his friends are, about what employed though in the most remote places; and if they will, "bring their sweethearts to them by night, upon a goat's back flying in the air." Sigismund Scheretzius, part. 1. cap. 9. de spect., reports confidently, that he conferred with sundry such, that had been so carried many miles, and that he heard witches themselves confess as much; hurt and infect men and beasts, vines, corn, cattle, plants, make women abortive, not to
conceive, barren, men and women unapt and unable, married and unmarried, fifty several ways, saith Bodine, lib. 2, c. 2, fly in the air, meet when and where they will, as Cicogna proves, and Lavat. de spec. part. 2, c. 17, "steal young children out of their cradles, ministerio dæmonum, and put deformed in their rooms, which we call changelings, saith Scheretzius, part. 1, c. 6, make men victorious, fortunate, eloquent; and therefore in those ancient monomachies and combats they were searched of old, they had no magical charms; they can make stick frees, such as shall endure a rapier's point, musket shot, and never be wounded: of which read more in Boissardus, cap. 6, de Magia, the manner of the adjuration, and by whom 'tis made, where and how to be used in expeditonibus bellicis, proeliis, duellis, &c., with many peculiar instances and examples; they can walk in fiery furnaces, make men feel no pain on the wrack, aut alias torturas sentire; they can stanch blood, represent dead men's shapes, alter and turn themselves and others into several forms, at their pleasures. Agaberta, a famous witch in Lapland, would do as much publicly to all spectators, Modo Pusilla, modo anus, modo procera ut quercus, modo vacca, avis, coluber, &c. Now young, now old, high, low, like a cow, like a bird, a snake, and what not? she could represent to others what forms they most desired to see, show them friends absent, reveal secrets, maxima omnium admiratione, &c. And yet for all this subtilty of theirs, as Lypsius
well observes, Physiolog. Stoicor. lib. 1, cap. 17, neither these magicians nor devils themselves can take away gold or letters out of mine or Crassus' chest, et Clientelis suis largiri, for they are base, poor, contemptible fellows most part; as Bodin notes they can do nothing in Judicum decreta aut poenas, in regum conclia vel arcana, nihil in rem nummariam aut thesauros, they cannot give money to their clients, alter judges' decrees, or councils of kings, these minuti Genii cannot do it, altiores Genii hoc sibi adservarunt, the higher powers reserve these things to themselves. Now and then peradventure there may be some more famous magicians like Simon Magus, Apollonius Tyaneus, Pasetes, Jamblicus, Odo de Stellis, that for a time can build castles in the air, represent armies, &c., as they are said to have done, command wealth and treasure, feed thousands with all variety of meats upon a sudden, protect themselves and their followers from all princes' persecutions, by removing from place to place in an instant, reveal secrets, future events, tell what is done in far countries, make them appear that died long since, and do many such miracles, to the world's terror, admiration and opinion of deity to themselves, yet the devil forsakes them at last, they come to wicked ends, and raro aut nunquam such imposters are to be found.
The vulgar sort of them can work no such feats. But to my purpose, they can, last of all, cure and cause most diseases to such as they love or hate, and this of melancholy
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amongst the rest. Paracelsus, Tom. 4, de morbis amentium. Tract. 1, in express words affirms; Multi fascinantur in melancholiam,many are bewitched into melancholy, out of his experience. The same saith Danæus lib. 3, de sortiariis. Vidi, inquit, qui melancholicos morbos gravissimos induxerunt: I have seen those that have caused melancholy in the most grievous manner, dried up women's paps, cured gout, palsy; this and apoplexy, falling sickness, which no physic could help, solo tactu, by touch alone. Ruland in his 3 Cent. Cura 91, gives an instance of one David Helde, a young man, who by eating cakes which a witch gave him, mox delirare coepit, began to dote on a sudden, and was instantly mad: F. H. D. in Hildesheim, consulted about a melancholy man, thought his disease was partly magical, and partly natural, because he vomited pieces of iron and lead, and spake such languages as he had never been taught; but such examples are common in Scribanius, Hercules de Saxonia, and others. The means by which they work are usually charms, images, as that in Hector Boethius of King Duffe; characters stamped of sundry metals, and at such and such
constellations, knots, amulets, words, philters, &c., which generally make the parties affected, melancholy; as Monavius discourseth at large in an epistle of his to Acolsius, giving instance in a Bohemian baron that was so troubled by a philter taken. Not that there is any power at all in those spells, charms, characters, and barbarous words; but that the devil doth use such means to delude them. Ut fideles inde magos (saith Libanius) in officio retineat, tum in consortium malefactorum vocet.
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SUBSECT. IV.-- Stars a cause. Signs from Physiognomy, Metoposcopy, Chiromancy.
NATURAL causes are either primary and universal, or secondary and more particular. Primary causes are the heavens, planets, stars, &c., by their influence (as our astrologers hold) producing this and such like effects. I will not here stand to discuss obiter, whether stars be causes, or signs; or to apologise for judicial astrology.
If either Sextus Empiricus, Picus Mirandula, Sextus ab Heminga, Pererius, Erastus, Chambers, &c., have so far prevailed with any man, that he will attribute no virtue at all to the heavens, or to sun, or moon, more than he doth to their signs at an innkeeper's post, or tradesman's shop, or generally condemn all such astrological aphorisms approved by experience: I refer him to Bellantius, Pirovanus, Marascallerus, Goclenius, Sir Christopher Heidon, &c. If thou shalt ask me what I think, I must answer, nam et doctis hisce erroribus versatus sum (for I am conversant with these learned errors), they do incline, but not compel; no necessity at all: agunt non cogunt: and so gently incline, that a wise man may resist them; sapiens dominabitur astris: they rule us, but God rules them. All this (methinks) Joh. de Indagine hath comprised in brief, Quæris a me quantum in nobis operantur astra? &c. "Wilt thou know how far the stars work upon us? I say they do but incline, and that so gently, that if we will be ruled by reason, they have no power over us; but if
we follow our own nature, and be led by sense, they do as much in us as in brute beasts, and we are no better." So that, I hope, I may justly conclude with Cajetan, Coelum est vehiculum divinæ virtutis, &c., that the heaven is God's instrument, by mediation of which he governs and disposeth these elementary bodies; or a great book, whose letters are the stars (as one calls it), wherein are written many strange things for such as can read, "or an excellent harp, made by an eminent workman, on which, he that can but play, will make most admirable music." But to the purpose.
Paracelsus is of opinion, "that a physician without the knowledge of stars can neither understand the cause or cure of any disease, either of this or gout, not so much as toothache; except he see the peculiar geniture and scheme of the party affected."
And for this proper malady, he will have the principal and primary cause of it proceed from the heaven, ascribing more to stars than humours, "and that the constellation alone many times produceth melancholy, all other causes set apart." He gives instance in lunatic persons, that are deprived of their wits by the moon's motion; and in another place refers all to the ascendant, and will have the true and chief cause of it to be sought from the stars. Neither is it his opinion only, but of many Galenists and philosophers, though they do not so peremptorily maintain as much. "This variety of
melancholy symptoms proceeds from the stars," saith Melancthon: the most generous melancholy, as that of Augustus, comes from the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Libra: the bad, as that of Catiline's, from the meeting of Saturn and the moon in Scorpio. Jovianus Pontanus, in his tenth book, and thirteenth chapter de rebus coelestibus, discourseth to this purpose at large, Ex atrabile varii generantur morbi, &c., "many diseases proceed from black choler, as it shall be hot or cold; and though it be cold in its own nature, yet it is apt to be heated, as water may be made to boil, and burn as bad as fire; or made cold as ice: and thence proceed such variety of
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symptoms, some mad, some solitary, some laugh, some rage," &c. The cause of all which intemperance he will have chiefly and primarily proceed from the heavens, "from the position of Mars, Saturn, and Mercury." His aphorisms be these, "Mercury in any geniture, if he shall be found in Virgo, or Pisces his opposite sign, and that in the horoscope, irradiated by those quartile aspects of Saturn or Mars, the child shall be mad or melancholy." Again, "He that shall have Saturn and Mars, the one culminating, the other in the fourth house, when he shall be born, shall be melancholy, of which he shall be cured in time: if Mercury behold them." "If the moon be in conjunction or opposition at the birth time with the sun, Saturn or Mars, or in a quartile aspect with them (e malo coeli loco, Leovitius adds), many diseases are
signified, especially the head and brain is like to be misaffected with pernicious humours, to be melancholy, lunatic, or mad," Cardan adds, quarta luna natos, eclipses, earthquakes. Garcteus and Leovitius will have the chief judgment to be taken from the lord of the geniture, or where there is an aspect between the moon and Mercury, and neither behold the horoscope, or Saturn and Mars shall be lord of the present conjunction or opposition in Sagittarius or Pisces, of the sun or moon, such persons are commonly epileptic, dote, dæmoniacal, melancholy: but see more of these aphorisms in the above-named Pontanus. Garcæus, cap. 23. de Jud. genitur. Schoner lib. 1. cap. 8. which he hath gathered out of Ptolemy, Albubater, and some other Arabians, Junctine, Ranzovius, Lindhout, Origen, &c. But these men you will reject
peradventure, as astrologers, and therefore partial judges; then hear the testimony of physicians, Galenists themselves. Carto confesseth the influence of stars to have a great hand to this peculiar disease, so doth Jason Pratensis, Lonicerius præfat. de Apoplexia, Ficinus, Fernelius, &c. P. Cnemander acknowledgeth the stars an universal cause, the particular from parents, and the use of the six non-natural things. Baptista Port. mag. l. 1, c. 10, 12, 15, will have them causes to every particular individium.
Instances and examples, to evince the truth of these aphorisms, are common amongst those astrologian treatises. Cardan, in his thirty-seventh geniture, gives instance in Math. Bologuius. Camerar. hor. natalit. centur. 7. genit. 6. et 7. of Daniel Gare, and others; but see Garcæus, cap. 33. Luc. Gauricus. Tract. 6. de Azemenis, &c. The time of this melancholy is, when the significators of any geniture are directed according to art, as the horned moon, hylech, &c. to the hostile beams or terms of Saturn and Mars especially, or any fixed star of their nature, or if Saturn by his revolution, or transitus, shall offend any of those radical promissors in the geniture.
Other signs there are taken from physiognomy, metoposcopy, chiromancy, which because Joh. de Indagine, and Rotman, the landgrave of Hesse his mathematician, not long since in his Chiromancy; Baptista Porta, in his celestial
Physiognomy, have proved to hold great amity with astrology to satisfy the curious, I am the more willing to insert.
The general notions physiognomers give, be these; "black colour argues natural melancholy; so doth leanness, hirsuteness, broad veins, much hair on the brows," saith Gratanarolus, cap. 7, and a little head, out of Aristotle, high sanguine, red colour, shows head melancholy; they that stutter and are bald, will be soonest melancholy (as Avicenna supposeth), by reason of the dryness of their brains; but he that will know more of the several signs of humour and wits out of physiognomy, let him consult with old Adamantus and Polemus, that comment, or rather paraphrase upon Aristotle's Physiognomy, Baptista Porta's four pleasant books, Michael Scot de secretis naturæ, John de Indagine, Montaltus, Antony Zara. anat. ingeniorum, sect. 1, memb. 13, lib. 4.
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Chiromancy hath these aphorisms to foretel melancholy. Tasneir. lib. 5, cap. 2, who hath comprehended the sum of John de Indagine: Tricassus, Corvinus, and others in his book, thus hath it; "The Saturnine line going from the rascetta through the hand, to Saturn's mount, and there intersected by certain little lines, argues melancholy; so if the vital and natural make am acute angle, Aphorism 100. The saturnine, epatic, and natural lines, making a gross triangle in the hand, argue as much;" which Goclenius, cap. 5. Chiros. repeats verbatim out of him. In general they conclude all, that if
Saturn's mount be full of many small lines and intersections, "such men are most part melancholy, miserable, and full of disquietness, care and trouble, continually vexed with anxious and bitter thoughts, always sorrowful, fearful, suspicious; they delight in husbandry, buildings, pools, marshes, springs, woods, walks, &c." Thaddæus Haggesius, in his Metoposcopia, hath certain aphorisms derived from Saturn's lines in the forehead, by which he collects a melancholy disposition; and Baptista Porta makes observations from those other parts of the body, as if a spot be over the spleen; "or in the nails; if it appear black, it signifieth much care, grief, contention, and melancholy;" the reason he refers to the humours, and gives instance in himself, that for seven years' space he had such black spots in his nails, and all that while was in perpetual law-suits, controversies for his inheritance, fear, loss of honour, banishment, grief, care, and when his miseries ended, the black spots vanished. Cardan, in his book de libris propriis, tells such a story of his own person, that a little before his son's death, he had a black spot, which appeared in one of his nails; and dilated itself as he came nearer to his end. But I am over tedious in these toys, which howsoever, in some men's too severe censures, they may be held absurd and ridiculous, I am the bolder to insert, as not borrowed from circumforanean rogues and gipsies, but out of the writings of worthy philosophers and physicians, yet living some of them, and religious professors in famous universities, who are able to patronize that which they have said, and vindicate themselves from all cavilers and ignorant persons.
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SUBSECT. V.-- Old Age a Cause
SECONDARY peculiar causes efficient, so called in respect of the other precedent, are either congenitæ, internæ, innatæ, as they term them, inward, innate, inbred; or else outward and adventitious, which happen to us after we are born: congenite or born with us, are either natural, as old age, or præter naturam (as Fernelius calls it) that distemperature, which we have from our parents' seed, it being an hereditary disease. The first of these, which is natural to all, and which no man living can avoid, is old age, which being cold and dry, and of the same quality as melancholy is, must needs cause it, by diminution of spirits and substance, and increasing of adust humours; therefore Melancthon avers out of Aristotle, as an undoubted truth, Senes plerunque delirasse in senecta, that old men familiarly dote, ob atram bilam, for black choler, which is then superabundant in them: and Rhasis, that Arabian physician, in his Cont. lib. 1, cap. 9, calls it "a necessary and inseparable accident," to all old and decrepit persons. After seventy years (as the Psalmist saith) "all is trouble and sorrow;" and common experience confirms the truth of it in weak and old persons, especially such as have lived in action all their lives, had great employment, much business, much command, and many servants to oversee, and leave off ex abrupto; as Charles the Fifth did to King Philip, resign up all on a sudden; they are overcome with melancholy in an instant: or if they do continue in such courses, they dote at last
(senex bis puer), and are not able to manage their estates through common infirmities incident in their age; full of ache, sorrow and grief; children again, dizzards, they carle many times as they sit, and talk to themselves, they are angry, waspish, displeased with everything, "suspicious of all, wayward, covetous, hard (saith Tully), self-willed, superstitious, self-conceited, braggers and admirers of themselves," as Balthasar Castalio hath truly noted of them. This natural infirmity is most eminent in old women, and such as are poor, solitary, live in most base esteem and beggary, or such as are witches; insomuch that Wierus, Baptista Porta, Ulricus Molitor, Edwicus, do refer all that witches are said to do, to
imagination alone, and this humour of melancholy. And whereas it is controverted, whether they can bewitch cattle to death, ride in the air upon a coulstaff out of a chimney-top, transform themselves into cats, dogs, &c., translate bodies from place to place, meet in companies, and dance, as they do, or have carnal copulation with the devil, they ascribe all to this redundant melancholy, which domineers in them, to somniferous potions, and natural causes, the devil's policy. Non lædunt omnino (saith Wierus) aut quid mirum faciunt (de Lamiis, lib. 3, cap. 36), ut putatur, solam vitiatam habent phantasiam; they do no such wonders at all, only their brains are crazed.
"They think they are witches, and can do hurt, but do not." But this opinion Bodine, Erastus, Danæus, Scribanius, Sebastian Michaelis, Campanella de sensu rerum, lib. 4, cap. 9, Dandinus the Jesuit, lib. 2, de Anima, explode; Cicogna confutes at large. That witches are melancholy, they deny not, but not out of corrupt phantasy alone, so to delude themselves and others, or to produce such effects.
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SUBSECT. VI.-- Parents a cause by Propagation.
That other inward inbred cause of Melancholy is our temperature, in whole or part, which we receive from our parents, which Fernelius calls Præter naturam, or unnatural, it being an hereditary disease; for as he justifies Quale parentum, maxime patris semen obtigerit, tales evadunt similares spermaticæque partes, quocunque etiam morbo Pater quum generat tenetur, cum semine transfert in Prolem; such as the temperature of the father is, such is the son's, and look what disease the father had when he begot him, his son will have after him; "and is as well inheritor of his infirmities, as of his lands." And where the complexion and constitution of the father is corrupt, there (saith Roger Bacon) the complexion and constitution of the son must needs be corrupt, and so the corruption is derived from the father to the son. Now this doth not so much appear in the composition of the body, according to that of Hippocrates, "in habit, proportion, scars, and other lineaments; but in manners and conditions of the mind, Et patrum in natos abeunt cum semine mores.
Seleucus had an anchor on his thigh, so had his posterity, as Trogus records, l. 15. Lepidus in Pliny l. 7, c. 17, was purblind, so was his son. That famous family of Ænobarbi were known of old, and so surnamed from their red beards; the Austrian lip, and those Indian flat noses are propagated, the Bavarian chin, and goggle eyes amongst the Jews, as Buxtorfius observes; their voice, pace, gesture, looks, are likewise derived with all the rest of their conditions and infirmities; such a mother, such a daughter; the very affections Lemnius contends "to follow their seed, and the malice and bad conditions of children are many times wholly to be imputed to their parents;" I need not therefore make any doubt of Melancholy, but that it is an hereditary disease. Paracelsus in express words affirms it, lib. de morb.
amentium, to. 4, tr. 1; so doth Crato in an Epistle of his to Monavius. So doth Bruno Seidelius in his book de morbo encurab. Montaltus proves, cap. 11, out of Hippocrates and Plutarch, that such hereditary dispositions are frequent, et hanc (inquit) fieri reor ob participatam melancholicam intemperantiam (speaking of a patient) I think he became so by participation of Melancholy. Daniel Sennertus, lib. 1, part 2, cap. 9, will have his melancholy constitution derived not only from the father to the son, but to the whole family sometimes; Quandoque totis familiis hereditativam, Forestus, in
his medicinal observations, illustrates this point, with an example of a merchant, his patient, that had this infirmity by inheritance; so doth Rodericus a Fonseca, tom. 1, consul. 69, by an instance of a young man that was so affected ex matre melancholica, had a melancholy mother, et victu melancholico, and bad diet together. Lodovicus Mercatus, a Spanish physician, in that excellent Tract which he hath lately written of hereditary diseases, tom. 2, oper. lib. 5, reckons up leprosy, as those Galbots in Gasccony, hereditary lepers, pox, stone, gout, epilepsy, &c. Amongst the rest, this and madness after a set time comes to many, which he calls a miraculous thing in nature, and sticks for ever to them as an incurable habit. And that which is more to be wondered at, it skips in some families the father, and goes to the son, "or takes every other, and sometimes every third in a lineal descent, and doth not always produce the same, but some like, and a symbolizing disease." These secondary causes hence derived, are sæpe mutant decreta siderum,commonly so powerful, that (as Wolphius
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holds) they do often alter the primary causes, and decrees of the heavens. For these reasons, belike, the Church and commonwealth, human and Divine laws, have conspired to avoid hereditary diseases, forbidding such marriages as are any whit allied; and as Mercatus adviseth all families to take such, si fieri possit quæ maxima distant natura, and to make choice of those that are most differing in complexion from them; if they love their own, and respect the common good. And sure, I think, it hath been ordered by God's especial providence, that in all ages there should be (as usually there is) once in 600 years, a transmigration of nations, to amend and purify their blood, as we alter seed upon our land, and that there should be as it were an inundation of those northern Goths and Vandals, and many such like people which
came out of that continent of Scandia and Sarmatia (as some suppose) and over-ran, as a deluge, most part of Europe and Afric, to alter for our good, our complexions, which were much defaced with hereditary infirmities, which by our lust and intemperance we had contracted. A sound generation of strong and able men were sent amongst us, as those northern men usually are, innocuous, free from riot, and free from diseases; to qualify and make us as those poor naked Indians are generally at this day; and those about Brazil (as a late writer observes), in the Isle of Maragnan, free from all hereditary diseases, or other contagion, whereas without help of physic they live commonly 120 years or more, as in the Orcades and many other places. Such are the common effects of temperance and intemperance, but I will descend to particular, and show by what means, and by whom especially, this infirmity is derived unto us.
Filii ex senibus nati, raro sunt firmi temperamenti, old men's children are seldom of a good temperament, as Scoltzius supposeth, consult. 177, and therefore most apt to this disease; and as Levinus Lemnius farther adds, old men beget most part wayward, peevish, sad, melancholy sons, and seldom merry. He that begets a child on a full stomach, will either have a sick child, or a crazed son (as Cardan thinks), contradict. med. lib. 1, contradict. 18, or if the parents be sick, or have any great pain of the head, or megrim, headach, (Hieronimus Wolthis doth instance in a child of Sebastian Castalio's); if a drunken man get a child, it will never likely have a good brain, as Gellius argues, lib. 12, cap. 1. Ebrii gignunt Ebrios, one drunkard begets another, saith Plutarch. symp. lib. 1, quest. 5, whose sentence Lemnius approves, l. 1, c. 4. Alsarius Crutius Gen. de qui sit med. cent. 3, fol. 182. Macrobius, lib. 1. Avicenna, lib. 3. Fen. 21. Tract 1,
cap. 8, and Aristotle himself; sect. 2, prov. 4, foolish, drunken, or hair-brain women, most part bring forth children like unto themselves, morosos et languidos, and so likewise he that lies with a menstruous woman. (Good Master Schoolmaster do not English this:) Intemperentia veneris, quam in nautis præsertim insectatur Lemnius, qui uxores ineunt, nulla menstrui decursus ratione habita, nec observato interlunio, præcipua causa est, noxia, pernitiosa, concubitum hunc exitialem ideo, et pestiferum vocat. Rodoricus a Castro Lusitanus, detestantur ad unum omnes medici, tum et quarta luna concepti, infoelices plerumque et amentes, deliri, stolidi, morbosi, impuri, invalidi, tetra lue sordidi, minima vitales, ommnibus bonis corporis atque animi destituti: ad laborem nati ,si seniores, inquit Eustathius, ut Hercules, et alii. Judæi maximi insectantur foedum hunc, et immundum apud Christianos Concubitum, ut illicitum abhorrent, et apud suos prohibent; et quod Christiani toties leprosi, amentes, tot morbili, impetigines, alphi, psoræ, cutis et faciei decolorationes, tam multi morbi epidemici, acerbi, et venenosi sint, in hunc immundum concubitum rejiciunt, et crudeles in pignora vocant, qui quarta luna profluente hac mensium illuvie concubitum hunc non perhorrescunt.
Damnavit olim divina Lex et morte mulctavit hujusmodi homines, Lev. 18, 20, et inde nati, siqui deformes aut mutili, pater dilapidatus, quod non contineret ab immunda
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muliere. Gregorius Magnus, petenti Augustino nunquid apud Britannos hujusmodi concubitum toleraret severe prohibuit viris suis tum misceri foeminas in consuetis suis menstruis, &c. I spare to English this which I have said. Another cause some give, inordinate diet, as if a man eat garlic, onions, fast overmuch, study too hard, be oversorrowful, dull, heavy, dejected in mind, perplexed in his thoughts, fearful, &c., "their children (saith Cardan subtil. lib. 18) will be much subject to madness and melancholy; for if the spirits of the brain be fusled, or misaffected by such means, at such a time, their children will be fouled in the brain: they will be dull, heavy, timorous, discontented all their lives." Some are of opinion, and maintain that paradox or problem, that wise men beget commonly fools; Suidas gives instance in Aristarchus the Grammerian, duos reliquit filios Aristarchum et Aristachorum, ambos stultos; and which Erasmus urgeth in his Moria, fools beget wise men. Card. subt. l. 12, gives this cause, Quoniam spiritus sapientum ob studium resolvuntur, et in cerebrum feruntur a corde: because their natural spirits are resolved by study, and turned into animal; drawn from the heart, and those other parts to the brain. Lemnius subscribes to that of Cardan, and assigns this reason, Quod persolvant debitum languide, et obscitanter, unde foetus a parentum generositate desciscit: they pay their debt (as Paul calls it) to their wives remissly, by which means their children are weaklings, and many times idiots and fools.
Some other causes are given, which properly pertain, and do proceed from the mother: if she be over-dull, heavy, angry, peevish, discontented, and melancholy, not only at the time of conception, but even all the while she carries the child in her womb (saith Fernelius, path. l. 1, 11) her son will be so likewise affected, and worse, as Lemnius adds, l. 4, c. 7, if she grieve over much, be disquieted, or by any casualty be affrighted and terrified by some fearful object heard or seen, she endangers her child, and spoils the temperature of it; for the strange imagination of a woman works effectually upon her infant, that as Baptista Porta proves, Physiog. coelestis l. 5. c. 2, she leaves a mark upon it, which is most especially seen in such as prodigiously long for such and such meats, the child will love those meats, saith Fernelius, and be
addicted to like humours: "if a great-bellied woman see a hare, her child will often have a hare-lip," as we call it. Garcæus de Judiciis geniturarum, cap. 33, hath a memorable example of one Thomas Nickell, born in the city of Brandeburg, 1551, "that went reeling and staggering all the days of his life, as if he would fall to the ground, because his mother being great with child saw a drunken man reeling in the street." Such another I find in Martin Wenrichius com. de ortu monstrorum, c. 17. I saw (saith he) at Wittenberg, in Germany, a citizen that looked like a carcass; I asked
him the cause, he replied, "His mother, when she bore him in her womb, saw a carcass by chance, and was so sore affrighted with it, that ex eo foetus ei assimilatus, from a ghastly impression the child was like it."
So many several ways are we plagued and punished for our father's defaults; insomuch that as Fernelius truly saith, "it is the greatest part of our felicity to be well born, and it were happy for human kind, if only such parents as are sound of body and mind should be suffered to marry." An husbandman will sow none but the best and choicest seed upon his land, he will not rear a bull or a horse, except he be right shapen in all parts, or permit him to cover a mare, except he be well assured of his breed; we make choice of the best rams for our sheep, rear the neatest kine, and keep
the best dogs, Quanto id diigentius in procreandis liberis observandum? And how careful then should we be in begetting of our children? In former times some countries have been so chary in this behalf, so stern, that if a child were crooked or
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deformed in body or mind, they made him away; so did the Indians of old by the relation of Curtius, and many other well-governed commonwealths, according to the discipline of those times. Heretofore in Scotland, saith Hect. Boethius, "if any were visited with the falling sickness, madness, gout, leprosy, or any such dangerous disease, which was likely to be propagated from the father to the son, he was instantly gelded; a woman kept from all company of men; and if by chance having some such disease, she were found to be with child, she with her brood were buried alive:" and this was done for the common good, lest the whole nation should be injured or corrupted. A severe doom you will say, and not to be used amongst Christians, yet more to be looked into than it is. For now by our too much facility in this kind, in giving way for all to marry that will, too much liberty and indulgence in tolerating all sorts, there is a vast confusion of hereditary diseases, no family secure, no man almost free from some grievous infirmity or other, when no choice is had, but still the eldest must marry, as so many stallions of the race; or if rich, be they fools or dizzards, lame or maimed, unable, intemperate, dissolute, exhaust through riot, as he said, jure hæreditario sapere jubentur; they must be wise and able by inheritance: it comes to pass that our generation is corrupt, we have many weak persons, both in body and
mind, many feral diseases raging amongst us, crazed families, parentes peremptores; our fathers bad, and we are like to be worse.
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