THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY
BY DEMOCRITUS JUNIOR
TO THE READER AT LEISURE
WHOEVER you may be, I caution you against rashly defaming the author of this work, or cavilling in jest against him. Nay, do not silently reproach him in consequence of others' censure, nor employ your wit in foolish disapproval, or false
accusation. For, should Democritus Junior prove to be what he professes, even a kinsman of his older namesake, or be ever so little of the same kidney, it is all over with you: he will become both accuser and judge of you in your spleen, will dissipate you in jests, pulverise you into salt, and sacrifice you, I can promise you, to the god of Mirth.
I further advise you, not to asperse, or calumniate, or slander, Democritus Junior, who possibly does not think ill of you, lest you may hear from some discreet friend, the same remark the people of Abdera did from Hippocrates, of their meritorious and popular fellow-citizen, whom they had looked on as a madman; "It is not that you, Democritus, that art wise, but that the people of Abdera are fools and madmen? "You have yourself an Abderitian soul;" and having just given you, gentle reader, these few words of admonition, farewell.
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HERACLITE fleas, misero sic convenit sævo,
Nil nisi turpe vides, nil nisi triste vides.
Ride etiam, quantumque lubet, Democrite ride,
Non nisi vana vides, non nisi stulta vides.
Is fletu, hic risu modo gaudeat, unus utrique
Sit licet usque labor, sit licet usque dolor.
Nunc opus est (nam totus eheu jam desipit orbis)
Mille Heraclitis, milleque Democritis.
Nunc opus est (tanta est insania) transeat omnis
Mundus in Anticyras, gramen in Helleborum.
Weep, O Heraclitus, it suits the age,
Unless you see nothing base, nothing sad.
Laugh, O Democritus, as much as you please,
Unless you see nothing either vain or foolish.
Let one rejoice in smiles, the other in tears;
Let the same labour or pain be the office of both.
Now (for alas! how foolish the world has become),
A thousand Heraclitus', a thousand Democritus' are required,
Now (so much does madness prevail), all the world must be
Sent to Anticyra, to graze on Hellebore.
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