Of all causes the remotest are stars. Ficinus cap. 19. saith they are most prone to this burning lust, that have Venus in Leo in their horoscope, when the Moon and Venus be mutually aspected, or such as be of Venus' complexion. Plutarch interprets astrologically that tale of Mars and Venus, "in whose genitures [Symbol: Mars] and [Symbol: Venus] are in conjunction," they are commonly lascivious, and if women queans; as the good wife of Bath confessed in Chaucer;
I followed aye mine inclination,
By virtue of my constellation
But of all those astrological aphorisms which I have ever read, that of Cardan is most memorable, for which howsoever he is bitterly censured by Marinus Marcennus, a malapert friar, and some others (which he himself suspected) yet methinks it is free, downright, plain and ingenious. In his eighth Geniture, or example, he hath these words of himself, [Symbol: Mars] [Symbol: Venus] and [Symbol: Mercury] in [Symbol: Mercury] dignitatibus assiduam mihi Venereorum cogitationem præstabunt, ita ut nunquam quiescam. Et paulo post, Cogitatio Venereorum me torquet perpetuo, et quam facto implere non licuit, aut fecisse potentem puduit, cogitatione assidua mentitus sum voluptatem. Et alibi, ob [Symbol: Moon-3/4] et [Symbol: Mercury] dominium et radiorum mixtionem, profundum fuit ingenium, sed lascivum, egoque turpi libidini deditus et obscænus. So far Cardan of himself, quod de se fatetur ideo ut utilitatem adferat studiosis hujusce disciplinæ, and for this he is traduced by Marcennus, when as in effect he saith no more than what Gregory Nazianzen of old, to Chilo his scholar, offerebant se mihi visendæ mulieres, quarum præcellenti elegantia et decore spectabili tentabatur meæ. integritas pudicitiæ. Et quidem flagitium vitavi fornicationis, at munditiæ virginalis florem arcana cordis cogitatione fdavi. Sed ad rem. Aptiores ad masculinam venerem sunt quorum genesi Venus est in signo masculino, et in Saturni finibus aut oppositione, &c. Ptolomeus in quadripart. plura de his et specialia habet aphorismata, longo proculdubio usu confirmata, et ab experientia multa perfecta, inquit commentator ejus Cardanus. Tho. Campanella Astrologiæ lib. 4. cap. 8. articulis 4 and 5. insaniam amatoriam remonstrantia, multa præ cæteris accumulat aphorismata, quæ qui volet, consulat. Chiromantici ex cingulo Veneris plerumque conjecturam faciunt, et monte Veneris, de quorum decretis, Taisnerum, Johan. de Indagine, Goclenium, ceterosque si lubet, inspicias. Physicians divine wholly from the temperature and complexion; phlegmatic persons are seldom taken, according to Ficinus Comment, cap. 9; naturally melancholy less than they, but once taken they are never freed; though many are of opinion flatuous or hypochondriacal melancholy are most subject of all others to this infirmity. Valescus assigns their strong imagination for a cause, Bodine abundance of wind, Gordonius of seed, and spirits, or atomi in the seed, which cause their violent and furious passions. Sanguine thence are soon caught, young folks most apt to love, and by their good wills, saith Lucian, "would have a bout with every one they see:" the colt's evil is common to all complexions. Theomestus a young and lusty gallant acknowledgeth (in the said author) all this to be verified in him, "I am so amorously given, you may sooner number the sea-sands, and snow falling from the skies, than my several loves. Cupid had shot all his arrows at me, I am deluded with various desires, one love succeeds another, and that so soon, that before one is ended, I begin with a second; she that is last is still fairest, and she that is present pleaseth me most: as an hydra's head my loves increase, no Iolaus can help me. Mine eyes are so moist a refuge and sanctuary of love, that they draw all beauties to them, and are never satisfied. I am in a doubt what fury of Venus this should be: alas, how have I offended her so to vex me, what Hippolitus am I!" What Telchine is my genius? or is it a natural imperfection, an hereditary passion? Another in Anacreon confesseth that he had twenty sweethearts in Athens at once, fifteen at Corinth, as many at Thebes, at Lesbos, and at Rhodes, twice as many in Ionia, thrice in Caria, twenty thousand in all: or in a word, ει φυλλα παντα [ei phylla panta], &c.
"Folia arborum omnium si
Nosti referre cuncta,
Aut computare arenas
In æquore universas,
Solum meorum amorum
Te fecero logistam?"
"Canst count the leaves in May,
Or sands i' th' ocean sea?
Then count my loves I pray."
His eyes are like a balance, apt to propend each way, and to be weighed down with every wench's looks, his heart a weathercock, his affection tinder, or naphthe itself, which every fair object, sweet smile, or mistress's favour sets on fire. Guianerius tract 15. cap. 14. refers all this to "the hot temperature of the testicles," Ferandus a Frenchman in his Erotique Mel. (which book came first to my hands after the third edition) to certain atomi in the seed, "such as are very spermatic and full of seed." I find the same in Aristot. sect. 4. prob. 17. si non secernatur semen, cessare tentigines non possunt, as Gaustavinius his commentator translates it: for which cause these young men that be strong set, of able bodies, are so subject to it. Hercules de Saxonia hath the same words in effect. But most part I say, such as are aptest to love that are young and lusty, live at ease, stall-fed, free from cares, like cattle in a rank pasture, idle and solitary persons, they must needs hirquitullire, as Guastavinius recites out of Censorinus.
"Mens erit apta capi tum quum lætissima rerum.
Ut seges in pingui luxuriabit humo."
"The mind is apt to lust, and hot or cold,
As corn luxuriates in a better mould."
The place itself makes much wherein we live, the clime, air, and discipline if they concur. In our Misnia, saith Galen, near to Pergamus, thou shalt scarce find an adulterer, but many at Rome, by reason of the delights of the seat. It was that plenty of all things, which made Corinth so infamous of old, and the opportunity of the place to entertain those foreign comers; every day strangers came in, at each gate, from all quarters. In that one temple of Venus a thousand whores did prostitute themselves, as Strabo writes, besides Lais and the rest of better note: all nations resorted thither, as to a school of Venus. Your hot and southern countries are prone to lust, and far more incontinent than those that live in the north, as Bodine discourseth at large, Method, hist. cap. 5. Molles Asiatici, so are Turks, Greeks, Spaniards, Italians, even all that latitude; and in those tracts, such as are more fruitful, plentiful, and delicious, as Valence in Spain, Capua in Italy, domicilium luxus Tully terms it, and (which Hannibal's soldiers can witness) Canopus in Egypt, Sybaris, Phoeacia, Baiæ, Cyprus, Lampsacus. In Naples the fruit of the soil and pleasant air enervate their bodies, and alter constitutions: insomuch that Florus calls it Certamen Bacchi et Veneris, but Foliot admires it. In Italy and Spain they have their stews in every great city, as in Rome, Venice, Florence, wherein, some say, dwell ninety thousand inhabitants, of which ten thousand are courtesans; and yet for all this, every gentleman almost hath a peculiar mistress; fornications, adulteries, are nowhere so common: urbs est jam tota lupanar; how should a man live honest amongst so many provocations? now if vigour of youth, greatness, liberty I mean, and that impunity of sin which grandees take unto themselves in this kind shall meet, what a gap must it needs open to all manner of vice, with what fury will it rage? For, as Maximus Tyrius the Platonist observes, libido consequuta quum fuerit materiam improbam et præruptam licentiam, et effrenatam audaciam, &c., what will not lust effect in such persons? For commonly princes and great men make no scruple at all of such matters, but with that whore in Spartian, quicquid libet licet, they think they may do what they list, profess it publicly, and rather brag with Proculus (that writ to a friend of his in Rome, what famous exploits he had done in that kind) than any way be abashed at it. Nicholas Sanders relates of Henry VIII. (I know not how truly) Quod paucas vidit pulchriores quas non concupierit, et paucissimas non concupierit quas non violarit, "He saw very few maids that he did not desire, and desired fewer whom he did not enjoy:" nothing so familiar amongst them, 'tis most of their business: Sardanapalus, Messalina, and Joan of Naples, are not comparable to meaner men and women; Solomon of old had a thousand concubines; Ahasuerus his eunuchs and keepers; Nero his Tigillinus, panders, and bawds; the Turks, Muscovites, Mogors, Xeriffs of Barbary, and Persian Sophies, are no whit inferior to them in our times. Delectus fit omnium puellarum toto regno forma præstantiorum (saith Jovius) pro imperatore; et quas ille linquit, nobiles habent; they press and muster up wenches as we do soldiers, and have their choice of the rarest beauties their countries can afford, and yet all this cannot keep them from adultery, incest, sodomy, buggery, and such prodigious lusts. We may conclude, that if they be young, fortunate, rich, high-fed, and idle withal, it is almost impossible that they should live honest, not rage, and precipitate themselves into these inconveniences of burning lust.
"Otium et reges prius et beatas
Idleness overthrows all, Vacuo pectore regnat amor, love tyranniseth in an idle person. Amore abundas Antiphio. If thou hast nothing to do, Invidia vel amore miser torquebere -- Thou shalt be haled in pieces with envy, lust, some passion or other. Homines nihil agendo male agere discunt; 'tis Aristotle's simile, "as match or touchwood takes fire, so doth an idle person love." Quæritur Ægistus quare sit factus adulter, &c., why was Ægistus a whoremaster? You need not ask a reason of it. Ismenedora stole Baccho, a woman forced a man, as Aurora did Cephalus: no marvel, saith Plutarch, Luxurians opibus more hominum mulier agit: she was rich, fortunate and jolly, and doth but as men do in that case, as Jupiter did by Europa, Neptune by Amymone. The poets therefore did well to feign all shepherds lovers, to give themselves to songs and dalliances, because they lived such idle lives. For love, as Theophrastus defines it, is otiosi animi affectus, an affection of an idle mind, or as Seneca describes it, Juventa gignitur, juxu nutritur, feriis alitur, otioque inter læta fortunæ bonæ; youth begets it, riot maintains it, idleness nourisheth it, &c. which makes Gordonius the physician cap. 20. part. 2. call this disease the proper passion of nobility. Now if a weak judgment and a strong apprehension do concur, how, saith Hercules de Saxonia, shall they resist? Savanarola appropriates it almost to "monks, friars, and religious persons, because they live solitarily, fair daintily, and do nothing:" and well he may, for how should they otherwise choose?
Diet alone is able to cause it: a rare thing to see a young man or a woman that lives idly and fares well, of what condition soever, not to be in love. Alcibiades was still dallying with wanton young women, immoderate in his expenses, effeminate in his apparel, ever in love, but why? he was over-delicate in his diet, too frequent and excessive in banquets, Ubicunque securitas, ibi libido dominatur; lust and security domineer together, as St. Hierome averreth. All which the wife of Bath in Chaucer freely justifies,
For all to sicker, as cold engendreth hail,
A liquorish tongue must have a liquorish tail
Especially if they shall further it by choice diet, as many times those Sybarites and Phæaces do, feed liberally, and by their good will eat nothing else but lascivious meats. Vinum imprimis generosum, legumen, fabas, radices omnium generum bene conditas, et largo pipere aspersas, carduos hortulanos, lactucas, erucas, rapas, porros, cæpas, nucem piceam, amygdalas dulces, electuaria, syrupos, succos, cochleas, conchas, pisces optime præparatos, aviculas, testiculos animalium, ova, condimenta diversorum generum, molles lectos, pulvinaria, &c. Et quicquid fere medici impotentia rei venereæ laboranti præscribunt, hoc quasi diasatyrion habent in delitiis, et his dapes multo delicatiores; mulsum, exquisitas et exoticas fruges, aromata, placentas, expressos succos multis ferculis variatos, ipsumque vinum suavitate vincentes, et quicquid culina, pharmacopæa, aut quæque fere officina subministrare possit. Et hoc plerumque victu quum se ganeones infarciant, ut ille ob Chreseida suam, se bulbis et cochleis curavit; etiam ad Venerem se parent, et ad hanc palestram se exerceant, qui fieri possit, ut non misere depereant, ut non penitus insaniant? Æstuans venter cito despuit in libidinem, Hieronymus ait. Post prandia, Callyrnda. Quis enim continere se potest? Luxuriosa res vinum, fomentum libidinis vocat Augustinus, blandum dæmonem, Bernardus; lac veneris, Aristophanes. Non Ætna, non Vesuvius tantis ardoribus æstuant, ac juveniles medullæ vino plenæ, addit Hieronymus: unde ob optimum vinum Lamsacus olim Priapo sacer: et venerandi Bacchi socia apud Orpheum Venus audit. Hæc si vinum simplex, et per se sumptum præstare possit, nam -- quo me Bacche rapis tui plenum? quam non insaniam, quem non furorem a cæteris expectemus? Gomesius salem enumerat inter ea quæ intempstivam libidinem provocare solent, et salatiores fieri fminas ob esum salis contendit: Venerem ideo dicunt ab Oceano ortam.
"Unde tot in Veneta scortorum millia cur stint?
In promptu causa est, est Venus orta mari."
Et hinc fta mater Salacea Oceani conjux, verbumque fortasse salax a sale effluxit. Mala Bacchica tantum olim in amoribus prævaluerunt, ut coronæ ex illis statuæ Bacchi ponerentur. Cubebis in vino maceratis utuntur Indi Orientales ad Venerem excitandum, et Surax radice Africani. Chinæ radix eosdem effectus habet, talisque herbæ meminit mag. nat. lib. 2. cap. 16. Baptista Porta ex India allatæ, cujus mentionem facit et Theophrastus. Sed infinita his similia apud Rhasin, Matthiolum, Mizaldum, cæterosque medicos occurrunt, quorum ideo mentionem feci, ne quis imperitior in hos scopulas impingat, sed pro virili tanquam syrtes et cautes consulto effugiat.