Prognostics of Love-Melancholy

Prognostics of Love-Melancholy

What fires, torments, cares, jealousies, suspicions, fears, griefs, anxieties, accompany such as are in love, I have sufficiently said: the next question is, what will be the event of such miseries, what they foretell. Some are of opinion that this love cannot be cured, Nullis amor est medicabilis herbis, it accompanies them to the last, Idem amor exitio est pecori pecorisque magistro. "The same passion consume both the sheep and the shepherd," and is so continuate, that by no persuasion almost it may be relieved. "Bid me not love," said Euryalus, "bid the mountains come down into the plains, bid the rivers run back to their fountains; I can as soon leave to love, as the sun leave his course;"

"Et prius æquoribus pisces, et montibus umbræ,
Et volucres deerunt sylvis, et murmura ventis,
Quam mihi discedent formosæ Amaryllidis ignes."

"First seas shall want their fish, the mountains shade
Woods singing birds, the wind's murmur shall fade,
Than my fair Amaryllis' love allay'd."

Bid me not love, bid a deaf man hear, a blind man see, a dumb speak, lame run, counsel can do no good, a sick man cannot relish, no physic can ease me. Non prosunt domino quæ prosunt omnibus artes. As Apollo confessed, and Jupiter himself could not be cured.

"Omnes humanos curat medicina dolores,
Solus amor morbi non habet artificem."

"Physic can soon cure every disease,
Excepting love that can it not appease."

But whether love may be cured or no, and by what means, shall be explained in his place; in the meantime, if it take his course, and be not otherwise eased or amended, it breaks out into outrageous often and prodigious events. Amor et Liber violenti dii sunt, as Tatius observes, et eiusque animum incendunt, ut pudoris oblivisci cogant, love and Bacchus are so violent gods, so furiously rage in our minds, that they make us forget all honesty, shame, and common civility. For such men ordinarily, as are thoroughly possessed with this humour, become insensati et insani, for it is amor insanus, as the poet calls it, beside themselves, and as I have proved, no better than beasts, irrational, stupid, headstrong, void of fear of God or men, they frequently forswear themselves, spend, steal, commit incests, rapes, adulteries, murders, depopulate towns, cities, countries, to satisfy their lust.

"A devil 'tis, and mischief such doth work,
As never yet did Pagan, Jew, or Turk."

The wars of Troy may be a sufficient witness; and as Appian, lib. 5. hist, saith of Antony and Cleopatra, "Their love brought themselves and all Egypt into extreme and miserable calamities," "the end of her is as bitter as wormwood, and as sharp as a two-edged sword," Prov. v. 4, 5. "Her feet go down to death, her steps lead on to hell. She is more bitter than death," (Eccles. vii. 28.) "and the sinner shall be taken by her." Qui in amore præcipitavit, pejus perit, quam qui saxo salit. "He that runs headlong from the top of a rock is not in so bad a case as he that falls into this gulf of love." "For hence," saith Platina, "comes repentance, dotage, they lose themselves, their wits, and make shipwreck of their fortunes altogether:" madness, to make away themselves and others, violent death. Prognosticatio est talis, saith Gordonius, si non succurratur iis, aut in maniam cadunt, aut moriuntur; the prognostication is, they will either run mad, or die. "For if this passion continue," saith Ælian Montaltus, "it makes the blood hot, thick, and black; and if the inflammation get into the brain, with continual meditation and waking, it so dries it up, that madness follows, or else they make away themselves," O Corydon, Corydon, quæ te dementia cepit? (Virg. Egl. 2. "Oh Corydon, Corydon! what madness possesses you?") Now, as Arnoldus adds, it will speedily work these effects, if it be not presently helped; "They will pine away, run mad, and die upon a sudden;" Facile incidunt in maniam, saith Valescus, quickly mad, nisi succurratur, if good order be not taken,

"Ehou triste jugum quisquis amoris habet,
Is prius se norit se periisse perit."

"Oh heavy yoke of love, which whoso bears,
Is quite undone, and that at unawares."

So she confessed of herself in the poet,

--"insaniam priusquam quis sentiat,
Vix pili intervallo a furore absum."

"I shall be mad before it be perceived,
A hair-breadth off scarce am I, now distracted."

As mad as Orlando for his Angelica, or Hercules for his Hylas,

"At ille ruebat quo pedes ducebant, furibundus,
Nam illi sævus Deus intus jecur laniabat."

"He went he car'd not whither, mad he was,
The cruel God so tortured him, alas!"

At the sight of Hero I cannot tell how many ran mad,

"Alius vulnus celans insanit pulchritudine puellæ."

"And whilst he doth conceal his grief,
Madness comes on him like a thief."

Go to Bedlam for examples. It is so well known in every village, how many have either died for love, or voluntary made away themselves, that I need not much labour to prove it: Nec modus aut requies nisi mors reperitur amoris: death is the common catastrophe to such persons.

"Mori mihi contingat, non enim alia
Liberatio ab æramnis fuerit ullo pæto istis."

"Would I were dead, for nought, God knows,
But death can rid me of these woes."

As soon as Euryalus departed from Senes, Lucretia, his paramour, "never looked up, no jests could exhilarate her sad mind, no joys comfort her wounded and distressed soul, but a little after she fell sick and died." But this is a gentle end, a natural death, such persons commonly make away themselves.

--"proprioque in sanguine lætus,
Indignantem animam vacuas elludit in auras;"

so did Dido; Sed moriamur ait, sic sic juvat ire per umbras; ("But let me die, she says, thus; thus it is better to descend to the shades.") Pyramus and Thisbe, Medea, Coresus and Callirhoe, Theagines the philosopher, and many myriads besides, and so will ever do,

--"et mihi fortis
Est manus, est et amor, dabit hic in vulnera vires."

"Whoever heard a story of more woe,
Than that of Juliet and her Romeo?"

Read Parthenium in Eroticis, and Plutarch's amatorias narrationes, or love stories, all tending almost to this purpose. Valleriola, lib. 2. observ. 7, hath a lamentable narration of a merchant, his patient, "that raving through impatience of love, had he not been watched, would every while have offered violence to himself." Amatus Lusitanus, cent. 3. car. 56, hath such another story, and Felix Plater, med. observ. lib. 1. a third of a young gentleman that studied physic, and for the love of a doctor's daughter, having no hope to compass his desire, poisoned himself, anno 1615. A barber in Frankfort, because his wench was betrothed to another, cut his own throat. At Neoburg, the same year, a young man, because he could not get her parents' consent, killed his sweetheart, and afterward himself, desiring this of the magistrate, as he gave up the ghost, that they might be buried in one grave, Quodque rogis superest una requiescat in urna, which Gismunda besought of Tancredus, her father, that she might be in like sort buried with Guiscardus, her lover, that so their bodies might lie together in the grave, as their souls wander about Campos lugentes in the Elysian fields,-- quos durus amor crudeli tabe peredit, ("Whom cruel love with its wasting power destroyed.") in a myrtle grove

--"et myrtea circum
Sylva tegit: curæ non ipsa in morte relinquunt."

("And a myrtle grove overshadow thee; nor do cares relinquish thee even in death itself.")

You have not yet heard the worst, they do not offer violence to themselves in this rage of lust, but unto others, their nearest and dearest friends. Catiline killed his only son, misitque ad orci pallida, lethi obnubila, obsita tenebris loca, for the love of Aurelia Oristella, quod ejus nuptias vivo filio recusaret. Laodice, the sister of Mithridates, poisoned her husband, to give content to a base fellow whom she loved. Alexander, to please Thais, a concubine of his, set Persepolis on fire. Nereus' wife, a widow, and lady of Athens, for the love of a Venetian gentleman, betrayed the city; and he for her sake murdered his wife, the daughter of a nobleman in Venice. Constantine Despota made away Catherine, his wife, turned his son Michael and his other children out of doors, for the love of a base scrivener's daughter in Thessalonica, with whose beauty he was enamoured. Leucophria betrayed the city where she dwelt, for her sweetheart's sake, that was in the enemies' camp. Pithidice, the governor's daughter of Methinia, for the love of Achilles, betrayed the whole island to him, her father's enemy. Diognetus did as much in the city where he dwelt, for the love of Policrita, Medea for the love of Jason, she taught him how to tame the fire-breathing brass-feeted bulls, and kill the mighty dragon that kept the golden fleece, and tore her little brother Absyrtus in pieces, that her father. Æthes might have something to detain him, while she ran away with her beloved Jason, &c. Such acts and scenes hath this tragicomedy of love.


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