Fear, a Cause.

Fear, a Cause.

COUSIN-GERMAN to sorrow, is fear, or rather a sister, fidus Achates, and continual companion, an assistant and a principal agent in procuring of this mischief; a cause and symptom as the other. In a word, as Virgil of the Harpies, I may justly say of them both,

Tristius haud illis monstrum, nec sævior ulla
Pestis et Ira Deum stygiis sese extulit undis."

"A sadder monster, or more cruel plague so fell,
Or vengeance of the gods, ne'er came from Styx or Hell."

This foul fiend of fear was worshipped heretofore as a god by the Lacedæmonians, and most of those other torturing affections, and so was sorrow amongst the rest, under the name of Angerona Dea, they stood in such awe of them, as Austin de Civitat. Dei, lib. 4. cap. 8. noteth out of Varro, fear was commonly adored and painted in their temples with a lion's head; and as Macrobius records l. 10. Saturnalium; "in the calends of January, Angerona had her holy day, to whom in the temple of Volupia, or goddess of pleasure, their augurs and bishops did yearly sacrifice; that, being propitious to them, she might expel all cares, anguish, and vexation of the mind for that year following." Many lamentable effects this fear causeth in men, as to be red, pale, tremble, sweat, it makes sudden cold and heat to come over all the body, palpitation of the heart, syncope, &c. It amazeth many men that are to speak, or show themselves in public assemblies, or before some great personages, as Tully confessed of himself, that he trembled still at the beginning of his speech; and Demosthenes, that great orator of Greece, before Philippus. It confounds voice and memory, as Lucian wittingly brings in Jupiter Tragúdus, so much afraid of his auditory, when he was to make a speech to the rest of the gods, that he could not utter a ready word, but was compelled to use Mercury's help in prompting. Many men are so amazed and astonished with fear, they know not where they are, what they say, what they do, and that which is worse, it tortures them many days before with continual affrights and suspicion. It hinders most honourable attempts, and makes their hearts ache, sad and heavy. They that live in fear are never free, resolute, secure, never merry, but in continual pain: that, as Vives truly said, Nulla est miseria major quam metus, no greater misery, no rack, nor torture like unto it, ever suspicious, anxious, solicitous, they are childishly drooping without reason, without judgment, "especially if some terrible object be offered," as Plutarch hath it. It causeth oftentimes sudden madness, and almost all manner of diseases, as I have sufficiently illustrated in my digression of the force of imagination, and shall do more at large in my section of terrors. Fear makes our imagination conceive what it list, invites the devil to come to us, as Agrippa and Cardan avouch, and tyrannizeth over our fantasy more than all other afflictions, especially in the dark. We see this verified in most men, as Lavater saith, Quæ metuunt, fingunt; what they fear they conceive, and feign unto themselves; they think they see goblins, hags, devils, and many times become melancholy thereby. Cardan subtil. lib. 18. hath an example of such an one, so caused to be melancholy (by sight of a bugbear) all his life after. Augustus Cæsar durst not sit in the dark, nisi aliquo assidente, saith Suetonius, Nunquam tenebris evigilavit. And 'tis strange what women and children will conceive unto themselves, if they go over a church-yard in the night, lie, or be alone in a dark room, how they sweat and tremble on a sudden. Many men are troubled with future events, foreknowledge of their fortunes, destinies, as Severus the emperor, Adrian and Domitian, Quod sciret ultimum vitæ diem, saith Suetonius, valde solicitus, much tortured in mind because he foreknew his end; with many such, of which I shall speak more opportunely in another place. Anxiety, mercy, pity, indignation, &c., and such fearful branches derived from these two stems of fear and sorrow, I voluntarily omit; read more of them in Carolus Pascalius, Dandinus, &c.

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