Envy and malice are two links of this chain, and both, as Guianerius Tract. 15. cap. 2. proves out of Galen 3. Aphorism. com. 22. "cause this malady by themselves, especially if their bodies be otherwise disposed to melancholy". 'Tis Valescus de Taranta, and Fœlix Platerus' observation, "Envy so gnaws many men's come altogether melancholy" And therefore belike Solomon, Prov. xiv. 13. calls it, "the rotting of the bones," Cyprian, vulnus occultum;
"-- Siculi non invenire tyranni
The Sicilian tyrants never invented the like torment. It crucifies their souls, withers their bodies, makes them hollow-eyed, pale, lean, and ghastly to behold, Cyprian ser. 2. de zelo et livore. "As a moth gnaws a garment, so," saith Chrysostom, "doth envy consume a man; to be a living anatomy: a skeleton, to be a lean and pale carcass, quickened with a fiend," Hall in Charact. for so often as an envious wretch sees another man prosper, to be enriched, to thrive, and be fortunate in the world, to get honours, offices, or the like, he repines and grieves.
"-- Intabescitque videndo
Successus hominum -- suppliciumque suum est"
(Ovid. He pines away at the sight of another's success -- It is his special torture.)
He tortures himself if his equal, friend, neighbour, be preferred, commended, do well; if he understand of it, it galls him afresh; and no greater pain can come to him than to hear of another man's well-doing; 'tis a dagger at his heart every such object. He looks at him as they that fell down in Lucian's rock of honour, with an envious eye, and will damage himself, to do another a mischief: Atque cadet subito, dum super hoste cadat. As he did in Æsop, lose one eye willingly, that his fellow might lose both, or that rich man in Quintilian that poisoned the flowers in his garden, because his neighbour's bees should get no more honey from them. His whole life is sorrow, and every word he speaks a satire: nothing fats him but other men's ruins. For to speak in a word, envy is nought else but Tristita de bonis alienis, sorrow for other men's good, be it present, past, or to come: et gaudium de adversis, and joy at their harms, opposite to mercy, which grieves at other men's mischances, and misaffects the body in another kind; so Damascen defines it, lib. 2. de orthod. fid. Thomas 2. 2. quæst. 36. art. 1., Aristotle l. 2. Rhet. c. 4. et 10., Plato Philebo., Tully 3. Tusc. Greg. Nic. l. de virt. animæ, c. 12., Basil. de Invidia, Pindarus Od. 1. ser. 5. and we find it true. 'Tis a common disease, and almost natural to us, as Tacitus holds, to envy another man's prosperity. And 'tis in most men an incurable disease. "I have read," saith Marcus Aurelius, "Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee authors; I have consulted with many wise men for a remedy for envy, I could find none, but to renounce all happiness, and to be a wretch, and miserable for ever." 'Tis the beginning of hell in this life, and a passion not to be excused. "Every other sin hath some pleasure annexed to it, or will admit of an excuse; envy alone wants both. Other sins last but for awhile; the gut may be satisfied, anger remit, hatred hath an end, envy never ceaseth." Cardan lib. 2. de sap. Divine and human examples are very familiar; you may run and read them, as that of Saul and David, Cain and Abel, angebat illum non proprium peccatum, sed fratris prosperitas, saith Theodoret, it was his brother's good fortune galled him. Rachel envied her sister, being barren, Gen. xxx. Joseph's brethren, him, Gen. xxxvii. David had a touch of this vice, as he confesseth, Ps. 37. Jeremy and Habakkuk, they repined at others' good, but in the end they corrected themselves. Ps. 75. "fret not thyself," &c. Domitian spited Agricola for his worth, "that a private man should be so much glorified." Cecinna was envied of his fellow-citizens, because he was more richly adorned. But of all others, women are most weak, ob pulchritudinem invidæ sunt fœminæ (Musæus) aut amat, aut odit, nihil est tertium (Granaiensis). They love or hate, no medium amongst them. Implacabiles plerumque læsæ mulieres, Agrippina like, "A woman if she see her neighbour more neat or elegant, richer, in tires, jewels, or apparel is enraged, and like a lioness sets upon her husband, rails at her, scoffs at her, and cannot abide her;" so the Roman ladies in Tacitus did at Solonina, Cecinna's wife, "because she had a better horse, and better furniture," as if she had hurt them with it; they were much offended. In like sort our gentlewomen do at their usual meetings, one repines or scoffs at another's bravery and happiness. Myrsine, an Attic wench, was murdered of her fellows, "because she did excel the rest in beauty," Constantine Agricult. l. 11. c. 7. Every village will yield such examples.