IN this labyrinth of accidental causes, the farther I wander, the more intricate I find the passage, multæ ambages, and new causes as so many by-paths offer themselves to be discussed: to search out all, were an Herculean work, and fitter for Theseus: I will follow mine intended thread; and point only at some few of the chiefest.
Death of Friends.] Amongst which, loss and death of friends may challenge a first place, multi tristantur, as Vives well observes, post delicias, convivia, dies festos, many are melancholy after a feast, holiday, merry meeting, or some pleasing sport, if they be solitary by chance, left alone to themselves, without employment, sport, or want their ordinary companions, some at the departure of friends only whom they shall shortly see again, weep and howl, and look after them as a cow lows after her calf, or a child takes on that goes to school after holidays. Ut me levarat tuus adventus, sic discessus afflixit, (which Tully writ to Atticus) thy coming was not so welcome to me, as thy departure was harsh. Montanus, consil. 132. makes mention of a country woman that parting with her friends and native place, became grievously melancholy for many years; and Trallianus of another, so caused for the absence of her husband: which is an ordinary passion amongst our good wives, if their husband tarry out a day longer than his appointed time, or break his hour, they take on presently with sighs and tears, he is either robbed, or dead, some mischance or other is surely befallen him, the cannot eat, drink, sleep, or be quiet in mind, till they see him again. If parting of friends, absence alone can work such violent effects, what shall death do, when they must eternally be separated, never in this world to meet again. This is so grievous a torment for the time, that it takes away their appetite, desire of life, extinguisheth all delights, it causeth deep sighs and groans, tears, exclamations,
("O dulce germen matris, o sanguis meus,
Eheu tepentes, &c. -- o flos tener.")
(Oh sweet offspring, oh my very blood: oh tender flower, &c.)
howling, roaring, many bitter pangs (lamentis gemituque et fúmineo ululatu Tecta fremunt), and by frequent meditation extends so far sometimes, "they think they see their dead friends continually in their eyes," observantes imagines, as Conciliator confesseth he saw his mother's ghost presenting herself still before him. Quod nimis miseri volunt, hoc facile credunt, still, still, still, that good father, that good son, that good wife,that dear friend runs in their minds: Totus animus hac una cogitatione defixus est, all the year long, as Pliny complains to Romanus, "methinks I see Virginius, I hear Virginius, I talk with Virginius," &c.
Te sine, væ misero mihi, lilia nigra videntur,
Pallentesque rosæ, nec dulce rubens hyacinthus,
Nullos nec myrtus, nec laurus spirat odores."
(Calphurnius Græcus. "Without thee, ah! wretched me, the lilies lose their whiteness, the roses become pallid, the hyacinths forget to blush; neither the myrtle nor the laurel retains its colours.")
They that are most staid and patient, are so furiously carried headlong by the passion of sorrow in this case, that brave discreet men otherwise, oftentimes forget themselves, and weep like children many months together, "as if that they to water would," and will not be comforted. They are gone, they are gone; what shall do?
"Abstulit atra dies et funere mersit acerbo,
Quis dabit in lachrymas fontem mihi? qui satis altos
Accendet gemitus, et acerbo verba dolori?
Exhaurit pietas oculos, et hiantia frangit
Pectora, nec plenos avido sinit edere questus,
Magna adea jactura premit," &c.
"Fountains of tears who gives, who lends me groans,
Deep sighs sufficient to express my moans?
Mine eyes are dry, my breast in pieces torn,
My loss so great, I cannot enough mourn."
So Stroza Filius, that elegant Italian poet, in his Epicedium, bewails his father's death, he could moderate his passions in other matters (as he confesseth), but not in this, he yields wholly to sorrow,
"Nunc fateor do terra malis, mens illa fatiscit,
Indomitus quondam vigor et constantia mentis."
How doth Quintilian complain for the loss of his son, to despair almost: Cardan lament his only child in his book de libris propiis, and elsewhere in many other of his tracts, St. Ambrose his brother's death? an ego possum non cogitare de te, aut sine lachrymis cogitare? O amari dies, o flebiles noctes, &c. "Can I ever cease to think of thee, and to think with sorrow? O bitter days, O nights of sorrow," &c. Gregory Nazianzen, that noble Pulcheria! O decorem, &c. flos recens, pullulans, &c. Alexander, a man of most invincible courage, after Hephestion's death, as Curtius relates, triduum jacuit ad moriendum obstinatus, lay three days together upon the ground, obstinate, to die with him, and would neither eat, drink, nor sleep. The woman that communed with Esdras (lib. 2. cap. 10.) when her son fell down dead, "fled into the field, and would not return into the city, but there resolved to remain, neither to eat nor drink, but mourn and fast until she died." "Rachel wept for her children, and would not be comforted because they were not." Matt. ii. 18. So did Adrian the emperor bewail his Antinous; Hercules, Hylas; Orpheus, Eurydice; David, Absalom; (O my dear son Absalom;) Austin his mother Monica, Niobe her children, insomuch that the poets feigned her to be turned into a stone, as being stupified through the extremity of grief. Ægeus, signo lugubri filii consternatus, in mare se prætipitem dedit, impatient of sorrow for his son's death, drowned himself. Our late physicians are full of such examples. Montanus, consil. 242. had a patient troubled with this infirmity, by reason of her husband's death, many years together. Trincavellius, l. 1. c. 14. hath such another, almost in despair, after his mother's departure, ut se ferme præcipitem daret; and ready through distraction to make away himself: and in his Fifteenth counsel, tells a story of one fifty years of age, "that grew desperate upon his mother's death;" and cured by Fallopius, fell many years after into a relapse, by the sudden death of a daughter which he had, and could never after be recovered. The fury of this passion is so violent sometimes, that it daunts whole kingdoms and cities. Vespasian's death was pitifully lamented all over the Roman empire, totus orbis lugebat, saith Aurelius Victor. Alexander commanded the battlements of houses to be pulled down, mules and horses to have their manes shorn off and many common soldiers to be slain, to accompany his dear Hephestion's death; which is now practised amongst the Tartars, when a great Cham dieth, ten or twelve thousand must be slain, men and horses, all they meet; and among those the pagan Indians, their wives and servants voluntarily die with them. Leo Decimus was so much bewailed in Rome after his departure, that as Jovius gives out, communis salus, publica hilaritas, the common safety of all good fellowship, peace, mirth, and plenty died with him, tanquam eodem sepulchro cum Leone condita lugebantur; for it was a golden age whilst he lived, but after his decease, an iron season succeeded, barbara vis et fúda vastitas, et dira malorum omnium incommoda, wars, plagues, vastity, discontent. When Augustus Cæsar died, saith Paterculus, orbis ruinam timueramus, we were all afraid, as if heaven had fallen upon our heads. Budatus records, how that, at Lewis the Twelfth his death, tam subita mutatio, ut qui prius digito cúlum attingere videbantur, nunc humi derepente serpere, sideratos esse diceres, they that were erst in heaven, upon a sudden, as if they had been planet-strucken, lay grovelling on the ground;
"Concussis cecidere animis, seu frondibus ingens
Sylva dolet lapsis"--
(Maph. "They became fallen in feelings, as the great forest laments its fallen leaves")
they looked like cropped trees. At Nancy in Lorraine, when Claudia Valesia, Henry the Second French king's sister, and the duke's wife deceased, the temples for forty days were all shut up, no prayers nor masses, bat in that room where she was. The senators all seen in black, and for a twelvemonth's space throughout the city, they were forbid to sing or dance.
"Non ulli pastores illis egere diebus
Frigida (Daphne) boves ad flumina, nulla nec amnem
Libavit quadrupes nec graminis attigit herbam."
"The swains forget their sheep, nor near the brink
Of running waters brought their herds to drink;
The thirsty cattle, of themselves, abstain'd
From water, and their grassy fare disdain'd."
How were we affected here in England for our Titus, deliciæ humani generis, Prince Henry's immature death, as if all our dearest friends' lives had exhaled with his? Scanderbeg's death was not so much lamented in Epirus. In a word, as he saith of Edward the First at the news of Edward of Caernarvon his son's birth, immortaliter gavisus, he was immortally glad, may we say on the contrary of friends' deaths, immortaliter gementes, we are diverse of us as so many turtles, eternally dejected with it.
Loss of goods] There is another sorrow, which arises from the loss of temporal goods and fortunes, which equally afflicts, and may go hand in hand with the preceding; loss of time, loss of honour, office, of good name, of labour, frustrate hopes, will much torment; but in my judgment, there is no torture like unto it, or that sooner procureth this malady and mischief:
"Ploratur lachrymis anima pecunia veris:"
"Lost money is bewailed with grief sincere:"
it wrings true tears from our eyes, many sighs, much sorrow from our hearts, and often causes habitual melancholy itself. Guianerius, tract. 15. 5. repeats this for an especial cause: "Loss of friends, and loss of goods, make many men melancholy, as I have often seen by continual meditation of such things." The same causes Arnoldus Villanovanus inculcates, Breviar. l. 1. c. 18. ex rerum emissione, damno, amicorum morte, &c. Want alone will make a man mad, to be Sans argent will cause a deep and grievous melancholy. Many are affected like Irishmen in this behalf, who if they have a good scimitar, had rather have a blow on their arm, than their weapon hurt: they will sooner lose their life, than their goods: and the grief that cometh hence, continueth long (saith Plater) "and out of many dispositions procureth an habit." Montanus and Frisemelica cured a young man of 22 years of age, that so became melancholy, ob amissam pecuniam, for a sum of money which he had unhappily lost. Skenckius hath such another story of one melancholy, because he overshot himself and spent his stock in unnecessary building. Roger, that rich bishop of Salisbury, exutus opibus et castris a Rege Stephano, spoiled of his goods by king Stephen, vi doloris absorptus, atque in amentiam versus, indecentia fecit, through grief ran mad, spoke and did he knew not what. Nothing so familiar, as for men in such cases, through anguish of mind to make away themselves. A poor fellow went to hang himself (which Ausonius hath elegantly expressed in a neat Epigram), but finding by chance a pot of money, flung away the rope, and went merrily home, but he that hid the gold, when he missed it, hanged himself with that rope which the other man had left, in a discontented humour.
"At qui condiderat postquam non reperit aurum,
Apavit collo, quem reperit, laqueum"
Such feral accidents can want and penury produce. Be it by suretyship, shipwreck, fire, spoil and pillage of soldiers, or what loss soever, it boots not, it will work the like effect, the same desolation in provinces and cities, as well as private persons. The Romans were miserably dejected after the battle of Cannæ, the men amazed for fear, the stupid women tore their hair and cried. The Hungarians, when their king Ladislaus and bravest soldiers were slain by the Turks, Luctus publicus, &c. The Venetians, when their forces were overcome by the French king Lewis, the French and Spanish kings, pope, emperor, all conspired against them at Cambray, the French herald denounced open war in the senate: Lauredane Venetorum dux, &c., and they had lost Padua, Brixia, Verona, Forum Julii, their territories in the continent, and had now nothing left but the city of Venice itself, et urbi quoque ipsi, (saith Bembus) timendum putarent, and the loss of that was likewise to be feared, tantus repente dolor omnnes tenuit, ut nunquam alias, &c., they were pitifully plunged, never before in such lamentable distress. Anno 1527, when Rome was sacked by Burbonius, the common soldiers made such spoil, that fair churches were turned to stables, old monuments and books made horse-litter, or burned like straw; relics, costly pictures defaced; altars demolished, rich hangings, carpets, &c., trampled in the dirt. Their wives and loveliest daughters constuprated by every base cullion, as Sejanus' daughter was by the hangman in public, before their fathers' and husbands' faces. Noblemen's children, and of the wealthiest citizens, reserved for princes' beds, were prostitute to every common soldier, and kept for concubines; senators and cardinals themselves dragged along the streets, and put to exquisite torments, to confess where their money was hid; the rest murdered on heaps, lay stinking in the streets; infants' brains dashed out before their mothers' eyes. A lamentable sight it was to see so goodly a city so suddenly defaced, rich citizens sent a begging to Venice, Naples, Ancona, &c., that erst lived in all manner of delights. "Those proud palaces that even now vaunted their tops up to heaven, were dejected as low as hell in an instant." Whom will not such misery make discontent? Terence the poet drowned himself (some say) for the loss of his comedies, which suffered shipwreck. When a poor man hath made many hungry meals, got together a small sum, which he loseth in an instant; a scholar spent many an hour's study to no purpose, his labours lost, &c., how should it otherwise be? I may conclude with Gregory, temporalium amor, quantum afficit cum húret possessio, tantum quum subtrahitur, urit dolor; riches do not so much exhilarate us with their possession, as they torment us with their loss.
Fear] Next to sorrow still I may annex such accidents as procure fear; for besides those terrors which I have before touched, and many other fears (which are infinite) there is a superstitious fear, one of the three great causes of fear in Aristotle, commonly caused by prodigies and dismal accidents, which much trouble many of us. (Nescio quid animus mihi præsagit mali.) As if a hare cross the way at our going forth, or a mouse gnaw our clothes: if they bleed three drops at nose, the salt fall towards them, a black spot appear in their nails, &c., with many such, which Delrio, Tom. 2. l. 3. sect. 4, Austin Niphus in his book de Auguriis, Polydore Virg., l. 3. de Prodigiis, Sarisburiensis, Polycrat. l. 1. c. 13., discuss at large. They are so much affected, that with the very strength of imagination, fear, and the devil's craft, ""they pull those misfortunes they suspect upon own heads, and that which they fear shall come upon them," as Solomon foretelleth, Prov. x. 24. and Isaiah denounceth, lxvi. 4. which if "they could neglect and contemn, would not come to pass, Eorum vires nostra resident opinione, ut morbi gravitos ægrotantium cogitatione, they are intended and remitted, as our opinion is fixed, more or less. N. N. dat púnas, saith Crato of such a one, utinam non attraheret: he is punished, and is the cause of it himself: Dum fata fugimus, fates stulti incurrimus, the thing that I feared, saith Job, is fallen upon me.
As much we may say of them that are troubled with their fortunes; or ill destinies foreseen: multos angit præscientia malorum: The foreknowledge of what shall come to pass, crucifies many men: foretold by astrologers, or wizards, iratum ob cúlum, be it ill accident, or death itself: which often falls out by God's permission; quia dæmonem timent (saith Chrysostom) Deus ideo permittit accidere. Severus, Adrian, Domitian, can testify as much, of whose fear and suspicion, Sueton, Herodian, and the rest of those writers, tell strange stories in this behalf. Montanus, consil. 31. hath one example of a young man, exceeding melancholy upon this occasion. Such fears have still tormented mortal men in all ages, by reason of those lying oracles, and juggling priests. There was a fountain in Greece, near Ceres' temple in Achaia, where the event of such diseases was to be known; "A glass let down by a thread," &c. Amongst those Cyanean rocks at the springs of Lycia, was the oracle of Thrixeus Apollo, "where all fortunes were foretold, sickness, health, or what they would besides:" so common people have been always deluded with future events. At this day, Metus futurorum maxime torquet Sinas, this foolish fear mightily crucifies them in China: as Matthew Riccius the Jesuit informeth in his commentaries of those countries, of all nations they are most superstitious, and much tormented in this kind, attributing so much to their divinators, ut ipse metus fidem faciat, that fear itself and conceit cause it to k fall out: if he foretell sickness such a day, that very time they will be sick, vi metus afflicti in ægritudinem cadunt; and many times die as it is foretold. A true saying, Timor mortis, morte pejor, the fear of death is worse than death itself and the memory of that sad hour, to some fortunate and rich men, "is as bitter as gall," Ecclus. xli. 1. Inquietam nobis vitam facit mortis metus, a worse plague cannot happen to a man, than to be so troubled in his mind; 'tis triste divortium, a heavy separation, to leave their goods, with so much labour got, pleasures of the world,which they have so deliciously enjoyed, friends and companions whom they so dearly loved, all at once. Axicchus the philosopher was bold and courageous all his life, and gave good precepts de contemnenda morte, and against the vanity of the world, to others; but being now ready to die himself, he was mightily dejected, hac luce privabor? his orbabor bonis? ("Must I be deprived of this life,-- of those possessions?") he lamented like a child, &c. And though Socrates himself was there to comfort him, ubi pristina virtuum jactatio, O Axioche? "where is all your boasted virtue now, my friend?" yet he was very timorous and impatient of death, much troubled in his mind, imbellis pavor et impatientia,&c. "O Clotho," Megapetus the tyrant in Lucian exclaims, now ready to depart, "let me live a while longer. I will give thee a thousand talents of gold, and two boles besides, which I took from Cleocritus, worth a hundred talents apiece." "Woe's me," saith another, "what goodly manors shall I leave! what fertile fields! what a fine house! what pretty children! how many servants! Who shall gather my grapes, my corn? Must I now die so well settled? Leave all, so richly and well provided? Woe's me, what shall I do?" Animula vagula, blandula, quæ nunc abibis in loca?
To these tortures of fear and sorrow, may well be annexed curiosity, that irksome, that tyrannising care, nimia solicitudo, "superfluous industry about unprofitable things and their qualities," as Thomas defines it; an itching humour or a kind of longing to see that which is not to be seen, to do that which ought not to be done, to know that secret which should not be known, to eat of the forbidden fruit. We commonly molest and tire ourselves about things unfit and unnecessary, as Martha troubled herself to little purpose. Be it in religion, humanity, magic, philosophy, policy, any action or study, 'tis a needless trouble, a mere torment. For what else is school divinity, how many doth it puzzle? what fruitless questions about the Trinity, resurrection, election, predestination, reprobation, hell-fire, &c., how many shall be saved, damned? What else is all superstition, but an endless observation of idle ceremonies, traditions? What is most of our philosophy but a labyrinth of opinions, idle questions, propositions, metaphysical terms? Socrates, therefore, held all philosophers, cavillers, and mad men, circa subtila Cavillatores pro insanis habuit, palam eos arguens, saith Eusebius, because they commonly sought after such things, quæ nec percipi a nobis neque comprehendi possent, or put case they did understand, yet they were altogether unprofitable. For what matter is it for us to know how high the Pleiades are, how far distant Perseus and Cassiopea from us, how deep the sea. &c.? we are neither wiser, as he follows it, nor modester, nor better, nor richer, nor stronger for the knowledge of it. Quod supra nos nihil ad nos, I may say the same of those genethliacal studies, what is astrology but vain elections, predictions? all magic, but a troublesome error, a pernicious foppery? physic, but intricate rules and prescriptions? philology, but vain criticisms? logic, needless sophisms? metaphysics themselves,but intricate subtilties and fruitless abstractions? alchemy, but a bundle of errors? to what end are such great tomes? why do we spend so many years in their studies? Much better to know nothing at all, as those barbarous Indians are wholly ignorant, than as some of us, to be sore vexed about unprofitable toys: stultus labor est ineptiarum, to build a house without pins, make a rope of sand, to what end? cui bono? He studies on, but as the boy told St Austin, when I have laved the sea dry, thou shalt understand the mystery of the Trinity. He makes observations, keeps times and seasons; and as Conradus the emperor would not touch his new bride, till an astrologer had told him a masculine hour, but with what success? He travels into Europe, Africa, Asia, searcheth every creek, sea, city, mountain, gulf, to what end? See one promontory (said Socrates of old), one mountain, one sea, one river, and see all. An alchemist spends his fortunes to find out the philosopher's stone forsooth, cure all diseases, make men long-lived, victorious, fortunate, invisible, and beggars himself misled by those seducing impostors (which he shall never attain) to make gold; an antiquary consumes his treasure and time to scrape up a company of old coins, statues, rules, edicts, manuscripts, &c., he must know what was done of old in Athens, Rome, what lodging, diet, houses they had, and have all the present news at first, though never so remote, before all others, what projects, counsels, consultations, &c., quid Juno in aurem insusurret Jovi, what's now decreed in France, what in Italy: who was he, whence comes he, which way, whither goes he, &c., Aristotle must find out the motion of Euripus; Pliny must needs see Vesuvius, but how sped they? One loseth goods, another his life; Pyrrhus will conquer Africa first, and then Asia; he will be a sole monarch, a second immortal, a third rich, a fourth commands. Turbine magno spes solicitæ in urbibus errant; we run, ride, take indefatigable pains, all up early, down late, striving to get that which we had better be without (Ardelion's busy-bodies as we are), it were much fitter for us to be quiet, sit still, and take our ease. His sole study is for words, that they be -- Lepidæ lexeis compostæ ut tesserulæ omnes, not a syllable misplaced, to set out a stramineous subject; as thine is about apparel, to follow the fashion, to be terse and polite, 'tis thy sole business: both with like profit. His only delight is building, he spends himself to get curious pictures, intricate models and plots, another is wholly ceremonious about titles, degrees, inscriptions: a third is over-solicitous about his diet, he must have such and such exquisite sauces, meat so dressed, so far fetched, peregrini æris volucres, so cooked, &c., something to provoke thirst, something anon to quench his thirst. Thus he redeems his appetite with extraordinary charge to his purse, is seldom pleased with any meal, whilst a trivial stomach useth all with delight, and is never offended. Another must have roses in winter, alieni temperis flores, snow-water in summer, fruits before they can be or are usually ripe, artificial gardens and fish-ponds on the tops of houses, all things opposite to the vulgar sort, intricate and rare, or else they are nothing worth. So busy, nice, curious wits, make that insupportable in all vocations, trades, actions, employments, which to duller apprehensions is not offensive, earnestly seeking that which others so scornfully neglect. Thus through our foolsh curiosity do we macerate ourselves, tire our souls, and run headlong, through our indiscretion, perverse will, and want of government, into many needless cares and troubles, vain expenses, tedious journeys, painful hours; and when all is done, quorsum hæc? cui bono? to what end?
Nescire velli quæ magister Maximus
Docere non vult, eriduta inscita est."
(Jos. Scaliger in Gnomit. "To profess a disinclination for that knowledge which is beyond our reach, is pedantic ignorance.")
Unfortunate marriage] Amongst these passions and irksome accidents, unfortunate marriage maybe ranked: a condition of life appointed by God himself in Paradise, an honourable and happy estate, and as great a felicity as can befall a man in this world, if the parties can agree as they ought, and live as Seneca lived with his Paulina; but if they be unequally matched, or at discord, a greater misery cannot be expected, to have a scold, a slut, a harlot, a fool, a fury or a fiend, there can be no such plague. Eccles. xxvi. 14. "He that hath her is as if he held a scorpion," &c. xxvi. 25, "a wicked wife makes a sorry countenance, a heavy heart, and he had rather dwell with a lion than keep house with such a wife." Her properties Jovianus Pontanus hath described at large, Ant. dial. Tom. 2, under the name of Euphorbia. Or if they be not equal in years, the like mischief happens. Cecilius in Agellius lib. 2. cap. 23, complains much of an old wife, dum ejus morti inhio, egomet mortuus vivo inter vivos, whilst I gape after her death, I live a dead man amongst the living, or if they dislike upon any occasion,
"Judge who that are unfortunately wed
What 'tis to come into a loathed bed."
The same inconvenience befals women.
"At vos o dure miseram lugete parentes,
Si ferro aut laqueo læva hac me exolvere sorte
"Hard hearted parents both lament my fate,
If self I kill or hang, to ease my state."
A young gentlewoman in Basil was married, saith Felix Plater, observat. l. 1, to an ancient man against her will, whom she could not affect; she was continually melancholy, and pined away for grief; and though her husband did all he could possibly to give her content, in a discontented humour at length she hanged herself. Many other stories he relates in this kind. Thus men are plagued with women; they again with men, when they are of divers humours and conditions; he a spendthrift, she sparing; one honest, the other dishonest, &c. Parents many times disquiet their children, and they their parents. "A foolish son is an heaviness to his mother." Injusta noverca: a stepmother often vexeth a whole family, is matter of repentance, exercise of patience, fuel of dissension, which made Cato's son expostulate with his father, why he should offer to marry his client Solinius' daughter, a young wench, Cujus causa novercam induceret; what offence had he done, that he should marry again?
Unkind, unnatural friends, evil neighbours, bad servants, debts, and debates &c.] 'Twas Chion's sentence, comes æris alieni et litis est miseria, misery and usury do commonly together; suretyship is the bane of many families, Sponde, præsto noxa est: "he shall be sore vexed that is surety for a stranger," Prov. xi, 15, "and he that hateth suretyship is sure." Contention, brawling, lawsuits, falling out of neighbours and friends.--discardia demens (Virg. Æn. 6,) are equal to the first, grieve many a man, and vex his soul. Nihil sane miserabilius eorum mentibus (as Boter holds), "nothing so miserable as such men, full of cares, griefs, anxieties, as if they were stabbed with a sharp sword, fear, suspicion, desperation, sorrow, are their ordinary companions." Our Welshmen are noted by some of their own writers, to consume one another in this kind; but whosoever they are that use it, these are their common symptoms, especially if they be convict or overcome, cast in a suit. Arius put out of a bishopric by Eustathias, turned heretic, and lived after discontented all his life. Every repulse is of like nature; heu quanta de spe decidi! Disgrace, infamy, detraction, will almost affect as much, and that a long time after. Hipponax, a satirical poet, so vilified and lashed two painters in his iambics, ut ambo laqueo se suffocarent, Pliny saith, both hanged themselves. All oppositions, dangers, perplexities, discontents, to live in any suspense, are of the same rank: potes hoc sub casu ducere somnos? Who can be secure in such cases? Ill-bestowed benefits, ingratitude, unthankful friends, and much disquiet molest some. Unkind speeches trouble as many: uncivil carriage or dogged answers, weak women above the rest, if they proceed from their sirly husbands, are as bitter as gall, and not to be digested. A glassman's wife in Basil became melancholy because her husband said he would marry again if she died. "No cut to unkindness," as the saying is, a frown and hard speech, ill respect, a brow-beating, or bad look, especially to courtiers, or such as attend upon great persons, is present death: ingenium vulte statque caditque suo, they ebb and flow with their masters' favours. Some persons are at their wits' ends, if by chance they overshoot themselves, in their ordinary speeches, or actions, which may after turn to their disadvantage or disgrace, or have any secret disclosed. Ronseus, epist. miscel. 3, reports of a gentlewoman, 25 years old, that falling foul with one of her gossips, was upbraided with a secret infirmity (no matter what) in public, and so much grieved with it, that she did thereupon solitudines quærere, omnes ab se ablegare, ac tandem ingravissimam inindens melancholiam, contabescere, forsake all company, quite moped, and in a melancholy humour pine away. Others arc as much tortured to see themselves rejected, contemned, scorned, disabled, defamed, detracted, undervalued, or "left behind their fellows." Lucian brings in Ætamacles, a philosopher in his Lapith. convivio, much discontented that he was not invited amongst the rest, expostulating the matter, in a long epistle, with Aristenetus their host. Prietextatus, a robed gentleman in Plutarch, would not sit down at a feast, because he might not sit highest, but went his ways all in a chafe. We see the common quarrellings that are ordinary with us, for taking of the wall, precedency, and the like, which though toys in themselves, and things of no moment, yet they cause many distempers, much heart-burning amongst us. Nothing pierceth deeper than a contempt or disgrace, especially if they be generous spirits, scarce any thing affects then more than to be despised or vilified. Crato, consil. 16, l. 2, exemplifies it, and common experience confirms it. Of the same nature is oppression, Eccles. vii. 7, "surely oppression makes a man mad," loss of liberty, which made Brutus venture his life, Cato kill himself and Tully complain, Omnem hilaritem in perpetuum amisi, mine heart's broken, I shall never look up, or be merry again, hæc jactura intolerabilis, to some parties 'tis a most intolerable loss. Banishment a great misery, as Tyrteus describes it in an epigram of his,
"Nam miserum est patria amissa, laribusque vagari
Mendicum, et timida voce rogare cibos:
Omnibus invisus, quocunque accesserit exul
Semper erit, semper spretus egensque jacet," &c.
"A miserable thing 'tis so to wander,
And like a beggar for to whine at door,
Contemn'd of all the world, an exile is,
Hated, rejected, needy still and poor."
Polynices in his conference with Jocasta in Euripides, reckons up five miseries of a banished man, the least of which alone were enough to deject some pusillanimous creatures. Oftentimes a too great feeling of our own infirmities or imperfections of body or mind, will shrivel us up; as if we be long sick:
"O beata sanitas, te presentæ, amúnum
Ver floret gratiis, absque te nemo beatus:"
O blessed health! "thou art above all gold and treasure," Eccles. xxx. 15, the poor man's riches, the rich man's bliss, without thee there can be no hapiness: or visited with some loathsome disease, offensive to others, or troublesome to ourselves; as a stinking breath, deformity of our limbs, crookedness, loss of an eye, leg, hand, paleness, leanness, redness, baldness, loss or want of hair, &c., hic ubi fluere cúpit, diros ictus cordi infert, saith Synesius, he himself troubled not a little ob comæ defectum, the loss of hair alone, strikes a cruel stroke to the heart. Acco, an old woman, seeing by chance her face in a true glass (for she used false flattering glasses belike at other times, as most gentlewomen do), animi dolore in insaniam delapsa est (Cúlius Rhodiginus, l. 17, c. 2), ran mad. Brotheus, the son of Vulcan, because he was ridiculous for his imperfections, flung himself into the fire. Lais of Corinth, now grown old, gave up her glass to Venus, for she could not abide to look upon it. Qualis sum nolo, qualis cram nequeo. Generally to fair nice pieces, old age and foul linen are two most odious things, a torment of torments, they may not abide the thought of it,
"--- O deorum
Quisquis hæc audis, utinam intererrem
Antequam turpis macies decentes
Occupat malas, teneræque succus
Defluat prædaæ, speciosa quæro
"Hear me, some gracious heavenly power,
Let lions dire this naked corse devour.
My cheeks ere hollow wrinkles seize,
Ere yet their rosy bloom decays;
While youth yet rolls its vital flood,
Let tigers friendly riot in my blood."
To be foul, ugly, and deformed, much better be buried alive. Some are fair but barren, and that galls them. "Hannah wept sore, did not eat, and was troubled in spirit, and all for her barrenness," 1 Sam. i. and Gen. xxx. Rachel said "in the anguish of her soul, give me a child, or I shall die:" another hath too many: one was never married, and that's his hell, another is, and that's his plague. Some are troubled in that they are obscure; others by being traduced, slandered, abused, disgraced, vilified, or any way injured: minime miror eos (as he said) qui insanire occipiunt ex injuria. I marvel not at all if offences make men mad. Seventeen particular causs of anger and offence Aristotle reckons them up, which for brevity's sake I must omit. No tidings troubles one; ill reports, rumours, bad tidings or news, hard hap, ill success, cast in a suit, vain hopes, or hope deferred, another: expectation, adeo omnibus in rebus molesta semper est expectatio, as Polybius observes; one is too eminent, another too base born, and that alone tortures him as much as the rest: one is out of action, company, employment; another overcome and tormented with worldly cares, and onerous business. But what tongue can suffice to speak of all?
Many men catch this malady by eating certain meats, herbs, roots, at unawares; as henbane, nightshade, cicuta, mandrakes, &c. A company of young men at Agrigentam in Sicily, came into a tavern; where after they had freely taken their liquor, whether it were the wine itself; or something mixed with it 'tis not yet known, but upon a sudden they began to be so troubled in their brains, and their phantasy so crazed, that they thought they were in a ship at sea, and now ready to be cast away by reason of a tempest. Wherefore to avoid shipwreck and present drowning, they flung all the goods in the house out at the windows into the street, or into the sea, as they supposed; thus they continued mad a pretty season, and being brought before the magistrate to give an account of this their fact, they told him (not yet recovered of their madness) that what was done they did for fear of death, and to avoid imminent danger: the spectators were all amazed at this their stupidity, and gazed on them still, whilst one of the ancientest of the company, in a grave tone, excused himself to the magistrate upon his knees, O viri Tritones, ego in imo jacui, I beseech your deities, &c., for I was in the bottom of the ship all the while: another besought them as so many sea gods to be good unto them, and if ever he and his fellows came to land again, he would build an altar to their service. The magistrate could not sufficiently laugh at this their madness, bid them sleep it out, and so went his ways. Many such accidents frequently happen, upon these unknown occasions. Some are so caused by philters, wandering in the sun, biting of a mad dog, a blow on the head, stinging with that kind of spider called tarantula, an ordinary thing if we may believe Skenck., l. 6. de Venenis, in Calabria and Apulia in Italy, Cardan., subtil. l. 9. Scaliger, exercitat. 185. Their symptoms are merrily described by Jovianus Pontanus, Ant. dial. how they dance altogether, and are cured by music. Cardan speaks of certain stones, if they be carried about one, which will cause melancholy and madness; he calls them unhappy, as an adamant, selenites, &c., "which dry up the body, increase cares, diminish sleep:" Ctesias in Persicis, makes mention of a well in those parts, of which if any man drink, "he is mad for 24 hours?" Some lose their wits by terrible objects (as elsewhere I have more copiously dilated) and life itself many times, as Hippolitus affrighted by Neptune's sea-horses, Athemas by Juno's furies: but these relations are common in all writers.
"Hic alias poteram, et plures subnectere causas
Sed jumenta vocant, et Sol inclinat, Eundum est."
"Many such causes, much more could I say,
but that for provender my cattle stay:
The sun declines, and I must needs away."
These causes if they be considered, and come alone, I do easily yield, can do little of themselves, seldom, or apart (an old oak is not felled at a blow), though many times they are all sufficient every one: yet if they concur, as often they do, vis unita fortior; et quæ non obsunt singula, multa nocent, they may batter a strong constitution; as Austin said, "many grains and small sands sink a ship, many small drops make a flood," &c., often reiterated; many dispositions produce an habit.