Symptoms, or Signs of Melancholy in the Body.

Symptoms, or Signs of Melancholy in the Body.

PARRHASIUS, a painter of Athens, amongst those Olynthian captives Philip of Macedon brought home to sell, bought one very old man; and when he had him at Athens, put him to extreme torture and torment, the better by his example to express the pains and passions of his Prometheus, whom he was then about to paint. I need not be so barbarous, inhuman, curious, or cruel, for this purpose to torture any poor melancholy man, their symptoms are plain, obvious and familiar, there needs no such accurate observation or far-fetched object, they delineate themselves, they voluntarily betray themselves, they are too frequent in all places, I meet them still as I go, they cannot conceal it, their grievances are too well known, I need not seek far to describe them.

Symptoms therefore are either universal or particular, saith Gordonius, lib. med. cap. 19, part. 2, to persons, to species: "some signs are secret, some manifest, some in the body, some in the mind, and diversely vary, according to the inward or outward causes," Cappivaccius: or from stars, according to Jovianus Pontanus, de reb. cúlest. lib. 10. cap. 13, and celestial influences, or from the humours diversely mixed, Ficinus, lib. 1, cap. 4, de sanit. tuenda: as they are hot, cold, natural, unnatural, intended or remitted, so will Ætius have melancholica deliria multiformia, diversity of melancholy signs. Laurentius ascribes them to their several temperatures, delights, natures, inclinations, continuance of time, as they are simple or mixed with other diseases, as the causes are divers, so must the signs be almost infinite, Altomarus, cap. 7. art. med. And as wine produceth divers effects, or that herb Tortocolla in Laurentius, "which makes some laugh, some weep, some sleep, some dance, some sing, some howl, some drink," &c., so doth this our melancholy humour work several signs in several parties.

But to confine them, these general symptoms may be reduced to those of the body or the mind. Those usual signs appearing in the bodies of such as are melancholy, be these cold and dry, or they are hot and dry, as the humour is more or less adust. From these first qualities arise many other second, as that of colour black, swarthy, pale, ruddy, &c., some are impense rubri, as Montaltus, cap. 16, observes out of Galen, lib. 3, de locis affectis, very red and high coloured. Hippocrates in his book de insania et melan. reckons up these signs, that they are "lean, withered, hollow-eyed, look old, wrinkled, harsh, much troubled with wind, and a griping in their bellies, or belly-ache, belch often, dry bellies and hard, dejected looks, flaggy beards, singing of the ears, vertigo, light-headed, little or no sleep, and that interrupt, terrible and fearful dreams," Anna soror, quæ me suspensam insomnia terrent? The same symptoms are repeated by Melanelius in his book of melancholy collected out of Galen, Buffus, Ætius, by Rhasis, Gordonius, and all the juniors, "continual, sharp, and stinking belchings, as if their meat in their stomachs were putrefied, or that they had eaten fish, dry bellies, absurd and interrupt dreams, and many phantastical visions about their eyes, vertiginous, apt to tremble, and prone to venery." Some add palpitation of the heart, cold sweat, as usual symptoms, and a leaping in many parts of the body, saltum in multis corporis partibus, a kind of itching, saith Laurentius, on the superficies of the skin, like a flea-biting sometimes. Montaltus, cap. 21. puts fixed eyes and much twinkling of their eyes for a sign, and so doth Avicenna, oculos habentes palpitantes, tremuli, vehementer rubicundi, &c., lib. 3. Fen. 1. Tract. 4. cap. 18. They stut most part, which he took out of Hippocrates' aphorisms. Rhasis makes "head-ache and a binding heaviness for a principal token, much leaping of wind about the skin, as well as stutting, or tripping in speech, &c., hollow eyes, gross veins, and broad lips." To some too, if they be far gone, mimical gestures are too familiar, laughing, grinning, fleering, murmuring, talking to themselves, with strange mouths and faces, articulate voices, exclamations, &c. And although they be commonly lean, hirsute, uncheerful in countenance, withered, and not so pleasant to behold, by reason of those continual fears, griefs, and vexations, dull, heavy, lazy, restless, unapt to go about any business; yet their memories are most part good, they have happy wits, and excellent apprehensions. Their hot and dry brains make them they cannot sleep, Ingentes habent et erebras vigilias (Areteus), mighty and oft-watchings, sometimes waking for a month, a year together. Hercules de Saxonia faithfully averreth, that he hath heard his mother swear, she slept not for seven months together: Trincavellius, Tom. 2. cons. 16. speaks of one that waked 50 days, and Skenckius hath examples of two years, and all without offence. In natural actions their appetite is greater than their concoction, multa appetunt, pauca digerunt, as Rhasis hath it, they covet to eat, but cannot digest. And although they "do eat much, yet they are lean, ill-liking," saith Areteus, "withered and hard, much troubled with costiveness," crudities, oppilations, spitting, belching, &c. Their pulse is rare and slow, except it be of the Carotides, which is very strong; but that varies according to their intended passions or perturbations, as Struthius hath proved at large. Spigmaticæ artis, l. 4. c. 13. To say truth, in such chronic diseases the pulse is not much to be respected, there being so much superstition in it, as Crato notes, and so many differences in Galen, that he dares say they may not be observed, or understood of any man.

Their urine is most part pale, and low coloured, urina pauca, acris, biliosa, (Areteus), not much in quantity; but this, in my judgment, is all out as uncertain as the other, varying so often according to several persons, habits, and other occasions not to be respected in chronic diseases. "Their melancholy excrements in some very much, in others little, as the spleen plays his part," and thence proceeds wind, palpitation of the heart, short breath, plenty of humidity in the stomach, heaviness of heart and heartache, and intolerable stupidity and dulness of spirits. Their excrements or stool hard, black to some and little. If the heart, brain, liver, spleen, be misaffected, as usually they are, many inconveniences proceed from them, many diseases accompany, as incubus, apoplexy, epilepsy, vertigo, those frequent wakings and terrible dreams, intempestive laughing, weeping, sighing, sobbing, bashfulness, blushing, trembling, sweating, swooning, &c. All their senses are troubled, they think they see, hear, smell, and touch that which they do not, as shall be proved in the following discourse.

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