The Anatomy of Melancholy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,057 pages of information about The Anatomy of Melancholy.
[1021] “Trahit invitum nova vis, aliudque cupido,
Mens aliud suadet,”------

Lust counsels one thing, reason another, there is a new reluctancy in men. [1022]_Odi, nec possum, cupiens non esse, quod odi_.  We cannot resist, but as Phaedra confessed to her nurse, [1023]_quae loqueris, vera sunt, sed furor suggerit sequi pejora_:  she said well and true, she did acknowledge it, but headstrong passion and fury made her to do that which was opposite.  So David knew the filthiness of his fact, what a loathsome, foul, crying sin adultery was, yet notwithstanding he would commit murder, and take away another man’s wife, enforced against reason, religion, to follow his appetite.

Those natural and vegetal powers are not commanded by will at all; for “who can add one cubit to his stature?” These other may, but are not:  and thence come all those headstrong passions, violent perturbations of the mind; and many times vicious habits, customs, feral diseases; because we give so much way to our appetite, and follow our inclination, like so many beasts.  The principal habits are two in number, virtue and vice, whose peculiar definitions, descriptions, differences, and kinds, are handled at large in the ethics, and are, indeed, the subject of moral philosophy.


SUBSECT.  I.—­Definition of Melancholy, Name, Difference.

Having thus briefly anatomised the body and soul of man, as a preparative to the rest; I may now freely proceed to treat of my intended object, to most men’s capacity; and after many ambages, perspicuously define what this melancholy is, show his name and differences.  The name is imposed from the matter, and disease denominated from the material cause:  as Bruel observes, [Greek:  Melancholia] quasi [Greek:  Melainacholae], from black choler.  And whether it be a cause or an effect, a disease or symptom, let Donatus Altomarus and Salvianus decide; I will not contend about it.  It hath several descriptions, notations, and definitions. [1024]Fracastorius, in his second book of intellect, calls those melancholy, “whom abundance of that same depraved humour of black choler hath so misaffected, that they become mad thence, and dote in most things, or in all, belonging to election, will, or other manifest operations of the understanding.” [1025] Melanelius out of Galen, Ruffus, Aetius, describe it to be “a bad and peevish disease, which makes men degenerate into beasts:”  Galen, “a privation or infection of the middle cell of the head,” &c. defining it from the part affected, which [1026]Hercules de Saxonia approves, lib. 1. cap. 16. calling it “a depravation of the principal function:”  Fuschius, lib. 1. cap. 23. Arnoldus Breviar. lib. 1. cap. 18. Guianerius, and others:  “By reason of black choler,” Paulus adds.  Halyabbas simply calls it a “commotion of the mind.”  Aretaeus, [1027]"a perpetual anguish of the soul, fastened on one thing, without an ague;”

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The Anatomy of Melancholy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.