The Anatomy of Melancholy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,057 pages of information about The Anatomy of Melancholy.
and those immaterial, as I have said.  Sometimes they cannot well discern this disease from others.  In Reinerus Solenander’s counsels, (Sect, consil. 5,) he and Dr. Brande both agreed, that the patient’s disease was hypochondriacal melancholy.  Dr. Matholdus said it was asthma, and nothing else. [1091]Solenander and Guarionius, lately sent for to the melancholy Duke of Cleve, with others, could not define what species it was, or agree amongst themselves.  The species are so confounded, as in Caesar Claudinus his forty-fourth consultation for a Polonian Count, in his judgment [1092]"he laboured of head melancholy, and that which proceeds from the whole temperature both at once.”  I could give instance of some that have had all three kinds semel et simul, and some successively.  So that I conclude of our melancholy species, as [1093]many politicians do of their pure forms of commonwealths, monarchies, aristocracies, democracies, are most famous in contemplation, but in practice they are temperate and usually mixed, (so [1094]Polybius informeth us) as the Lacedaemonian, the Roman of old, German now, and many others.  What physicians say of distinct species in their books it much matters not, since that in their patients’ bodies they are commonly mixed.  In such obscurity, therefore, variety and confused mixture of symptoms, causes, how difficult a thing is it to treat of several kinds apart; to make any certainty or distinction among so many casualties, distractions, when seldom two men shall be like effected per omnia?  ’Tis hard, I confess, yet nevertheless I will adventure through the midst of these perplexities, and, led by the clue or thread of the best writers, extricate myself out of a labyrinth of doubts and errors, and so proceed to the causes.


SUBSECT.  I.—­Causes of Melancholy.  God a cause.

“It is in vain to speak of cures, or think of remedies, until such time as we have considered of the causes,” so [1095]Galen prescribes Glauco:  and the common experience of others confirms that those cures must be imperfect, lame, and to no purpose, wherein the causes have not first been searched, as [1096]Prosper Calenius well observes in his tract de atra bile to Cardinal Caesius.  Insomuch that [1097]"Fernelius puts a kind of necessity in the knowledge of the causes, and without which it is impossible to cure or prevent any manner of disease.”  Empirics may ease, and sometimes help, but not thoroughly root out; sublata causa tollitur effectus as the saying is, if the cause be removed, the effect is likewise vanquished.  It is a most difficult thing (I confess) to be able to discern these causes whence they are, and in such [1098]variety to say what the beginning was. [1099]He is happy that can perform it aright.  I will adventure to guess as near as I can, and rip them all up, from the first to the last, general and particular, to every species, that so they may the better be described.

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The Anatomy of Melancholy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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