The Anatomy of Melancholy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,057 pages of information about The Anatomy of Melancholy.

What I have formerly said of exercise, I may now repeat of sleep.  Nothing better than moderate sleep, nothing worse than it, if it be in extremes, or unseasonably used.  It is a received opinion, that a melancholy man cannot sleep overmuch; Somnus supra modum prodest, as an only antidote, and nothing offends them more, or causeth this malady sooner, than waking, yet in some cases sleep may do more harm than good, in that phlegmatic, swinish, cold, and sluggish melancholy which Melancthon speaks of, that thinks of waters, sighing most part, &c. [1566]It dulls the spirits, if overmuch, and senses; fills the head full of gross humours; causeth distillations, rheums, great store of excrements in the brain, and all the other parts, as [1567]Fuchsius speaks of them, that sleep like so many dormice.  Or if it be used in the daytime, upon a full stomach, the body ill-composed to rest, or after hard meats, it increaseth fearful dreams, incubus, night walking, crying out, and much unquietness; such sleep prepares the body, as [1568]one observes, “to many perilous diseases.”  But, as I have said, waking overmuch, is both a symptom, and an ordinary cause.  “It causeth dryness of the brain, frenzy, dotage, and makes the body dry, lean, hard, and ugly to behold,” as [1569]Lemnius hath it.  “The temperature of the brain is corrupted by it, the humours adust, the eyes made to sink into the head, choler increased, and the whole body inflamed:”  and, as may be added out of Galen, 3. de sanitate tuendo, Avicenna 3. 1. [1570]"It overthrows the natural heat, it causeth crudities, hurts, concoction,” and what not?  Not without good cause therefore Crato, consil. 21. lib. 2; Hildesheim, spicel. 2. de delir. et Mania, Jacchinus, Arculanus on Rhasis, Guianerius and Mercurialis, reckon up this overmuch waking as a principal cause.


SUBSECT.  I.—­Passions and Perturbations of the Mind, how they cause Melancholy.

As that gymnosophist in [1571]Plutarch made answer to Alexander (demanding which spake best), Every one of his fellows did speak better than the other:  so may I say of these causes; to him that shall require which is the greatest, every one is more grievous than other, and this of passion the greatest of all.  A most frequent and ordinary cause of melancholy, [1572] fulmen perturbationum (Picolomineus calls it) this thunder and lightning of perturbation, which causeth such violent and speedy alterations in this our microcosm, and many times subverts the good estate and temperature of it.  For as the body works upon the mind by his bad humours, troubling the spirits, sending gross fumes into the brain, and so per consequens disturbing the soul, and all the faculties of it,

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The Anatomy of Melancholy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.