The Anatomy of Melancholy eBook

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


SUBSECT.  I.—­Symptoms, or Signs of Melancholy in the Body.

Parrhasius, a painter of Athens, amongst those Olynthian captives Philip of Macedon brought home to sell, [2452]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 [2453]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,” Capivaccius:  or from stars, according to Jovianus Pontanus, de reb. caelest. 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 Aetius 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 [2454]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 [2455]these first qualities arise many other second, as that of [2456]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 [2457]_de insania et melan._ reckons up these signs, that they are [2458] “lean, withered, hollow-eyed, look old, wrinkled, harsh, much troubled with wind, and a griping in their bellies, or bellyache, belch often, dry bellies and hard, dejected looks, flaggy beards, singing of the ears, vertigo, light-headed, little or no sleep, and that interrupt,

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The Anatomy of Melancholy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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