The Anatomy of Melancholy eBook

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

Against fearful and troublesome dreams, Incubus and such inconveniences, wherewith melancholy men are molested, the best remedy is to eat a light supper, and of such meats as are easy of digestion, no hare, venison, beef, &c., not to lie on his back, not to meditate or think in the daytime of any terrible objects, or especially talk of them before he goes to bed.  For, as he said in Lucian after such conference, Hecates somniare mihi videor, I can think of nothing but hobgoblins:  and as Tully notes, [3394] “for the most part our speeches in the daytime cause our fantasy to work upon the like in our sleep,” which Ennius writes of Homer:  Et canis in somnis leporis vestigia latrat:  as a dog dreams of a hare, so do men on such subjects they thought on last.

[3395] “Somnia quae mentes ludunt volitantibus umbris,
        Nec delubra deum, nec ab aethere numina mittunt,
        Sed sibi quisque facit,” &c.

For that cause when Ptolemy, king of Egypt, had posed the seventy interpreters in order, and asked the nineteenth man what would make one sleep quietly in the night, he told him, [3396]"the best way was to have divine and celestial meditations, and to use honest actions in the daytime. [3397]Lod.  Vives wonders how schoolmen could sleep quietly, and were not terrified in the night, or walk in the dark, they had such monstrous questions, and thought of such terrible matters all day long.”  They had need, amongst the rest, to sacrifice to god Morpheus, whom [3398] Philostratus paints in a white and black coat, with a horn and ivory box full of dreams, of the same colours, to signify good and bad.  If you will know how to interpret them, read Artemidorus, Sambucus and Cardan; but how to help them, [3399]I must refer you to a more convenient place.


SUBSECT.  I.—­Perturbations of the mind rectified.  From himself, by resisting to the utmost, confessing his grief to a friend, &c.

Whosoever he is that shall hope to cure this malady in himself or any other, must first rectify these passions and perturbations of the mind:  the chiefest cure consists in them.  A quiet mind is that voluptas, or summum bonum of Epicurus, non dolere, curis vacare, animo tranquillo esse, not to grieve, but to want cares, and have a quiet soul, is the only pleasure of the world, as Seneca truly recites his opinion, not that of eating and drinking, which injurious Aristotle maliciously puts upon him, and for which he is still mistaken, male audit et vapulat, slandered without a cause, and lashed by all posterity. [3400]"Fear and sorrow, therefore, are especially to be avoided, and the mind to be mitigated with mirth, constancy, good hope; vain terror, bad objects are to be removed, and all such persons in whose companies they be not well pleased.”  Gualter Bruel.  Fernelius, consil. 43. Mercurialis, consil.

Project Gutenberg
The Anatomy of Melancholy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.