The Anatomy of Melancholy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,594 pages of information about The Anatomy of Melancholy.
ridiculous to others, but most happy and secure to themselves.  Dotage is a state which many much magnify and commend:  so is simplicity, and folly, as he said, [4075]_sic hic furor o superi, sit mihi perpetuus_.  Some think fools and dizzards live the merriest lives, as Ajax in Sophocles, Nihil scire vita jucundissima, “’tis the pleasantest life to know nothing;” iners malorum remedium ignorantia, “ignorance is a downright remedy of evils.”  These curious arts and laborious sciences, Galen’s, Tully’s, Aristotle’s, Justinian’s, do but trouble the world some think; we might live better with that illiterate Virginian simplicity, and gross ignorance; entire idiots do best, they are not macerated with cares, tormented with fears, and anxiety, as other wise men are:  for as [4076]he said, if folly were a pain, you should hear them howl, roar, and cry out in every house, as you go by in the street, but they are most free, jocund, and merry, and in some [4077]countries, as amongst the Turks, honoured for saints, and abundantly maintained out of the common stock. [4078]They are no dissemblers, liars, hypocrites, for fools and madmen tell commonly truth.  In a word, as they are distressed, so are they pitied, which some hold better than to be envied, better to be sad than merry, better to be foolish and quiet, quam sapere et ringi, to be wise and still vexed; better to be miserable than happy:  of two extremes it is the best.


SUBSECT.  I.—­Of Physic which cureth with Medicines.

After a long and tedious discourse of these six non-natural things and their several rectifications, all which are comprehended in diet, I am come now at last to Pharmaceutice, or that kind of physic which cureth by medicines, which apothecaries most part make, mingle, or sell in their shops.  Many cavil at this kind of physic, and hold it unnecessary, unprofitable to this or any other disease, because those countries which use it least, live longest, and are best in health, as [4079]Hector Boethius relates of the isles of Orcades, the people are still sound of body and mind, without any use of physic, they live commonly 120 years, and Ortelius in his itinerary of the inhabitants of the Forest of Arden, [4080] “they are very painful, long-lived, sound,” &c. [4081]Martianus Capella, speaking of the Indians of his time, saith, they were (much like our western Indians now) “bigger than ordinary men, bred coarsely, very long-lived, insomuch, that he that died at a hundred years of age, went before his time,” &c.  Damianus A-Goes, Saxo Grammaticus, Aubanus Bohemus, say the like of them that live in Norway, Lapland, Finmark, Biarmia, Corelia, all over Scandia, and those northern countries, they are most healthful, and very long-lived, in which places there is no use at all of physic, the name of it is not once heard.  Dithmarus Bleskenius in his accurate description of Iceland, 1607, makes

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The Anatomy of Melancholy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.