The Anatomy of Melancholy eBook

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of Joan of Spain, of which I treated in my former section.  Her jealousy, saith Gomesius, was the cause of both their deaths:  King Philip died for grief a little after, as [6166]Martian his physician gave it out, “and she for her part after a melancholy discontented life, misspent in lurking-holes and corners, made an end of her miseries.”  Felix Plater, in the first book of his observations, hath many such instances, of a physician of his acquaintance, [6167]"that was first mad through jealousy, and afterwards desperate:”  of a merchant [6168]"that killed his wife in the same humour, and after precipitated himself:”  of a doctor of law that cut off his man’s nose:  of a painter’s wife in Basil, anno 1600, that was mother of nine children and had been twenty-seven years married, yet afterwards jealous, and so impatient that she became desperate, and would neither eat nor drink in her own house, for fear her husband should poison her.  ’Tis a common sign this; for when once the humours are stirred, and the imagination misaffected, it will vary itself in divers forms; and many such absurd symptoms will accompany, even madness itself.  Skenkius observat. lib. 4. cap. de Uter. hath an example of a jealous woman that by this means had many fits of the mother:  and in his first book of some that through jealousy ran mad:  of a baker that gelded himself to try his wife’s honesty, &c.  Such examples are too common.


SUBSECT I.—­Cure of Jealousy; by avoiding occasions, not to be idle:  of good counsel; to contemn it, not to watch or lock them up:  to dissemble it, &c.

As of all other melancholy, some doubt whether this malady may be cured or no, they think ’tis like the [6169]gout, or Switzers, whom we commonly call Walloons, those hired soldiers, if once they take possession of a castle, they can never be got out.

       “Qui timet ut sua sit, ne quis sibi subtrahat illam,
        Ille Machaonia vix ope salvus est.”

[6170] “This is the cruel wound against whose smart,
        No liquor’s force prevails, or any plaister,
        No skill of stars, no depth of magic art,
        Devised by that great clerk Zoroaster,
        A wound that so infects the soul and heart,
        As all our sense and reason it doth master;
        A wound whose pang and torment is so durable,
        As it may rightly called be incurable.”

Yet what I have formerly said of other melancholy, I will say again, it may be cured or mitigated at least by some contrary passion, good counsel and persuasion, if it be withstood in the beginning, maturely resisted, and as those ancients hold, [6171]"the nails of it be pared before they grow too long.”  No better means to resist or repel it than by avoiding idleness, to be still seriously busied about some matters of importance, to drive out those vain fears, foolish fantasies and irksome suspicions out of his

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The Anatomy of Melancholy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.