Prognostics, or signs of things to come, are either good or bad. If this
malady be not hereditary, and taken at the beginning, there is good hope of
cure, _recens curationem non habet difficilem_, saith Avicenna, _l. 3, Fen.
1, Tract. 4, c. 18._ That which is with laughter, of all others is most
secure, gentle, and remiss, Hercules de Saxonia. "If that evacuation
of haemorrhoids, or _varices_, which they call the water between the skin,
shall happen to a melancholy man, his misery is ended," Hippocrates _Aphor.
6, 11._ Galen _l. 6, de morbis vulgar. com. 8_, confirms the same; and to
this aphorism of Hippocrates, all the Arabians, new and old Latins
subscribe; Montaltus _c. 25_, Hercules de Saxonia, Mercurialis, Vittorius
Faventinus, &c. Skenkius, _l. 1, observat. med. c. de Mania_, illustrates
this aphorism, with an example of one Daniel Federer
a coppersmith that was long melancholy, and in the end mad
about the 27th year of his age, these
_varices_ or water began to arise in his thighs, and he was freed from his
Marius the Roman was so cured, some, say, though with great pain.
Skenkius hath some other instances of women that have been helped by
flowing of their mouths, which before were stopped. That the opening of the
haemorrhoids will do as much for men, all physicians jointly signify, so
they be voluntary, some say, and not by compulsion. All melancholy are
better after a quartan; Jobertus saith, scarce any man hath that ague
twice; but whether it free him from this malady, 'tis a question; for many
physicians ascribe all long agues for especial causes, and a quartan ague
amongst the rest. Rhasis _cont. lib. 1, tract. 9._ "When melancholy
gets out at the superficies of the skin, or settles breaking out in scabs,
leprosy, morphew, or is purged by stools, or by the urine, or that the
spleen is enlarged, and those _varices_ appear, the disease is dissolved."
Guianerius, _cap. 5, tract. 15_, adds dropsy, jaundice, dysentery, leprosy,
as good signs, to these scabs, morphews, and breaking out, and proves it
out of the 6th of Hippocrates' Aphorisms.
Evil prognostics on the other part. _Inveterata melancholia incurabilis_,
if it be inveterate, it is incurable, a common axiom, _aut
difficulter curabilis_ as they say that make the best, hardly cured. This
Galen witnesseth, _l. 3, de loc. affect. cap. 6_, "be it in whom it
will, or from what cause soever, it is ever long, wayward, tedious, and
hard to be cured, if once it be habituated." As Lucian said of the gout,
she was "the queen of diseases, and inexorable," may we say of
melancholy. Yet Paracelsus will have all diseases whatsoever curable, and
laughs at them which think otherwise, as T. Erastus _par. 3_, objects to
him; although in another place, hereditary diseases he accounts incurable,
and by no art to be removed. Hildesheim _spicel. 2, de mel._ holds it
less dangerous if only "imagination be hurt, and not reason,"
"the gentlest is from blood. Worse from choler adust, but the worst
of all from melancholy putrefied." Bruel esteems hypochondriacal
least dangerous, and the other two species (opposite to Galen) hardest to
be cured. The cure is hard in man, but much more difficult in women.
And both men and women must take notice of that saying of Montanus _consil.
230, pro Abate Italo_, "This malady doth commonly accompany them
to their grave; physicians may ease, and it may lie hid for a time, but they
cannot quite cure it, but it will return again more violent and sharp than
at first, and that upon every small occasion or error:" as in Mercury's
weather-beaten statue, that was once all over gilt, the open parts were
clean, yet there was _in fimbriis aurum_, in the chinks a remnant of gold:
there will be some relics of melancholy left in the purest bodies (if once
tainted) not so easily to be rooted out.  Oftentimes it degenerates
into epilepsy, apoplexy, convulsions, and blindness: by the authority of
Hippocrates and Galen, all aver, if once it possess the ventricles of
the brain, Frambesarius, and Salust. Salvianus adds, if it get into the
optic nerves, blindness. Mercurialis, _consil. 20_, had a woman to his
patient, that from melancholy became epileptic and blind. If it come
from a cold cause, or so continue cold, or increase, epilepsy; convulsions
follow, and blindness, or else in the end they are moped, sottish, and in
all their actions, speeches, and gestures, ridiculous. If it come
from a hot cause, they are more furious, and boisterous, and in conclusion
mad. _Calescentem melancholiam saepius sequitur mania_. If it heat
and increase, that is the common event, _per circuitus, aut semper
insanit_, he is mad by fits, or altogether. For as Sennertus contends
out of Crato, there is _seminarius ignis_ in this humour, the very seeds of
fire. If it come from melancholy natural adust, and in excess, they are
often demoniacal, Montanus.
Seldom this malady procures death, except (which is the greatest,
most grievous calamity, and the misery of all miseries,) they make away
themselves, which is a frequent thing, and familiar amongst them. 'Tis
Hippocrates' observation, Galen's sentence, _Etsi mortem timent,
tamen plerumque sibi ipsis mortem consciscunt_, _l. 3. de locis affec. cap.
7._ The doom of all physicians. 'Tis Rabbi Moses' Aphorism, the
prognosticon of Avicenna, Rhasis, Aetius, Gordonius, Valescus, Altomarus,
Salust. Salvianus, Capivaccius, Mercatus, Hercules de Saxonia, Piso, Bruel,
Fuchsius, all, &c.
 "Et saepe usque adeo mortis formidine vitae
Percipit infelix odium lucisque videndae,
Ut sibi consciscat maerenti pectore lethum."
"And so far forth death's terror doth affright,
He makes away himself, and hates the light
To make an end of fear and grief of heart,
He voluntary dies to ease his smart."
In such sort doth the torture and extremity of his misery torment him, that
he can take no pleasure in his life, but is in a manner enforced to offer
violence unto himself, to be freed from his present insufferable pains. So
some (saith Fracastorius) "in fury, but most in despair, sorrow,
fear, and out of the anguish and vexation of their souls, offer violence to
themselves: for their life is unhappy and miserable. They can take no rest
in the night, nor sleep, or if they do slumber, fearful dreams astonish
them." In the daytime they are affrighted still by some terrible object,
and torn in pieces with suspicion, fear, sorrow, discontents, cares, shame,
anguish, &c. as so many wild horses, that they cannot be quiet an hour, a
minute of time, but even against their wills they are intent, and still
thinking of it, they cannot forget it, it grinds their souls day and night,
they are perpetually tormented, a burden to themselves, as Job was, they
can neither eat, drink or sleep. Psal. cvii. 18. "Their soul abhorreth all
meat, and they are brought to death's door, being bound in misery
and iron:" they curse their stars with Job, "and day of their
birth, and wish for death:" for as Pineda and most interpreters hold, Job
was even melancholy to despair, and almost madness itself; they
murmur many times against the world, friends, allies, all mankind, even
against God himself in the bitterness of their passion,
_vivere nolunt, mori nesciunt_, live they will not, die they cannot.
And in the midst of these squalid, ugly, and such irksome days, they seek at last,
finding no comfort, no remedy in this wretched life, to be eased of
all by death. _Omnia appetunt bonum_, all creatures seek the best, and for
their good as they hope, _sub specie_, in show at least, _vel quia mori
pulchrum putant_ (saith Hippocrates) _vel quia putant inde se
majoribus malis liberari_, to be freed as they wish. Though many times, as
Aesop's fishes, they leap from the frying-pan into the fire itself, yet
they hope to be eased by this means: and therefore (saith Felix
Platerus) "after many tedious days at last, either by drowning,
hanging, or some such fearful end," they precipitate or make away
themselves: "many lamentable examples are daily seen amongst us:" _alius
ante, fores se laqueo suspendit_ (as Seneca notes), _alius se praecipitavit
a tecto, ne dominum stomachantem audiret, alius ne reduceretur a fuga
ferrum redegit in viscera_, "one hangs himself before his own
door,--another throws himself from the house-top, to avoid his master's
anger,--a third, to escape expulsion, plunges a dagger into his heart,"--so
many causes there are--_His amor exitio est, furor his_--love, grief,
anger, madness, and shame, &c.
'Tis a common calamity, a fatal end to
this disease, they are condemned to a violent death, by a jury of
physicians, furiously disposed, carried headlong by their tyrannising
wills, enforced by miseries, and there remains no more to such persons, if
that heavenly Physician, by his assisting grace and mercy alone do not
prevent, (for no human persuasion or art can help) but to be their own
butchers, and execute themselves. Socrates his _cicuta_, Lucretia's dagger,
Timon's halter, are yet to be had; Cato's knife, and Nero's sword are left
behind them, as so many fatal engines, bequeathed to posterity, and will be
used to the world's end, by such distressed souls: so intolerable,
insufferable, grievous, and violent is their pain, so unspeakable and
continuate. One day of grief is an hundred years, as Cardan observes: 'Tis
_carnificina hominum, angor animi_, as well saith Areteus, a plague of the
soul, the cramp and convulsion of the soul, an epitome of hell; and if
there be a hell upon earth, it is to be found in a melancholy man's heart.
"For that deep torture may be call'd an hell,
When more is felt, than one hath power to tell."
Yea, that which scoffing Lucian said of the gout in jest, I may truly
affirm of melancholy in earnest.
 "O triste nomen! o diis odibile
Melancholia lacrymosa, Cocyti filia,
Tu Tartari specubus opacis edita
Erinnys, utero quam Megara suo tulit,
Et ab uberibus aluit, cuique parvidae
Amarulentum in os lac Alecto dedit,
Omnes abominabilem te daemones
Produxere in lucem, exitio mortalium. _Et paulo post_
Non Jupiter ferit tale telum fulminis,
Non ulla sic procella saevit aequoris,
Non impetuosi tanta vis est turbinis.
An asperos sustineo morsus Cerberi?
Num virus Echidnae membra mea depascitur?
Aut tunica sanie tincta Nessi sanguinis?
Illacrymabile et immedicabile malum hoc."
"O sad and odious name! a name so fell,
Is this of melancholy, brat of hell.
There born in hellish darkness doth it dwell,
The Furies brought it up, Megara's teat,
Alecto gave it bitter milk to eat.
And all conspir'd a bane to mortal men,
To bring this devil out of that black den.
Jupiter's thunderbolt, not storm at sea,
Nor whirlwind doth our hearts so much dismay.
What? am I bit by that fierce Cerberus?
Or stung by serpent so pestiferous?
Or put on shirt that's dipt in Nessus' blood?
My pain's past cure; physic can do no good."
No torture of body like unto it, _Siculi non invenere tyranni majus
tormentum_, no strappadoes, hot irons, Phalaris' bulls,
 "Nec ira deum tantum, nec tela, nec hostis,
Quantum sola noces animis illapsa."
"Jove's wrath, nor devils can
Do so much harm to th' soul of man."
All fears, griefs, suspicions, discontents, imbonites, insuavities are
swallowed up, and drowned in this Euripus, this Irish sea, this ocean of
misery, as so many small brooks; 'tis _coagulum omnium aerumnarum_: which
Ammianus applied to his distressed Palladins. I say of our melancholy
man, he is the cream of human adversity, the  quintessence, and
upshot; all other diseases whatsoever, are but flea-bitings to melancholy
in extent: 'Tis the pith of them all,  _Hospitium est calamitatis;
quid verbis opus est_?
"Quamcunque malam rem quaeris, illic reperies:"
"What need more words? 'tis calamities inn,
Where seek for any mischief, 'tis within;"
and a melancholy man is that true Prometheus, which is bound to Caucasus;
the true Titius, whose bowels are still by a vulture devoured (as poets
feign) for so doth Lilius Geraldus interpret it, of anxieties, and
those griping cares, and so ought it to be understood. In all other
maladies, we seek for help, if a leg or an arm ache, through any
distemperature or wound, or that we have an ordinary disease, above all
things whatsoever, we desire help and health, a present recovery, if by any
means possible it may be procured; we will freely part with all our other
fortunes, substance, endure any misery, drink bitter potions, swallow those
distasteful pills, suffer our joints to be seared, to be cut off, anything
for future health: so sweet, so dear, so precious above all other things in
this world is life: 'tis that we chiefly desire, long life and happy days,
_multos da Jupiter annos_, increase of years all men wish; but to a
melancholy man, nothing so tedious, nothing so odious; that which they so
carefully seek to preserve he abhors, he alone; so intolerable are
his pains; some make a question, _graviores morbi corporis an animi_,
whether the diseases of the body or mind be more grievous, but there is no
comparison, no doubt to be made of it, _multo enim saevior longeque est
atrocior animi, quam corporis cruciatus_ (Lem. _l. 1. c. 12._) the diseases
of the mind are far more grievous.--_Totum hic pro vulnere corpus_, body
and soul is misaffected here, but the soul especially. So Cardan testifies
_de rerum var. lib. 8. 40._ Maximus Tyrius a Platonist, and Plutarch,
have made just volumes to prove it. _Dies adimit aegritudinem
hominibus_, in other diseases there is some hope likely, but these unhappy
men are born to misery, past all hope of recovery, incurably sick, the
longer they live the worse they are, and death alone must ease them.