صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

« O triste nomen! o diis odibile
* Melancholia lacrymosa, Cocyti filia,
Tu Tartari specubus opacis edita
Erinnys, utero quam Mægera suo tulit,
Et ab uberibus aluit, cuique parvulæ
Amarulentum in os lac Alecto dedit,
Omnes abominabilem te dæmones
Produxere in lucem, exitio mortalium.
Non Jupiter ferit tale telum fulininis,
Non ulla sic procella sævit æquoris,
Non impetuosi tanta vis est turbinis.
An asperos sustineo morsus Cerberi ?
Num virus Echidnæ membra mea depascitor!
Aut tunica sanie tincta Nessi sanguinis?
Illacrymabile & 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 dwel,
The Furies brought it up, Megera's teat,
Alecto gave it bitter milk to eat.
And all conspir'd a bane to mortall men,

To bring this devil out of that black den.
Et paulo Jupiter's thunderbolt, not storm at sea,
post. Nor whirl-winde doth our hearts so much dismay.

What? am I bit by that fierce Cerberusi
Or stung by t serpent so pestiferous?
Or put on shirt that's dipt in Nessus bloud ?

My pain's past cure; Physic can do no good. No torture of body like unto it, Siculi non invenere tyranni majus tormentum, no strappado's, hot irons, Phalaris' bulls,

"Nec ira deûm 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, imbonities, insuavities are swallowed up, and drowned in this Euripus, this Irish sea, this Ocean of misery, as so many sınal brooks; tis coagulum omnium ærumnarum : which Ammianus applied to his distressed Palladius. I say of our Melancholy man, he is the cream of humane adversity, the i quintessence, and upshot; all other diseases whatsoever, are but fea-bitings to melancholy

* Regina morborum cui famulantur omnes & obediunt. Cardan. +Elieu quis intus Scorpio, &c. Seneca Act. 1. Herc. O Et. Silius Italicus. > Lib. 29. Hic omnis imbonitas & insuavitas consistit, ut Tertulliani verbis utar, orat. ad. martyr.

in extent: Tis the pith of them all, f Hosptiiwn est calamitatis; quid verbis opus est?

"Quamcunq; 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 Tirius, whose bowels are still by a vulture devoured (as Poets fain) for so doth k 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 iim ake, through any disteinperature or wound, or that we have an ordinary disease, above all things whatsoever, we desire help and healtn, a present recovery, if by any means possi' le it may be procured: we will freely part with all our other fortunes,substance,endure any misery, drink bitter potions,!;wallow those distastful pils, suffer our joynts to be seared, to be cut off, any thing 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 j some make a question, graviores tnsrbi corporis an anijni, whether the diseases of the body or mind be more grievous, but there is no comparison, no doubt to be made of it, viultd enim savior longeq; est atrocior animi, quam corporis cruciatus (Levi. I. 1. c. 12.) the diseases of the mind are far more grievous.—Totum hie pro vulnere corpus, body and soul is misaffected here, but the soul especially. So Cardan testifies de rerum var. lib. 8. 40. m Maximus Tyrius a Plato* nist and Plutarch have made just volumes to prove it. 'Dies adimit cegritudinem 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 longqr they live the worse they are, and death alone must ease them.

Another doubt is made by some Philosophers, whether it be lawful for a man in such extremity of pain and grief, to make away himself: and how these men that so do, are to be censured. The Platonists approve of it, that it is lawful in such cases, and upon a necessity; Plotinus /. de beatitud. c. 7. and Socrates himself defends it, in Plato's Phaedon, "if any

+ Plaiams, kVit. Hcrculis. * Persius. 1 Quid rst miscrius in vila,' quam velle mori? Senera. "Tom. S. Libello, an £rarior";& pa«siones, &c. » Tcr.

. man

man labor of an incurable disease, he may dispatch himself, if it be to his good.” Epicurus and luis followers, the Cynicks and Stoicks in general affirm it, Epictetus and · Seneca amongst the rest, quamcung; veram esse viam ad libertatem, any way is allowable, that leads to liberty, “ * let us give God thanks, that no man is compelled to live against his will:" + quid ad hominem claustra, carcer, custodia ? liberum ostium habet, death is always ready and at hand. Vides illum præcipiten locum, illud flumen, Dost thou see that steep place, that river, that pit, that tree, there's liberty at hand, effugia servitutis & doloris sunt, as that Laconian lad cast himself headlong (non serviam aiebat puler) to be freed of his misery : Every vein in thy body, if these be nimis operosi exitus, wil set thee free, quid tua refert finem facias an accipias ? there's no necessity for a man to live in misery. Malum est necessitati vivere, sed in necessitate vivere, necessitas nulla est. lgpavus. qui sine causa moritur, & stultus qui cum dolore vivit. Idem epi. 58. Wherefore hath our Mother the earth brought out poysons, saith | Pliny, in so great a quantity, but that men in distress inight make away themselves? which Kings of old had ever in a readiness, àd incerta fortune venenum sub custode promptum, Livy writes, and Executioners always at hand. Speusippes being sick was met by Diogenes, and carried on his slaves shoulders, he made his moan to the Philosopher; but I pitty thee not quoth Diogenes, qui cum talis vivere sustines, thou maist be freed when thou wilt, meaning by death.

Seneca therefore comiends Cato, Dido, and Lucretia, for their generous courage in so doi:g, and others that voluntarily die, to avoid a greater mischief, to free themselves from inisery, to save their honor, or vindicate their good name, as Cleopatra did, as Sophonisba, Syphax wife did, Hannibal did, as Junius Brutus, as Vibius Virius, and those Campanian Senators in Livy (Dec. 3. lib. 6.) to escape the Roman tyranny, that poysoned themselves. Themistocles drank Bulls bloud, rather then he would fight against his Countrey, and Demosthenes chose rather to drink poyson," Publius Crassi filius, Censorius and Plancus, those heroicall Romans to make away theinselves, then to fall into their enemies hands. How many myriads besides in all ages might I remember, qui sibi lethum Insontes peperere manu, &c. PRhasis in the Macchabees is inagnified for it, Sampson's death approved. So did Saul and Jonas sin,

• Patet exitus; si pugnare non vultis, licet fugere; quis vos tenct invi. tos? De provid. cap. 8. * Agamus Deo gratias, quod nemo invitus in vita tcneri potest.

Epist. 26. Seneca & de sacra. 2. cap. 15. & Epist. 770. & 12. Lib. 2. cap. 83, Terra m.uer nos si miserta. Epist. 21. 71. 32. P Mac. 14. 42.


and many worthy men and women, quorum memoria celebratur in Ecclesia, saith * Leminchus, for killing, themselves to «ave their Chastity and honour, when Rome was taken, as Austin instances, /. 1. de Civit. Dei, cap. 16. Jeroin.vindicateth the same in Ionam K Ambrose, I. 3. de rirginitate commendeth Pelagia for so doing. Eusebius, lib. 8. cap., 15. admires a Romane Matron for the same fact to save her self from the lust of Maxentius the Tyrant.' Adelhelrnus, Abbot of Malmesbury cals them Beatas virgines qvue sie, &c. Titus I'omponius Atticus, that wise, discreet, renowned Romane Senator, Tully's deal' friend, when he had been long sick, as he supposed of an incurable disease, vitamque produceret ad augendos dolores, sine spc salutis, was resolved voluntarily by famine to dispateh himself to be rid of his pain; and when as Agrippa, and the rest of his weeping friends earnestly besought him, osculantes obsecrarent ne id quod natura cogeret, ipse acceleraret, not to offer violence to himself, " with a setled resolution he desired again they would approve of his good intent, and not seek to dehort him from it:" And so constantly died, precesqtie eorum taciturnd sua obstinatione depressit. Even so did Corellius Rufus another grave Senator, by the relation of Plinius Secundus, epist. lib. 1. epist. 12. famish himself to death; pedibus corrcptes cum incredibiles cruciatus S( indignissima tormenta pateretur, a cibis omnino abstinuit; neither he nor Hispilla his wife could divert him, but deslinatus mori obstinate viagis, &c. die he would, and die he did. So did Lycurgus, Aristotle, Zeno, Chrysippus, Empedocles, with myriads, &c. In wars for a man to run rashly upon imminent danger, and present death, is accounted valor and magnanimity, f to be the cause of his own, and many a thousand's ruin besides, to commit wilful murthcr in a manner, of himself and others, is a glorious thing, and he shall be crowned for it. The * Massegata; in former times, J Barbiccians, and I know not what nations besides, did stifle their old men, after 70. years, to free them from those grievances incident to that age. So did the inhabitants of the Island of Choa, because their air was pure and good, and the people generally long lived, ante* vertebant fatum suum, priusquam manci forent, aut imbei cillitas accederet, papaverc vel cicuta, with Poppy or Hemlock they prevented death. Sir Thomas Moore in his Utopia commends voluntary death, if he be sibi aut aliis mclestus, troublesome to himself or others, (" r especially if to live be a

* Vindicatio Apoc. lib. f As amongst Turks anil others. iBohemtr* de moribus gent. % ./rilian. lib. 4. cap. 1. omnes 70. annum egressus interficiunt. 'Lib. 2. Prxsertim quum tormentum ci vita sit,bona spe frctus, acerba vita velut u careers se eximat, vel ab aliis eximi sua voluntate patiatur.


torment to him) let him free himself with his own hands from this tedious life, as from a prison, or suffer himself to be freed by others.” And 'tis the same tenent which Laertius relates of Zeno, of old, Justè sapiens sibi mortem consciscit, si in acerbis doloribus versetur, membrorum mutilatione aut more bis ægre curandis, and which Plato 9. de legibus approves, if old age, poverty, ignominy, &c. oppress, and which Fabius expresseth in effect (Præfat. 7. Institut.) Nemo nisi suá culpa diu dolet. It is an ordinary thing in China (saith Mat. Riccius the Jesuit)" if they be in despair of better fortunes, or tyred and tortured with misery, to bereave themselves of life, and many times, to spite their enemies the more, to hang at their door.” Tacitus the historian, Plutarch the Philosopher, much approve a voluntary departure, and Aust, de civ. Dei. 1. 1. c. 29. defends a violent death, so that it be undertaken in a good cause, nemo sic mortuus, qui non fuerat aliquando moriturus; quid autem interest, quo mortis genere vila ista finiatur, quandò ille cui finitur, iterum mori non cogitur ? &c. no man so voluntarily dies, but volens nolens, he must die at last, and our life is subject to innuinerable casualties, who knows when they inay happen, utrum satius est unani perpeti moriendo, an omines timere vivendo, rather suffer one, than fear all. “Death is better than a bitter life,” Eccl. 30. 17. * And a harder choise to live in fear, than by once dying, to be freed from all. Theombrotus Ambraciotes perswaded I know not how many hundreds of his auditors, by a luculent oration he made of the iniseries of this, and happiness of that other life, to precipitare theinselves. And having read Plato's divine tract de anima, for example's sake led the way first. That neat Epigram of Calimachus will tell you as much, 103,75V

" Jamque vale Soli cum diceret Ambrociotes,

In Stygios fertur desiluisse lacus,
Morte nihil dignum passus: sed forte Platonis tren1

Divini eximum de nece legit opus.” S Calenus and his Indians, hated of old to die a natural death: the Circumcellians and Donatists, loathing life, compelled others to make them aivay, with mnany such:. z but these are

· Nam quis ainphoram exsiccans fæcem exorberet (Seneca epist. 58.) quis in poenas et risum viveret? stulti est manere in vità cum sit miser. ; Expedit. ad Sinas). 1. c. 9. Vel bonorum desperatione, vel nialorum perpessione fracti ct facitat, vcl manus violentas sibi inferunt vel ut inimicis suis ægre faciant, &c. "So did Anthony, Galba, Vitellius, Otho, Aristotle himself, &c.'Ajax in despair.; Cleopa'ra 'o save her honour. Incrtius deligitur diu vivere quain in timore" tot morborum semci moriendo, nullum deinceps formidarc. Curtius I 16.

· Laquens præcisus, cont. 1.1.5. quidam naufragio facto,

Lagu amissis tribus liberis, et uxore, suspendit sc; præcidit illi quidam ex prætereunribus laqueum; Alibcrato reus ir malcficii. Seneca:


« السابقةمتابعة »