Anatomy of Melancholy, 167-169 – Pt. I, Sec. 1, Memb. II, Subs. 9 – Of the will

A of M 167-9

Those natural and vegetal powers are not commanded by will at all; for “who can add one cubit to his stature?” These other may, but are not: and thence come all those headstrong passions, violent perturbations of the mind; and many times vicious habits, customs, feral diseases; because we give so much way to our appetite, and follow our inclination, like so many beasts. The principal habits are two in number, virtue and vice, whose peculiar definitions, descriptions, differences, and kinds, are handled at large in the ethics, and are, indeed, the subject of moral philosophy.

TDLR: We cannot resist, our concupiscence is originally bad.

“Concupiscence” is a smart-sounding word for being in the state of wanting to boink very badly, or – more figuratively – being a state of wanting something bad for you as badly as badly wanting to boink. So there, see? You learned something. Or maybe you didn’t. If you are reading this, you are probably just the sort of weirdo who already knew what concupiscence meant. Regardless, aren’t you glad that you are reading The Anatomy of Melancholy instead of boinking and eating piles of donuts?

Initially I did not like this drawing, but then I kept working on it (willpower) instead of eating donuts (concupiscence), and now I kind of like it. So that’s a little bit of good news in the increasingly bleak historical moment in which we find ourselves. 🙂


This post is part of a long, tedious, and very illustrated read-along of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. More info here and follow along on Facebook here. Illustrations posted via devon_isadevon on Instagram.

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