Anatomy of Melancholy, 271-279 — Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. III, Subsect. 10—Discontents, Cares, Miseries, etc. Causes

Today we have even more discontent and misery. That’s twenty pages of ire so far, and I’m too afraid to look ahead and see how much more there is to go. And to think, I thought the meats section was bad.

This interminable section may be particularly splenetic, but it’s overstuffed with wisdom nonetheless:

“The common etymology will evince it, Cura quasi cor uro [cura (care) = cor uro (I burn my heart)]; Dementes curae, insomnes curae, damnosae curae, tristes, mordaces, carnifices, &c. biting, eating, gnawing, cruel, bitter, sick, sad, unquiet, pale, tetric, miserable, intolerable cares, as the poets call them, worldly cares, and are as many in number as the sea sands.”

I have to admit, I am a real heart-burner. In other news, this is my new favorite quote so far: “We bangle away our best days.” Yup, done some of that too. In fact, that is a pretty good description of what I am doing right now.

One thing I do truly miss about being an actively enrolled PhD student is free OED access, because I would love to look up “bangle” to see how it shifted in meaning from frivolously wasting time to a particular type of jangly bracelet. Of course I wouldn’t be surprised if Burton’s usage in this instance is a one-off, an idiosyncratic use of the perfectly wrong word. He does it almost constantly. I’ll be a lachrymogenic chickadee, but I wish I could pull that off. See? I can’t. I’ll just get back to my bangling now.

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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