For commonly they that, like Sisyphus, roll this restless stone of ambition, are in a perpetual agony, still perplexed, semper taciti, tritesque recedunt [they fall back continually, silent and sorrowful] (Lucretius), doubtful, timorous, suspicious, loath to offend in word or deed, still cogging and colloguing, embracing, capping, cringing, applauding, flattering, fleering, visiting, waiting at men’s doors, with all affability, counterfeit honesty and humility.
But being that we are so peevish and perverse, insolent and proud, so factious and seditious, so malicious and envious; we do invicem angariare, maul and vex one another, torture, disquiet, and precipitate ourselves into that gulf of woes and cares, aggravate our misery and melancholy, heap upon us hell and eternal damnation.
“‘Other sins last but for a while; the gut may be satisfied, anger remits, hatred hath an end, envy never ceaseth.'” (Cardan, lib. 2 de sap.)
Today we are reading about/dwelling on shame: “as forcible a batterer as any of the rest.” Once again, suspiciously apropos to the world out there.
This drawing is just a little too much, isn’t it? Well, you know what else is too much? Just absolutely everything right now. So how fitting that today’s section is on fear!
Hey look, I’m back at work on the read-along! I picked up where I left off: reading the parts of The Anatomy of Melancholy that have not been read in approximately four hundred years. It has been a rough reentry. Today, I read about fruits and vegetables, also known as vegetals. All classical, Medieval, and […]
Seriously, I am never going to finish this project if The Anatomy of Melancholy keeps making me have so many ideas. Given that I have exactly eight and a half hours of free time per week to work on this, I would say we are looking at approximately ten years until completion if I keep […]
Containing Parts, by reason of their more solid substance, are either homogeneal or heterogeneal, similar or dissimilar… Similar, or homogeneal, are such as, if they be divided, are still severed into parts of the same nature, as water into water. Of these some be spermatical, some fleshy or carnal. Spermatical are such as are […]
Melancholy, cold and dry, thick, black, sour, begotten of the more feculent part of nourishment, and purged from the spleen, is a bridle to the other two hot humours, blood and choler, preserving them in the blood, and nourishing the bones. These four humours have some analogy with the four elements, and to the four ages of man.
Pituita, or phlegm, is a cold and moist humour, begotten of the colder part of the chylus (or white juice coming out of meat digested in the stomach), in the liver; his office is to nourish and moisten the members of the body which, as the tongue, are moved, that they be not over-dry. So […]
Yup, I am still stuck on page 147. There is a lot going on on page 147, really. I have terrible handwriting. I probably should not write on my drawings. Fixed it! Blood is a hot, sweet, temperate, red humour, prepared in the mesaraic veins, and made of the most temperate parts of the […]
This little section is about sinking into a transient melancholy due to, say, a fleabite versus the “continuate disease” of melancholy. Burton does not have much patience for “errant,” or transient, melancholy, and he would prefer people stop calling “oops I stubbed my toe and it sucks” melancholy at all: Melancholy in this sense is the character […]
What a disease is, almost every physician defines. Fernelius calleth it an “affection of the body contrary to nature.” Fuschius and Crato, “an hindrance, hurt, or alteration of any action of the body, or part of it.” Tholosanus, “a dissolution of that league which is between body and soul, and a perturbation of it; as […]
Unfortunately, the pernicious fishes aren’t the real problem: To descend to more particulars, how many creatures are at deadly feud with men? Lions, wolves, bears, etc. Some with hoofs, horns, tusks, teeth, nails: How many noxious serpents and venomous creatures, ready to offend us with stings, breath, sight, or quite kill us? How many pernicious […]
Ha! I thought I was finally going to begin the First Partition, but oh no no no no no, there is yet another piece of introductory material. In this short, third (fourth?) introduction, there is a poem. It is in Latin, so here is my editor’s translation: Weep, Heraclitus; here is food for tears In […]
At last we come to the end of “Democritus Junior to the Reader.” After over one hundred pages of introduction, what parting thoughts does Burton have for us before embarking on the real book? I have overshot myself, I have spoken foolishly, rashly, unadvisedly, absurdly, I have anatomized mine own folly. And now methinks upon a […]
So 118 pages into this diatribe against humanity, Burton unsurprisingly sums up his argument as follows: “They are all mad.” If you are “reading” along but have fallen 116-118 pages behind, all you really missed is: “They are all mad.” Or more specifically, somewhat, they are all “E fungis nati homines,” which roughly translated means men […]
Nevisanus hath as hard an opinion of rich men, “wealth and wisdom cannot dwell together.” […] Sapientia non invenitur in terra suaviter viventium [wisdom is not found in the land of those who live at ease]. For beside a natural contempt of learning, which accompanies such kind of men, innate idleness (for they will take no pains), […]
I will have no monopolies, to enrich one man and beggar a multitude. (106) This post is part of a long, tedious, and illustrated read-along of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy – more info here and follow along on Facebook here.
“For I see no reason” (as [Aristotle] said) “why an epicure or idle drone, a rich glutton, a usurer, should live at ease, and do nothing, live in honour, in all manner of pleasures, and oppress others, when as in the meantime a poor labourer, a smith, a carpenter, an husbandman that hath spent his time […]
Let them be rude, stupid, ignorant, incult, lapis super lapidem sedeat, and as the apologist will, resp. tussi, et graveolentia laboret, mundus vitio, let them be barbarous as they are, let them tyrannise, epicurise, oppress, luxuriate, consume themselves with factions, superstitions, lawsuits, wars and contentions, live in riot, poverty, want, misery; rebel, wallow as so […]
This section was really pretty dull, to be honest. It was four pages of stuff like this: Some, saith Acosta, would have a passage cut from Panama to Nombre de Dios in America; but Thuanus and Serres the French historians speak of a famous aqueduct in France, intended in Henry the Fourth’s time, from the […]
When a giant angry turnip was elected president of the United States in the apocalyptic year that was 2016, I started to feel a little down. Naturally my response was to buy an unabridged copy of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. My get-out-of-bed-without-crying-plan is to read a little piece of this gargantuan lump of knowledge daily, and I will illustrate it as I go.