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CHAPTER THE FOURTH.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF MELANCHOLY.
CHE CONSEQUENCES which the disease of
melancholy produces, are the symptoms and prognostics, or, in other terms, the effects which follow from the causes already described. Parrhafius, the celebrated Grecian painter, purchased, among those Olynthian captives which Philip of Macedon brought home to sell, a strong, athletic, but extreme old man, and put him to the most violent agonies that the severest tortures could infict, in order, by the writhings and contortions of his body, the better to express the pains and passions of the PROMETHEUs which he was then about to paint: but the effects and consequences of a melancholy habit are so strongly delineated upon both the body and the mind, that no such ingenious, but inhuman, cruelty is necessary to describe the symptoms of this torturing disease. The herb tortocolla is said to produce the different effects of laughing, crying, fleeping, dancing, singing, howling, and drinking, on different constitutions, and in like manner the various causes which produce melancho
ly, work in different habits innumerable and opposite symptoms; but various and complicated as they are, they may be aptly described in such as affect THE BODY, and such as affect THE MIND.
The consequences of this disease, upon the body, are leanness, a withered skin, hollow eyes, a wrinkled forehead, a dejected visage, harsh features, cholicy complaints, eructations, singing in the ears, twinkling of the eyes, vertigo in the head, a palpitation of the heart, a faultering speech, laughing, grinning, feering, murmuring, blushing, trembling, foliloquy, sobbing, swooning, a depraved and indifferent appetite, bad digestion, a slow and timid pulse, except it be of the carotides, which is very strong; varying, as Struthius clearly proves, according to the strength and violence of the disease; but the principal consequences is an eternal restlessness, watching, and indisposition to sleep. Trincavelius mentions an instance of a melancholy man, who never closed his eyes for fifty days : The mother of Hercules de Saxonia, who laboured for many years under this disease, declared most solemnly, that, during the period of seven months, the was a total ftranger to the blessings of repose : and Skenkius produces instances of patients who have never slept for two years; and yet received no visible injury from so long a privation of rest.
Tird Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!
The consequences of this disease on the mind, are fear, forrow, suspicion, jealousy, inconstancy, petulancy, bashfulness, a love of solitude, and a hatred of life.
Fear is almost the first, and certainly the most general, consequence of a melancholy disa position ; but the apprehensions it excites are always without any real cause, or apparent foundation. Like an unstaunched hound, the mind runs away with a wrong scent, without perceiving itself to be at fault; as in those cases where the patients conceive the canopy of heaven is fall. ing upon their heads; that their bodies are frames of glass about to receive a fracture; that the earth is about to sink under their feet; that they are kings, cardinals, persons appointed to save the world, and many other of the like nature, more or less extravagant, in proportion to the strength and description of the disease.
SORROW, a causeless forrow, is another in. separable companion of melancholy. The un
happy sufferers, pensive, weeping, and dejected, look as if they had newly come from the Trophonian cave; or as if the vulture which is said to have preyed incessantly on the vitals of Titius, was continually gnawing at their hearts. Terrible dreams disturb their short repose; and no sooner are their eyes open, than the heaviest sighs efcape from their lips. Smiles, indeed, and fits of laughter, will sometimes intervene; but they only fink from their short-lived mirth into deeper sadness and despondency.
SUSPICION and JEALOUSY are among the mental aberrations of this disease. A melancholy person always conceives himself neglected, and applies every whisper or jest which he happens to hear to his own disadvantage; misconstrues every word that is uttered ; puts the worst interpretation on all that is said; and conceives all around him are forming plans to circumvent and cover him with disgrace. Montanus mentions the case of a melancholy Jew, who was so waspish and suspicious, that no man, however cautious, could continue inoffensively in his company: and these unhappy conceits generally strike deep root into their disordered minds.
INCONSTANCY is another characteristic consequence of this disease: alternately easy and restless, resolute and wavering, obstinate and yielding, prodigal and covetous, constant and fickle, pleased and displeased, animated and de. jected,
“ From their coarse mixture of terrestrial parts,
A PASSIONATE DISPOSITION is also a frequent consequence of melancholy, quicquid volunt valad volunt; whatever melancholy persons desire, they expect immediately to obtain ; and the least de. lay or disappointment renders them auftere, surly, dulland mad. To this observation, however, there are many exceptions; for melancholy frequently engenders the finest conceits, gives a deep reach and excellent apprehension to the mind, and renders it judicious, wise, and witty ; but the thoughts it engenders are, in general, antic and phantastical, Velut ægri fomnia, vanæ finguntur Species, like a fick man's dreams.
Bashfulness is another consequence of a melancholy disposition, which is the reason why persons thus afflicted seldom visit any, except