Dramatis Personae

Many-Headed Multitude
[+/-] academic blogs
[+/-] other blogs we like

Our Ongoing Series

In Sad Conference
... live reports from the field
[+/-] RSA 2008
[+/-] SAA 2008
[+/-] MLA 2007
[+/-] SAA 2007
[+/-] RSA 2007
[+/-] MLA 2006
[+/-] SAA 2006
[+/-] RSA 2006

Read On This Book
... our occasional reading group
About the reading group
[+/-] Inkhorn reads the Anatomy [+/-] FS Boas, University Drama [+/-] D. Shuger, Political Theologies

The Motto Thus
... our silly woodcut caption contest
[+/-] Past Contests

More Foolery Yet
... which we write periodically
[+/-] Holzknecht Redivivus
[+/-] EEBOnics
[+/-] Notes and Queries

Monday, February 11, 2008

Addendum to the Penultimate Post

OK, so it turns out the thing I was speculating about there is just Epicurean therapy:
He found it by experience, and made good use of it in his own person, if Plutarch belie him not; for he reckons up the names of some more elegant pieces, Leontium, Boedina, Hedeia, Nicidium, that were frequently seen in Epicurus' garden, and very familiar in his house. Neither did he try it himself alone, but if we may give credit to Athenæus, he practised it upon others. For when a sad and sick patient was brought unto him to be cured, "he laid him on a down bed, crowned him with a garland of sweet-smelling flowers, in a fair perfumed closet delicately set out, and, after a potion or two of good drink which he administered, he brought in a beautiful young wench that could play upon a lute, sing, and dance," etc ... (Pt. 2, Sec. 2, Mem. 6, Subs. 4, p. 120)
Yes. "Etc." Now, keep in mind, Burton only advocates "honest and chaste sports," as cures for melancholy (122). But after a few "potions," who knows, right? He quotes a poem by John Harrington (the one who translated Ariosto), "an epigram to his wife": "when thou seest my heart to mirth incline, / Thy tongue, wit, blood, warm with good cheer and wine: / Then of sweet sports let no occasion scape, / But be as wanton, toying, as an ape" (122).

I have a few things to say about those apes, too, but we'll let that pass for the moment.

Of course, the potions themselves could be a problem:
they drown their wits, seethe their brains in ale, consume their fortunes, lose their time, weaken their temperatures, contract filthy diseases, rheums, dropsies, calentures, tremor, get swollen jugulars, pimpled red faces, sore eyes, etc., heat their livers, alter their complexions, spoil their stomachs, overthrow their bodies (125)
Man, I love his lists.

One of the odder melancholies I've come across in this book is this one, as part of a discussion of "corrupt phantasy" -- the cure for which is basically just to realize you're nuts, "settle thine imagination, thou art well":
Thou thinkest thou hast a great nose, thou art sick, every man observes thee, laughs thee to scorn; persuade thyself 'tis no such matter: this is fear only, and vain suspicion ... Rule thyself then with reason, satisfy thyself, accustom thyself, wean thyself from such fond conceits, vain fears, strong imaginations, restless thoughts. (Pt. 2, Sec. 2, Mem. 6, Subs. 1, p. 106)
Oh the horror, not a great nose. But no worries, a few pages later we get another cure, under the section on cures by "feigned lie, strange news, witty device, artificial invention" (Pt. 2, Sec. 2, Mem. 6, Subs. 3, p. 114):
Another supposed his nose so big that he should dash it against the wall if he stirred; his physician took a great piece of flesh, and holding it in his hand, pinched him by the nose, making him believe that flesh was cut from it. (115)
Now that's medicine.

 Scribble some marginalia

<< Main