Anatomy of Melancholy, by Robert Burton

Memb. ii.

Symptoms of Jealousy, Fear, Sorrow, Suspicion, strange Actions, Gestures, Outrages, Locking up, Oaths, Trials, Laws, &c.

Of all passions, as I have already proved, love is most violent, and of those bitter potions which this love-melancholy affords, this bastard jealousy is the greatest, as appears by those prodigious symptoms which it hath, and that it produceth. For besides fear and sorrow, which is common to all melancholy, anxiety of mind, suspicion, aggravation, restless thoughts, paleness, meagreness, neglect of business, and the like, these men are farther yet misaffected, and in a higher strain. 'Tis a more vehement passion, a more furious perturbation, a bitter pain, a fire, a pernicious curiosity, a gall corrupting the honey of our life, madness, vertigo, plague, hell, they are more than ordinarily disquieted, they lose bonum pacis, as 6125Chrysostom observes; and though they be rich, keep sumptuous tables, be nobly allied, yet miserrimi omnium sunt, they are most miserable, they are more than ordinarily discontent, more sad, nihil tristius, more than ordinarily suspicious. Jealousy, saith 6126Vives, “begets unquietness in the mind, night and day: he hunts after every word he hears, every whisper, and amplifies it to himself” (as all melancholy men do in other matters) “with a most unjust calumny of others, he misinterprets everything is said or done, most apt to mistake or misconstrue,” he pries into every corner, follows close, observes to a hair. 'Tis proper to jealousy so to do,

Pale hag, infernal fury, pleasure's smart,

Envy's observer, prying in every part.

Besides those strange gestures of staring, frowning, grinning, rolling of eyes, menacing, ghastly looks, broken pace, interrupt, precipitate, half-turns. He will sometimes sigh, weep, sob for anger. Nempe suos imbres etiam ista tonitrua fundunt,6127 — swear and belie, slander any man, curse, threaten, brawl, scold, fight; and sometimes again flatter and speak fair, ask forgiveness, kiss and coll, condemn his rashness and folly, vow, protest, and swear he will never do so again; and then eftsoons, impatient as he is, rave, roar, and lay about him like a madman, thump her sides, drag her about perchance, drive her out of doors, send her home, he will be divorced forthwith, she is a whore, &c., and by-and-by with all submission compliment, entreat her fair, and bring her in again, he loves her dearly, she is his sweet, most kind and loving wife, he will not change, nor leave her for a kingdom; so he continues off and on, as the toy takes him, the object moves him, but most part brawling, fretting, unquiet he is, accusing and suspecting not strangers only, but brothers and sisters, father and mother, nearest and dearest friends. He thinks with those Italians,

Chi non tocca parentado,
Tocca mai e rado.

And through fear conceives unto himself things almost incredible and impossible to be effected. As a heron when she fishes, still prying on all sides; or as a cat doth a mouse, his eye is never off hers; he gloats on him, on her, accurately observing on whom she looks, who looks at her, what she saith, doth, at dinner, at supper, sitting, walking, at home, abroad, he is the same, still inquiring, maundering, gazing, listening, affrighted with every small object; why did she smile, why did she pity him, commend him? why did she drink twice to such a man? why did she offer to kiss, to dance? &c., a whore, a whore, an arrant whore. All this he confesseth in the poet,

6128Omnia me terrent, timidus sum, ignosce timori.

Et miser in tunica suspicor esse virum.

Me laedit si multa tibi dabit oscula mater,

Me soror, et cum qua dormit amica simul.

Each thing affrights me, I do fear,

Ah pardon me my fear,

I doubt a man is hid within

The clothes that thou dost wear.

Is it not a man in woman's apparel? is not somebody in that great chest, or behind the door, or hangings, or in some of those barrels? may not a man steal in at the window with a ladder of ropes, or come down the chimney, have a false key, or get in when he is asleep? If a mouse do but stir, or the wind blow, a casement clatter, that's the villain, there he is: by his goodwill no man shall see her, salute her, speak with her, she shall not go forth of his sight, so much as to do her needs. 6129Non ita bovem argus, &c. Argus did not so keep his cow, that watchful dragon the golden fleece, or Cerberus the coming in of hell, as he keeps his wife. If a dear friend or near kinsman come as guest to his house, to visit him, he will never let him be out of his own sight and company, lest, peradventure, &c. If the necessity of his business be such that he must go from home, he doth either lock her up, or commit her with a deal of injunctions and protestations to some trusty friends, him and her he sets and bribes to oversee: one servant is set in his absence to watch another, and all to observe his wife, and yet all this will not serve, though his business be very urgent, he will when he is halfway come back in all post haste, rise from supper, or at midnight, and be gone, and sometimes leave his business undone, and as a stranger court his own wife in some disguised habit. Though there be no danger at all, no cause of suspicion, she live in such a place, where Messalina herself could not be dishonest if she would, yet he suspects her as much as if she were in a bawdy-house, some prince's court, or in a common inn, where all comers might have free access. He calls her on a sudden all to nought, she is a strumpet, a light housewife, a bitch, an arrant whore. No persuasion, no protestation can divert this passion, nothing can ease him, secure or give him satisfaction. It is most strange to report what outrageous acts by men and women have been committed in this kind, by women especially, that will run after their husbands into all places and companies, 6130as Jovianus Pontanus's wife did by him, follow him whithersoever he went, it matters not, or upon what business, raving like Juno in the tragedy, miscalling, cursing, swearing, and mistrusting every one she sees. Gomesius in his third book of the Life and Deeds of Francis Ximenius, sometime archbishop of Toledo, hath a strange story of that incredible jealousy of Joan queen of Spain, wife to King Philip, mother of Ferdinand and Charles the Fifth, emperors; when her husband Philip, either for that he was tired with his wife's jealousy, or had some great business, went into the Low Countries: she was so impatient and melancholy upon his departure, that she would scarce eat her meat, or converse with any man; and though she were with child, the season of the year very bad, the wind against her, in all haste she would to sea after him. Neither Isabella her queen mother, the archbishop, or any other friend could persuade her to the contrary, but she would after him. When she was now come into the Low Countries, and kindly entertained by her husband, she could not contain herself, 6131“but in a rage ran upon a yellow-haired wench,” with whom she suspected her husband to be naught, “cut off her hair, did beat her black and blue, and so dragged her about.” It is an ordinary thing for women in such cases to scratch the faces, slit the noses of such as they suspect; as Henry the Second's importune Juno did by Rosamond at Woodstock; for she complains in a 6132modern poet, she scarce spake,

But flies with eager fury to my face,

Offering me most unwomanly disgrace.

Look how a tigress, &c.

So fell she on me in outrageous wise,

As could disdain and jealousy devise.

Or if it be so they dare not or cannot execute any such tyrannical injustice, they will miscall, rail and revile, bear them deadly hate and malice, as 6133Tacitus observes, “The hatred of a jealous woman is inseparable against such as she suspects.”

6134Nulla vis flammae tumidique venti

Tanta, nec teli metuanda torti.

Quanta cum conjux viduata taedis

Ardet et odit.

Winds, weapons, flames make not such hurly burly,

As raving women turn all topsy-turvy.

So did Agrippina by Lollia, and Calphurnia in the days of Claudius. But women are sufficiently curbed in such cases, the rage of men is more eminent, and frequently put in practice. See but with what rigour those jealous husbands tyrannise over their poor wives. In Greece, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Africa, Asia, and generally over all those hot countries, 6135 Mulieres vestrae terra vestra, arate sicut vultis. Mahomet in his Alcoran gives this power to men, your wives are as your land, till them, use them, entreat them fair or foul, as you will yourselves. 6136Mecastor lege dura vivunt mulieres, they lock them still in their houses, which are so many prisons to them. will suffer nobody to come at them, or their wives to be seen abroad — nec campos liceat lustrare patentes. They must not so much as look out. And if they be great persons, they have eunuchs to keep them, as the Grand Signior among the Turks, the Sophies of Persia, those Tartarian Mogors, and Kings of China. Infantes masculos castrant innumeros ut regi serviant, saith 6137Riccius, “they geld innumerable infants” to this purpose; the King of 6138China “maintains 10,000 eunuchs in his family to keep his wives.” The Xeriffes of Barbary keep their courtesans in such a strict manner, that if any man come but in sight of them he dies for it; and if they chance to see a man, and do not instantly cry out, though from their windows, they must be put to death. The Turks have I know not how many black, deformed eunuchs (for the white serve for other ministeries) to this purpose sent commonly from Egypt, deprived in their childhood of all their privities, and brought up in the seraglio at Constantinople to keep their wives; which are so penned up they may not confer with any living man, or converse with younger women, have a cucumber or carrot sent into them for their diet, but sliced, for fear, &c. and so live and are left alone to their unchaste thoughts all the days of their lives. The vulgar sort of women, if at any time they come abroad, which is very seldom, to visit one another, or to go to their baths, are so covered, that no man can see them, as the matrons were in old Rome, lectica aut sella tecta, vectae, so 6139Dion and Seneca record, Velatae totae incedunt, which 6140Alexander ab Alexandro relates of the Parthians, lib. 5. cap. 24. which, with Andreas Tiraquellus his commentator, I rather think should be understood of Persians. I have not yet said all, they do not only lock them up, sed et pudendis seras adhibent: hear what Bembus relates lib. 6. of his Venetian history, of those inhabitants that dwell about Quilon in Africa. Lusitani, inquit, quorundum civitates adierunt: qui natis statim faeminis naturam consuunt, quoad urinae exitus ne impediatur, easque quum adoleverint sic consutas in matrimonium collocant, ut sponsi prima cura sit conglutinatas puellae oras ferro interscindere. In some parts of Greece at this day, like those old Jews, they will not believe their wives are honest, nisi pannum menstruatum prima nocte videant: our countryman 6141Sands, in his peregrination, saith it is severely observed in Zanzynthus, or Zante; and Leo Afer in his time at Fez, in Africa, non credunt virginem esse nisi videant sanguineam mappam; si non, ad parentes pudore rejicitur. Those sheets are publicly shown by their parents, and kept as a sign of incorrupt virginity. The Jews of old examined their maids ex tenui membrana, called Hymen, which Laurentius in his anatomy, Columbus lib. 12. cap. 10. Capivaccius lib. 4. cap. 11. de uteri affectibus, Vincent, Alsarus Genuensis quaesit. med. cent. 4. Hieronymus Mercurialis consult. Ambros. Pareus, Julius Caesar Claudinus Respons. 4. as that also de 6142ruptura venarum ut sauguis fluat, copiously confute; 'tis no sufficient trial they contend. And yet others again defend it, Gaspar Bartholinus Institut. Anat. lib. 1. cap. 31. Pinaeus of Paris, Albertus Magnus de secret. mulier. cap. 9 & 10. &c. and think they speak too much in favour of women. 6143 Ludovicus Boncialus lib. 4. cap. 2. muliebr. naturalem illam uteri labiorum constrictionem, in qua virginitatem consistere volunt, astringentibus medicinis fieri posse vendicat, et si defloratae sint, astutae 6144mulieres (inquit) nos fallunt in his. Idem Alsarius Crucius Genuensis iisdem fere verbis. Idem Avicenna lib. 3. Fen. 20. Tract. 1, cap. 47. 6145Rhasis Continent. lib. 24. Rodericus a Castro de nat. mul. lib. 1. cap. 3. An old bawdy nurse in 6146Aristaenetus, (like that Spanish Caelestina, 6147quae, quinque mille virgines fecit mulieres, totidemque mulieres arte sua virgines) when a fair maid of her acquaintance wept and made her moan to her, how she had been deflowered, and now ready to be married, was afraid it would be perceived, comfortably replied, Noli vereri filia, &c. “Fear not, daughter, I'll teach thee a trick to help it.” Sed haec extra callem. To what end are all those astrological questions, an sit virgo, an sit casta, an sit mulier? and such strange absurd trials in Albertus Magnus, Bap. Porta, Mag. lib. 2. cap. 21. in Wecker. lib. 5. de secret, by stones, perfumes, to make them piss, and confess I know not what in their sleep; some jealous brain was the first founder of them. And to what passion may we ascribe those severe laws against jealousy, Num. v. 14, Adulterers Deut. cap. 22. v. xxii. as amongst the Hebrews, amongst the Egyptians (read 6148Bohemus l. 1. c. 5. de mor. gen. of the Carthaginians, cap. 6. of Turks, lib. 2. cap. 11.) amongst the Athenians of old, Italians at this day, wherein they are to be severely punished, cut in pieces, burned, vivi-comburio, buried alive, with several expurgations, &c. are they not as so many symptoms of incredible jealousy? we may say the same of those vestal virgins that fetched water in a sieve, as Tatia did in Rome, anno ab. urb. condita 800. before the senators; and 6149Aemilia, virgo innocens, that ran over hot irons, as Emma, Edward the Confessor's mother did, the king himself being a spectator, with the like. We read in Nicephorus, that Chunegunda the wife of Henricus Bavarus emperor, suspected of adultery, insimulata adulterii per ignitos vomeres illaesa transiit, trod upon red hot coulters, and had no harm: such another story we find in Regino lib. 2. In Aventinus and Sigonius of Charles the Third and his wife Richarda, an. 887, that was so purged with hot irons. Pausanias saith, that he was once an eyewitness of such a miracle at Diana's temple, a maid without any harm at all walked upon burning coals. Pius Secund. in his description of Europe, c. 46. relates as much, that it was commonly practised at Diana's temple, for women to go barefoot over hot coals, to try their honesties: Plinius, Solinus, and many writers, make mention of 6150Geronia's temple, and Dionysius Halicarnassus, lib. 3. of Memnon's statue, which were used to this purpose. Tatius lib. 6. of Pan his cave, (much like old St. Wilfrid's needle in Yorkshire) wherein they did use to try, maids, 6151whether they were honest; when Leucippe went in, suavissimus exaudiri sonus caepit Austin de civ. Dei lib. 10. c. 16. relates many such examples, all which Lavater de spectr. part. 1. cap. 19 contends to be done by the illusion of devils; though Thomas quaest. 6. de polentia, &c. ascribes it to good angels. Some, saith 6152Austin, compel their wives to swear they be honest, as if perjury were a lesser sin than adultery; 6153some consult oracles, as Phaerus that blind king of Egypt. Others reward, as those old Romans used to do; if a woman were contented with one man, Corona pudicitiae donabatur, she had a crown of chastity bestowed on her. When all this will not serve, saith Alexander Gaguinus, cap. 5. descript. Muscoviae, the Muscovites, if they suspect their wives, will beat them till they confess, and if that will not avail, like those wild Irish, be divorced at their pleasures, or else knock them on the heads, as the old 6154Gauls have done in former ages. Of this tyranny of jealousy read more in Parthenius Erot. cap. 10. Camerarius cap. 53. hor. subcis. et cent. 2. cap. 34. Caelia's epistles, Tho. Chaloner de repub. Aug. lib. 9. Ariosto lib. 31. stasse 1. Felix Platerus observat. lib. 1. &c.

6125. Hom. 38. in c. 17. Gen. Etsi magnis affluunt divitiis, &c.

6126. 3 de Anima. Omnes voces, auras, omnes susurros captat zelotypus, et amplificat apud se cum iniquissima de singulis calumnia. Maxime suspiciosi, et ad pejora credendum proclives.

6127. “These thunders pour down their peculiar showers.”

6128. Propertius.

6129. Aeneas Silv.

6130. Ant. Dial.

6131. Rabie concepta, caesariem abrasit, puellaeque mirabiliter insultans faciem vibicibus foedavit.

6132. Daniel.

6133. Annal. lib. 12. Principis mulieris zelotypae est in alias mulieres quas suspectas habet, odium inseparabile.

6134. Seneca in Medea.

6135. Alcoran cap. Bovis, interprete Ricardo praed. c. 8. Confutationis.

6136. Plautus.

6137. Expedit. in Sinas. l. 3. c. 9.

6138. Decem eunuchorum millia numerantur in regia familia, qui servant uxores ejus.

6139. Lib. 57. ep. 81.

6140. Semotis a viris servant in interioribus, ab eorum conspectu immanes.

6141. Lib. 1. fol. 7.

6142. Diruptiones hymenis flunt a propriis digitis vel ab aliis instrumentis.

6143. Idem Rhasis Arab. cont.

6144. Ita clausae pharmacis ut non possunt coitum exercere.

6145. Qui et pharmacum praescribit docetque.

6146. Epist. 6. Mercero Inter.

6147. Barthius. Ludus illi temeratum pudicitiae florem mentitis machinis pro integro vendere. Ego docebo te, qui mulier ante nuptias sponso te probes virginem.

6148. Qui mulierem violasset, virilia execabant, et mille virgas dabant.

6149. Dion. Halic.

6150. Viridi gaudens Feronia luco. Virg.

6151. Ismene was so tried by Dian's well, in which maids did swim, unchaste were drowned. Eustathius, lib. 8.

6152. Contra mendac. an confess. 21 cap.

6153. Phaerus Aegipti rex captus oculis per decennium, oraculum consuluit de uxoris pudicitia.

6154. Caesar. lib. 6. bello Gall. vitae necisque in uxores habuerunt potestatem.

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