Anatomy of Melancholy, by Robert Burton

Memb. iii.

Prognostics of Jealousy. Despair, Madness, to make away themselves and others.

Those which are jealous, most part, if they be not otherwise relieved, 6155“proceed from suspicion to hatred, from hatred to frenzy, madness, injury, murder and despair.”

6156A plague by whose most damnable effect.

Divers in deep despair to die have sought,

By which a man to madness near is brought,

As well with causeless as with just suspect.

In their madness many times, saith 6157Vives, they make away themselves and others. Which induceth Cyprian to call it, Foecundam et multiplicem perniciem, fontem cladium et seminarium delictorum, a fruitful mischief, the seminary of offences, and fountain of murders. Tragical examples are too common in this kind, both new and old, in all ages, as of 6158 Cephalus and Procris, 6159Phaereus of Egypt, Tereus, Atreus, and Thyestes. 6160Alexander Phaereus was murdered of his wife, ob pellicatus suspitionem, Tully saith. Antoninus Verus was so made away by Lucilla; Demetrius the son of Antigonus, and Nicanor, by their wives. Hercules poisoned by Dejanira, 6161Caecinna murdered by Vespasian, Justina, a Roman lady, by her husband. 6162Amestris, Xerxes' wife, because she found her husband's cloak in Masista's house, cut off Masista, his wife's paps, and gave them to the dogs, flayed her besides, and cut off her ears, lips, tongue, and slit the nose of Artaynta her daughter. Our late writers are full of such outrages.

6163Paulus Aemilius, in his history of France, hath a tragical story of Chilpericus the First his death, made away by Ferdegunde his queen. In a jealous humour he came from hunting, and stole behind his wife, as she was dressing and combing her head in the sun, gave her a familiar touch with his wand, which she mistaking for her lover, said, “Ah Landre, a good knight should strike before, and not behind:” but when she saw herself betrayed by his presence, she instantly took order to make him away. Hierome Osorius, in his eleventh book of the deeds of Emanuel King of Portugal, to this effect hath a tragical narration of one Ferdinandus Chalderia, that wounded Gotherinus, a noble countryman of his, at Goa in the East Indies, 6164“and cut off one of his legs, for that he looked as he thought too familiarly upon his wife, which was afterwards a cause of many quarrels, and much bloodshed.” Guianerius cap. 36. de aegritud. matr. speaks of a silly jealous fellow, that seeing his child new-born included in a caul, thought sure a 6165Franciscan that used to come to his house, was the father of it, it was so like the friar's cowl, and thereupon threatened the friar to kill him: Fulgosus of a woman in Narbonne, that cut off her husband's privities in the night, because she thought he played false with her. The story of Jonuses Bassa, and fair Manto his wife, is well known to such as have read the Turkish history; and that of Joan of Spain, of which I treated in my former section. Her jealousy, saith Gomesius, was the cause of both their deaths: King Philip died for grief a little after, as 6166Martian his physician gave it out, “and she for her part after a melancholy discontented life, misspent in lurking-holes and corners, made an end of her miseries.” Felix Plater, in the first book of his observations, hath many such instances, of a physician of his acquaintance, 6167“that was first mad through jealousy, and afterwards desperate:” of a merchant 6168“that killed his wife in the same humour, and after precipitated himself:” of a doctor of law that cut off his man's nose: of a painter's wife in Basil, anno 1600, that was mother of nine children and had been twenty-seven years married, yet afterwards jealous, and so impatient that she became desperate, and would neither eat nor drink in her own house, for fear her husband should poison her. 'Tis a common sign this; for when once the humours are stirred, and the imagination misaffected, it will vary itself in divers forms; and many such absurd symptoms will accompany, even madness itself. Skenkius observat. lib. 4. cap. de Uter. hath an example of a jealous woman that by this means had many fits of the mother: and in his first book of some that through jealousy ran mad: of a baker that gelded himself to try his wife's honesty, &c. Such examples are too common.

6155. Animi dolores et zelotypia si diutius perserverent, dementes reddunt. Acak. comment. in par. art. Galeni.

6156. Ariosto, lib. 31. staff. 6.

6157. 3 de anima, c. 3. de zelotyp. transit in rabiem et odium, et sibi et aliis violentas saepe manus injiciunt.

6158. Higinus, cap. 189. Ovid, &c.

6159. Phaerus Aegypti rex de caecitate oraculum consulens, visum ei rediturum accepit, si oculos abluisset lotio mulieris quae aliorum virorum esset expers; uxoris urinam expertus nihil profecit, et aliarum frustra, eas omnes (ea excepta per quam curatus fuit) unum in locum coactas concremavit. Herod. Euterp.

6160. Offic. lib. 2.

6161. Aurelius Victor.

6162. Herod, lib. 9. in Calliope. Masistae uxorem excarnificat, mammillas praescindit, aesque canibus abjicit, filiae nares praescidit, labra, linguam, &c.

6163. Lib. 1. Dum formae curandae intenta capillum in sole pectit, a marito per lusum leviter percussa furtirm superveniente virga, risu suborto, mi Landrice dixit, frontem vir fortis petet, &c. Marito conspecto attonita, cum Landrico mox in ejus mortem conspirat, et statim inter venandum efficit.

6164. Qui Goae uxorem habens, Gotherinum principem quendam virum quod uxori suae oculos adjecisset, ingenti vulnere deformavit in facie, et tibiam abscidit, unde mutuae caedes.

6165. Eo quod infans natus involutus esset panniculo, credebat eum filium fratris Francisci, &c.

6166. Zelotypia reginas regis mortem acceleravit paulo post, ut Martianus medicus mihi retulit. Illa autem atra bile inde exagitata in latebras se subducens prae aegritudine animi reliquum tempus consumpsit.

6167. A zelotypia redactus ad insaniam et desperationem.

6168. Uxorem interemit, inde desperabundus ex alto se praecipitavit.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31