Anatomy of Melancholy, by Robert Burton

Memb. vi.

Against Envy, Livor, Emulation, Hatred, Ambition, Self-love, and all other Affections.

Against those other 3932passions and affections, there is no better remedy than as mariners when they go to sea, provide all things necessary to resist a tempest: to furnish ourselves with philosophical and Divine precepts, other men's examples, 3933Periculum ex aliis facere, sibi quod ex usu siet: To balance our hearts with love, charity, meekness, patience, and counterpoise those irregular motions of envy, livor, spleen, hatred, with their opposite virtues, as we bend a crooked staff another way, to oppose 3934“sufferance to labour, patience to reproach,” bounty to covetousness, fortitude to pusillanimity, meekness to anger, humility to pride, to examine ourselves for what cause we are so much disquieted, on what ground, what occasion, is it just or feigned? And then either to pacify ourselves by reason, to divert by some other object, contrary passion, or premeditation. 3935Meditari secum oportet quo pacto adversam aerumnam ferat, Paricla, damna, exilia peregre rediens semper cogitet, aut filii peccatum, aut uxoris mortem, aut morbum filiae, communia esse haec: fieri posse, ut ne quid animo sit novum. To make them familiar, even all kind of calamities, that when they happen they may be less troublesome unto us. In secundis meditare, quo pacto feras adversa: or out of mature judgment to avoid the effect, or disannul the cause, as they do that are troubled with toothache, pull them quite out.

3936Ut vivat castor, sibi testes amputat ipse;

Tu quoque siqua nocent, abjice, tutus eris.

The beaver bites off's stones to save the rest:

Do thou the like with that thou art opprest.

Or as they that play at wasters, exercise themselves by a few cudgels how to avoid an enemy's blows: let us arm ourselves against all such violent incursions, which may invade our minds. A little experience and practice will inure us to it; vetula vulpes, as the proverb saith, laqueo haud capitur, an old fox is not so easily taken in a snare; an old soldier in the world methinks should not be disquieted, but ready to receive all fortunes, encounters, and with that resolute captain, come what may come, to make answer,

3937 ——— non ulla laborum

O virgo nova mi facies inopinaque surgit,

Omnia percepi atque animo mecum ante peregi.

No labour comes at unawares to me,

For I have long before cast what may be.

3938 ——— non hoc primum mea pectora vulnus

Senserunt, graviora tuli ———

The commonwealth of 3939Venice in their armoury have this inscription, “Happy is that city which in time of peace thinks of war,” a fit motto for every man's private house; happy is the man that provides for a future assault. But many times we complain, repine and mutter without a cause, we give way to passions we may resist, and will not. Socrates was bad by nature, envious, as he confessed to Zophius the physiognomer, accusing him of it, froward and lascivious: but as he was Socrates, he did correct and amend himself. Thou art malicious, envious, covetous, impatient, no doubt, and lascivious, yet as thou art a Christian, correct and moderate thyself. 'Tis something, I confess, and able to move any man, to see himself contemned, obscure, neglected, disgraced, undervalued, 3940“left behind;” some cannot endure it, no not constant Lipsius, a man discreet otherwise, yet too weak and passionate in this, as his words express, 3941collegas olim, quos ego sine fremitu non intueor, nuper terrae filios, nunc Maecenates et Agrippas habeo — summo jam monte potitos. But he was much to blame for it: to a wise staid man this is nothing, we cannot all be honoured and rich, all Caesars; if we will be content, our present state is good, and in some men's opinion to be preferred. Let them go on, get wealth, offices, titles, honours, preferments, and what they will themselves, by chance, fraud, imposture, simony, and indirect means, as too many do, by bribery, flattery, and parasitical insinuation, by impudence and time-serving, let them climb up to advancement in despite of virtue, let them “go before, cross me on every side,” me non offendunt modo non in, oculos incurrant, 3942as he said, correcting his former error, they do not offend me, so long as they run not into mine eyes. I am inglorious and poor, composita paupertate, but I live secure and quiet: they are dignified, have great means, pomp, and state, they are glorious; but what have they with it? 3943“Envy, trouble, anxiety, as much labour to maintain their place with credit, as to get it at first.” I am contented with my fortunes, spectator e longinquo, and love Neptunum procul a terra spectare furentem: he is ambitious, and not satisfied with his: “but what 3944gets he by it? to have all his life laid open, his reproaches seen: not one of a thousand but he hath done more worthy of dispraise and animadversion than commendation; no better means to help this than to be private.” Let them run, ride, strive as so many fishes for a crumb, scrape, climb, catch, snatch, cozen, collogue, temporise and fleer, take all amongst them, wealth, honour, 3945and get what they can, it offends me not:

3946 ——— me mea tellus

Lare secreto tutoque tegat,

“I am well pleased with my fortunes,” 3947Vivo et regno simul ista relinquens.

I have learned “in what state soever I am, therewith to be contented,” Philip, iv 11. Come what can come, I am prepared. Nave ferar magna an parva, ferar unus et idem. I am the same. I was once so mad to bustle abroad, and seek about for preferment, tire myself, and trouble all my friends, sed nihil labor tantus profecit nam dum alios amicorum mors avocat, aliis ignotus sum, his invisus, alii large promittunt, intercedunt illi mecum soliciti, hi vana spe lactant; dum alios ambio, hos capto, illis innotesco, aetas perit, anni defluunt, amici fatigantur, ego deferor, et jam, mundi taesus, humanaeque satur infidelitatis acquiesco. 3948And so I say still; although I may not deny, but that I have had some 3949 bountiful patrons, and noble benefactors, ne sim interim ingratus, and I do thankfully acknowledge it, I have received some kindness, quod Deus illis beneficium rependat, si non pro votis, fortasse pro meritis, more peradventure than I deserve, though not to my desire, more of them than I did expect, yet not of others to my desert; neither am I ambitious or covetous, for this while, or a Suffenus to myself; what I have said, without prejudice or alteration shall stand. And now as a mired horse that struggles at first with all his might and main to get out, but when he sees no remedy, that his beating will not serve, lies still, I have laboured in vain, rest satisfied, and if I may usurp that of 3950Prudentius,

Inveni portum; spes et fortuna valete,

Nil mihi vobiscum, ludite nunc alios.

Mine haven's found, fortune and hope adieu,

Mock others now, for I have done with you.

3932. Qui invidiam ferre non potest, ferre contemptum cogitur.

3933. Ter. Heautont.

3934. Epictetus c. 14. Si labor objectus fuerit tolerantiae, convicium patientiae, &c. si ita consueveris, vitiis non obtemperabis.

3935. Ter. Phor.

3936. Alciat Embl.

3937. Virg. Aen.

3938. “My breast was not conscious of this first wound, for I have endured still greater.”

3939. Nat. Chytreus deliciis Europae, Felix civitas quae tempore pacis de bello cogitat.

3940. Occupat extremum scabies; mihi turpe relinqui est. Hor.

3941. Lipsius epist. quaest. l. 1. ep. 7.

3942. Lipsius epist. lib. I. epist. 7.

3943. Gloria comitem habet invidiam, pari onere premitur retinendo ac acquirendo.

3944. Quid aliud ambitiosus sibi parat quam ut probra ejus pateant? nemo vivens qui non habet in vita plura vitoperatione quam laude digna; his malis non melius occurritur, quam si bene latueris.

3945. Et omnes fama per urbes garrula laudet.

3946. Sen. Her. fur.

3947. Hor. “I live like a king without any of these acquisitions.”

3948. “But all my labour was unprofitable; for while death took off some of my friends, to others I remain unknown, or little liked, and these deceive me with false promises. Whilst I am canvassing one party, captivating another, making myself known to a third, my age increases, years glide away, I am put off, and now tired of the world, and surfeited with human worthlessness. I rest content.”

3949. The right honourable Lady Francis Countess Dowager of Exeter. The Lord Berkley.

3950. Distichon ejus in militem Christianum e Graeco. Engraven on the tomb of Fr. Puccius the Florentine in Rome. Chytreus in deliciis.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52