minister Cassiodorus, now and then made a long sojourn;

time:2023-11-29 03:22:21 source:Heartbreaker author:nature

alterations in the body, and so afforded hints toward the preservation of health, and prevention of diseases; and therein was so serious as to advise alteration of diet, exercise, sweating, bathing, and vomiting; and also so religious as to order prayers and supplications unto respective deities, in good dreams unto Sol, Jupiter coelestis, Jupiter opulentus, Minerva, Mer- curius, and Apollo; in bad, unto Tellus and the heroes.

minister Cassiodorus, now and then made a long sojourn;

And therefore I could not but notice how his female friends were irrationally curious so strictly to examine his dreams, and in this low state to hope for the phantasms of health. He was now past the healthful dreams of the sun, moon, and stars, in their clarity and proper courses. 'Twas too late to dream of flying, of limpid fountains, smooth waters, white vestments, and fruitful green trees, which are the visions of healthful sleeps, and at good distance from the grave. And they were also too deeply dejected that he should dream of his dead friends, inconsequently divining, that he would not be long from them; for strange it was not that he should sometimes dream of the dead, whose thoughts run always upon death; beside, to dream of the dead, so they appear not in dark habits, and take nothing away from us, in Hippocrates' sense was of good signification: for we live by the dead, and everything is or must be so before it becomes our nourishment. And Cardan, who dreamed that he discoursed with his dead father in the moon, made thereof no mortal in- terpretation; and even to dream that we are dead, was having a signification of liberty, vacuity from cares, exemption and freedom from troubles unknown unto the dead. Some dreams I confess may admit of easy and femi- nine exposition; he who dreamed that he could not see his right shoulder, might easily fear to lose the sight of his right eye; he that before a journey dreamed that his feet were cut off, had a plain warning not to under- take his intended journey. But why to dream of lettuce should presage some ensuing disease, why to eat figs should signify foolish talk, why to eat eggs great trouble, and to dream of blindness should be so highly com- mended, according to the oneirocritical verses of As- trampsychus and Nicephorus, I shall leave unto your divination. He was willing to quit the world alone and altogether, leaving no earnest behind him for corruption or after- grave, having small content in that common satisfaction to survive or live in another, but amply satisfied that his disease should die with himself, nor revive in a pos- terity to puzzle physic, and make sad mementoes of their parent hereditary. Leprosy awakes not sometimes before forty, the gout and stone often later; but consumptive and tabid* roots sprout more early, and at the fairest make seventeen years of our life doubtful before that age. They that enter the world with original diseases as well as sin, have not only common mortality but sick traductions to destroy them, make commonly short courses, and live not at length but in figures; so that a sound Caesarean nativity+ may outlast a natural birth, and a knife may sometimes make way for a more last- ing fruit than a midwife; which makes so few infants now able to endure the old test of the river,# and many

minister Cassiodorus, now and then made a long sojourn;

* Tabes maxime contingunt ab anno decimo octavo and trigesi mum quintum.--Hippoc. + A sound child cut out of the body of the mother. # Natos ad flumina primum deferimus saevoque gelu dura mus et undis.

minister Cassiodorus, now and then made a long sojourn;

to have feeble children who could scarce have been mar- ried at Sparta, and those provident states who studied strong and healthful generations; which happen but contingently in mere pecuniary matches or marriages made by the candle, wherein notwithstanding there is little redress to be hoped from an astrologer or a lawyer, and a good discerning physician were like to prove the most successful counsellor.

Julius Scaliger, who in a sleepless fit of the gout could make two hundred verses in a night, would have but five* plain words upon his tomb. And this serious per- son, though no minor wit, left the poetry of his epitaph unto others; either unwilling to commend himself, or to be judged by a distich, and perhaps considering how unhappy great poets have been in versifying their own epitaphs; wherein Petrarch, Dante, and Ariosto, have so unhappily failed, that if their tombs should outlast their works, posterity would find so little of Apollo on them as to mistake them for Ciceronian poets.

In this deliberate and creeping progress unto the grave, he was somewhat too young and of too noble a mind, to fall upon that stupid symptom observable in divers persons near their journey's end, and which may be reckoned among the mortal symptoms of their last disease; that is, to become more narrow-minded, miser- able, and tenacious, unready to part with anything, when they are ready to part with all, and afraid to want when they have no time to spend; meanwhile physi- cians, who know that many are mad but in a single depraved imagination, and one prevalent decipiency; and that beside and out of such single deliriums a man may meet with sober actions and good sense in bedlam;

* Julii Caesaris Scaligeri quod fuit.--Joseph. Scaliger in vita patris.

cannot but smile to see the heirs and concerned relations gratulating themselves on the sober departure of their friends; and though they behold such mad covetous passages, content to think they die in good understand- ing, and in their sober senses.


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