Love is Blind

June 1, 2009

Robert Burton:

Every lover admires his mistress, though she be very deformed of her self, ill-favored, wrinkled, pimpled, pale, red, yellow, tan’d, tallow-faced, have a swoln juglers platter face, or a thin, lean, chitty face, have clouds in her face, be crooked, dry,bald, goggle-ey’d, blear-ey’d or with staring eys, she looks like a squis’d cat, hold her head still awry, heavy, dull, hollow-ey’d, black or yellow about the eys, or squint-ey’d, sparrow-mouthed, Persean hook-nosed, have a sharp fox nose, a red nose, China flat, great nose, nare simo patuloque, a nose like a promontory, gubber-tushed, rotten teeth, black, uneven, brown teeth, beetle browed, a witches beard, her breath stink all over the room, her nose drop winter and summer, with a Bavarian poke under her chin, a sharp chin, lave eared, with a long cranes neck, which stands awry too, pendulis mammis, her dugs like two double jugs, or else no dugs in the other extream, bloody-faln-fingers, she have filthy long unpaired nails, scabbed hands or wrists, a tan’d skin, a rotten carcass, crooked back, she stoops, is lame, splea-footed, as slender in the middle as a cow in the wast, gowty legs, her ankles hang over her shooes, her feet stink, she breed lice, a meer changeling, a very monster, an aufe imperfect, her whole complexion savours, an harsh voyce, incondite gesture, vile gate, a vast virago, or an ugly tit, a slug, a fat fustilugs, a trusse, a long lean rawbone, a skeleton, a sneaker (si qua latent meliora puta), and to thy judgement looks like a mard in a lanthorn, whom thou couldst not fancy for a world, but hatest, loathest, andwouldst have spit in her face, or blow thy nose in her bosome, remedium amoris to another man, a dowdy, a slut, a scold, a nasty, rank, rammy, filthy, beastly quean, dishonest peradventure, obscene, base, beggerly, rude, foolish, untaught, peevish, Irus daughter, Thersites sister, Grobians scholler ; if he love her once, he admires her for all this, he takes no notice of any such errours, or imperfections of body or mind. (Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, III.2.3)



May 23, 2009

For Marty:

Felix Platerus (observat. lib. 1) hath a most memorable example of a countreyman of his, that by chance falling into a pit where frogs and frogs spawn was, and a little of that water swallowed, began to suspect that he had likewise swallowed frogs spawn ; and, with that conceit and fear, his phantasie wrought so far, that he verily thought he had young live frogs in his belly, qui vivebant ex alimento suo, that lived by his nourishment, and was so certainly perswaded of it, that, for many years following, he could not be rectified in his conceit ; he studied physick seven years together, to cure himself, travelled into Italy, France, and Germany, to conferr with the best physicians about it, and, anno 1609, asked his counsel amongst the rest. He told him it was wind, his conceipt, &c. but mordicus contradicere, et ore et scriptis probare nitebatur: no saying would serve : it was no wind, but real frogs – and do you not hear them croak ? Platerus would have deceived him, by putting live frogs into his excrements: but he, being a physician himself, would not be deceived, vir prudens alias, et doctus a wise and learned man otherwise, a doctor of physick ; and after seven years dotage in this kind, a phantasia liberatiis est, he was cured. (Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, I.3.2.3)