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CH A P. XXV.
Not to counterfeit SICKNESS.
HERE is a choice Epigram in Martial, for he
has of all sorts, where he pleasantly Gout counter-
Tantum cura poteft et ars doloris,
I think I have read, somewhere in Appian, a Story, like
Man, who beto be concealed from the Discovery of those came really who pursued him, having masked himself in blind in one a Disguise, did also add this Invention, to Eye, after he • counterfeit having but one Eye; but, when feited it, • he came to have a little more Liberty, and
went to take off the Plaifter he had a great while worn over his Eye, he found he had totally lost the Sight of
it. 'Tis possible, that the Action of Sight was dulled, for having been so long without Exercise, and that the Optic Power was wholly retired into the other Eye : For. we evidently perceive, that the Eye we keep shut, sends some part of its Virtue to its Fellow, which thereby swells and grows bigger ; moreover, the fitting still, with the
Mart. Epig. 38. lib. vii. v. 8, 9.
Heat of the Ligatures and Plaisters, might very well have brought some gouty Humour upon this Diffembler in Martial.
Reading, in Froisard", the Vow of a Company of young Ridiculous
English Gallants, to carry their left Eyes Vow of some • bound up till they were arrived in France,
' and had performed fome notable Exploit Gallants.
against us :' I have often been tickled. with the Conceit of its befalling them as it did the beforenamed Roman, and that they found they had but one Eye apiece when they returned to their Mistresses, for whose Sakes they had entered into this ridiculous Vow,
Mothers have Reason to rebuke their Children, when 'Tis proper to
they counterfeit having but one Eye, Squintbinder Chil ing, Lameness, or other such personal Dedren from coun- fecis; for, besides that their Bodies, being terfeiting per
then so tender, may be subject to take an ill fonal Defects.
Bent, Fortune, I know not how, sometimes seems to delight to take, us at our Word; and I have heard several Instances of People who have become really sick, by only feigning to be so. I have always used, whether on Horseback, or on Foot, to carry a Stick in my Hand, and so as to affect doing it with a Grace. Many have threatened me, that this affected Hobbling would, one Day, be turned into Necesfity, that is, that I should
be the first of my Family to have the Gout.'
But let us lengthen this Chapter, and etch it out with Instance of a
another Piece, concerning Blindness. Pliny Man who reports of one, that dreaming he was blind, was deprived « found himself so next Day, without any of Sight in bis Sleep.
preceding Malady .' The Force of Ima
gination might assist in this case, as I have faid elfewhere, and Pliny seems to be of the same Opinion ; but it is more likely, that the Motions the Body felt within (whereof the Physicians, if they please, may find out the Cause) which took away his Sight, were the Occasion of his Dream,
Let d Nat. Hift, lib. vii. c. 50.
« Vol. I, c. 29.
Let us add another Story, of much the same Nature, which Seneca relates, in one of his Epistles e.
A foolish Wo- You know, says be, writing to Lucilius, man, who fell " that Harpaste, my Wife's Fool, is thrown blind, found ' upon my Family as an hereditary Charge, Fault with the < for I have naturally an Aversion to those in, that it was « Monsters; and, if I have a mind to too dark : A
laugh at a Fool, I need not seek him far, Resemblance of "I can laugh at myself. This Fool has fud mot Men's 6 denly lost her Sight: I tell you a strange,
Folly. • but a very true Thing; she is not sensible that she is - blind, but eternally importunes her Keeper to take her 5 Abroad, because she says my House is dark : But, be• lieve me, that what we laugh at in her, happens to e
very one of us : No one knows himself to be avari• cious. Besides, the Blind call for a Guide, but we & wander of our own Accord. I am not ambitious,
we say, but a Man cannot live otherwise at Rome : " I am not wasteful, but the City requires a great Ex
pence : 'Tis not my Fault if I am Choleric; and, if • I have not yet established any certain Course of Life, 6 'tis the Fault of Youth. Let us not look Abroad for • our Disease, 'tis in us, and planted in our Intestines : . And our not perceiving ourselves to be fick even ren« ders us more hard to be cured: If we do not betimes
begin to dress ourselves, when shall we have done with « so many Wounds and Evils that afflict us ? And yet we
have a most pleasant Medicine in Philosophy of all • others, we are not fenfible of the Pleasure till after the • Cure; this pleases and heals at the fame Time. This is what Seneca fays, who has carried me from my Subject; but 'tis a Digression not unprofitable.
CHA P. XXVI.
Of T H U M B S.
ACITUS ' reports, that, amongst certain Barbarian Kings, their Manner was, when they would
make a firm Obligation, to join their right A Custom of Screwing the
Hands close together, and twist each other's Thumbs, Thumbs; and when, by Force of Pressure, wounding the Blood appeared in the Ends, they lightly ing the Blood. pricked them with some sharp Inftrument,
and mutually fucked them. Physicians say, that the Thumb is the Master-finger Etymology of
of each Hand, and that the Latin Etymothe Latin Word logy is derived from Pollere & The Greeks Pollex, for
called it avliyeię, as who should say, another Thumb.
Hand. And it seems that the Latins also fometimes take it, in this Sense, for the whole Hand;
Sed nec vocibus excitata blandis,
Molli pollice nec rogata furgit 5.
It was, at Rome, a Signification of Fa-
Will with both Thumbs applaud thee fort.
converfo pollice vulgi Quemlibet occidunt populariter. "
i. Og f Annal. lib. xii.
% This seems to be taken from Macrobius's Saturn. lib. vii. C. 13, wha
Epig. 99. v,
The Vulgar, with up-lifted Thumbs,
The Romans exempted from War all such as were maim,
he had, to excuse them from going into & the Armies" ;' and, before him, the Senate, in the Time of the Italian War, condemned Caius Valienus to perpetual Imprisonment, and confiscated all his Goods, - for having purposely cut off the Thumb of his left Hand, to exempt himself from that Expedition ".'
Some one, I have forgot who, having won a Naval Battle, cut off the Thumbs of all his van. Thumbs of the
quished Enemies, to render them incapable vanquished E
of Fighting, and of handling the Dar.' nemy cut off. The Atbenians also caused the Thumbs of those of Ægina to be cut off, to deprive them of the Preference in the
Art of Navigation •' And, in Lacedæmonia, Peda. gogues chastised their Scholars by biting their Thumbs.
ÇH A P. XXVII.
HAVE often heard it said, "That Cowardise is the
• Mother of Cruelty ;' yet I have found, Cruelty the by Experience, that that malicious and in- common Effect humane Animosity and Fierceness is usually of Cowardife. accompanied with a feminine Faintness. I have seen the
This was a metaphorical Manner of Speech, taken from the Arena. When a Gladiator was thrown in Fighting, the People asked his Life, by turning down their Thumbs, or his Death by lifting them up. in Suet. in Cæsar. Augufto, fect. 24. Val. Max. lib. v. c. 3.