Seven Ages of Man, take 3, the Lover

and then the lover, sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad“… And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad,
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow”
(As You Like It, act 3, sc. 2))

Tips for use. Sighs and ballads dedicated to the mistress’ eyebrow are but two of a multitude of symptoms attributable to love. Robert Burton (1577 – 1640), a contemporary of William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) wrote the monumental “The Anatomy of Melancholy”, described as the greatest medical treatise written by a layman. In the book, Burton dedicates… 3 very long chapters respectively to the symptoms of love, the prognosis of the love sickness and the cure of love melancholy. The chapter on the symptoms of love begins as follows, “Symptoms are either of body or mind; of body paleness, leanness, dryness etc. Pallidus omnis amans, color hic est aptus amanti (pale is every lover, this hue beseemeth love, as Ovid describes lovers; fecit amor maciem, love causeth leanness (incidentally suggesting love as a remedy against overweightness). Avicenna (in De Ilishi, chapter 33) makes hollow eyes, dryness, symptoms of this disease, “to go smiling to themselves, or acting as if they saw or heard some delectable object.”
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In the play. Jacques – a forerunner of a certain type of Voltairean character, philosophizes on the main chapters of everyone’s life

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