Morgellons: Controversial disease doctors refuse to treat


PopHistorian said:
Hi Jasmine - the link is correct (at least, it works for me). Copy and paste it without the leading underscore into any browser's URL field and press the Enter key.

On this page alone, you will find twelve other examples of links presented in this format, to prevent them being tracked as referrals from this forum.
Thank you PopHistorian. I had tried it several times in the url address bar without the underscore, no luck, that's why I asked for a link. But I just tried it again, and wa-la it finally worked. It was interesting to listen to her but it had nothing at all to do with Morgellons disease. I thought there was going to be a connection somehow. I did see earlier in the thread where she was briefly mentioned as having Morgellons.

I didn't know that the forum was trying to keep links from being traced back here. Is this common knowledge?


Jedi Master
From the Coronovirus thread there was a post about these black 'nano worms' found, apparently quite regularly, in the disposable blue-and-white N95 masks. They appear to move around when subjected to heat and/or moisture and there is some speculation as to what they are (micro-plastics, Morgellons, micelles). I started to familiarize myself with Morgellions since I was getting nowhere with 'nano worms' and similar search words. Long story short, I found, as far as I know, the source of the word 'Morgellons' belonging to a man named Sir Thomas Browne (a man who was anti-witchcraft) that was first mentioned in his "Letter to a Friend" (that I'll post separately). I've read through this old thread and noticed that this info was not posted here, if people didn't already know of it. It's... looong, but interesting, with some rather disgusting descriptions (which may not be accurate of the actual disease). It seems this affliction was found in children and not adults that, possibly, even Julius Caesar was aware of!

Here is the section from the book "Annals of Medical History (1935)", p. 467-479. It's an essay by C.E. Kellett about Sir Thomas Brownes vague reference to "Morgellons" (As a note, the "Cirones or sarcoptes hominis" that are mentioned in the illustration are today known by the CDC as 'Scabies'. This may be the little 'bugs' that some people say 'come out of the sores'.):

Annals of Medical History, n.s., VII (1935), 467-479


By C.E. KELLETT, M.D., M.R.C.P.​


A note to Sir Thomas Browne's "Letter to a Friend"

In "A Letter to a Friend"(1) there is a short passage of especial interest to a pediatrician, not only because of the information it yields on Sir Thomas Browne's own interests in medicine, but also because of the condition described. The single reference he gives, however, "See Picotus de Rheumatismo,"(*) is both inadequate and strangely misleading, and the condition referred to now so obscure that further comment would appear justifiable, the more so that no less a person than Greenhill(2) himself has confessed his inability to throw any light on this passage whatsoever.

For another reason this passage is also of interest. It constitutes one of the very few references that Sir Thomas Browne makes to his stay as a student at Montpellier in Languedoc, possibly, with the exception to his reference to the speech of that country in his tract "Of Languages,"(3) the only one. Yet this must have been for him a most memorable journey, during which, as Wilkin(4) remarks, "it is impossible to suppose that he travelled without observing, or that he observed without recording."

Gosse(5) is of the opinion that he sailed in 1630 directly to La Rochelle, and from there went on to Montpellier, arriving there about October, when the courses in Medicine began. The siege of La Rochelle(6) had ended then a bare two years before he landed, and had it not been for the edict of the king, the roads through Languedoc might well have proved impassable; for the king and Richelieu had with their army harried the land, defeated Rohan, and so aggravated the plague, then prevalent, that all commerce ceased, and the inhabitants of towns, in order to isolate themselves, obstructed the roads.

Despite these measures the plague spread so that the king, having on the 14th of July, 1629, declared a peace at Nimes, hastened north, both because of it [sc. the plague], and of the heat which had become intolerable. In 1629, 2000 died of the plague at Montpellier, 5500 at Montauban, and in 1630–31 50,000 at Toulouse.(7)

The arrival of Thomas Browne at Montpellier coincided then closely with the sudden desperate illness of the king at Lyons, Richelieu's extreme jeopardy, and the subsequent recovery of the king, following the rupture of a peri-anal abscess on October the 2nd.(8) His sojourn at the college, where Lazare Rivière had been one of the professors since 1622, and Ranchin(9) was chancellor, and engaged in rebuilding and embellishing it at his own expense, must have been enlivened by reports of the struggle that Languedoc was having with the king to retain her own fiscal autonomy; by rumors of Gaston, the king's brother; of Montmorency, and of the impending rebellion.

It is therefore eloquent of the man and his interests, and also perhaps remarkable, that writing over forty years later, he should refer to none of these things, but should recall that

"Hairs which have most amused me have not been in the face or head, but on the Back, and not in Men but Children, as I long ago observed in that endemial Distemper of little Children in Languedock, called the Morgellons, wherein they critically break out with harsh Hairs on their Backs, which takes off the unquiet symptoms of the Disease, and delivers them from Coughs and Convulsions."

and that the single reference he gives — see Picotus de Rheumatismo — should be not only vague, as are indeed all his references, to a degree unusual at that period, but also misleading.

The book to which reference is made is almost certainly that written by Petrus Pichotus, a physician of Bordeaux. This was published in duodecimo by Millangium of Bordeaux in 1577, and does not appear to have undergone a second edition. This book is now rare; there is no mention of it in the Surgeon General's Catalogue, nor in the Bibliotheca Osleriana; on the other hand, the British Museum, and the Library of Christ Church, Oxford, both have a copy.

It is, moreover, doubtful whether Sir Thomas Browne ever owned this book. In 1711 his Library, together with that of his son, Edward, was sold by Thomas Ballard in London. Two copies only of this sale catalogue appear to have survived. One was given to Osler by Sieveking(10) and the other is in the British Museum. This catalogue, which enumerates rather under 2500 volumes, of which some 420 were, as Letts(11) points out, published after 1682, and so must have been purchased by Edward Browne, constitutes our main source of information as to the books Sir Thomas Browne owned. For it is a reasonable surmise, and one generally received, that the vast majority of the older books were his. In this catalogue, in which some 500 medical books appear, there is no mention of Pichot's book "De rheumatismo." This is not unimportant, and may explain why Sir Thomas Browne failed in so signal a manner to verify this reference, for in this book, even though on pages 18–24 there is ample opportunity for so doing, no note, as Greenhill2 has pointed out, is made of the Morgellons, nor could I discover (in this book) any reference, however vague, to the condition. On the other hand, in the catalogue of Browne's Library are mentioned several much more accessible books of the period in which this condition is, I believe, clearly described, and, in the case of Schenckius, most adequately discussed.(**)

Before, however, examining these, and the disease called by Browne "The Morgellons," there is a further point which arises from a consideration of the books in his possession. This, though based on no more than a surmise, may, if accepted, not only explain how it was Sir Thomas Browne should have chosen to recall this condition he had encountered in his student days, but also serve to fix the year, always conjectural, in which he wrote "A Letter to a Friend."

The first monograph devoted to the condition he calls the Morgellons was that of Velshius,(12) and was entitled "De vermiculis capillaribus infantium." This formed the second part of a book which was published in quarto by Goebelius at Augsburg in 1674. The first part of this book, which was also by Velshius, was an "Exercitatio de vena medinensi." Both works are exhaustive and learned. Now the booksellers(13) of Sir Thomas Browne, William Oliver and George Rose, were in the habit of sending him books "to vewe" as soon as they were published. He had presumably already purchased from one of them, Velshius' recondite book "De aegagropilis," which appeared in 1660, and is catalogued in his Library. It is, therefore, very probable indeed that he received a notice of this book, or actually viewed it, the year of its publication. Should this be so, then the reference made in "A Letter to a Friend," a few lines further on, to Duloir's Travels,(14) which were published in 1654, as being "scarce twenty years ago," is one that may admit of a literal interpretation, and the "Letter" dated not 1672, as Greenhill(15) suggested, but almost certainly towards the end of 1674. It is possible, then, that this was not simply a haphazard recollection, and that Browne had good reason for believing this disease, so whimsical and fantastic, was one that would shortly awaken general interest.

The edition of Schenckius' "Observat. medicae rarae," that is recorded in Ballard's catalogue, is of Frankfort, 1610, and in view of the many subsequent editions, must almost certainly have belonged to Sir Thomas Browne. Schenckius, having discussed the Dracunculus, known to the Arabians, in his VII Observation, Lib. V, in his VIIIth deals with

". . . Worms or, as others will have it, Hairs, which are wont to infest the muscles of the arms, calves, and back in infants and children, and which are unknown to the old authorities . . ."

and prefaces his own description of the condition with that given by Kufner in his appendix to the book on Diseases of Infants, written by Leonellus Faventinus de Victoriis.(16) This runs as follows:

"There exists in little children certain living principles having the appearance of worms, that are called by the common folk Dracontia. They settle especially in the muscular parts of the body, to wit the arms and legs — the calves especially. Occasionally they even congregate in the flanks under the skin, and sometimes occupy the whole of the back, or failing that at least the interscapular region. These little creatures have this property that, unless they are extirpated by the appropriate remedies, they lead either to a hurtful suppuration, or else forthwith cause the child to waste. We destroy worms of this type, that are in the habit of lurking in the pores of infants and little girls, with this cure. Should they fail to become more prominent, that is should they, having applied warm fomentations and smeared on an edulcent (such as Melicraton) and spice, not thrust out their heads, then they must be positively shaken into coming out into the open. Take as much of the root of the wild vine, or of the white vine, as may be pressed into one hand: Boil this in a lye made from properly mixed oak charcoal. With this the whole body of the child, and at the same time the worms, should be sprinkled and washed. Having done this the mouths of the Dracontia which will have advanced forward are to be shaved off with a razor. When these have been beheaded in this manner, the child should be cleansed afresh from the aforesaid lotion by bathing in castor oil, and should then be washed and the exposed, and possibly cut, skin smeared all over with Syrian salve."

This book of Faventinus, together with the appendix of Kufner, was first published in 1544, and it is probable that this constitutes the first description of the condition. Yet George Kufner junior, who probably deserved Still's(17) rather caustic comments, is almost alone in confusing this condition with the Dracunculus described by the Arabs, and does not appear to have realized this priority of his.

Schenckius then inserts his own description of the disease:(18)

"There is a type of intercutaneous worm which is wont very frequently to infest infants under six months and not infrequently also children of two years or of about that age. They are born, in preference to all other places, in the muscles of the arms, legs and back, and arise from an excrementory humour which is contained within the pores of the body, and is common at that age. This, because of the repression of transpiration and dispersal, undergoes putrefactive changes and becomes alive and, in proportion to the number of receptacles of the pores, is converted into worms, which have a shape not at all unlike those that are born in putrefying cheese, but very much smaller. They never creep entirely out from the pores, but protrude their little heads, which are distinguished as so many black points. How should they not then be most troublesome, for by exciting a sensation of extreme warmth and, at the same time, of itching, they bring in their train insomnia and restlessness. Where they are packed together in large quantities and are increasing, there they plunder away the living flesh, in the same way as do pediculi, the nourishing humours, taking for themselves that which should have been for tender bodies. Because of this little children pass rapidly into wasting and extreme emaciation. As soon as the women become aware of this, they bring them to the sweating chambers and turkish baths. They first soothingly massage the muscles and affected parts with the hand, and then also anoint them all over with honey. By this device the worms are enticed out as far as possible and so killed. The further prescription of the surgeons that their protruding heads should then be mown down with a razor is not, however, followed by our people so much as it deserves. Our German people refer to these as Mitesser and die zehrende Wurm [sic] from the fact that they seize for themselves and consume the food of the infants whom they infect. The Norumbergians call them die durzemaden [sic] or, as you might put it, the worms that induce wasting."

This description by Schenckius is followed by a series of four further extracts from other authors who treat of this condition. Two of these, at any rate, appear to merit further mention. The first of these extracts is from the book written by Montuus, who is this briefly dismissed by Astruc:(19)

"Medicin de Lyon, Docteur de Montpellier, a composé quelques petits traités de Medicine, qu'on ne lit plus depuis longtemps. Ducange dit qu'il fut premier Medicin du Roi François II, & c'est tout ce que J'en scais."

In 1558(20) he published a book "Halosis febrium" the third part of which deals with "De infantium febris. . . ." and contains the following account of this condition, which Still(21) has translated as follows: It is rather remarkable that he, an inhabitant of Languedoc, should have been content with but a second hand report of this malady, which he regards as "A new affection of infants," but which he was not the first, as we have already seen, to describe.

"There is also another infantile affection, as a result of which children constantly cry and scream without apparent cause: epilepsy eventually supervenes in these cases, and in a large proportion ends in death. The common name for this is "the hair affection" (pilaris affectio); for this reason that by the protrusion and evulsion of hairs some cases are saved: and after this manner: the shoulders and neck are rubbed with the hand either dry or smeared from the milk pail, i.e. with milk still warm from the milking-pail; the parts which are rubbed soon become rough with hairs which are clearly seen springing out like a growing beard. Then by means of bacon rind rubbed over the hairs or by a forceps every single hair is plucked out and forthwith they are cured. So I gathered from the account of a certain noble matron, who stated that in the year 1544 she saw several infants who died of this illness, and some who were saved by the aforementioned treatment. Very closely analogous to this is what is said to be the case in pigs, for Didymus says that they are known to be out of health by hairs plucked out of the neck; and if their tonsils are diseased, they are cured by the plucking out of these same hairs.

The above-mentioned affection, so far as I can judge, is a fore-runner of epilepsy, where this is not a primary cerebral disturbance nor of reflex gastric origin (sympathia ventriculi) but by reflex from some posterior part in relation to the back. The so-to-speak sooty excretion (which is the material out of which hairs are formed) pass thence via the nervous structures right up to the brain, unless it is forced back by rubbings, and issuing forth through the pores of the skin which have been rendered more permeable by dry friction, is turned into hairs. Hence it is not difficult to see that rubbings without oily material, which blocks the pores, would be the more helpful."

The second description is by Ambroise Paré(22) who, during his prolonged stay in Bayonne(23) with the King in 1564 may well have come into personal contact with the condition, though while both Montuus and Guillemeau, as well as Sir Thomas Browne, stress the frequency of this condition in Languedoc, he does not do so. He writes:

"The mention of the Dracunculi, calls to my memory another kind of Abscess, altogether as rare. This our Frenchmen name Cridones, I think a Crinibus, i.e. from hairs: it chiefly troubles children and pricks their back like thorns. They toss up and down being not able to take any rest. This disease ariseth from small hairs which are scarce of a pins length, but those thick and strong. It is cured with a fomentation of water more than warm, after which you must presently apply an ointment made of honey and wheaten flowers; for so these hairs lying under the skin are allured and drawn forth; and being thus drawn, they must be plucked out with small mullets. I imagine this kind of disease was not known to the ancient physicians."

The other two authorities quoted by Schenckius do not add materially to our knowledge of this condition.

The account, however, given elsewhere by Guillemeau(24) is of considerable interest since, in certain respects, it resembles so closely that given by Sir Thomas Browne.

This appears as the last chapter of a book published in France in 1609, and printed in London for A. Hatfield, in 1612. His account runs as follows:

"Chapter XXXIX. Of the breeding and comming forth of Haires on children's backs and raines, called in Languedocke Masquelon, and of the Latines Morbus pilaris.

It had beene more agreeable and convenient to have set down this disease in the Chapter of the Unquietnesse and Crying of little Children. but as this book was even almost printed, M. Toignet, a Barber Chirurgion of Paris put me in mind of this disease that happens unto little children, which is verie common in Languedocke and is called in their language Masquelon. Having inquired of divers physicians about this disease and among the rest of Mons. Riollan, Doctor of Physicke in Paris, and the King's Professor in Chirurgery, a verie learned and painefull gentleman, he told me that Monanus had written of it and that he called it Pilaris affectio.

As soone as little Children are taken with this disease they crie and take on extreamely and yet one cannot perceive any cuase, why they should do so, which brings them oftentimes even to their grave, for this disease drawes along with it Epylepticall convulsions; because the sinewes which come forth of the backebone and are scattered on each side are overburdened and filled with some fuliginous vapour, of which Haires are bred, and they by their great length and continuity are carried directlie to the braine, whither when they are come, they cause this disease. The Women of the countrie of Languedocke, because it is a common disease with them, make no great reckoning of it and doe help it in this manner. With the palme of their hand they do rub the bottome of the childs backe and reines downe to the crupper-bone so long till they feele through the pores of the skinne the tops of very stiffe and pricking haires to come forth like unto hoggs bristles, which as soone as they see that they are come foorth, they pull them away by and by with their nayles, or else with such little Pincers as women use to pull the haire from off their eyebrowes. The same Montanus counselleth the woman to rub her hand first with some new milke; which being done and the haires pulled away, the child presently recovers his health and leaveth his ordinarie cries and laments."

Though this book ran through two editions in England and several of the early books on Pediatrics are in Sir Thomas Browne's Library such as Austrius,(25) Omnibonus Ferrarius,(26) and Hucher,(27) he does not appear to have had it. He may well not have known of its existence, or else have preferred to ignore it. For Patin, who had from time to time praised the "Religio Medici" and its author, appears particularly to have disliked Guillemeau as a pushing fellow, as a "rusé courtisan qui avait grande envie de faire fortune,"(28) and Sir Thomas Browne had for Patin a great respect.

Whether or not he was aware of Schenckius or of Guillemeau's contributions, certain it is that Sir Thomas Browne shares fully in the reluctance common to all compilers to refer to other compilations. Conrad Gesner's(29) works were in his library, in Nordenskiold's(30) opinion "one of the greatest biological works the world has seen," and yet he scarcely refers to them at all.*** The great majority, if not all of the volumes of Aldrovandus'(31) great encyclopedia on natural history were also his, and Gosse(32) believes that it "is the barest justice to say that Browne could not have carried out his ingenious labours without his aid." Yet Browne, when he does occasionally refer to him, as in the paragraph on the Musick of the Swans,(33) refers to him in his capacity of an original and renowned ornithologist, and not as a compiler to whose labors he must have been greatly indebted. Nor is it unreasonable to feel that a reference to Schenckius, one of the most popular books of the period, would have served largely to have reduced a glamorous, and, on the face of it, fantastic recollection, to the mere commonplace, a disadvantage that Sir Thomas Browne would have been the first to appreciate.

There were other books, however, in his library to which he might have referred, even though, oddly enough, none of these are books referred to by Schenckius. Two of the four works by Montuus are in the Library, the "De activa medicinae scientia,"(34) and the "Anasceves morborum,"(35) but not the "Halosis febrium" in which he describes the condition, while Ambroise Paré is not represented at all in a Library which it is perhaps interesting to note here, since Ballard's catalogue is so inaccessible, contained the surgeries of Guy du Chauliac (1585), and Hildanus Fabricius (1646) and Fabricius Acquapendente (1619), as well as his Anatomy, and those of Vesalius (1555), Spigelius (1627), Columbus (1559), Aselli (1628), Fallopius (1600), Bartholinus (1651), Highmore (1651), Glisson (1677), Willis (1664) and Wharton (1656); and in Medicine, in addition to Foesius' Hippocrates (1624) and Cornarius' Galen (1549), such standard wor[k]s as those of Sennert (1650), Lusitanus (1649), Riolanus (1610), Forestus (1634), Rivière (1653), Cardanus (1663), Baccius' "de Thermis" (1622), the "letters" of Manardus (1542), and the "Quaestiones Medico-legales" of Zacchias (1661), together with Glisson's, "De rachidite" (1650) and Harvey's, "De Generatione" (1651) and "De motu cordis" (1648), both of which, strangely enough, are only mentioned in the addenda to the catalogue. Hucher's book he had, however, and Still has pointed out that this contained a brief mention of the condition.(27)

He might well have thought of this author in this connection, for he was one of the great chancellors of Montpellier, and Ranchin, who had at his own expense rebuilt the amphitheatre college in 1620, had caused the following inscription, which Browne would surely have noticed, to be put up in his honor on the face of the Medical School Buildings:(36)


Joannis HUCHERII Bellovaci, sallutis publicae Conservatoris, Professoris regii & Cancellarii qui postquam coelum nostrum medicum dignissime, diu sustenavit Atlas, defunctus est in hoc Montepelio. Ann. D.M.DC. III.

Furthermore, he was an author after Browne's own heart, and deeply interested in witchcraft,(§) over a hundred pages in this book being devoted to occult causes of sterility "seu de maleficiis."

This reference to the condition is, however, very brief, and far more helpful would have been Borelli,(37) whose "Observationes medicae rarae" he had in the Paris edition of 1656, for his account has the rare virtue of being at first hand, and his nomenclature the merit of yielding a clue to the etymology both of the Morgellons and the Masquelons, from which I believe the Morgellons is derived.

This observation is the 80th in the first book, and is entitled "Vermes in dorso — Masclous dicti."

Now Masclous is, as might be anticipated, pure provençal, is apparently a term still employed, and is defined by Mistral(38) in his dictionary as meaning "cirons, insectes qui s'engendrent entre cuir et chair." Masclous is derived by him from Mouscloun, which is in turn a contraction of mouscoulo, or mouscouloun, of which there are many alternative spellings, such as mascoulo, mescoulo, mousclouroun, and mesouloun; from one of these came probably Guillemeau's masquelons and Sir Thomas Browne's morgellons. Mouscouloun itself means the hook which is attached to the end of a spindle, and is derived from the Latin Muscula, a little fly, a root which has appropriately enough given many words to Provence. Borelli's description, somewhat abridged, runs as follows:

"As in the human face, especially the nose, so almost throughout the whole body lurk little worms with black heads, giving rise to itching Ö so also children have worms in the back like hairs, by which they may be so tortured that they can neither sleep nor take their milk, but on the other hand do not cease from harassing their mothers with their incessant screaming. This condition I saw with my own eyes in my brother, but following an inunction with honey, within a few days the worms came away from the back.Ö"

The subsequent history of this condition is not without interest. In 1682 Ettmuller(39) published in the "Acta eruditorum" a couple of observations, the first "De crinonibus seu comedonibus infantum," the second "De sironibus." In the first observation not only is the condition once more described, and its recent origin stressed, but Ettmuller claimed to have settled once and for all the much debated question as to whether the "hairs" were living or not, by microscopical examination.

His figures of the parasite are reproduced in Figure 1. A shows the parasite under the naked eye; B, C, D, under the microscope, B alone being a perfect specimen. E, E are figures of the Cirones or sarcoptes hominis, which he describes in his second observation.


Though much doubt was subsequently to be attached to the accuracy of his first observation, the second at any rate appears to be sufficiently accurate to justify Ettmuller claiming some degree of priority over Redi,(40) whom Brumpt(41) gives as having been the first to describe this parasite in 1687.

Andrey,(42) twelve years later, reproduced Ettmuller's diagram in his monograph on the generation of worms and, while in no way casting doubt on their existence, contented himself with an epitome, in the main of the accounts I have already given. But, though his book is most aptly prefaced by a quotation from Job, Chapter VIII, v. 5, and despite such authority, the vogue of worms as an aetiological factor, which had equalled the more recent vogue of the schizomycetes in a similiar rôle, was waning, and in a few years was to receive, on the publication of Le Clerc's "History of Worms" in 1715 a blow from which it never seems really to have recovered.

Le Clerc(43) treats the morgellons in a most cavalier fashion. He writes:

"From the fountain of Error indicated in the second place to wit from things inanimate, are also bred a certain species of Worms which are cutaneous and called Cridones or Crinones, if they are only Hairs, as Leuvenhoeck will have it.Ö Leuvenhoeck, we find hath swept away the Crinones of Ettmuller and others from the Number of Animals. Ettmuller indeed challenges us to the Test of Experience, and affirms by the Assistance of the Microscope he had seen those Crinous, that is, true Worms; but since Leuvenhoeck by using the same Instrument did not discern them to be little Worms, but Hairs or Bundles of Hairs, and in an inanimate Matter, it remains that we make a Judgment to ourselves which of the two we will believe, and which not. But if we enquire whether of them understood the Art of managing the Microscope best, or used it most frequently, no Body, I am of Opinion, will prefer Ettmuller to Leuvenhoeck, who was the most eminent that Way of his Age; so that if either err'd, it is most probable 'twas Ettmuller. But those who use these Glasses with the most Success, can decide this Controversy best; and if there are any Children afflicted with this Disease, they fall into their Hands, for I never saw any, nor any Physicians of my Acquaintance."

But whether or not Leuwenhoeck's(44) observations refer to the same condition is rather a matter for conjecture and, to say the least, doubtful. Nevertheless, the Morgellons had apparently suffered a complete and rather ignominious eclipse when, on the 22nd of October, 1776, M. Bassignot,(45) Physician of the Town of Seyne in Provence, read a paper with the following title to the Société Royale de Medecine: "Histoire de la maladie connue sous le nom de Crinons, qui attaque les nouveaux nés à Seyne en Provence," and which, with several rather considerable omissions, reads in English as follows:

"Seyne, Sedena, a little town in Haute-Provence, in the diocese of Embrun, is the seat of a strange malady, which attacks nearly all the newly born. Writers mention it under the name of crinons, or comedones, and it is known in the district under that of ceès, which is a corrupt form of ceddès, a Provencal term meaning bristles. The malady becomes manifest during the first twelve hours or on the day following birth, sometimes during the first 15 days, or even a month after birth.Ö The symptoms by which it is recognized are a very considerable degree of itchiness, which is augmented by the warmth of the bed, and which prevents children from sleeping; incessant restlessness; complete inability to suck, the tongue being unable to fold on itself and grasp the nipple; and finally the impaired sound of the child's cries, which either become hoarse, or else nearly die out. This last sign seems indeed to be the most significant, and the severity of the malady may be estimated from the degree of loss of voice, and from the weakness of the child's cries.

As soon as the presence of crinons is convincingly demonstrated by the signs we have just discussed, the cure is proceeded to. This consists in frictions which are done by the women of the district who are so used to reognizing and treating this condition that as a rule they call in neither physician nor surgeon.Ö I am unable to determine accurately the extent of the country in which the malady has established itself; the enquiries that I have made suggest that few of the newly born are attacked by it at Digne, Sisteron, Gap and Embrun, but that the disease is more frequently encountered at Barcelonette."

Nor was this a unique and final mention of this condition. Within a further thirteen years, J.G. Wolf(46) wrote a thesis on the comedones for his M.D. at Leipsig which, though guarded in the extreme, received such a review in the Journal de Medecine for 1791(47) that the Morgellons might well consider their position to be once more impregnable:

"With the help of the microscope these cinder-coloured animals may be made out, having two horns, round eyes, a tail which is long, forked, with the extremities, which are bent up, covered with hair. These worms are terrible to look at."

Bruguiéres(48) had occasion to study a case personally, and believed that the little hairs which were elicited on rubbing the child were capable of independent movement. He mentioned that the condition was known in Provence as Masclous. Laënnec,(49) however, writing shortly afterwards, considered that the parasitic nature of the disease was not yet proved, and going a step further suggested that the little hairs, the so-called crinons, "ne sont autre chose que la matière onctueuse qui enduit la surface de la peau, et qui s'en détache sous la forme de vermisseaux chez tous les hommes par l'effet des frictions faites avec la main."

In 1843 Simon(50) described the Demodex folliculorum, a common inhabitant of comedones, which may well have been the parasite seen by Ettmuller, as was apparently suggested by Schönlein(51) some years ago.

Then again their appears to have been a further lull in the interest taken in this condition: significantly enough, when the condition is once more described, it is in England, in London in the eighteen eighties, at a time of considerable industrial depression and squalor, and it is referred to once more as a new condition.

In April, 1884, Radcliffe Crocker(52) published a series of cases designed to "illustrate a condition which is not generally recognized as a disease of childhod, as the text books only describe comedones as they occur at puberty and onwards, from which this condition differs in several particulars." It is to be noted that the majority of his cases were in boys between the age of three and twelve, and the comedones were, as a rule, localized to the head.

"The position in most of the boys corresponded with the part where their caps were in closest contact with the skin; naturally suggesting that they had some causative connection; and, on comparison with the cases where other regions were affected, the common factor was found to be warmth and moisture. This was confirmed by a recent case of a girl of three years old with laryngeal obstruction, probably diphtheritic, where, after repeated linseed poultices she presented — when I saw her — scattered comedones with acne and pustules all over the back and lower part of the chest.

i Ö Comedones in children differ from those in adults in their being mainly dependent on local causes, on their greater tendency to group and to be more closely set, in their involving the hairy scalp, and finally to their being generally readily amenable to treatment, all this is usually required being friction with a weak soft soap and spirit liniment, or a weak, sulphur application may be employed in mild cases, preceded by fomentation with very hot water."

The subsequent writers(53–58) of this period do not really add further to our knowledge of this condition. Julius Caesar emphasizes once more the novelty of the condition: "a rare and hitherto unrecognized affection in children," and the district from which he writes suggests poverty as constituting an important factor in this condition. Cases of MacLeod and Dore, in which the distribution coincided with the areas rubbed with camphorated oil, further illustrate another factor mentioned by Crocker, and the emphasis placed by Harries on the rôle played by the familiar Lancashire shawl in his cases is paralleled by Crocker's observations on the relationship of the comedones to the caps the boys wore.

The case published by Cauty at an earlier date as "A Bristley Boy" strikingly illustrates the aptness of the name of the condition both in Narbonne, where "they were called the Soyes, that is the bristles" and in Haute-Provence.

Whether or not the condition described by Crocker is identical with that known by Sir Thomas Browne, it would appear necessary to advance some explanation both for the difference in the age of onset, and in the localization of the comedones. These differences are, however, I believe, in the main superficial, and probably represent no more than an expression of the greater intensity in Browne's time of the very factors mentioned by Crocker. The localization of the morgellons, which was not confined to the first few weeks in infancy, being dependent on the method of swathing the child then in vogue, the great prevalence of the malady upon the extreme poverty of the people at that time.

While Glisson,(59) with a certain amount of satisfaction, adequately describes how

"Ö the midwives and nurses do handle them so artificially when they are new born.Ö They enwrap the whole Body, excepting the Head, in one continual Covering; whereupon the exterior and first affected parts of the Body in this Disease are fortified against the injuries of the outward cold, and the hot exhalations breaking out from any part of the Body are duly and equally retained by reason of that covering which is two or three times double, and boud about with swathing Bands, and equally communicated to all parts of the Body so that they are cherished with an even heat as it were in a common Hypocaust or hot House Ö,"

The poverty and utter misery of the French people at that time has perhaps been most eloquently portrayed by Michelet.(60) He, moreover, and I believe rightly, saw in the outbreak of witchcraft during this period, an expression of the utter distress of the people:

"Pendant que la terre devient stérile et que la subsistence va toujours tarissant, l'homme aussi veut être stérile.Ö

C'est là, en réalité, la cause principale qui étend si prodigieusement l'action des sorcières en ce siècle. Les vivres ont enchéri horriblement, et la rente pèse infiniment plus qu'aux temps féodaux. On ne peut plus nourrir d'enfants.Ö

Le paysan se donne au Diable. Et la paysanne encore plus. Écrasé de grossesses d'enfants qui ne naissaient que pour mourir, elle portait, plus que l'homme encore, le grand poids de la misère. J'ai dit au quinzième siècle le triste cri qui lui échappait dans l'amour: "Le fruit en soit au Diable." Et que lui servait, en effet, de faire des morts? ou, s'ils vivaient, d'élever pour le seigneur un misérable, un maladif, qui maudirait la vie et mourrait de faim à quarante ans? Lorsque la femme disait cela vers 1500, on vivait pour deux sous par jour. Combien plus le dira-t-elle en 1600, ou on ne vivait plus avec vingt sous! La mort devient un voeu dans cette misère."

It is, I think, significant that the distribution of this malady should, in the main, coincide with those areas where this superstition prevailed at that time the most, and fitting that the etiology of both should have resided in factors with which Sir Thomas Browne should, perhaps to a greater extent than any of his contemporaries, have been so unconcerned.


Attention has been called to a passage in "A Letter to a Friend" in which Sir Thomas Browne refers to a condition, which is of interest to a pediatrician, but the nature of which has apparently hitherto remained obscure.

It is suggested that the disease called by him the Morgellons is a disease that caused considerable interest in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, known under a variety of names such as Les Crinons, Masclous, Masquelons, from which it is suggested the name of Morgellons is derived.

The nature of the malady is described, and a brief account given of its history. A further suggestion is tentatively put forward enabling a date to be advanced for the writing of "A Letter to a Friend."


1. Browne, Sir Thomas. Works. Ed. by Geoffrey Keynes, London, Faber & Gwyer, 1931, 1:171.

2. Greenhill, W.A. Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici, etc. London, Macmillan, 1926, p. 296, note for p. 135, line 15.

3. Browne, Sir Thomas. Loc. cit., 5: 95.

4. Wilkin S. Sir Thomas Browne's Works. London, Pickering, 1836, 1: iv.

5. Gosse, Sir E. Sir Thomas Browne. London, Macmillan, 1924, p. 10.

6. Michelet, J. Histoire de France au dix septieme siècle. Paris, Le Merre, 1887, 1: 392.

7. Dom Devic and Dom Vaissete. Histoire générale de Languedoc. Toulouse, Privat, 1889, 11: 1049.

8. Michelet, J. Loc. cit., 2: 51.

9. Astruc, J. Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de la Faculté de Medecine de Montpellier. Paris, Cavelier, 1767, p. 257.

10. Bibliotheca Osleriana. Oxford, 1929, p. 409, No. 4532.

11. Letts, M. Notes and Queries. London, Francis, 1914, Ser. XI, 10:321.

12. Velshius, G.H. Exercitatio de vena medienensi, etc. Augustae Vindelicorum, Goebelius, 1674.

13. Letts. Loc. cit., p. 322.

14. Duloir. Voyages du Sieur Duloir. Ed. Charpentier, Paris, 1654.

15. Greenhill. Loc. cit., p. 298. Note p. 136, line 27.

16. Leonellus Faventinus de Victorius. Practica medicinalis et tractatus de aegritudinibus infantium cum Appendix ad eundem per Georgium Kufnerum Juniorem. Lugdun. apud Vencentium, 1574, p. 81, cap. XII.

17. Still, G.F. The History of Paediatrics. Oxford Univ. Press, 1931, p. 107.

18. Schenckius, J. Obs. med. rar. Francfort, Beyer, 1665, p. 703.

19. Astruc, J. Loc. cit., p. 349.

20. Montuus, H. De infantum febribus, etc. Lugduni, tornaesius & Gazius, 1558, p. 13.

21. Still, G.F. Loc. cit., p. 133.

22. Johnson, T.N. The works of that Famous Chirurgeon, Ambroise Parey. London, Clarke, 1678, p. 215.

23. Johnston, T.N. Loc. cit., p. 713.

24. Guillemeau, J. The Nursing of Children. London, Anne Griffin, 1635, p. 116.

25. Austrius, S. De puerorum morb. Lugd., 1549.

26. Ferrarius, Omnibonus. De arte med. infantum. Brix., 1577.

27. Hucher, J. De sterilitate utriusque sexus. Coloniae Allobrogum, Crispinus, 1610, p. 744.

28. Pic. Guy Patin. Paris, Steinheilt, 1911, p. 44.

29. Gesner, C. Opera. 4 vols. Tigur, 1551. (Presumably Historiae animalium, Tiguris, apud Froschenerum, 1551.)

30. Nordenskiöld, E. The History of biology. London, Kegan Paul, 1929, p. 93.

31. Aldrovandus, U. Monstror. hist. Bonon., 1642. Musaeum metallicum. Ibid., 1648. Serpent. & draconum hist. Ibid., 1640. Quadrupedum bisulc. hist. Ibid., 1642. De quadrupedib. digitatis viviparis & oviparis, 1637. Ornithologia sive de avibus hist. Franc., 1610. De quadrupedib. Animalibus & piscibus. Ibid., 1623.

32. Gosse. Loc. cit., p. 77.

33. Browne, Sir Thomas. Loc. cit., 2:291. [Pseudodoxia Epidemica III.xxvii]

34. Montuus, H. De activa med. scientia. Lugd., 1557.

35. Montuus, H. Anasceves morborum. Lugd., 1560.

36. Astruc, J. Loc. cit., p. 246.

37. Borelli, P. Hist. et obs. cent. prima. Castris, Colomerius, 1653, p. 88.

38. Mistral, F. Lon. tresor dou felibrige. Ed. du Centenaire. Paris, Delagrave, 1932.

39. Ettmuller. Acta eruditorum. Lipsiae, Grossius, 1682, p. 316.

40. Redi, F. Osservazioni intorni alli pellicelli del corpo umano. (Published by Redi, under the name of Bonomi, in Florence, 1687, in the form of letters, and in effect constituting the 1st edition of Cestoni's Observations.)

41. Brumpt, E. Précis de parasitologie. Paris, Masson, 1922, p. 719.

42. Andrey, M. De la generation des vers. Paris, la veuve Alix, 1741, p. 125.

43. Le Clerc, D. A Natural and Medicinal History of Worms. London, Wilcox, 1721, p. 280.

44. Leuwenhoeck, A. Arcana naturae. Delphis, Bat. Krooneveld, 1695, p. 46.

45. Bassignot, M. Hist. et Mem. Soc. Roy. de Med. (Memoires), pp. 173-176, 1779.

46. Wolf, J.G. Dessertatio inauguralis medica de comedonibus. Lipsiae, Klaubarthia, 1789.

47. Journal de Medecine. Paris, 87: 430, 1791.

48. Bruguières. Encyclopedie methodique. Histoire naturelle des vers. Paris, 1792, 1:137.

49. Laënnec, R.T.H. Dictionnaire des sciences médicales. Paris, Panckoucke, 1813, 1:365.

50. Simon, G. Dic. de med. comp. (Rayen.)

51. Küchenmeister, F. On Animal & Vegetable Parasites. London, Sydenham Soc., 1857, 2:15.

52. Crocker, R. Lancet, 1:704, 1884.

53. Caesar, J. Lancet, 1:1188, 1884.

54. MacLeod, J.M.H. Proc. Roy. Soc. Med., (Dermat. Sect.) 1:14, 1907-08; 7: 11, 1913-14; 11: 111, 1917-18.

55. Cauty, H.E. Lancet, 1:12, 1882.

56. Harries, E.H.R. Brit. J. Dermat., 13:5, 1911.

57. Dore, S.E. Proc. Roy. Soc. Med., (Dermat. Sect.) 2:130, 1908-09.

58. Fox, T.C. Lancet, 1:665, 1888.

59. Glisson, G., Bate, G., and Regemorter, A. A Treatise of the Rickets, Being a Disease common to Children. Trans. by Phil. Armin., London, Cole, 1681, p. 193.

60. Michelet. Loc. cit., 1:246.


* The note is almost certainly misplaced. See note 36 and note 33 of "A Letter to a Friend". Notes in Browne's works are not infrequently misplaced, and in the case of the Letter to a Friend it must remembered that publication was posthumous.

**There are several holes in the logic of this argument. The first is that, while it is perfectly plausible to presume most or all older medical books in the Browne collection belonged to Sir Thomas Browne, it is not necessary to conclude that all the books that belonged to Sir Thomas Browne remained in the collection. (Note that Kellett himself later assumes that Browne owned Schenckius, although it is not included in the catalogue.) The second is that Sir Thomas Browne is unlikely to have provided a note to a book that he did not own, especially if the note is erroneous; why not supply another erroneous note, after all? The third is the possibility, pointed out above, that the note itself is misplaced. A fourth, related, point is that Browne needed no reference to describe a disease he had seen himself. Finally, it should be considered that if on pages 18–24 of "De rheumatismo" there is "ample opportunity" for making a note of the disease, it is quite possible that Browne simply misremembered the source, thinking of the work of, say, Schenckius, and incorrectly attributing it to Picotus. (Which again leads to a strong presumption that he owned Picotus.) It should be remembered that "A Letter to a Friend" was published posthumously; Browne had no opportunity to correct misplaced or mistaken notes. These points should be kept in mind when considering Kellett's argument on the date of the "Letter".

***Nine times in Pseudodoxia Epidemica. Browne calls him a "memorable author", but usually cites him when Gesner is wrong. Aldrovandus is cited about three times as often, and is in fact referred to as a compiler and source as well as in other capacities. The opinions of Gosse should be entertained only with a good deal of caution. His critical biography of Browne is a most peculiar example of somebody reading works that, so to speak, aren't there. (Browne, perhaps because he is difficult to read, seems to invite this particular brand of criticism. For another instance, read Joan Bennett's critical biography, in which she insists that the sentence "God who can onely destroy our souls, and hath assured our resurrection, either of our bodies or names hath directly promised no duration" means that Browne did not believe in the resurrection of the body; mistaking, presumably for personal reasons, duration and resurrection and thus twisting the meaning of both the sentence and, necessarily, the entire section of Hydriotaphia in which it is found.)

§ The implicit allegation of Browne's obsession with witches is more a product of Kellett's time than of Browne's writings or biography. Certainly Browne believed in witches, or at least in witchcraft, and so testified in a trial of witches. That was, no doubt, the majority opinion of the time, and probably the majority opinion of our time, once again; it was certainly the opinion of the law. In any case, the controversy over Browne's anti-witchiness had flared up on the occasion of a proposed memorial to Browne on his three-hundredth birthday and went on for some years, particularly in the medical press; this was probably in Kellett's mind. Neither political correctness, nor the ahistorical bias that applies it retroactively, is a new phenomenon.

This page is maintained at the University of Chicago by James Eason.


Jedi Master
Here is the online reproduction of "A Letter to a Friend" in which "Morgellons" is first mentioned. It's interesting that the way it's worded, I can't tell if he is giving this affliction a name, or if this is a slang(?) name for the children of Languedock. I've highlighted the section in case you don't want to read the whole letter.

Upon occasion of the
Death of his Intimate Friend.

Give me leave to wonder that News of this nature should have such heavy Wings, that you should hear so little concerning your dearest Friend, and that I must make that unwilling Repetition to tell you, Ad portam rigidos calces extendit,(1) that he is Dead and Buried, and by this time no Puny among the mighty Nations of the Dead; for tho he left this World not very many days past, yet every hour you know largely addeth unto that dark Society; and considering the incessant Mortality of Mankind, you cannot conceive there dieth in the whole Earth so few as a thousand an hour.

Altho at this distance you had no early Account or Particular of his Death; yet your Affection may cease to wonder that you had not some secret Sense or Intimation thereof by Dreams, thoughtful Whisperings, Mercurisms, Airy Nuncio's, or sympathetical Insinuations, which many seem to have had at the Death of their dearest Friends: for since we find in that famous Story, that Spirits themselves were fain to tell their Fellows at a distance, that the great Antonio was dead;(2) we have a sufficient Excuse for our Ignorance in such Particulars, and must rest content with the common Road, and Appian way of Knowledge by Information. Tho the uncertainty of the End of this World hath confounded all Humane Predictions; yet they who shall live to see the Sun and Moon darkned, and the Stars to fall from Heaven, will hardly be deceived in the Advent of the last Day; and therefore strange it is, that the common Fallacy of consumptive Persons, who feel not themselves dying, and therefore still hope to live, should also reach their Friends in perfect Health and Judgment. That you should be so little acquainted with Plautus's sick Complexion,(3) or that almost an Hippocratical Face should not alarum you to higher fears, or rather despair of his Continuation in such an emaciated State, wherein medical Predictions fail not, as sometimes in acute Diseases, and wherein 'tis as dangerous to be sentenced by a Physician as a Judge.

Upon my first Visit I was bold to tell them who had not let fall all hopes of his Recovery, That in my sad Opinion he was not like to behold a Grashopper, much less to pluck another Fig; and in no long time after seemed to discover that odd mortal Symptom in him not mention'd by Hippocrates, that is, to lose his own Face and look like some of his near Relations; for he maintained not his proper Countenance, but looked like his Uncle, the Lines of whose Face lay deep and invisible in his healthful Visage before: for as from our beginning we run through variety of Looks, before we come to consistent and settled Faces; so before our End, by sick and languishing Alterations, we put on new Visages: and in our Retreat to Earth, may fall upon such Looks which from community of seminal Originals were before latent in us.

He was fruitlessly put in hope of advantage by change of Air, and imbibing the pure Aerial Nitre of these Parts;(4) and therefore being so far spent, he quickly found Sardinia in Tivoli,(5) and the most healthful Air of little effect, where Death had set her Broad Arrow;(6) for he lived not unto the middle of May, and confirmed the Observation of Hippocrates(7) of that mortal time of the Year when the Leaves of the Fig-tree resemble a Daw's Claw. He is happily seated who lives in Places whose Air, Earth, and Water, promote not the Infirmities of his weaker Parts, or is early removed into Regions that correct them. He that is tabidly inclined, were unwise to pass his days in Portugal: Cholical Persons will find little Comfort in Austria or Vienna: He that is weak-legg'd must not be in Love with Rome, nor an infirm Head with Venice or Paris. Death hath not only particular Stars in Heaven, but malevolent Places on Earth, which single out our Infirmities, and strike at our weaker Parts; in which Concern, passager and migrant Birds have the great Advantages; who are naturally constituted for distant Habitations, whom no Seas nor Places limit, but in their appointed Seasons will visit us from Greenland and Mount Atlas, and as some think, even from the Antipodes.(8)

Tho we could not have his Life, yet we missed not our desires in his soft Departure, which was scarce an Expiration; and his End not unlike his Beginning, when the salient Point scarce affords a sensible motion, and his Departure so like unto Sleep,(9) that he scarce needed the civil Ceremony of closing his Eyes; contrary unto the common way wherein Death draws up, Sleep lets fall the Eye-lids. With what strift and pains we came into the World we know not; but 'tis commonly no easie matter to get out of it: yet if it could be made out, that such who have easie Nativities have commonly hard Deaths, and contrarily; his Departure was so easie, that we might justly suspect his Birth was of another nature, and that some Juno sat cross-legg'd at his Nativity.(10)

Besides his soft Death, the incurable state of his Disease might somewhat extenuate your Sorrow, who know that Monsters but seldom happen, Miracles more rarely, in Physick.(11) Angelus Victorius gives a serious Account of a Consumptive, Hectical, Pthysical Woman, who was suddenly cured by the Intercession of Ignatius.(12) We read not of any in Scripture who in this case applied unto our Saviour, tho some may be contained in that large Expression,(13) That he went about Galilee healing all manner of Sickness, and all manner of Diseases. Amulets, Spells, Sigils and Incantations, practised in other Diseases, are seldom pretended in this; and we find no Sigil in the Archidoxis of Paracelsus to cure an extreme Consumption or Marasmus, which if other Diseases fail, will put a period unto long Livers, and at last make dust of all. And therefore the Stoicks could not but think that the firy Principle would wear out all the rest, and at last make an end of the World, which notwithstanding without such a lingring period the Creator may effect at his Pleasure: and to make an end of all things on Earth, and our Planetical System of the World, he need but put out the Sun.

I was not so curious to entitle the Stars unto any concern of his Death, yet could not but take notice that he died when the Moon was in motion from the Meridian; at which time, an old Italian long ago would persuade me, that the greatest part of Men died: but herein I confess I could never satisfie my Curiosity; altho from the time of Tides in Places upon or near the Sea, there may be considerable Deductions; and Pliny hath an odd and remarkable Passage concerning the Death of Men and Animals upon the Recess or Ebb of the Sea.(14) However, certain it is he died in the dead and deep part of the Night, when Nox might be most apprehensibly said to be the Daughter of Chaos, the Mother of Sleep and Death, according to old Genealogy;(15) and so went out of this World about that hour when our blessed Saviour entred it, and about what time many conceive he will return again unto it. Cardan hath a peculiar and no hard Observation from a Man's hand, to know whether he was born in the day or night, which I confess holdeth in my own. And Scaliger to that purpose hath another from the tip of the Ear.(16) Most(17) Men are begotten in the Night, most Animals in the Day; but whether more Persons have been born in the Night or the Day, were a Curiosity undecidable, tho more have perished by violent Deaths in the Day; yet in natural Dissolutions both Times may hold an Indifferency, at least but contingent Inequality. The whole course of Time runs out in the Nativity and Death of Things; which whether they happen by Succession or Coincidence, are best computed by the natural, not artificial Day.

That Charles the Fifth was Crowned upon the day of his Nativity, it being in his own power so to order it, makes no singular Animadversion; but that he should also take King Francis Prisoner upon that day,(18) was an unexpected Coincidence, which made the same remarkable. Antipater who had an Anniversary Fever(19) every Year upon his Birth day, needed no Astrological Revolution to know what day he should dye on. When the fixed Stars have made a Revolution unto the points from whence they first set out,(20) some of the Ancients thought the World would have an end; which was a kind of dying upon the day of its Nativity. Now the Disease prevailing and swiftly advancing about the time of his Nativity, some were of Opinion, that he would leave the World on the day he entred into it: but this being a lingring Disease, and creeping softly on, nothing critical was found or expected, and he died not before fifteen days after. Nothing is more common with Infants than to dye on the day of their Nativity, to behold the worldly Hours and but the Fractions thereof; and even to perish before their Nativity in the hidden World of the Womb, and before their good Angel is conceived to undertake them.(21) But in Persons who out-live many Years, and when there are no less than three hundred sixty five days to determine their Lives in every Year; that the first day should make the last, that the Tail of the Snake should return into its Mouth precisely at that time,(22) and they should wind up upon the day of their Nativity, is indeed a remarkable Coincidence, which tho Astrology hath taken witty pains to salve, yet hath it been very wary in making Predictions of it.

In this consumptive Condition and remarkable Extenuation he came to be almost half himself, and left a great part behind him which he carried not to the Grave. And tho that Story of Duke John Ernestus Mansfield be not so easily swallowed,(23) that at his Death his Heart was found not to be so big as a Nut; yet if the Bones of a good Sceleton weigh little more than twenty pounds, his Inwards and Flesh remaining could make no Bouffage,(24) but a light bit for the Grave. I never more lively beheld the starved Characters of Dante in any living Face;(25) an Aruspex might have read a Lecture upon him without Exenteration, his Flesh being so consumed that he might, in a manner, have discerned his Bowels without opening of him: so that to be carried sextâ cervice to his Grave, was but a civil unnecessity; and the Complements of the Coffin might out-weigh the Subject of it.

Omnibonus Ferrarius in mortal Dysenteries of Children(26) looks for a Spot behind the Ear; in consumptive Diseases some eye the Complexion of Moals; Cardan eagerly views the Nails,(27) some the Lines of the Hand, the Thenar or Muscle of the Thumb; some are so curious as to observe the depth of the Throat-pit, how the proportion varieth of the Small of the Legs unto the Calf, or the compass of the Neck unto the Circumference of the Head: but all these, with many more, were so drowned in a mortal Visage and last Face of Hippocrates, that a weak Physiognomist might say at first eye, This was a Face of Earth, and that Morta(28) had set her Hard-Seal upon his Temples, easily perceiving what Caricatura Draughts(29) Death makes upon pined Faces, and unto what an unknown degree a Man may live backward.

Tho the Beard be only made a distinction of Sex and sign of masculine Heat by Ulmus,(30) yet the Precocity and early growth thereof in him, was not to be liked in reference unto long Life. Lewis, that virtuous but unfortunate King of Hungary, who lost his Life at the Battel of Mohacz, was said to be born without a Skin, to have bearded at Fifteen, and to have shewn some gray Hairs about Twenty;(31) from whence the Diviners conjectured, that he would be spoiled of his Kingdom, and have but a short Life: But Hairs make fallible Predictions, and many Temples early gray have out-lived the Psalmist's Period.(32) Hairs which have most amused me have not been in the Face or Head, but on the Back, and not in Men but Children, as I long ago observed in that Endemial Distemper(33) of little Children in Languedock, called the Morgellons, wherein they critically break out with harsh Hairs on their Backs, which takes off the Unquiet Symptomes of the Disease, and delivers them from Coughs and Convulsions(34).

The Egyptian Mummies that I have seen, have had their Mouths open, and somewhat gaping, which affordeth a good opportunity to view and observe their Teeth, wherein 'tis not easie to find any wanting or decayed: and therefore in Egypt, where one Man practised but one Operation, or the Diseases but of single Parts, it must needs be a barren Profession to confine unto that of drawing of Teeth, and little better than to have been Tooth-drawer unto King Pyrrhus, who had but two in his Head.(35) How the Bannyans of India maintain the Integrity of those Parts, I find not particularly observed; who notwithstanding have an Advantage of their Preservation by abstaining from all Flesh, and employing their Teeth in such Food unto which they may seem at first framed, from their Figure and Conformation: but sharp and corroding Rheums had so early mouldered those Rocks and hardest parts of his Fabrick, that a Man might well conceive that his Years were never like to double or twice tell over his Teeth.(36) Corruption had dealt more severely with them, than sepulchral Fires and smart Flames with those of burnt Bodies of old; for in the burnt Fragments of Urns which I have enquired into, altho I seem to find few Incisors or Shearers, yet the Dog Teeth and Grinders do notably resist those Fires.(37)

In the Years of his Childhood he had languished under the Disease of his Country, the Rickets; after which notwithstanding many I have seen become strong(38) and active Men; but whether any have attained unto very great Years the Disease is scarce so old as to afford good Observations.(39) Whether the Children of the English Plantations be subject unto the same Infirmity, may be worth the observing. Whether Lameness and Halting do still encrease among the Inhabitants of Rovigno in Istria, I know not; yet scarce twenty Years ago Monsieur Du Loyr observed, that a third part of that People halted: but too certain it is, that the Rickets encreaseth among us; the Small-Pox grows more pernicious than the Great: the Kings Purse knows that the King's Evil grows more common. Quartan Agues are become no strangers in Ireland; more common and mortal in England: and tho the Ancients gave that Disease very good Words,(40) yet now that Bell makes no strange sound which rings out for the Effects thereof.(41)

Some think there were few Consumptions in the Old World, when Men lived much upon Milk; and that the ancient Inhabitants of this Island were less troubled with Coughs when they went naked, and slept in Caves and Woods, than Men now in Chambers and Feather-beds. Plato will tell us, that there was no such Disease as a Catarrh in Homer's time,(42) and that it was but new in Greece in his Age. Polydore Virgil delivereth that Pleurisies were rare in England, who lived but in the days of Henry the Eighth. Some will allow no Diseases to be new, others think that many old ones are ceased; and that such which are esteemed new, will have but their time: However, the Mercy of God hath scattered the great heap of Diseases, and not loaded any one Country with all: some may be new in one Country which have been old in another. New Discoveries of the Earth discover new Diseases: for besides the common swarm, there are endemial and local Infirmities proper unto certain Regions, which in the whole Earth make no small number: and if Asia, Africa, and America should bring in their List, Pandoras Box would swell, and there must be a strange Pathology.

Most Men expected to find a consumed Kell,(43) empty and bladder-like Guts, livid and marbled Lungs, and a withered Pericardium in this exuccous Corps: but some seemed too much to wonder that two Lobes of his Lungs adhered to his side; for the like I had often found in bodies of no suspected Consumptions or difficulty of Respiration. And the same more often happeneth in Men than other Animals; and some think, in Women than in Men: but the most remarkable I have met with, was in a Man,(44) after a Cough of almost fifty Years, in whom all the Lobes adhered unto the Pleura, and each Lobe unto another; who having also been much troubled with the Gout, brake the Rule of Cardan,(45) and died of the Stone in the Bladder. Aristotle makes a Query, Why some Animals cough as Man, some not, as Oxen.(46) If coughing be taken as it consisteth of a natural and voluntary motion, including Expectoration and spitting out, it may be as proper unto Man as bleeding at the Nose; otherwise we find that Vegetius and Rural Writers(47) have not left so many Medicines in vain against the Coughs of Cattel; and Men who perish by Coughs dye the Death of Sheep, Cats and Lyons: and tho Birds have no Midriff, yet we meet with divers Remedies in Arrianus against the Coughs of Hawks. And tho it might be thought, that all Animals who have Lungs do cough; yet in cetaceous Fishes, who have large and strong Lungs, the same is not observed; nor yet in oviparous Quadrupeds: and in the greatest thereof, the Crocodile, altho we read much of their Tears, we find nothing of that motion.(48)

From the Thoughts of Sleep, when the Soul was conceived nearest unto Divinity, the Ancients erected an Art of Divination, wherein while they too widely expatiated in loose and inconsequent Conjectures, Hippocrates (49) wisely considered Dreams as they presaged 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 cúlestis, Jupiter opulentus, Minerva, Mercurius, and Apollo; in bad unto Tellus and the Heroes.

And therefore I could not but take notice how his Female Friends were irrationally curious so strictly to examine his Dreams, and in this low state to hope for the Fantasms 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 no thing away from us, in Hippocrates his Sense was of good signification:(50) for we live by the dead, and every thing is or must be so before it becomes our Nourishment. And Cardan, who dream'd that he discoursed with his dead Father in the Moon, made thereof no mortal Interpretation: and even to dream that we are dead, was no condemnable Fantasm in old Oneirocriticism, as having a signification of Liberty, vacuity from Cares, exemption and freedom from Troubles, unknown unto the dead.

Some Dreams I confess may admit of easie and feminine Exposition: he who dream'd that he could not see his right Shoulder, might easily fear to lose the sight of his right Eye; he that before a Journey dream'd that his Feet were cut off, had a plain warning not to undertake his intended Journey. But why to dream of Lettuce should presage some ensuing Disease, why to eat Figs should signifie foolish Talk, why to eat Eggs great Trouble, and to dream of Blindness should be so highly commended, according to the Oneirocritical Verses of Astrampsychus 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 Aftergrave, having small content in that common satisfaction to survive or live in another, but amply satisfied that his Disease should dye with himself, nor revive in a Posterity to puzzle Physick, and make sad Memento's of their Parent hereditary. Leprosie awakes not sometimes before Forty, the Gout and Stone often later; but consumptive and tabid Roots sprout more early,(51) 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(52) to destroy them, make commonly short Courses, and live not at length but in Figures; so that a sound Cæsarean Nativity(53) may out-last a natural Birth, and a Knife may sometimes make way for a more lasting fruit than a Midwife; which makes so few Infants now able to endure the old Test of the River,(54) and many to have feeble Children who could scarce have been married 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,(55) 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.(56) And this serious Person,(57) tho no minor(58) 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 Petrarcha, Dante, and Ariosto, have so unhappily failed, that if their Tombs should out-last their Works, Posterity would find so little of Apollo on them, as to mistake them for Ciceronian Poets.(59)

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 Journeys end, and which may be reckoned among the mortal Symptoms of their last Disease; that is, to become more narrow minded, miserable and tenacious, unready to part with any thing when they are ready to part with all, and afraid to want when they have no time to spend; mean while Physicians, who know that many are mad but in a single depraved Imagination, and one prevalent Desipiency;(60) and that beside and out of such single Deliriums a Man may meet with sober Actions and good Sense in Bedlam; cannot but smile to see the Heirs and concerned Relations, gratulating themselves in the sober departure of their Friends; and tho they behold such mad covetous Passages, content to think they dye in good Understanding, and in their sober Senses.

Avarice, which is not only Infidelity but Idolatry, either from covetous Progeny or questuary Education, had no Root in his Breast, who made good Works the Expression of his Faith, and was big with desires unto publick and lasting Charities; and surely where good Wishes and charitable Intentions exceed Abilities, Theorical(61) Beneficency may be more than a Dream. They build not Castles in the Air who would build Churches on Earth; and tho they leave no such Structures here, may lay good Foundations in Heaven. In brief, his Life and Death were such, that I could not blame them who wished the like, and almost to have been himself; almost, I say; for tho we may wish the prosperous Appurtenances of others, or to be an other in his happy Accidents; yet so intrinsecal is every Man unto himself, that some doubt may be made, whether any would exchange his Being, or substantially become another Man.

He had wisely seen the World at home and abroad, and thereby observed under what variety Men are deluded in the pursuit of that which is not here to be found. And altho he had no Opinion of reputed Felicities below, and apprehended Men widely out in the estimate of such Happiness; yet his sober contempt of the World wrought no Democritism(62) or Cynicism, no laughing or snarling at it, as well understanding there are not Felicities in this World to satisfie a serious Mind; and therefore to soften the stream of our Lives, we are fain to take in the reputed Contentations of this World, to unite with the Crowd in their Beatitudes, and to make our selves happy by Consortion, Opinion, or Co-existimation: for strictly to separate from received and customary Felicities, and to confine unto the rigor of Realities, were to contract the Consolation of our Beings unto too uncomfortable Circumscriptions.

Not to fear Death, nor desire it,(63) was short of his Resolution: to be dissolved, and be with Christ, was his dying ditty. He conceived his Thred long, in no long course of Years, and when he had scarce out-lived the second life of Lazarus(64); esteeming it enough to approach the Years of his Saviour, who so ordered his own humane State, as not to be old upon Earth.

But to be content with Death may be better than to desire it: a miserable Life may make us wish for Death, but a virtuous one to rest in it; which is the advantage of those resolved Christians, who looking on Death not only as the sting, but the period and end of Sin, the Horizon and Isthmus between this Life and a better, and the Death of this World but as a Nativity of another, do contentedly submit unto the common Necessity, and envy not Enoch or Elias.

Not to be content with Life is the unsatisfactory state of those which destroy themselves;(65) who being afraid to live, run blindly upon their own Death, which no Man fears by Experience: and the Stoicks had a notable Doctrine to take away the fear thereof; that is, In such Extremities to desire that which is not to be avoided, and wish what might be feared; and so made Evils voluntary, and to suit with their own Desires, which took off the terror of them.

But the ancient Martyrs were not encouraged by such Fallacies; who, tho they feared not Death, were afraid to be their own Executioners; and therefore thought it more Wisdom to crucifie their Lusts than their Bodies, to circumcise than stab their Hearts, and to mortifie than kill themselves.

His willingness to leave this World about that Age when most Men think they may best enjoy it, tho paradoxical unto worldly Ears, was not strange unto mine, who have so often observed, that many, tho old, oft stick fast unto the World, and seem to be drawn like Cacus's Oxen, backward with great strugling and reluctancy unto the Grave.(66) The long habit of Living makes meer Men more hardly to part with Life, and all to be nothing, but what is to come. To live at the rate of the old World, when some could scarce remember themselves young, may afford no better digested Death than a more moderate period. Many would have thought it an Happiness to have had their lot of Life in some notable Conjunctures of Ages past; but the uncertainty of future Times hath tempted few to make a part in Ages to come. And surely, he that hath taken the true Altitude of Things, and rightly calculated the degenerate state of this Age, is not like to envy those that shall live in the next, much less three or four hundred Years hence, when no Man can comfortably imagine what Face this World will carry: and therefore since every Age makes a step unto the end of all things, and the Scripture affords so hard a Character of the last Times; quiet Minds will be content with their Generations, and rather bless Ages past than be ambitious of those to come.

Tho Age had set no Seal upon his Face, yet a dim Eye might clearly discover Fifty in his Actions; and therefore since Wisdom is the gray Hair, and an unspotted Life old Age; altho his Years came short, he might have been said to have held up with longer Livers, and to have been Solomon's Old Man.(67) And surely if we deduct all those days of our Life which we might wish unlived, and which abate the comfort of those we now live; if we reckon up only those days which God hath accepted of our Lives, a Life of good Years will hardly be a span long: the Son in this sense may out-live the Father, and none be climacterically old.(68) He that early arriveth unto the Parts and Prudence of Age, is happily old without the uncomfortable Attendants of it; and 'tis superfluous to live unto gray Hairs, when in a precocious Temper we anticipate the Virtues of them. In brief, he cannot be accounted young who out-liveth the old Man. He that hath early arrived unto the measure of a perfect Stature in Christ, hath already fulfilled the prime and longest Intention of his Being: and one day lived after the perfect Rule of Piety, is to be preferred before sinning Immortality.

Although he attained not unto the Years of his Predecessors, yet he wanted not those preserving Virtues which confirm the thread of weaker Constitutions. Cautelous Chastity and crafty Sobriety were far from him; those Jewels were Paragon, without Flaw, Hair, Ice, or Cloud in him: which affords me an hint to proceed in these good Wishes and few Memento's unto you.(69)

Tread softly and circumspectly in this funambulous Track and narrow Path of Goodness: pursue Virtue virtuously; be sober and temperate, not to preserve your Body in a sufficiency to wanton Ends; not to spare your Purse; not to be free from the Infamy of common Transgressors that way, and thereby to ballance or palliate obscure and closer Vices; nor simply to enjoy Health: by all which you may leaven good Actions, and render Virtues disputable; but in one Word, that you may truly serve God; which every Sickness will tell you, you cannot well do without Health. The sick mans Sacrifice is but a lame Oblation. Pious Treasures laid up in healthful days, excuse the defect of sick Non-performances; without which we must needs look back with Anxiety upon the lost opportunities of Health; and may have cause rather to envy than pity the Ends of penitent Malefactors, who go with clear parts unto the last Act of their Lives; and in the integrity of their Faculties return their Spirit unto God that gave it.

Consider whereabout thou art in Cebes his Table, or that old philosophical Pinax of the Life of Man;(70) whether thou art still in the Road of Uncertainties; whether thou hast yet entred the narrow Gate, got up the Hill and asperous way which leadeth unto the House of Sanity, or taken that purifying Potion from the hand of sincere Erudition, which may send thee clear and pure a way unto a virtuous and happy Life.

In this virtuous Voyage let not disappointment cause Despondency, nor difficulty Despair; think not that you are sailing from Lima to Manillia,(71) wherein thou may'st tye up the Rudder, and sleep before the Wind; but expect rough Seas, Flaws,(72) and contrary Blasts; and 'tis well if by many cross Tacks and Verings thou arrivest at thy Port. Sit not down in the popular Seats and common Level of Virtues, but endeavour to make them Heroical. Offer not only Peace-Offerings but Holocausts unto God. To serve him singly, to serve our selves, were too partial a piece of Piety, nor likely to place us in the highest Mansions of Glory.

He that is chaste and continent, not to impair his Strength, or terrified by Contagion, will hardly be heroically virtuous. Adjourn not that Virtue unto those Years when Cato could lend out his Wife, and impotent Satyrs write Satyrs against Lust: but be chaste in thy flaming days, when Alexander dared not trust his Eyes upon the fair Daughters of Darius, and when so many Men think there is no other way but Origen's.(73)

Be charitable before Wealth makes thee covetous, and lose not the Glory of the Mite.(74) If Riches increase, let thy Mind hold pace with them; and think it not enough to be liberal, but munificent. Tho a Cup of cold Water from some hand may not be without its Reward; yet stick not thou for Wine and Oyl for the Wounds of the distressed: and treat the Poor as our Saviour did the Multitude, to the Relicks of some Baskets.

Trust not to the Omnipotency of Gold, or say unto it, Thou art my Confidence: Kiss not thy Hand when thou beholdest that terrestrial Sun, nor bore thy Ear unto its Servitude. A Slave unto Mammon makes no Servant unto God: Covetousness cracks the Sinews of Faith, numbs the Apprehension of any thing above Sense, and only affected with the certainty of things present, makes a peradventure of Things to come; lives but unto one World, nor hopes but fears another; makes our own Death sweet unto others, bitter unto our selves; gives a dry Funeral, Scenical Mourning, and no wet Eyes at the Grave.

If Avarice be thy Vice, yet make it not thy Punishment: miserable Men commiserate not themselves, bowelless unto themselves, and merciless unto their own Bowels. Let the fruition of Things bless the possession of them, and take no satisfaction in dying but living rich: for since thy good Works, not thy Goods, will follow thee; since Riches are an Appurtenance of Life, and no dead Man is rich, to famish in Plenty, and live poorly to dye rich, were a multiplying improvement in Madness, and Use upon Use in Folly.

Persons lightly dip'd, not grain'd in generous Honesty, are but pale in Goodness, and faint hued in Sincerity: but be thou what thou virtuously art, and let not the Ocean wash away thy Tincture: stand magnetically upon that Axis where prudent Simplicity hath fix'd thee, and let no Temptation invert the Poles of thy Honesty: and that Vice may be uneasie, and even monstrous unto thee, let iterated good Acts, and long confirmed Habits, make Vertue natural, or a second Nature in thee. And since few or none prove eminently vertuous but from some advantageous Foundations in their Temper and natural Inclinations; study thy self betimes, and early find, what Nature bids thee to be, or tells thee what thou may'st be. They who thus timely descend into themselves, cultivating the good Seeds which Nature hath set in them, and improving their prevalent Inclinations to Perfection, become not Shrubs, but Cedars in their Generation; and to be in the form of the best of the Bad, or the worst of the Good, will be no satisfaction unto them.

Let not the Law of thy Country be the non ultra of thy Honesty, nor think that always good enough which the Law will make good. Narrow not the Law of Charity, Equity, Mercy; joyn Gospel Righteousness with Legal Right; be not a meer Gamaliel in the Faith;(75) but let the Sermon in the Mount be thy Targum(76) unto the Law of Sinai.

Make not the Consequences of Vertue the Ends thereof: be not beneficent for a Name or Cymbal of Applause, nor exact and punctual in Commerce, for the Advantages of Trust and Credit, which attend the Reputation of just and true Dealing; for such Rewards, tho unsought for, plain Virtue will bring with her, whom all Men honour, tho they pursue not. To have other bye ends in good Actions, sowers laudable Performances, which must have deeper Roots, Motions, and Instigations, to give them the Stamp of Vertues.

Tho humane Infirmity may betray thy heedless days into the popular ways of Extravagancy, yet let not thine own depravity, or the torrent of vicious Times, carry thee into desperate Enormities in Opinions, Manners, or Actions: if thou hast dip'd thy foot in the River, yet venture not over Rubicon(77); run not into Extremities from whence there is no Regression, nor be ever so closely shut up within the holds of Vice and Iniquity, as not to find some Escape by a Postern of Resipiscency.(78)

Owe not thy Humility unto Humiliation by Adversity, but look humbly down in that State when others look upward upon thee: be patient in the Age of Pride and days of Will and Impatiency, when Men live but by Intervals of Reason, under the Sovereignty of Humor and Passion, when 'tis in the Power of every one to transform thee out of thy self, and put thee into the short Madness.(79) If you cannot imitate Job, yet come not short of Socrates, and those patient Pagans,(80) who tired the Tongues of their Enemies, while they perceiv'd they spet their Malice at Brazen Walls and Statues.

Let Age, not Envy, draw Wrinkles on thy Cheeks: be content to be envied, but envy not, Emulation may be plausible, and Indignation allowable; but admit no Treaty with that Passion which no Circumstance can make good. A Displacency at the good of others, because they enjoy it, altho we do not want it, is an absurd Depravity, sticking fast unto humane Nature from its primitive Corruption; which he that can well subdue, were a Christian of the first Magnitude, and for ought I know, may have one foot already in Heaven.

While thou so hotly disclaimst the Devil, be not guilty of Diabolism; fall not in to one Name with that unclean Spirit, nor act his Nature whom thou so much abhorrest; that is, to accuse, calumniate, backbite, whisper, detract, or sinistrously interpret others; degenerous Depravities and narrow-minded Vices, not only below S. Paul's noble Christian, but Aristotle's true Gentleman.(81) Trust not with some, that the Epistle of S. James is Apocryphal,(82) and so read with less fear that stabbing truth, that in company with this Vice thy Religion is in vain. Moses broke the Tables without breaking of the Law; but where Charity is broke the Law it self is shattered, which cannot be whole without Love, that is the fulfilling of it. Look humbly upon thy Virtues, and tho thou art rich in some, yet think thy self poor and naked without that crowning Grace, which thinketh no Evil, which envieth not, which beareth, believeth, hopeth, endureth all things. With these sure Graces, while busie Tongues are crying out for a drop of cold Water, Mutes may be in Happiness, and sing the Trisagium in Heaven.(83)

Let not the Sun in Capricorn(84) go down upon thy Wrath, but write thy Wrongs in Water; draw the Curtain of Night upon Injuries; shut them up in the Tower of Oblivion,(85) and let them be as tho they had not been. Forgive thine Enemies totally, and without any Reserve of hope, that however, God will revenge thee.

Be substantially great in thy self, and more than thou appearest unto others; and let the World be deceived in thee, as they are in the Lights of Heaven. Hang early Plummets upon the Heels of Pride, and let Ambition have but an Epicycle or narrow circuit in thee.86 Measure not thy self by thy Morning shadow, but by the Extent of thy Grave; and reckon thy self above the Earth by the Line thou must be contented with under it. Spread not into boundless Expansions either of Designs(87) or Desires. Think not that Mankind liveth but for a few, and that the rest are born but to serve the Ambition of those, who make but Flies of Men, and Wildernesses of whole Nations. Swell not into Actions which embroil and confound the Earth; but be one of those violent ones which force the Kingdom of Heaven.(88) If thou must needs reign, be Zeno's King,(89) and enjoy that Empire which every Man gives himself. Certainly the iterated Injunctions of Christ unto Humility, Meekness, Patience, and that despised Train of Virtues, cannot but make pathetical Impressions upon those who have well considered the Affairs of all Ages, wherein Pride, Ambition, and Vain-glory, have led up the worst of Actions, and whereunto Confusion, Tragedies, and Acts denying all Religion, do owe their Originals.

Rest not in an Ovation,(90) but a Triumph over thy Passions; chain up the unruly Legion of thy Breast; behold thy Trophies within thee, not without thee: Lead thine own Captivity captive,(91) and be Cæsar unto thy self.

Give no quarter unto those Vices which are of thine inward Family; and having a Root in thy Temper, plead a Right and Propriety in thee. Examine well thy complexional Inclinations. Raise early Batteries against those strong-holds built upon the Rock of Nature, and make this a great part of the Militia of thy Life. The politick Nature of Vice must be opposed by Policy, and therefore wiser Honesties Project and plot against Sin; wherein notwithstanding we are not to rest in Generals, or the trite Stratagems of Art: that may succeed with one Temper which may prove successless with another. There is no Community or Commonwealth of Virtue; every Man must study his own åconomy, and erect these Rules unto the Figure of himself.

Lastly, If length of Days be thy Portion, make it not thy Expectation: reckon not upon long Life, but live always beyond thy Account.(92) He that so often surviveth his Expectation, lives many Lives, and will hardly complain of the shortness of his Days. Time past is gone like a shadow; make Times to come, present; conceive that near which may be far off; approximate thy last Times by present Apprehensions of them: live like a Neighbour unto Death, and think there is but little to come. And since there is something in us that must still live on, joyn both Lives together; unite them in thy Thoughts and Actions, and live in one but for the other. He who thus ordereth the Purposes of this Life, will never be far from the next; and is in some manner already in it, by an happy Conformity, and close Apprehension of it.

F I N I S.
I just wonder is that because My last name is Morellon , does it have something about with Morgellons? 😬
Where Morgellon come from?


Jedi Master
These are the notes that belong to "A Letter to a Friend". I had to make a separate post because it was more then 64000 characters long.


1. [Persius Satire III.105 (which edition reads "in portam").]

2. [see a note from Notes and Queries referring this to a story in George Sandys's Relation of a Journey begun An. Dom. 1610.]

3. [Plautus Captivi III.iv:646-648 "Dicam tibi:/ macilento ore, naso acuto, corpore albo, oculis nigris,/subrufus aliquantum, crispus, cincinnatus."]

4. [Parts of East Anglia being known for healthy air; see, for instance, Defoe's Tour through the Eastern Counties of England (1722): "[St. Edmunds] is a town famed for its pleasant situation and wholesome air, the Montpelier of Suffolk, and perhaps of England." (He goes on to say that the monks transferred St Edmund's body to the place because of its healthy air, which seems too little, too late; cum mors venerit....) The "nitre" in nitrous air is putative.]

5. Cum mors venerit, in medio Tibure Sardinia est. [Martial Epig. iv.60.5]

6. In the King's Forest they set the Figure of a broad Arrow upon Trees that are to be cut down.

7. Hippoc. Epidem.

8. Bellonius de Avibus.

9. [1690 has "Sheep" here and below "Sheep let" rather than "Sleep lets".]

10. [Or Lucina, at Juno's behest: Ovid Metamorphoses IX]

11. Monstra contingunt in medicina Hippoc. Strange and rare Escapes there happen sometimes in Physick.

12. Angeli Victorii Consultationes.

13. Matth. iv. 25.

14. Aristoteles nullum animal nisi oestu recedente expirare affirmat: observatum id multum in Gallico Oceano & duntaxat in Homine compertum, lib. 2. cap. 101. [Pliny NH ii.220; in Holland's translation, Chap. XCVIII.]

15. [Night, daughter of Chaos: Hesiod Theogony 124; Night, mother of Sleep, Death, Strife, etc., 211 ff..]

16. Auris pars pendula Lobus dicitur, non omnibus ea pars est auribus; non enim üs qui noctu nati sunt, sed qui interdiu, maxima ex parte. Com. in Aristot. de Animal. lib. I.

17. [1690 has "ear, most"]

18. [At the Battle of Pavia, February 24, 1525. Charles V was born on February 24, 1500 and crowned Emperor (of the Holy Roman Empire) in Bologna on February 24, 1530.]

19. [1690 (and other editions): "Feast"; but MS Sloan 1862 has "Fever"; Pliny vii.51 says that Antipater was afflicted with an annual fever.]

20. [Referring to the so-called "precession of the equinoxes" which yields the "Ages" (of Aquarius, of Pisces, etc.). The calculation is fraught with difficulties, if not impossibilities, the first of them being the exact location the "beginning". The equinox precesses one sign in approximately 2,100 years.]

21. [Cf. Religio Medici XXXI, p. 70 giving Paracelsus' view and Browne's comment.]

22. According to the Egyptian Hieroglyphick.

23. Turkish History. [Knolles, General History of the Turks. ]

24. [Something that puffs up the cheeks — hence, a satisfying meal.]

25. In the Poet Dante his description. [See Browne's note in Chapter III of Hydriotaphia.]

26. De morbis Puerorum.

27. [As in Pseudodoxia V.xxiii, as above.]

28. Morta, the Deity of Death or Fate.

29. When Mens Faces are drawn with resemblance to some other Animals, the Italians call it, to be drawn in Caricatura.

30. Ulmus de usu barbæ humanæ.

31. [Louis II, crowned the last king of Hungary in 1508 (at the age of 2), said to have been "sickly but intelligent" as a child; he died at the disastrous battle of Mohács on August 29, 1526, possibly by drowning in the Danube. Hungary was subsequently divided between the Ottoman and the Habsburg empires.]

32. The Life of a man is Threescore and Ten. [Or fourscore, for the strong; Psalm 90:10.]

33. See Picotus de Rheumatismo. [Morgellons, crinons, masclous: a pediatric skin disease possibly caused by a worm, as in the dracunculus of tropical areas. See "Sir Thomas Browne and the Disease called the Morgellons" for a discussion of the disease. The reference to Picotus does not seem to belong here, as Picotus does not discuss this disease. See note 36.]

34. {MS. Sloan 1862, in Wilkin, continues:

Though hairs afford but fallible conjectures, yet we cannot but take notice of them. They grow not equally on bodies after death: women's skulls afford moss as well as men's, and the best I have seen was upon a woman's skull, taken up and laid in a room after twenty-five years' burial. Though the skin be made the place of hairs, yet sometimes they are found on the heart and inward parts. The plica or gluey locks happen unto both sexes, and being cut off will come again: but they are wary of cutting off the same, for fear of headache and other diseases.

[Plica, plica polonica, a matted condition of the hair, common in Poland of former days, resulting from disease, dirt and insects; said largely to have disappeared by the late 19th century.]}

35. His upper and lower Jaw being solid, and without distinct rows of Teeth. [Plutarch, Pyrrhus III.6, says that Pyrrhus had only one upper tooth, with slight incised lines where teeth would be separated. He says nothing about the lower tooth or teeth. On the state of ancient teeth, Lanciani, Pagan and Christian Rome, makes much the same observation on dentists in Rome: he is surprised at the number of dentists buried (their tombs marked with symbols of their craft) compared to the very good quality of the teeth of Roman corpses. Perhaps they were very good dentists.]

36. Twice tell over his Teeth never live to threescore Years. [It is probably here that the note (33) on Picotus belongs. Bannyans, or banians, a caste or group of Indians who were familiar because they were traders, refers to Hindus in general.]

37. {Wilkin supplies from MS. Sloan 1862 a paragraph that followed here:

Affection had so blinded some of his nearest relations, as to retain some hope of a postliminious life, and that he might come to life again, and therefore would not have him coffined before the third day. Some such virbiasses [so in MS.] I confess we find in story, and one or two I remember myself, but they lived not long after. Some contingent re-animations are to be hoped in diseases wherein the lamp of life is but puffed out and seemingly choaked, and not where the oil is quite spent and exhausted. Though Nonnes will have it a fever, yet of what disease Lazarus first died, it is uncertain from the text, as his second death from good authentic history; but since some persons conceived to be dead do sometimes return again unto evidence of life, that miracle was wisely managed by our Saviour; for had he not been dead four days and under corruption, there had not wanted enough who would have cavilled the same, which the scripture now puts out of doubt; and tradition also confirmeth, that he lived thirty years after, and being pursued by the Jews, came by sea into Provence, by Marseilles, with Mary Magdalen, Maximinus, and others: where remarkable places carry their names unto this day. But to arise from the grave to return again into it, is but an uncomfortable reviction. Few men would be content to cradle it once again: except a man can lead his second life better than the first, a man may be double condemned for living evilly twice, which were but to make the second death in scripture the third, and to accumulate in the punishment of two bad livers at the last day. To have performed the duty of corruption in the grave, to live again as far form sin as death, and arise like our Saviour for ever, are the only satisfactions of well-weighed expectations.

[Biliminous: In Roman law, "biliminium" is the legal right of a person banished or held hostage to return to his home (to cross the threshold); hence, Browne's use as a metaphor for returning to life. Virbias: presumably vir + bi-, twice a man?]}

38. [1690: "many have been become strong"; MS Sloan 1862 reads "I have seen many to have become strong"; Wilkin "many have become"]

39. [The disease of rickets is presumed to be ancient, although archeological evidence is scant. According to Alfred Hess, Rickets, (Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, 1929), the first "satisfactory description of rickets" — that is, a description that meets the current clinical descriptions of the disease — was given by Soranus of Ephesus around A.D. 100; Galen also gives a description of the disorder. (It is, of course, only conjectural that the disorder they are describing is rickets, but it sounds like it.) When it began to reappear, or began to be noticed again, in the late 16th century, it was thought of as a new disease. John Mayow, in his De rachitide of 1668, says

There has been only one, as far as I know, who has written anything on the subject of rickets, namely, the distinguished Dr Glisson; and that may seem strange, because as a rule disease scarcely rages so much as the incurable passion of writing about it....
This disease made its appearance some forty years ago in the western parts of England; and since then (as it is the way of diseases and other evils to spread themselves) has infested infants' cradles through nearly the whole of England, though more rarely in the northern part.

This latter remark is strange, given the etiology of rickets, which scarcely ever occur in sunny climates; perhaps the air of southern England was already sufficiently smoggy to render the south less sunny than the north. Nevertheless, it is remarkable that the disease seemed new to the English physicians, who were mostly thoroughly conversant with classical medical treatises. The name itself, whose etymology is controversial, is almost certainly English. The Germans called it, and still call it sometimes, "die englische Krankheit". Hess, however, remarks that the disease had earlier been described by Guillimeau (1609, translated into English in 1612) and by Paré (1633), both of whom treat the disorder as common. It first appears in the London Bills of Mortality in 1634, when it caused 14 deaths; by 1659, the number of deaths was 476, and, according to Hess, from 1655-1658 it reached 1598, a scarcely credible number. The 1731 bills of mortality for London list 54 deaths from rickets, about half the number of deaths from measles and less than a third the number of deaths from "stoppage of the stomach", whatever that might be. But rickets was to make a hideous come-back in the nineteenth century before the early twentieth-century discoveries of its etiology and treatment rendered it more or less a curiosity in the developed world.]

40. AsfalestatoV kai rhistoV seucrissima & facillimæ Hippocrat.

41. Pro febre quartana raro sonat campana. [The original saying meaning, of course, that quartan ague rarely caused death; Browne is saying that, whatever was formerly the case, it causes frequent deaths in his day. The Penguin editor adds a peculiar gloss about the hours of divine services, indicating he's not paying much attention, one of the common side-effects of editing Browne. There are several types of malaria, the quartan being probably the least serious. It's doubtful, however, that seventeenth century physicians distinguished among the various forms, some of which were apparently new.]

{Wilkin supplies a paragraph that follows this in the MS. (Sloan 1862):

Some I observed to wonder how, in his consumptive state, his hair held on so well, without that considerable defluvium which is one of the last symptoms in such diseases; but they took not notice of a mark in his face,which if he had lived was a probable security against baldness (if the observation of Aristotle will hold, that persons are less apt to be bald who are double-chinned), nor of the various and knotted veins in his legs, which they that have, in the same author's assertions, are less disposed to baldness (according as Theodorus Gaza renders it: though Scaliger renders the text otherwise).}

42. [In a manner of speaking; in the Republic 405d he accuses moderns of living luxuriously and then giving names to and requiring treatments for the discomforts or diseases that result (or possibly are just noticed), using Homer as a reference. In fact, it's really just Plato on one of his high and eccentric horses; probably not too much should be made of it as an historical comment.]

43. [The caul or omentum; lining of the stomach and intestines.]

44. Sir A. J. [Sir Arthur Jenny. 1690 has "So A. F.".]

45. Cardan in his Encomium Podagræ reckoneth this among the Dona Podagræ, that they are delivered thereby from the Pthysis and Stone in the Bladder.

46. [See Pseudodoxia Epidemica for another brief treatment of this question. The Problemata of Pseudo-Aristotle, X.]

47. [P. Vegetius Renatus' Mulomedicina, usually published with Q. Gargilius Martialis' (fragmentary) De curis boum.]

48. [Nor have I found anything that indicates that crocodiles cough. The crocodile is incapable of expectorating; anything in its mouth, such as excess water, simply dribbles out. An elongated palatal structure insures against inhaling water. It has, however, a diaphragm-like organ, the septum posthepaticum, so it is perhaps capable of coughing if necessary. Again, none of the sources on crocodilian anatomy makes any mention of such a motion. They seem to be inordinately healthy beasts after crocodilette-hood, when their chief discomfort is that of being eaten; maybe they simply never need to cough.]

49. Hippoc. de Insomniis.

50. Hippoc. de Insomniis.

51. Tabes maxime contingunt ab anno decimo octavo ad trigesimum quintum, Hippoc. [in the Aphorisms, V, 9.]

52. [This word, more common in seventeenth century use than now, has a rich theological history, particularly with regard to (1) original sin and (2) the nature of the soul. Browne uses it to mean "transmission" in many senses; see the miscellany tract On Languages; Pseudodoxia Epidemica I.i, where it is used twice in two different meanings; Religio Medici, page 81; etc.]

53. A sound Child cut out of the Body of the Mother.

54. Natos ad flumina primum deferimus fævoq; gelu duramus & undis. [Virgil Æneid IX.603-604.]

55. [That is, like an auction; cf. Pepys, 3 September 1662: "After dinner we met and sold the hulkes, where pleasant to see how backward men are at first to bid; and yet when the candle is going out how they bawl." A candle was used as a timer for the acceptance of bids.]

56. Julii Cæsaris Scaligeri quod fuit. Joseph Scaliger in vita patris.

57. [The dead "intimate friend", not Scaliger.]

58. [This use (= "comparatively small or unimportant"), common today, is a "favourite use with Sir T. Browne, and common in subsequent writers", says the OED.]

59. ["Cicero, the worst of Poets": Religio Medici. The epitaphs on the present tombs of Dante and of Petrarch are not, so far as I can tell, their own work.]

60. [1690: "Decipiency"; etymologically, a lack of understanding; foolishness, trifling.]

61. [Not "theoretical".]

62. [1690: "Democratism"]

63. Summum nec metuas diem nec optes. [Martial, Epigrams x.lxvii]

64. Who upon some Accounts, and Traditions, is said to have lived 30 Years after he was raised by our Saviour. Baronius. [Cardinal Cesare Baronio, 1538-1607]

65. In the Speech of Vulteius in Lucan, animating his Souldiers in a great struggle to kill one another. Decernite Lethum & metus omnis abest, cupias quodcunq; necesse est. All fear is over do but resolve to dye, and make your Desires meet Necessity. [Lucan IV.486-487.]

66. [Æneid VIII 205.]

67. Wisdom cap. iv. [4:8-9; in the KJV: "For honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years. But wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age."]

68. [The climacterical years are 49, 63, and 81. See Pseudodoxia Epidemica IV.xii.]

69. [The remainder of the Letter to a Friend is largely reproduced in Christian Morals. Wilkin's edition stops at this point and refers the reader to that work.]

70. [See the note to Christian Morals on Cebes' Pinax.]

71. Through the Pacifick Sea, with a constant Gale from the East.

72. ["Sudden gusts or violent attacks of bad weather" — Dr. Johnson's note to the corresponding section of Christian Morals. Hereafter "Dr. J."]

73. Who is said to have castrated himself.

74. [1690: "Mitre", but Christian Morals has "Mite". Luke 21, the story of the widow's mites: "And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had."]

75. [Acts 5, 22.]

76. [As in Pseudodoxia Epidemica I.i; the targums are amplified paraphrases of scripture. Thus, "allow the teaching of the New Testament to gloss the law of the Old".]

77. [Cæsar's crossing of the Rubicon with force in 49 B.C. essentially ended the Republic and forever altered the balance of power in the Roman state in favor of demagogues, dictators, and the army.]

78. [1690: "Recipiscency"; a recovery of one's senses followed, presumably, by regret.]

79. Ira furor brevis est. [Horace Epist. I.ii.62.]

80. [Dr. J, quoting Thomas Creech's translation of the 13th Satire of Juvenal, lines 185-187:

.... Dulcique senex vicinus Hymetto,
Qui partem acceptæ sæva inter vincla cicutæ
Accusatori nollet dare — Juv.

Not so mild Thales, nor Chrysippus Thought;
Nor the good man who drank the pois'nous draught
With mind serene, and could not wish to see
His vile accuser drinkn as drink as deep as he:
Exalted Socrates! — Creech.]

81. See Arist. Ethicks. Chapt. of Magnanimity.

82. [Although almost universally accepted, the Epistle has its detractors; doubts about its origin date from the early Church, but Protestants especially disliked its emphasis on justification by works (the Easton Bible Encyclopedia attempts to reconcile the difference by asserting that James is speaking of "justification before men"). Luther called it a "letter of straw". See the article in the Catholic Encyclopedia.]

83. Holy, Holy, Holy. [Properly "ter-sanctus"; "trisagion" (= "trishagion") in Christian Morals.]

84. Even when the days are shortest.

85. Alluding to the Tower of Oblivion mentioned by Procopius, [in History of the Wars I, 4-5], which was the name of a Tower of Imprisonment among the Persians: whoever was put therein, he was as it were buried alive, and it was Death for any but to name him.

86. [Dr. J.: "An epicycle is a small revolution made by one planet in the wider orbit of another planet. The meaning is, 'Let not ambition form thy circle of action, but move upon other principles; and let ambition only operate as something extrinsic and adventitious.' "]

87. [1690: "to Designs", but Christian Morals has "of"]

88. Matthew xi. [12: "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."]

89. [1690: "Zeno, King". Cicero De finibus bonorum et malorum, cap. III. Dr. J: "That is, 'the king of the stoics,' whose founder was Zeno, and who held, that the wise man alone had power and royalty."]

90. Ovation a petty and minor kind of Triumph.

91. [Ps. 68:18 and, less familiarly, Jud. 5:12]

92. [Dr. J quotes Horace Epist. I.iv.13-14 and Francis' translation:

Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum,
Grata superveniet quæ non sperabitur hora.
Believe, that ev'ry morning's ray
Hath lighted up thy latest day;
Then, if no to-morrow's sun be thine,
With double lustre shall it shine.]

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