Wednesday, November 27, 2013


How to Get to Sleep

Robert Burton (1577-1640), The Anatomy of Melancholy (Oxford: Henry Cripps, 1638), Part. 2. Sect. 2. Memb. 5 (p. 284):
He that will intend to take his rest must goe to bed animo securo, quieto & libero, with a ysecure and composed minde, in a quiet place: omnia noctis erunt placidâ composta quiete; and if that will not serve, or may not be obtained, to seeke then such means as are requisite. To lye in clean linnen and sweet; before he goes to bed, or in bed, to hear zsweet Musick, which Ficinus commends lib. I. cap. 24. or as Jobertus med. pract. lib. 3. cap. 10. ato read some pleasant Author till he be asleep, to have a bason of water still dropping by his bed side, or to lie near that pleasant murmure, lene sonantis aquae, Some floud-gates, arches, falls of water, like London Bridge, or some continuate noise which may benum the senses, lenis motus, silentium & tenebrae, tum & ipsa voluntas somnos faciunt; as a gentle noyse to some procures sleepe, so, which Bernardinus Tilesius lib. de somno well observes, silence, in a darke roome, and the will it selfe, is most available to others. Piso commends frications, Andrew Borde a good draught of strong drinke before one goes to bed; I say, a nutmeg and ale, or a good draught of muscadine, with a tost and nutmeg, or a posset of the same, which many use in a morning, but me thinks, for such as have drie braines, are much more proper at night; some prescribe a bsup of vineger as they go to bed, a spoonefull, saith Aetius Tetrabib. lib. 2. ser. 2. cap. 10. lib. 6. cap. 10. Aegineta lib. 3. cap. 14. Piso, a little after meat, cbecause it rarefies melancholy, and procures an appetite to sleep.

y Sepositis curis omnibus quantum fieri potest, una cum vestibus, &c. Kirkst.
z Ad horam somni aures suavibus cantibus & sonis delinire.
a Lectio jucunda, aut sermo, ad quem attentior animus convertitur, aut aqua ab alto in subjectum pelvim delabatur, &c. Ovid.
b Aceti sorbitio
c Attenuat melancholiam, et ad conciliandum somnum juvat.
In note a, read subjectam for subjectum, as in other editions.

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