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The torture of thy body, I'll supply
In punishing thy mind. Fetch all the Christians
Tis not in thy power:
It was the first good deed I ever did.
They are removed out of thy reach; howe'er
I was determined for my sins to die,
I first took order for their liberty,
Make every artery and sinew crack:
The slave that makes him give the loudest shriek
Shall have ten thousand drachmas: wretch! I'll force thee
To curse the Power thou worship'st.
Bind him, I say ;
Never, never :
No breath of mine shall e'er be spent on him,
[They torment him. But what shall speak his majesty or mercy. I'm honour'd in my sufferings. Weak tormentors, More tortures, more:-alas! you are unskilfulFor Heaven's sake, more; my breast is yet untorn: Here purchase the reward that was propounded. The iron's cool,-here are arms yet, and thighs; Spare no part of me.
He endures beyond
The sufferance of a man.
No sigh nor groan,
To witness he hath feeling.
Enter DOROTHEA in a white robe, a crown upon her head, led in by ANGELO; ANTONINUS, CALISTA, and CHRISTETA following, all in white, but less glorious; ANGELO holds out a crown to THEOPHILUS.
Most glorious vision !
Did e'er so hard a bed yield man a dream
You offer to me. Death, till this blest minute,
But that thou keep'st me from a glorious wreath,
Which through this stormy way I could creep to,
Oh! now I feel thee :-blessed spirits! I come;
But it is unnecessary to dwell longer upon such painful descriptions. All tormentors of human victims, whether residing among the savage wilds of the western continent, or within the walls of an European inquisition, but too well know, that if they would prolong the duration of their meditated inflictions, they must occasionally allow their victim a brief respite. It is indeed evident, that acute sensations of this kind, when assiduously and unremittingly inflicted, not only fail in their object, but occasionally prove grateful in their effects. Nor is the influence
restricted to actual impressions ;-ideas partake of this pleasurable excitement, and become so stimulated as not unfrequently to induce ecstatic illusions.
These are all the remarks which I have to offer on the causes that give rise to such a general state of mental excitement as is productive of spectral illusions; and it will be now advisable to take a short review of the conclusions at which we have arrived in some of the last chapters.
It was considered, that in every ecstacy, or state of general excitement of the mind, either pleasurable feelings were excited and painful ones depressed, or, vice versa, painful feelings were excited, and pleasurable ones depressed.
A cause, then, which, by stimulating organs of sensation, extends its vivifying influence to the renovated feelings of the mind, may modify an ecstacy in three ways:
1st, It may impart a vivifying influence similar to that of any quality of feelings, pleasurable or painful, which is rendered intense, and may thus increase the force of the ecstacy.
2dly, It may impart a vivifying influence to any quality of feelings, pleasurable or painful, which is depressed; and by reducing this means, the intensity of the excited quality of feelings may shorten the duration of the ecstacy; or,
3dly, It may, if acutely and unremittingly prolonged, change the nature of its action, as from pleasure to pain, or from pain to pleasure, and thus, according to
the circumstances under which it acts, either increase the force of the general excitement, or shorten its duration.
To all these varieties of effects, however, which result from morbific causes of general excitement, there must evidently, from various idiosyncracies of constitution, arise frequent exceptions. For, among the numerous individuals who, about twenty years ago, imbibed the nitrous oxide, there were few whom it affected entirely alike. Indeed, to some persons, pain instead of pleasure resulted from the inhalation.*
I have at length concluded my observations on what may be considered as the leading mental laws which are connected with the origin of spectral impressions.
The general inference to be drawn from them is,— that APPARITIONS ARE NOTHING MORE THAN MORBID SYMPTOMS, WHICH ARE INDICATIVE OF AN INTENSE EXCITEMENT OF THE RENOVATED FEELINGS OF THE
* One individual, after having imbibed the gas, experienced a pressure in all the muscles; a second, felt as if the bulk of the body was increased without its gravity; a third, as if a weight was pressing him to the ground; a fourth, complained of a pricking sensation in his stomach, but this soon gave way, and was succeeded by a lively delirium and laughter; a fifth, endured inexpressible uneasiness from a burning heat in the chest, and was afterwards thrown into a syncope of some minutes in duration.