I received a phone call this morning from a friend inviting me to go out for lunch with him. I excused myself giving some innocuous excuses but, he kept trying to persuade me to accompany him. Finally, he gave up and asked me why I was being so unusually melancholic today. I responded that I did not think I was being melancholic but, just lazy.
He went off alone and I was left wondering about his comment on my being melancholic. I had not heard the term used by anyone in a long long time but, remembered a few things which came to my mind that I share with my readers here. The statue on the left is by Hanneke Beaumont called Melancholia.
In 1866 the major French literary figure Victor Hugo published “Les Travailleurs de la Mer” which was later released under the English title “The Toilers of the Sea”. This work included this quotation.
“Le désespoir a des degrés remontants. De l’accablement on monte à l’abattement, de l’abattement à l’affliction, de l’affliction à la mélancolie. La mélancolie est un crépuscule. La souffrance s’y fond dans une sombre joie.
La mélancolie, c’est le bonheur d’être triste.”
“Despair has ascending degrees. From prostration one mounts to despondency, from despondency to affliction, from affliction to melancholy. Melancholy is a twilight. Suffering melts into it in sombre joy.
Melancholy is the happiness of being sad.”
No, I am anything but melancholic.