CELT document G600014

De Amore Hereos

Witness list

  • F: Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 F 19 (main text)
  • A: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland (Advocates) MS. II.
  • A1: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland (Advocates) MS. XIII.
  • C: Royal Irish Academy, MS 3. C. 19.
  • C1: Royal Irish Academy, MS 3. C. 22.


De Amore Hereos

The following extract is taken from R.I.A. 23 F 19, a vellum manuscript, very fragmentary, containing twenty-eight leaves, all of a medical nature, and including a handbook on gynaecology. The manuscript is a sort of scrap-book, imperfect at the beginning and end. It opens on fol. 18, of which the obverse is illegible; the last folio is numbered 110. Fols. 25 to 88 are missing, also 91, 92, and 107. The writing is beautiful. The capitals are rubricated; some of them are coloured green, obviously a later addition, as green is a most unusual colour in manuscripts. The contractions are as usual in medical manuscripts very numerous. On fol. 24v 1 is the following colophon, which would seem to indicate the probable time (1352) and place of compilation, though not the name of the scribe: “Et is edh do bo shlan don tigerna an tan doronad an lebur so .i. míle bliadhan ⁊ tri ced bliadhan ⁊ da fichit bliadhan ⁊ da bliadhain deg nis mo ⁊rl. tairnic an lebur so an bliadhain do marbad Seaan Óg Mac Conaithne ⁊ a tigh mic Diarmuda hI Meachair do scribadh. Dia trocaireach co nderrna se trocaire oraind uile.”

Under this is scribbled: “Misi Risderd Muirchertaigh”, in the hand of the Scribe of 3. C. 19, a copy of the Lilium Medicinae, the work from which the present text is also taken and of which details will be given further on in this Introduction (cf. 3. C. 19, 81r). This Richard Moriarty transcribed a large part of the work at Coolkeel, the seat of Mac Giolla Padrig in 1590.

The Lilium Medicinae was written by Bernard of Gordon in 1303 or 1305. It is a very compact account of the whole of medicine as known in the fourteenth century, a well planned work, in seven parts (particulae). It was regarded as a standard work on medicine, was widely read, and was translated into several European languages, including Irish. According to the standards of the time it was a scientific work, and was for that very reason never so popular as the Rosa Anglica or Rosa Medicinae of John of Gaddesden (a fashionable English doctor of the time of Edward II) with which it is frequently confused.  p.175 The famous Breviarium Bartholomei of John Mirfield in the fourteenth century, the first book on medicine to be connected with St. Bartholomew's Hospital, contains an account of the plague which is taken almost word for word from the chapter on the same subject in the Lilium Medicinae.

The first edition of the book appeared about 1480. A French translation was made at Rome in 1377, and printed in 1495. It was translated into Spanish in 1494. The edition used for the present work is that of 1559. (Bernardus Gordonius, Lilium Medicinae. Lugduni MDLIX.) Irish versions of the Lilium Medicinae occur in quite a number of MSS. These are: R.I.A. 23. F. 19 (fragment), 3 C. 19, and 3. C. 22; British Museum: Eg. 89; National Libr. of Scotland MSS. 2. 13 (fragments), and one complete translation in the library of the Soc. of Antiq. of Scotland. The two fragments in Edinburgh are the same as R.I.A. 23. F. 19, and are especially interesting on account of a peculiar mistranslation of which I shall speak later. The British Museum copy is a fine vellum MS. It records the date at which it was written, namely 1482, by one of the O'Hickeys, hereditary physicians of the Dáil Cais in Thomond. A further note shows that it was still in the possession of the scribe in 1489, and a third note gives an account of its purchase for twenty cattle in 1500 by Gerald Earl of Kildare. There is also a pithy remark about the actual make-up of the book itself: “Two and twenty folded skins are in this book.”

The present extract from 23. F. 19 is on fol. 110r of the MS., and covers three-quarters of a page. It is an adaptation of a fragment of the Lilium Medicinae of Bernard of Gordon, and is taken from the section entitled De Passionbus Capitis in part 2 (cap. 20). The original of the extract is on page 210 of the 1559 edition of theLilium Medicinae referred to above. It is called variously De Amore Hereos, De Amore qui Hereos Dicitur. The disease was one of the head, attributed, like mania, to melancholy. The Irish translator or adapter of 23. F. 19, which is the same as the two Edinburgh MSS., evidently got mixed up in his translation of philocaptum (Greek φιλο-), which he confused with filocaptum (Latin filum “thread”). The other MSS. known to me, viz. Eg. 89 and R.I.A. 3. C. 19 and 3. C. 22, do not mention thread.


The whole section in the original Latin is called De Affectionibus (Passionibus) Capitis and De Amore Hereos is found in cap. 20 of the section. Dr. Singer suggests that filocaptum may be filocapnum, i.e. leaves of capnum, which he remembers from Saxon Leechdoms, and this idea, he thinks, may be borne out in Pliny, where two species of capnum are mentioned. As in the case of most other medieval medical writers, little is known of the life of Bernard of Gordon, except what can be learned from those of his works still extant. For a long time he was believed to have been a Scotsman, but it is now generally accepted that he was French, a native of one of the many places in France named Gourdon; either Gourdon in Le Var or Gourdon in Le Lot, or possibly Gourdon en Rouergue.

I am indebted to Mrs. Charles Singer for most of the details of the life and writings of Bernard, which are taken from the Hist. Litt. de la France (1869), vol. xxv, pp. 321–36. All the histories of medicine seem to refer to this work as the source of their information about Bernard.

The frequency of MSS. and early incunabula shows that Bernard must have been a famed physician. He is much quoted by physicians who came after him. As he spent most of his life at Montpellier, he is probably the Bernard the Provençal who is sometimes cited. In 1285 he became Professor at Montpellier. This is established by his statement in the Lilium Medicinae that the work was begun(?) in 1305 (French translators say 1303) when he was lecturing for the twentieth year. 2 He retired from teaching in 1318. The earliest of Bernard's works is the Regimen Acutorum Egritudinum, and in 1296 he wrote Affectus praeter naturam curandi methodus, also called De decem ingeniis seu indicationibus curandorum mobororum, and he adds that he had already done the Regimen Acutorum. About 1305, immediately after finishing the Lilium, he did De Crisi et de Diebus Criticis, which is not extant. The subject is, however, treated in De Phlebotomia, written in February 1307, and quoted in Tracatus de Urinis, which contains twenty-eight chapters. He says he had already done a commentary on Aegidius.


De Urinis is followed by Warning to a physician on his conduct, i.e. how to avoid suspicion and blame. Next came De Pulsibus, followed by Regimen Sanitatis, and it is thought that these three are really appendices to De Urinis. In the Lilium Medicinae, Part V, cap. 8, he says he intends to compose De conservatione vite humane a die nativitatis usque ad ultimam horam mortis, which intention he carried to fulfilment, but De Morbo, which he refers to as having written, in the Lilium, Part II, cap. 11, is not extant. He also wrote Pharmacorum omnium que in communi sunt praticantium and De floribus dietarum.

Bernard is one of the first writers to mention spectacles, oculus berellinus (as they used to be made of smoky glass). Cf. Garrison, History of Medicine, p. 185. Bernard's last work is De Prognostics, though Opus c. med., p. 77, states that he wrote some smaller works after 1307. It is not known how long he lived nor anything further about his life.

Winifred Wulff.

Unknown author

De Amore qui hereos dicitur

Edited by Winifred Wulff

De Amore Hereos

De Amore Hereos

23. F. 19, fol. 110r, col. 1, line 27. 3


[1] DE AMORE HEREOS Adon don gradh re n-abar hereos ⁊ is inann hereos asin Greig ⁊ generosus asin Laidin ⁊ is inann generosus asin Laidin ⁊ uasal isin Gaedilg, oir is gnathach tiaghaid na baruin ⁊ na daine uaisli annsa n-easlainti so tri acfuind ⁊ a n-innmasa, ⁊ aderar filocaptus risin neach bis insin easlainti so ⁊ is inann filocaptus ⁊ neach bis a m-braighdinas ag snaithi 4, oir is mar sin bis fer na h-easlainti so a n-gill ag gradh na mna, oir sanntaighi an meidi sin i innus co creidinn gurab i bean is fearr foirm ⁊ fighair ⁊ bésa ⁊ geanmnaigeacht isin domun hi, oir do truaillid an brigh inntsamlaightach co mor aige ona smuaintigib melangcoilica innus gur treig a deghoibrigthi ⁊ a trocaire co huilidhi acht smuaintighthi na mna amain ⁊ bidh amail duine cuthaigh do reir Ouidius, noch adeir; “Omnis amans  p.178 cecus, non est Amor arbiter ecus” .i. ni breitheamh comthrom in gradh ⁊ in neach aga mbi bidh dall.


Et is amlaidh so tic an gradh .i. aithnighi an brigh inntsamlaightach é don brigh re n-abar imaginatiua ⁊ gabaid in brigh re n-abar concusibilius é o imaginatiua ⁊ gabaid in brigh miresunta é o concusibilis ⁊ gabaid brigh gluasachta na n-airteredh é on brigh miresunta ⁊ gluaisigh an corp go h-uilidhi cum an gradha, ⁊ do beir tarcaisne a fuacht ⁊ a tes ⁊ a n-guasacht ⁊ bidh neamcobhsaigh (⁊).


IS iad so comartha in gradha .i. neamthsaint bidh ⁊ dighi ⁊ becan collata ⁊ truaighi an cuirp co mor a n-egmais na sul ⁊ bidh smuintighthi doimhne acu ⁊ bidh caimenach toirseach dubhach, ⁊  110r2 bidh puls luath ard examail anordaightheach acu, ⁊ in uair do cluinid bindius no aithi ciuil bidh ac cai ⁊ ag toirsi, ⁊ an tan luaightear an ben ina fhiaghnaise ardaighter an pulsa ⁊ in tan dochid hi ardaighter ni sa mo na sin acu é.


⁊ muna leighister an eslainti so teid a mania no go geibid bas.


LABRUM anois do leighes na h-eslainti so .i. fechadh in liaigh in duine resunta é no an duine miresunta , ⁊ masa duine resunta é curthar nech egnaighi da teagosc roim a mbia egla air ⁊ do beradh naire do briatraib do ⁊ goitfis an inntinn on imhaidh fallsa noch ata aigi ⁊ foillsighter ar d-tus do guasacht an t-saeghail ⁊ lae an breitemnais, ⁊ 'na diaigh sin foillsighter do gloir ⁊ subaltaiged na catrach neamda . Et masa duine og miresunta é bointer a edach de ⁊ gabthar air do sgiuirsighib ⁊ co ger no co n-dergadh a croicinn ⁊ no co n-gabad crith a baill ⁊ dentur bagar uilc is mo na sin air d'hfagbail dho . Et 'na diaigh sin gealltar onoir mor do no tigernus, oir claecluighter na droch-besa on onorugad , do reir Ouidius, ⁊ taburthar obair eigneach air asa h-aithle, oir adeir Ouidius na briathra so; “De uacue mente quo tuiatur opus” ⁊ cetera—is tarbach in obair do tobairt arin menmain n-dimain. Et a h-aithle na h-oibre sin curthar é a crichaibh ciana ⁊ d'fhechain dathann ⁊ marand examla. Oir adeir Petagros curob tarbach a leighes na h-eslainti so pingtiuireacht  p.179 ⁊ datha examla d'fhechain ⁊ ainimhinnti bruideamla ⁊ tobair ⁊ sleibti ⁊ coillti ⁊ gotha en, ⁊ boltar neichedh n-deghbalaidh ⁊ a cosmaile. Et muna leighester é ona neichib so adubrumar curthar cailleach midealba ina fiagnaise maille re drochcruth ⁊ re drochedach ⁊ tabradh le edach ara mbia fuil idir a gluinib ⁊ abradh na briatra so re fer an gradha .i. is olc an ben t-suirghi ut ata agatsa, oir ata si meascamail brenalach ⁊ ata epilepsia uirri ⁊ do beir a fual fuithi ina leabaidh ⁊ ata croicinn salach gearbach aice, ⁊ abradh ris gach ni ele do cifidhter dhi fein ⁊ muna labra se re, tairngedh an t-edach ara fuil an fuil asa gabail ⁊ buaileadh h-e ina edan ⁊ abradh ris do guth mor : is mar so ata do ben t-suirghisi. Et muna leighester uada sin é ni duine ata ann acht diabal corpurda ⁊ ni leighester é co brath. 5



De Amore Hereos6 i.e. concerning the love that is called hereos; for hereos in Greek is the same as generosus in Latin and generosus in Latin is the same as noble7 in Gaelic, for the barons and the nobility are wont to fall into this disease through their wealth and their riches; and filocaptus8 (sic) is said of him who is in this sickness and “filocaptus” is one who is in bondage to a thread, for thus the man of this disease is in bonds to the love of the woman. For so greatly does he desire her that he thinks she is the woman of the best form and figure, habits, and chastity in the world, for the power of comparison is so destroyed in him through his melancholy thoughts, that he forsakes his good actions and his mercy entirely and only (retains) thoughts of the woman alone, and becomes like a  p.180 madman, according to Ovid, who says: “Omnis amans caecus, non est Amor arbiter aequus”, 9 i.e. love is not a just judge and he who has it is blind.


This is how love comes: the power of comparison recognizes it from the force that is called imaginativa, and the force called concupiscibilis takes it from imaginativa, and the force called irrational takes it from concupiscibilis, and the power of movement of the arteries takes it from the irrational force 10 and the whole body moves towards love and pours contempt on heat and cold and danger, and he is unstable.


These are the signs of love; lack of desire for food and drink; little sleep, and the body wastes exceedingly, all but the eyes; and they (the patients) have deep meditations and are bent, sad, and gloomy. The pulse is rapid, high, variable and inordinate; and when he hears melody or strains of music he will be weeping and sighing, but when the lady is mentioned in his presence, the pulse becomes quicker, and when he sees her it increases still more.


(&) If this disease be not cured it turns to mania, or he will die.


Let us speak now of the cure of this disease: let the leech ascertain whether he (the patient) be a reasonable man or an unreasonable; if he be rational, let a learned person be put to instruct him, of whom he is afraid and who will bring shame on him by his words, and who will withdraw his mind from the false image he holds, and let the danger of life be pointed out to him at first and the day of judgement: thereafter let the glory and bliss of the Heavenly City be made clear to him. And if he be a young and irrational man let his clothes be taken off him, and let him be beaten with scourges sorely till his skin redden, and trembling seize his limbs, and let him be threatened that he will get worse evils. After this let great honour be promised him, or dominance, for evil manners are changed from being honoured, according to Ovid, and let violent exercise be given him thereafter, for Ovid says these words: De vacua mente quo teneatur opus etc., i.e. work is profitable to  p.181 the idle mind. After the work, let him be sent to distant lands and to see colours and different seas. For Pythagoras says to see pictures and varied colours is a valuable cure for this sickness, and [to see] wild animals, and wells and mountains and woods, and [to hear] the voices of birds; 11 and let him smell sweet smelling things and their like. And if he is not cured by what we have said let an unsightly hag be sent into his presence, of evil appearance and with wretched garments, and put a cloth on which is blood between her knees and let her say these words to the man of love: That is a bad love-lady you have, for she is bibulous, stinking, and she has epilepsy, & mingit in lecto, and her skin is foul and covered with sores and let her say every other thing to him that will seem fit to herself, and unless he speak to her, pull the cloth on which is the blood from her and strike it in his face, and say to him in a loud voice: Thus is your love-lady. And if he be not cured by this he is not a man but a devil incarnate, and he will not be cured for all eternity. 12

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Title (uniform): De Amore Hereos

Title (original, Latin): De Amore qui hereos dicitur

Editor: Winifred Wulff

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled and proof-read by: Beatrix Färber

Additional proof-reading by: Sara Sponholz

Funded by: School of History, University College, Cork

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 4890 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland—http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2011

Date: 2018

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: G600014

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of academic research and teaching only. More information about Winifred Wulff's Life and Work is available on the CELT website at https://celt.ucc.ie//wulff.html.

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Manuscript sources

  1. Dublin, Royal Irish Academy, MS 23 F 19, 110r (old foliation, correspondends to 107r in new foliation). This has been described by Wulff as 'a scrapbook of Irish medical tracts from Latin sources' and 'written on beautiful vellum, richly illuminated, with good ink which has scarcely faded, except a few pages which were probably exposed to the weather. The capitals are rubricated. Some are green, which is most unusual in Irish MSS. The scribe's name and the translator's name are lost. The date given is 1352, which, if correct, would establish it as the oldest Irish medical manuscript.' It was at one time in the possession of the Ó Céirín family of Co. Clare. Digital manuscript images are available on the ISOS Project, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, see: http://www.dias.ie/isos/. The foliation given by Wulff differs from that now used in the RIA catalogue and on ISOS: Wulff starts at 24r; the same page is numbered 7r in the RIA catalogue. The extract presented here bears a colophon by Risderd Muirchertaigh (Richard Moriarty).
  2. Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland (Advocates) MS. II.
  3. Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland (Advocates) MS. XIII.
  4. Royal Irish Academy, MS 439 (olim 3 C 19), scribe Risderd Muirchertaigh (Richard Moriarty).
  5. Royal Irish Academy, MS 442 (olim 3 C 22).
  6. Lil. Med. = Lilium Medicinae by Bernard of Gordon, 1303.

Printed sources for Latin text (selection)

  1. Bernardus Gordonius, Practica, seu Lilium Medicinae, Ferrara, Andreas Belfortis, Gallus, 1486.
  2. Bernardus Gordonius, Lilium Medicinae, Lugduni (=Lyon) 1559. (Used by Wulff.)

Select bibliography

  1. Avicenna, Canon Medicinae (Latin translation of Al-Qanun fi al-tibb) (Venice: Guinta 1608).
  2. Norman Moore, John Mirfield (1393), and medical study in London during the middle ages. The FitzPatrick Lectures for 1905, delivered in the Royal College of Physicians, November 14th and 16th, British Medical Journal (November 18, 1905) 1332–1339. [Printed in full in: The history of the study of medicine in the British Isles; the Fitz-Patrick lectures for 1905-6, delivered before the Royal College of Physicians of London (1908).]
  3. John Livingston Lowes, 'The Loveres Maladys of Hereos', Modern Philology, vol. 11 no. 4 (1914).
  4. Winifred Wulff, A Tract on the Plague, Ériu 10 (1926–1928) 143–154.
  5. Winifred Wulff, Rosa Anglica seu Rosa Medicinae Johannes Anglici (London 1929).
  6. A. C. Crombie, 'Avicenna's Influence on the Mediaeval Scientific Tradition,' in: Avicenna: Scientist and Philosopher, ed. G. M. Wickens (London: Luzac 1952), 84–107.
  7. Edward Grant (ed.), A source book in medieval science. Cambridge, Massachussetts, Harvard University Press 1974.
  8. Massimo Ciavolella, La malattia d'amore dall'antichita al medioevo (Roma: Bulzoni 1976).
  9. Luke E. Demaitre, Doctor Bernard de Gordon: Professor and practitioner [Studies and Texts 51]. (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies 1980).
  10. Adelheid Giedke, Die Liebeskrankheit in der Geschichte der Medizin (Düsseldorf 1983).
  11. Nessa Ní Shéaghda, 'Translations and Adaptations in Irish' (Statutory Lecture 1984, School of Celtic Studies), (Dublin: Institute for Advanced Studies 1984).
  12. Mary Frances Wack, Lovesickness in "Troilus", Pacific Coast Philology, vol. 19 no. 1/2 (1984).
  13. Faye Getz, 'John Mirfield and the Breviarium Bartholomei: the medical writings of a clerk at St Bartholomew's Hospital in the later fourteenth century', Soc Hist Med Bull 37 (1985) 24–26.
  14. Mary Frances Wack, Lovesickness in the Middle Ages: The Viaticum and its Commentaries (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press 1990).
  15. Jacques Ferrand, A Treatise on Lovesickness. Translated into English and edited with a critical introduction and notes by Donald A. Beecher and Massimo Ciavolella (Syracuse University Press 1990). The original, Traité de l'essence at guérison de l'amour ou De la mélancolie érotique was first published in print in 1610 and edited by Gérard Jacquin and Eric Foulon (Paris: Anthropos 2001).
  16. Aoibheann Nic Dhonnchadha, 'Winifred Wulff (1895–1946): beatha agus saothar,' in: Léachtaí Cholum Cille 35 (2005) 191–250.
  17. Liam P. Ó Murchú (ed) Rosa Anglica: Reassessments, Irish Texts Society. Subsidiary Series, 28 (London: Irish Texts Society, 2016).

The edition used in the digital edition

‘De Amore Hereos’ (1932). In: Ériu‍ 11. Ed. by Winifred Wulff, pp. 174–181.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {Winifred Wulff},
  title 	 = {De Amore Hereos},
  journal 	 = {Ériu},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  publisher 	 = {Royal Irish Academy},
  date 	 = {1932},
  number 	 = {11 },
  pages 	 = {174–181}


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The present text represents Wulff's introduction, the transcribed Irish text; her English translation, footnotes and variant readings. The glossary on p. 181 has been omitted.

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Creation: The Latin source is extant in a fairly large number of manuscripts extant in various European countries. The first manuscript was written in c. 1305; the translation is dated 1352.

Language usage

  • The text and footnotes are in (Early) Modern Irish. (ga)
  • The front matter is in English. (en)
  • Some terms and phrases are in Latin. (la)
  • Some terms are in Greek. (gr)
  • A citation in Spanish occurs in a footnote. (es)

Keywords: medical; prose; medieval; lovesickness; translation

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2018-03-26: Added to bibliographic details, note into header inserted; new word count made. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2011-10-22: SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  3. 2011-10-11: Translation proofed (2) and some encoding added; header created with bibliographical details; file parsed. SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  4. 2011-09-28: Introduction and Irish text encoded and proofed (1). (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  5. 2011-09-22: Translation proofed (1) and encoded. (ed. Sara Sponholz)
  6. 2011-09-20: File captured by scanning. (text capture Beatrix Färber)

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  1. In the new catalogue pagination 24v corresponds to 7v. 🢀

  2. Inchoatus autem est liber iste, cum auxilio magni Dei, in praeclaro Montipessulani, post annum uigesimum lecturae nostrae, anno Domini 1305 Mense lulii. Lilium Medicinae, prooemium. 🢀

  3. Manuscript abbreviations given here by Wulff have been moved to the witness list at the start of the text. [BF] 🢀

  4. Other complete translations of Lilium Medicinae omit this. 🢀

  5. A continues with Quartana, A1 with De Solucione Continuitatis, as in F. 🢀

  6. De amore, qui hereos dicitur. Lil. Med., Part II, cap. 20. 🢀

  7. Lit. uasal. 🢀

  8. unde cum aliquis philocaptus est in amore alicuius mulieris. Lil. Med. 🢀

  9. Quisquis amat ranam, ranam putat esse Dianam. Add. Lil. Med. Cf. ‘Tal piense que adora' un angel y viene a adorar a un gimio.’ (Cervantes, Don Quijote.) 🢀

  10. (praecipit) irascibilis uirtuti motiuae lacertorum. Lil. Med. 🢀

  11. instrumenta musica … Et si aliqua materia fuerit aggregata, mundificetur sicut dictum est in capitulo de mania, et melancholia, quia uere una species melancholiae est. Lil. Med.: add. 🢀

  12. … ista passio pulcherrimo modo potest describi sic: Amor est mentis insania quia animus uagatur per maniam cerebri, doloribus permiscens pauca gaudia. Lil. Med. add. 213. 🢀


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