Antonio: Will you stay no longer? nor will you not that I go with you? Sebastian: By your patience, no. My stars shine darkly over me; the malignancy of my fate might, perhaps, distemper yours; therefore I shall crave of you your leave that I may bear my evils alone. It were a bad recompense for your love to lay any of them on you.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop." [New Statesman interview, 7 January 1939]
Winston S. Churchill
There are dull and bright, sacred and profane, coarse and fine egotists. It is a disease that, like influenza, falls on all constitutions. In the distemper known to physicians as chorea, the patient sometimes turns round, and continues to spin slowly in one spot. Is egotism a metaphysical varioloid of this malady?
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Of no distemper, of no blast he died, But fell like autumn fruit that mellow'd long,- Even wonder'd at, because he dropp'd no sooner. Fate seem'd to wind him up for fourscore years, Yet freshly ran he on ten winters more; Till like a clock worn out with eating time, The wheels of weary life at last stood still.
I am patriot enough to take pains to bring this usefull invention into fashion in England, and I should not fail to write to some of our Doctors very particularly about it, if I knew anyone of 'em that I thought had Virtue enough to destroy such a considerable branch of Revenue for the good of Mankind, but that Distemper is too beneficial to them not to expose to all their Resentment the hardy wight that should undertake to put an end to it.
Mary Wortley Montagu
As for women that do not think their own safety worth their thought, that impatient of their present state, resolve as they call it to take the first good Christian that comes; that runs into matrimony, as a horse rushes into battle; I can say nothing to them, but this, that they are a sort of ladies that are to be pray'd for among the rest of distemper'd people; and to me they look like people that venture their whole estates in a lottery where there is a hundred thousand blanks to one prize.
I repeat, sir, that in whatever position you place a woman she is an ornament to society and a treasure to the world. As a sweetheart, she has few equals and no superiors; as a cousin, she is convenient; as a wealthy grandmother with an incurable distemper, she is precious; as a wet-nurse, she has no equal among men. What, sir, would the people of the earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce.
What early tongue so sweet saluteth me? Young son, it argues a distemper'd head So soon to bid good morrow to thy bed: Care keeps his watch in every old man's eye, And where care lodges, sleep will never lie; But where unbruised youth with unstuff'd brain Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign
Or she would look at him with a sullen expression, once again he would see before him a face worthy of figuring in Botticelli's Life of Moses, he would place her in it, he would give her neck the necessary inclination; and when he had well and truly painted her in distemper, in the fifteenth century, on the wall of the Sistine Chapel, the idea that she had nevertheless remained here, by the piano, in the present moment, ready to be kissed and possessed, the idea of her materiality and her life would intoxicate him with such force that, his eyes distracted, his jaw tensed as though to devour her, he would swoop down upon that Botticelli virgin and begin pinching her cheeks.
When Rosencrantz asks Hamlet, "Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your own liberty, if you deny your grief to your friends"(III, ii, 844-846), Hamlet responds, "Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck from my lowest note to the top of my compass; and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me." (III, ii, 371-380)
So now I lye by Day and toss or rave by Night, since the ratling and perpetual Hum of the Town deny me rest: just as Madness and Phrensy are the vapours which rise from the lower Faculties, so the Chaos of the Streets reaches up even to the very Closet here and I am whirl'd about by cries of Knives to Grind and Here are your Mouse-Traps. I was last night about to enter the Shaddowe of Rest when a Watch-man, half-drunken, thumps at the Door with his Past Three-a-clock and his Rainy Wet Morning. And when at length I slipp'd into Sleep I had no sooner forgot my present Distemper than I was plunged into a worse: I dreamd my self to be lying in a small place under ground, like unto a Grave, and my Body was all broken while others sung. And there was a Face that did so terrifie me that I had like to have expired in my Dream. Well, I will say no more.
He's prowling back and forth like a lion with distemper now. There's a shiny streak down one side of his face. "I shouldn't have let her go ahead - I ought to be hung! Something's gone wrong. I can't stand this any more!" he says with a choked sound. "I'm starting now -" "But how are you -" "Spring for it and fire as I go if they try to stop me." And then as he barges out, the fat lady waddling solicitously after him, "Stay there; take it if she calls - tell her I'm on the way-" He plunges straight at the street-door from all the way back in the hall, like a fullback headed for a touchdown. That's the best way. Gun bedded in his pocket, but hand gripping it ready to let fly through lining and all. He slaps the door out of his way without slowing and skitters out along the building, head and shoulders defensively lowered. It was the taxi, you bet. No sound from it, at least not at this distance, just a thin bluish haze slowly spreading out around it that might be gas-fumes if its engine were turning; and at his end a long row of un-colored spurts - of dust and stone-splinters - following him along the wall of the flat he's tearing away from. Each succeeding one a half yard too far behind him, smacking into where he was a second ago. And they never catch up. ("Jane Brown's Body")