Of blindnesse. chap. 20.
BLindnesse is a priuation of sight:* and a man is vereft and depriued of his sight, sometime for default of the mēbers or lims, and for vnproportionated of the blacke of the eie to the spirit of sight. For to make & shape the sight, needeth due proportion of the member & lim, that receiueth the spirit, as it is sayd before de V•su. li. 3. Sometime for stopping of the inner sinews, for if the sinew, that is called Opticus, carrieth & bringeth to tho eie the spirit of sight, if that sinewe bee stopped in the beginning thereof, or in ye middle with ouergrowing of flesh, or with superfluitie of some clammye hu∣mour, then the vertue of the sight hath no passage to come to the blacke of the eie, and so blindnesse is bred in the eye. And somtime it is caused through con∣sumption & wasting of humours and of spirits, as it fareth in olde men, whose eyen first were dimme, and then they haue default of sight: and at the last the vertue of sight faileth, and they loose all their sight. Somtime blindnesse cōmeth of outward cause, as by wounding of ye eien, and by too great & continuall wee∣ping, and by dissolution and departing of the substance of the eyen, & by thicking and hardning of the curtills of the eien, and by compaction of humours in the eye. For then the blacke of the eye by sodeine swelling and wasting of sub∣stauntiall humour, hath no waye to the spirit of sight: And therefore such com∣paction causeth blindnesse to the eye, by sodeine drieng of ye substantial humour: as it happeneth in ye blacke of the eie in some mē yt take drenches & be let bloud,* which falleth somtime in peril of blind∣nesse through too great bléeding.
Page [unnumbered]Somtime for too sodeine shedding of the spirit of sight, with drieng of the sub∣stantial moisture, as it fareth in a ••are that is as it were sodeinly made blinde with beholding and looking on a bright burning Bason. The cause of his blind∣nesse is the beholding of the bright tur∣ning and shining Bason, the which fity vertue of the Bason destroieth and wasteth the cu••l of the eie,* and the hu∣mour Christalline. And the brightnesse therof is vnproportionate to the spirit of sight, and departeth and sheddeth it, and so of necessitie bréedeth blindnesse. Also among all the passions and euills of the wittes of féeling, blindnesse is most wretched, as Constantine sayth. For without any bond, blindnesse is a pri∣son to the blinde: And blindnesse begui∣leth ye vertue imaginatiue in knowing: For in déeming of white,* the blind wee∣neth it is blacke: and againeward. It letteth the vertue of aduisement in dee∣ming. For hée deemeth and aduiseth and casteth to go Eastward, and is beguiled in his dome, and goeth West ward. And blindnesse ouerturneth the vertue of af∣fection and desire. For if men profer the blind a siluer penie & a copper to choose the better, he desireth to choose the siluer penie, but he chooseth the Copper. The blind mans wretchednesse is so much, that it maketh him not onely subiect to a childe, or to a seruaunt for ruling and leading, but also to an hound. And the blind is oft brought to so great neede, that to passe and scape the perill of a Bridge or of a Foorde, hée is compelled to trust in a Bound more then to him∣selfe: Also oft in perills where all men doubt and dread, the blinde man for hee séeth no perill,* the blind is sicker. And in likewise there as is no perill, the blinde dreadeth most He spurneth oft in plaine way and stumbleth: Oft there he should heaue vp his foote, he boweth it down∣ward. And in likewise there as he shuld set his foote to the ground, he heaueth it vpward. He putteth forth the hand all a∣bout groping & grasping, hée séeketh all about his way with his hand and with his staffe. Selde he doth ought sickerly, welnigh alway he doubteth & dreadeth,* Also the blind man when he lieth or sit∣teth thereout,* he wéeneth yt he is vnder couert: and oft times he thinketh him∣selfe hid, when euery body séeth him. Al∣so when the blinde sometime listeth vp his face and eyen toward heauen, and to the sunne, the cléernesse of heauen cō∣forteth not his eyen: The Sun beame is present to ye blinds eie, but he know∣eth not the vertue & the effect of ye Sun, as Gregory sayth. Also sometime the blind beate•h and smiteth, & grieueth the childe yt leadeth him, & shall soone repent the beating by doing of the child: for the child hath minde of the beating, & forsa∣keth him, and leaueth him alone in the middle of a bridge, or in sōe other perill, & techeth him not ye way to void the pe∣rill Therfore the blind is wretched, for in the house he dare nothing trustily do, & in the way he dreadeth least his felow will forsake him But yet in this point the condition of blind men is better thē the condition of seeing men. For eien be enimies and theeues, and robbe mans inwit, while we followe the desire of eien, wee bée made subiectes to right cruell enimyes, as the expositour saith super illud trenorum. Mine eye hath spoiled and robbed my soule. Better it is to man to be blind, and haue hie eien put out, then to haue eyen, and bee de∣ceiued and beguiled with pleasures and flatterys thereof, as Gregory sayth vppon that word. Mat. 9. Better it is for thee to go without eyen into ye life, then to haue eyen, & to be sent into fire without end.