This section is from the book "The Transmission Of Life. Counsels On The Nature And Hygiene Of The Masculine Function", by George H. Napheys. Also available from Amazon: The Transmission of Life.
This nervous affection is almost monopolized by the female sex. It is nearly exclusively met with in women between the ages of fourteen and thirty. It is a mistake, however, to suppose that men are never hysterical. We have more than once seen attacks of veritable hysteria in the male sex. Under the influence of excitement and debility, men, of a certain temperament, are not unfrequently seized with hysterics. Shakspeare, the great master of the human passions, was aware of this. He puts into the mouth of Lear, upon hearing Kent's account of the cause of his being placed in the stocks, the words :-
" 0, how this mother swells up toward my heart! Hysterica passio! down, thou climbing sorrow, Thy elements below !"
A common name for hysteria in Shakspeare's time was the mother, by which term Lear therefore first designates his feeling before employing the more learned Latin syno-nyme.