INSANITY, n. A glossy and gorgeous intellectual fabric, of which sanity is the seamy side. The nature of insanity is not clearly known except by those who know everything. Amongst Western nations it is commonly regarded as a disorder, but Oriental peoples consider it an inspiration. The Mohammedan venerates the same lunatic whom the Christian would put into a strait-jacket or chain to a post. As the poet hath said:
Unto the Sun, with deep salaams,
The Parsee spreads his morning palms
(A beacon blazing on a height
Warms-o’er his piety by night).
The Moslem deprecates the deed,
Cuts off the head that holds the creed
Then reverently goes to grass,
Muttering thanks to Balaam’s Ass
For faith and learning to refute
Idolatry so dissolute.
But should a maniac dash by,
With straws in beard and hands on high,
To him (through whom to Madamkind
The Holy Prophet speaks his mind)
Our true believer lifts his eyes
Devoutly and his prayer applies;
But next to Solyman the Great
Reveres the idiot’s sacred state.