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One of the four humours, related to the season of winter and the element of earth. It denotes a cold and dry temperament and the word ‘melancholic’ is often used to describe someone who is slow to respond to passions, profound in thought, with a serious (often pessimistic) outlook which inclines towards depression and introversion. In physiology the melancholic humour is traditionally reputed to be seated in black bile (faeces), which supports the principle of retention by the function of compression.

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