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.