What begins as a story of hope for Jian Wan becomes a heart-wrenching search for identity in a violent and rapidly changing world, as he comes to envision China "in the form of an old hag so decrepit and brainsick
that she would devour her children to sustain herself.
And you, my lord, whose reconciled son Marched in a net, and thought himself unseen, And rated me for brainsick
lunacy, With 'God amend that mad Hieronimo
Henry V, V, 1, 20), "the bedlam brainsick
duchess" (second part of Henry VI, III, 1, 51), "a bedlam and ambitious humour" (second part of Henry VI, V, 1, 132) (SL).
53) Singing is also a much-utilized trademark for idiosyncratic individuals, such as the 'deboised' prisoner Brainsick
in The Soddered Citizen (c 1629) (54) who is described as a persistently-drunk moron who 'doth nothinge but singe, & drincke, & drincke & singe, / And singe & drincke' (1.