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King Lear III, 7, 103); "The country gives me proof and precedent/Of bedlam beggars who with roaring voices/Strike in their numb'd and mortify'd bare arms/Pins, wooden pricks" (Shakespeare) (DEL); "art thou bedlam?
Bedlam patients seem to have formed a category of their own, whose special character was determined by the realities of this concrete asylum.
Its popularity can be further evidenced by folk songs about bedlam and its patients dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.