Robert Burton.

The anatomy of melancholy : what it is, with all the kinds, causes, symptoms, prognostics, and several cures of it : in three partitions, with their several sections, members, and subsections, philosophically, medically, historically opened and cut up : with a satirical preface, conducing to the fol online

. (page 2 of 48)
Online LibraryRobert BurtonThe anatomy of melancholy : what it is, with all the kinds, causes, symptoms, prognostics, and several cures of it : in three partitions, with their several sections, members, and subsections, philosophically, medically, historically opened and cut up : with a satirical preface, conducing to the fol → online text (page 2 of 48)
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MiUon^ 2d edit. p. 04.

" The Akatomy of Melancholt is a book which has been univer-
sally read and admired. This work is, for the most part, what the author
himself styles it, * a cento ; ' but it is a very ingenious one. His quota-
tions, which abound in every page, are pertinent; but if he had made
more use of his invention and less of his commonplace-book, his work
would perhaps have been more valuable than it is. He is generally free
from the affected language and ridiculous metaphors which disgrace most
of the books of his time." — Granger* s Biographical History.

•* Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy a book once the favourite of
the learned and the witty, and a source of surreptitious learning, though
written on a regular plan, consists chiefly of quotations : the author hat
honestly termed it a cento. He collects, under every division, the opin-
ions of a multitude of writers, without regard to chronological order, and
has too often the modesty to decline the interposition of his own senti-
ments. Indeed the bulk of his materials generally overwhelms him.
In the course of his folio he has contrived to treat a great variety of
topics, that seem very loosely connected with the general subject; and,
like Bayle, when he starts a favourite train of quotations, he does not
scruple to let the digression outrun the principal question. Thus, from
the doctrines of religion to military discipline, from inland navigation to
the morfdity of dancing-schools, everything is discussed and determined."
— Ferriar^s Illustrations of Sterne, p. 58.

" The archness which Burton displays occasionally, and his indul-
gence of playful digressions from the most serious discussions, often give
his style an air of familiar conversation, notwithstanding the laborious
collections which supply his text. He was capable of writing excellent
poetry, but he seems to have cultivated this talent too little; The Eng-
lish verses prefixed to his book, which possess beautiful imagery, and
great sweetness of versification, have been frequently published. His
Latin elegiac verses addressed to his book, show a very agreeable turn for
raillery."— /Wd p. 58.

" When the force of the subject opens his own vein of prose, we discover
valuable sense and brilliant expression. Such is his account of the first
feelings of melancholy persons, written, probably, from his own experi-
ence." [See p. 161, of the present edition.]— 7^. p. 60.

** During a pedantic age, like that in which Burton's production
appeared, it must have been eminently serviceable to writers of many
descriptions. Henct the unlearned mijcht ftimish themselves with appro>

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Accotmi of the Author, 15

pdate scraps of Greek and Latin, whilst men of letters wonld find their
inquiries shortened, by knowing where they might look for what both
ancients and modems have advanced on the subject of human pas-
sions. I confess my inability to point out any other English author
who has so largely dealt in apt and original quotation.** — Mamucr^.
note of the late George Steeveiu, Etq., in kU eqpjf qf Turn Axatomt or

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Vadb liber, qnalis, non ansim dicere, fceliz,

Te nisi foelicem fecerit Alma dies,
Vade tamen qnocnnqTie Inbet, qnascunqne per oras,

£t Geninm Domini fac imitere toi.
I blandas inter Charites, myst&mque salnta

Mnsamm quemvis, si tibi lector erit.
Bura colas, urbem, sabeksve palatia regnm,

Snbmiss^, placid^, te sine dente geras.
Nobilis, ant si quis te fort^ inspexerit heros,

Da te morigerum, perlegat nsque lubet
Est quod Kobilitas, est quod desideret heros,

Gratior hssc forsan charta placere potest.
Si quis morosns Cato, tetriensque Senator,

Hunc etiam libram fort^ videre velit,
Sive magistratus, turn te reverenter habeto;

Sed nullus; moscas non capiunt AquilsB.
Non Yacat his tempos fngitivum impendere nagis,

Nee tales cupio; par mihi lector erit
Si matrona gravis casu diverterit istuc,

Oliistris domina, aut te Gomitissa legat:
Est quod displiceat, placeat quod forsitan illis,

Ingerere his noli te modb, pande tamen.
At si Tirgo tuas digtiabitur inclyta chartas

Tangere, sire schedis hssreat ilia tuis:
Da modo te facilem, et qusedam folia esse memento

Conreniant oculis quae magis apta suis.
Si generosa ancilla tuos ant alma puella

Visura est ludos, annue, pande lubens.
Dio utinam nunc ipse mens ^ (nam diligit istai )

In prsBsens esset conspiciendus hems.
Ignotus notusve mihi de gente togatft

Sive aget in ludis, pulpita sire colet,

* HiBc oomici dicta oare ne mal6 oairfM.
I. 2

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18 Democritits Junior ad Librum Suumm

Sive in Lycoeo, et nugas evolvent istas,
Si quasdam mendas viderit inspiciens,
Da veniam Authori, dices ; nam plurima vellet

Expungi, qa» jam displicuisse sciat.
Sive Melancholicus quisqaam, sen blandus Amator,

Aulicus aut Civis, sen ben^ comptos Eques
Hue appellat, age et tutb te crede legenti,
Malta istio forsan non mal^ nata leget
Quod fiigiat, caveat, quodque amplexabitur, ista

Pagina fortassis promere multa potest.
At si qnis Medicus coram te sistet, amice
Fac circumspect^, et te sine labe geras:
Inveniet namque ipse meis quoque plurima Bcriptity

Non leve subsidium qusB sibi forsan erunt.
Si quis Causidicus chartas impingat in istas,

Nil mihi vobiscum, pessima turba vale;
Sit nisi vir bonus, et juris sine fraude peritos,

Tum legat, et forsan doctior inde siet.
Si quis oordatus, facilis, lectorque benignus

Hue oculos vertat, ques velit ipse legat;
Gandidus ignoscet, metuas nil, pande libenter,

Offensus mendis non erit ille tnis,
Laudabit nonnulla. Venit si Rhetor ineptus,

Limata et tersa, et qui ben^ cocta petit,
Claude citus librum; nulla hie nisi ferrea verba^
Offendent stomachum qusB mintis apta Buum«
At si quis non eximius de plebe poeta,

Annue ; namque istic plurima ficta leget.
Nos sumus 6 numero, nullus mihi spirat Apollo,

Grandiloquus .Yates quilibet esse nequit.
Si Criticus Lector, tumidus Censorque moleatos,

Zoilus et Momus, si rabioea cohors:
Binge, fireme, et noli tum pandere, turba malignit

Si occurrat sannis invidiosa suis:
Fac fugias; si nulla tibi sit copia eundi,

Contemnes, tacit^ scommata qusBque feres.
Frendeat, allatret, vacuas gannitibus auras
Impleat, baud cures ; his placuisse nefas.
Verum age si forsan divertat purior hospes,

Cuique sales, ludi, displiceantque joci,
Objiciatque tibi sordes, lasciv&que: dices,
Lasciva est Domino et Musa jocosa tuo,
Nee lasciva tamen, si pensitet omne; sed esto;

Sit lasciva licet pagina, vita proba est.
Barbarus, indocttisque rudis spectator in istam

Si messem intrudat, fuste fugabis eum,
Fungum pelle procul ( jubeo) nam quid mihi ftmgo?
Gonveniunt stomacho non minus ista sno.

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Democntus Junior ctd Lihrum Suum. 19

Sed neo pelle tamen; l»to omnes accipe vulta,

Quos, qnas, vol quales, inde vel undo viros.
Gratus erit quicunqne venit, gratissimns hoepes

Quisqnis erit, facilis difficUisque mihi.
Nam si cnlp&rit, qusedam culp&sse jnvabit,

Cnlpando faciet me meliora seqoL
Sed si land^t, oeqae laudlbus efferar uUiSi

Sit satis hisce malis opposuisse bomun.
H»c snnt qnss nostro plaonit mandare libaiUo^

Et qiUD dimittens dioere jossit 1

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Go forth my book into the open day;

Happy, if made so by its garish eye.
0*er earth*B wide sarface take thy vagrant way,

To imitate thy master's genias try.
The graces three, the Muses nine salute,

Should those who love them try to con thy lore.
The country, city seek, grand thrones to boot,

With gentle courtesy humbly bow before.
Should nobles gallant, soldiers frank and brave

Seek thy acquaintance, hail their first advance:
From twitch of care thy pleasant vein may save.

May laughter cause or wisdom give perchance.
Some surly Cato, Senator austere,

Haply may wish to peep into thy book:
Seem very nothing — tremble and revere:

No forceful eagles, butterflies e'er look.
They love not thee : of them then little seek.

And wish for readers triflers like thyself.
Of ludeful matron watchful catch the beck,

Or gorgeous countess full of pride and pelf.
They may say ** pish ! " and frown, and' yet read ont

Cry odd, and silly, coarse, and yet amusing.
Should dainty damsels seek thy page to con,

Spread thy best stores: to them be ne*er refusing:
Say, fair one, master loves thee dear as life;

Would he were here to gaze on thy sweet look.
Should known or unknown student, free*d from strifti

Of logic and the schools, explore my book:
Cry mercy critic, and thy book withhold:

Be some few errors pardon'd though obsenr'd:
An humble author to implore makes bold.

Thy kind indulgence, even undeserv'd.

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Democritas Junior to his Book. 21

Should melancholy wight or pensive lover,

Courtier, snug cit, or carpet knight so trim
Onr blossoms cull, he*ll find himself in clover.

Gain sense from precept, laughter from our whim.
Should learned leech with solemn air unfold

Thy leaves, beware, be civil, and be wise:
Thy volume many precepts sage may hold,

HiB well fraught head may find no trifling prize. .
Should crafty lawyer trespass on our ground,

Caitiffs avaunt ! disturbing tribe away !
Unless (white crow) an honest one be found;

He'll better, wiser go for what we say.
Should some ripe scholar, gentle and benign.

With candour, care, and judgment thee peruse:
Thy faults to kind oblivion he*ll consign ;

Nor to thy merit will his praise refrise.
Thou may'st be searched for polished words and vene;

By flippant spouter, emptiest of praters:
Tell him to seek them in some mawkish verse:

My periods all are rough as nutmeg graters.
The doggrel poet, wishing thee to read.

Reject not; let him glean thy. jests and stories.
His brother I, of lowly sembling breed:

Apollo grants to few Parnassian glories.
Menac'd by critic with sour furrowed brow,

Momus or Troilus or Scotch reviewer:
Buffle your heckle, grin and growl and vow:

Ill-natured foes you thus will find the fewer.
When fonl-mouth*d senseless railers cry thee down,

Reply not; fly, and show the rogues thy stem:
They are not worthy even of a frown:

Good taste or breeding they can never learn;
Or let them clamour, turn a callous ear.

As though in dread of some harsh donkey's bray
If chid by censor, friendly though severe.

To such explain and turn thee not away.
Thy vein, says he perchance, is all too free:

Thy smutty language suits not learned pen:
Reply, Good Sir, throughout, the context see:

Thought chastens thought; so prithee judge again
Besides, although my master's pen may wander

Through devious paths, by which it ought not stray
His life is pure, beyond the breath of slander:

So pardon grant; 'tis merely but his way.
Some rugged ruffian makes a hideous rout —

Brandish thy cudgel, threaten him to baste;
The filthy fringu» far from thee cast out;

Such noxious banquets never suit my taste.

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Democritus Junior to kit Booh

Tet, calm and oantioas moderate thy ire,
Be ever conrteous shoald the case allow—

Sweet malt is ever made by gentle firet
Warm to thy friends, give all a civO bow.

Even censmw sometimes teaches to improve,
Slight frosts have often oared too rank a orpp,

So candid blame my spleen shall nerer more,

- For skilftQ gard'ners wayward branches lop,

Go then, my book, and bear my words in mind;

Guides safe at once, and pleasant them rmi'B.lbid*

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Tbi distiiiet Squares here seen apark,
Are jcdned in one by Oatter's ari.

Old Demooritns under a tree,
Sits on a stone with book on knee;
About him liang there many ftatures,
Of Cats, Dogs, and such like careatures,
Of which he makes anat(nny,
The seat of black choler to see.
Orer his head appears the sky.
And Saturn Lord of mdancholy.

To the left a landscape of Jealousy,
Presents itself unto thine eye.
A Kingfisher, a Swan, an Hem,
Two fitting-cocks you may cUsoem,
Two rowring Bulls each other hie,
To assault concerning Teneiy.
Symbols are these ; I say no mote,
OonoeiTe the rest by that's afore.

The next of solitaxlness,
A Portraiture doth well express,
^ Bleeping d<», eat: Buck and Doe,
Hares, Ck>iSk in the desart go :
Bats, Owls ^e shady bowers orer,
In mdancholy daricness hover.
Mark weU : If 't be not as^t should be,
Bhune the bad Gutter, and not me.

Beneath them kneeling on hkkiMt|
A superstitious man tou see :
He ftsts, prays, on his Idol fist,
Tormented hope and ftar betwixt :
Vm bem perhaps he takes vaan pain,
Than thou dost heaTen itself to gain
Alas poor soul, I pity thee.
What stars incline thee so to be?

But see the madman rage downri|^l
With ftnrious looks, a ghastly sight
Naked in chains bound doth he lie,
And roars unain he knows not why !
Obserre him; for as in a glass,
Thine angry portraiture it was
His picture keeps stUl in thy presenet ;
Twixt him and thee, ttiera's no dlBncence

Tm, iz.
Borage and BeUebor fill two t
Sorereign plants to purge the Teins
Of mebtncholy, and cheer the heart,
Of those black fhmes which make it smart {
To clear the brain of misty fogs.
Which duU our senses, and Soul eloffs.
The best medicine tiiat e'er Ood made
for this malady, if well assay'd.

P at' under column there doth staad

htamonuo with folded liand ;

Down hangs hii head, terse and polite.

Some dit^ sure he doth indite.

His lute and books about him lie.

As symptoms of his Tanity.

If this do not enough disclose.

To paint him, take thyself by th* nose.

Now last of all to flU a place,
Presented is the Author's fltoe ;
And in that habit which he wean,
Wb image to the world appears,
ffis mind no art can well express.
That by his writings yon may ginss.
It was not pride, nor yet Tain gloiy,
(Thougli others do it commonly,)
Made him do this : if yon must know,
The Printer would needs hafe it so.
agyu^vnurHMfm* lockuS ou his arm. Thou do not firown or scoff at it,

Wlod in hii ride doth him much narm. Deride not, or detract a whit.
And troubles him fhll sore, Ood knows, F(>r surely as thou dost by him,
Mooh pain he hath and many woes. He will do the same again.

About him pots and glasses lie. Then look upon't, behold and see,

IXtnrij brought firom's Apothecary. As thou like'st it. so it likes thee.

This Saturn's aspects signify, And I for it will stand in view,

Tou see them portray'd in the sky. Thine to command, Reader, adieu.

* These Terses reibr to the Frontispiece, which is diTlded into ten compartment!
that are here sererally explained. The author's portrait, mentioned in the tenth
, is coined in page 7.

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Whkv I go miuing all alone,
Thinking of divers things fore-known,
When I build castles in the air,
Void of sorrow and void of fear,
Pleasing myself with phantasms sweet,
Methinks the time runs very fleet.
All my Joys to this are folly.
Naught so sweet as melancholy.
When I lie waking all alone,
Beoounting what I have ill done.
My thoughts on me then tyrannize.
Fear and sorrow me surprise.
Whether I tarry still or go,
Methinks the time moves very slow.
AU my griefis to this are joUy,
Naught so sad as melancholy.
When to myself I act and smile.
With pleasing thoughts the time begoQe,
By a brook side or wood so green,
Unheard, unsought for. or unseen,
A thousand pleasures do me bless.
And crown my soul with happiness.
All my joys besides are folly.
None so sweet as melancholy.
When I lie, sit, or walk alone,
I 8igh,^I gneve, making great mone.
In a diaxk. grove, or irksome den,
inth discontents and Furies then,
A thousand miseries at once
Mine heavy heart and soul ensconce,
All my griefs to this are Jolly,
None so sour as melancholy.
Methinks I hear, methinks I see.
Sweet music, wondrous melody.
Towns, palaces, and cities fine ;
ITere now, then there ; the world is mine,
Rare beauties, gallant ladies shine,
Whate'er is lovely or divine.
All other Joys to this are folly,
None so sweet as melancholy.
Muthinks I hear, methinks I see
Ohosts, goblins, fiends ; my fiintaqr
Presents a thousand ugly i^apes.
Headless bears, black men, and apes,
Dolefiil outcries, and fearful sights,
My sad and dismal soul aflErights.
All my grleft to this are jolly.
None so damn- d as melancholy.

Methinks I court, methinks I Ubs,
Methinks I now embrace my mistnsf.

blessed days, sweet content,
In Paradise my time is spent.

Such thoughts may still my tunay mxnm^

So may I ever be in love.
AU my joys to this are folly.
Naught so sweet as melancholy.

When I recount love's many frights.

My sighs and tears, my waking nij^lt.

My jealous fits ; mine hard fiite

1 now repent, but 'tis too late.
No torment is so bad as love.
So bitter to my soul can prove.

All my griefe to this are jolly.

Naught so harsh as melancholy.
Friends and companions get you gone,
'Tis my desire to be alone ;
Ne'er well but when my thouj^tt and I
Do domineer in privacy. »
No Gem, no treasure like to this,
»Tis my delight, my crown, my bUas.

All my joys to this are folly.

Naught so sweet as melancholy.
Tis my sole plague to be alone,
I am a beast, a monster grown,
I will no light nor company,
I find it now my misery.
The scene is turn'd, my Joys are gone.
Fear, discontent, and sorrows come.

All my griefe to this are jolly,

Naught so fierce as melancholy.
I'll nm change life with any King,
I ravisht am : can the world brii^
More joy, than still to laugh and smile
In pleasant toys time to b^^nile?
Do not, do not trouble me.
So sweet content I feel and see.

All my joys to this are folly,

None so divine as melancholy.
I'll change my state with any wretch.
Thou canst firom jail or dnn^^ill ftteh
My pain's past cure, another hell,
I may not in this torment dweU !
Now desperate I hate my life,
Lend me a halter or a knife;

AU my griefs to this are joUy.

Naught so damn'd as melaiielioljr.

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Gentle Reader, I presume thou wilt be very inquisitive
to know^what antic or personate actor this is, that so inso-
lently intrudes upon this common theatre, to the world's
view, arrogating another man's name ; whence he is, why he
doth it, and what he hath to say ; although, as ^ he said,
Primum si noluero, non respondebo, quis coactwnis estf I
am a free man bom, and may choose whether I will tell ;
who .can compel me ? If I be urged, I will as readily reply
as that Egyptian in * Plutarch, when a curious fellow would
needs know what he had in his basket, Quum vides vekUam,
quid inquiris in rem absconditam f It was therefore covered,
because he should not know what was in it. Seek not after
that which is hid ; if the contents please thee, " • and be for
thy use, suppose the Man in the Moon, or whom thou wilt to
be the Author ; " I would not willingly be known. Yet in
some sort to give thee satisfaction, which is more than I
need, I will show a reason, both of this usurped name, title,
and subject. And first of the name of Democritus ; lest
any man, by reason of it, should be deceived, expecting a
pasquil, a satire, some ridiculous treatise (as I myself should
have done), some prodigious tenet, or paradox of the earth's

1 Seneoa in Indo in mortem OlaudU C»- hsec tibi nsui sint, quemTis anctorem tn-
•mtIs. s Ub. de Cariositate. *Mod6 gito. Weckcr.

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26 Democritus to the Reader.

motion, of infinite worlds, in infinito vacuo, ex fortuitd aio-
morum coUisione, in an infinite waste, so caused by an acci-
dental collision of motes in the sun, all which Democritus
held, Epicurus and their master Lucippus of old maintained^
and are lately revived by Copernicus, Brunus, and some
others. Besides, it hath been always an ordinary custom, as
* Gellius observes, " for later writers and impostors, to broach
many absurd and insolent fictions, under the name of so
Doble a philosopher as Democritus, to get themselves credit,
and by that means the more to be respected,*' as artificers
usually do, Novo qui marmori ascribunt Pf*axatilem suo»
Tis not so with me.

2 Non hie Centauros, non Gorgonas, Harpyasque
Invenies, hominem pagina nostra sapit.

No Centaurs here, or Gorgons look to find,

My subject is of man and human kmd. •

Thou thyself art the subject of my discourse.

« Quicquid agunt homines, votum, timor, ira, yoluptas,
Gaudia, disoursus, nostri farrago libelli.

W^ate*er men do, vows, fears, in ire, in sport,
Joys, wand'rings, are the sum of my report

My intent is no otherwise to use his name, than Mercilirius
GraUobelgicus, Mercurius Britannicus, use the name of Mer-
cury, * Democritus Christianus, &c ; although there be some
other circumstances for which I have masked myself under
this vizard, and some peculiar respect which I cannot so
well express, until I have set down a brief character of this
our Democritus, what he was, with an Epitome of his life.

Democritus, as he is described by * Hippocrates and 'Laer-
tius, was a little wearish old man, very melancholy by
nature, averse from company in his latter days,'' and much
given to solitariness, a famous philosopher in his age, ^coavus
with Socrates, wholly addicted to his studies at the last, and

1 Lib. 10, 0. 12. Multa k maid feriatis seo edit. Goloniae, 1616. • Hip. Epbt

m Democriti nomine commenta data, no- Dameget. o LaSct- Kb. 9. ^ Hortnlo

bllitatis, anctoritatisqne cgus perf^ugio sibi cellulam seligens, ibiqne seipsnm

atentibus. s Martialis, lib. 10, epigr. includQDS, Tizit solitarius. • FlonUt

14. s Tut. Sat. 1. * Auth. Pet. Bes- Olympiade 80 ; 700 annis pott Tnlam.

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Democritus to the Header. 27

to a priTate life ; wrote manj excellent works, a great divine,
according to the divinity of those times, an expert physician,
a politician, an excellent mathematician, as ^ Diaoosmos and
l^e rest of his works do witness. He was much delighted
with the studies of husbandry, saith ^ Columella, and often I
find him cited bj * Constantinus, and others treating of that
subject. He knew the natures, differenceis of all beasts,
plants, fishes, birds ; and, as some say, could ^ understand the
tunes and voices of them. In a word, he was omnifariam
doctus, a general scholar^ a great student ; and to the intent
he might better contemplate, ' I find it related by some, that
he put out his eyes, and was in his old age voluntarily blind,
yet saw more than all Greece besides, and *writ of every
subject, Mhil in toio opificto ncOuraj de quo nan scripsit.''
A man of an excellent wit, profound conceit ; and to attain
knowledge the better in his younger years he travelled to
Egypt and * Athens, to confer with learned men, • " admired
of some, despised of others." Afier a wandering life, he
settled at Abdera, a town in Thrace, and was sent for thither
to be their lawmaker, recorder, or town-clerk, as some will ;
or, as others, he was there bred and born. Howsoever it
was, there he lived at last in a garden in the suburbs, whoUy
betaking himself to his studies and a private life, *^ " saving
that sometimes he would walk down to the haven, ^and
laugh heartily at such raiietj of ridiculous objects, which
there he saw.*' Such a one was Democritus.

But in .the mean time, how doth this concern me, or upon
what reference do I usurp this habit ? I confess, indeed, that
to compare myself nnto him for aught I have yet said, were
both impudency and mrogancy. I do not presume to make

1 DiafiOS. qnod cnnctis op«rIbiu fusilh tea, Uberales dtscipUxuts, artttunque om-

•zoeim. lafirt. > Col. Ub. 1, c. 1. nium peritiam callebae. 7 Nothing in

8 Const, lib. de agrio. passim. • * Volu- nature's power to contriye of which he

enim Toces et lingoas intelligere se dicit has not written. ^ Veni Athenas, et

Abderitans Bp. Hip. & Sabellicns ex- nemo me novit. » Idem oontemptui et

empl. lib. 10. Oculis se priyavit, ut me- admirationi habitus, ^o Solebat ad por-

Una oontemplationi operam daret. sub- tam ambulare, et inde, 8co. Hip. Kp.

Umi Tir ingenio, profUndas cogitationis, Dam^. ii Perpetuo risn pulmonem

&c. « Natural^, moralla, mathemat- agitare solebat Democritus. Jut. Sat. 7-

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28 Democritus to the Reader,

any parallel, Antistat mihi miUtbus trecentis, ^parvus «««•,
nuUus sum, altum nee spiro, nee spero. Yet thus much I
will say of myself, and that I hope without all suspicion of

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