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Extracted from a common-place book, which
belonged to Robert Burton, the famous Author of The Anatomy of Melancholy.
I DEMOCRITUS Junior have put my finishing pen to a tractate De Melancholia, this day December 5, 1620. First, I blesse the Trinity, which hath given me health to prosecute my worthlesse studies thus far, and make supplication, with a Laus Deo, if in any case these my poor labours
be found instrumental to weede out black melancholy, carking cares, harte-grief, from the mind of man. Sed hoc magis volo quam expecto.
I turn now to my book, i nunc liber, goe forth, my brave Anatomy, child of my brain-sweat, and yee, candidi lectores, lo! here I give him up to you, even do with him what you please, my masters. Some, I suppose will applaud, commend, cry him up (these are my friends) hiee is a flos rarus, forsooth, a none-such, a Phoenix, (concerning whom see Plinius and Mandeuille, though Fienus de monstris doubteth at large of such a bird, whom Montaltus confuting argueth to have been a man male scrupulositatis, of a weak and cowardlie faith: Christopherus a Vega is with him in this.) Others again will blame, hiss, reprehende in many things, cry down altogether, my collections, for crude, inept, putid, post cænam scripta, Coryate could write better upon a full meal, verbose, inerudite, and not sufficiently abounding in authorities, dogmata, sentences of learneder writers which have been before me, when as that first named sort clean otherwise judge of my labours to bee nothing else but a messe of opinions, a vortex attracting indiscriminate, gold, pearls, hay, straw, wood, excrement, an exchange, tavern, marte, for foreigners to congregate, Danes, Swedes, Hollanders, Lombards, so many strange faces, dresses, salutations, languages, all which Wolfius behelde with great content upon the Venetian Rialto, as he describes diffusedly in his book the world's Epitome, which Sannazar so bepraiseth, e contra our Polydore can see 10
thing in it; they call me singular, a pedant; fantastic, words of reproach in this age, which is all too neoteric and light for my humour.
One cometh to me sighing, complaining. He expected universal remedies in my Anatomy; so many cures as there are distemperatures among
I have not put his affection in my cases. Hear you his case. My fine Sir is a lover, an inamorato, a Pyramus, a Romeo ; he walks seven years disconsolate, moping, because he cannot enjoy his miss, insanus amor is his melancholy, the man is mad; delirat, he dotes; all this while his Glycera is rude, spiteful, not to be entreated, churlish, spits at him, yet exceeding fair, gentle eyes, (which is a beauty,) hair lustrous and smiling, the trope is none of mine, Æneas Sylvius hath crines ridentes—in conclusion she is wedded to his rival, a boore, a Corydon, a rustic, omnino ignarus, he can scarce construe Corderius, yet haughty, fantastic, opiniatre. The lover travels, goes into foreign parts, peregrinates, amoris ergo, sees manners, customs, not English, converses with pilgrims, lying travellers, monks, hermits, those cattle, pedlars, travelling gentry, Egyptians, natural wonders, unicorns (though Aldobrandus will have them to be figments) satyrs, semi-viri, apes, monkeys, baboons, curiosities artificial, pyramides, Virgilius bis tombe, relicks, bones, which are nothing but ivory as Melancthon judges, though Cornutus leaneth to think them bones of dogs, cats, (why not men?) which subtill priests vouch to have been saints, martyrs, heu Pietas! By that time he has ended his course, fugit hora, -seven other years are expired, gone by, time is he should return, he taketh ship for Britaine, much desired of his friends, favebant venti, Neptune is curteis, after some weekes at sea he landeth, rides post to town, greets his family, kinsmen, compotores, those jokers his friends that were wont to tipple with him at alehouses; these wonder now to see the change, quantum mutatus, the man is quite another thing, he is disenthralled, manumitted, he wonders what so bewitched him, he can now both see, hear, smell, handle, con. verse with his mistress, single by reason of the death of his rival, a widow having children, grown willing, prompt, amorous, shewing no such great dislike to second nuptials, he might have her for asking, no such thing, his mind is changed, he loathes his former meat, had liever