Robert Burton

Robert Burton (1577-02-08 – 1640-01-25) was an English scholar at Oxford University (at Christ Church), whose chief claim to fame is for writing The Anatomy of Melancholy.

QuotesEdit

The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621)Edit

  • All my joys to this are folly
    Naught so sweet as melancholy.
    • The Author's Abstract.
  • A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword.
  • The Chinese say that we Europeans have one eye, they themselves two, all the world else is blinde.
    • Ed. 6, p. 40.

Democritus Junior to the ReaderEdit

  • I had a heavy heart and an ugly head, a kind of impostume in my head, which I was very desirous to be unladen of.
  • I would help others, out of a fellow-feeling.
  • They lard their lean books with the fat of others' works.
  • We can say nothing but what hath been said. Our poets steal from Homer... Our story-dressers do as much; he that comes last is commonly best.
  • I say with Didacus Stella, a dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself.
  • Old friends become bitter enemies on a sudden for toys and small offenses.
  • It is most true, stylus virum arguit,—our style bewrays us.
  • I had not time to lick it into form, as a bear doth her young ones.
  • As that great captain, Ziska, would have a drum made of his skin when he was dead, because he thought the very noise of it would put his enemies to flight.
  • Like the watermen that row one way and look another.
  • Smile with an intent to do mischief, or cozen him whom he salutes.
  • Him that makes shoes go barefoot himself.
  • Rob Peter, and pay Paul.
  • Penny wise, pound foolish.
  • Women wear the breeches.
  • Like Aesop's fox, when he had lost his tail, would have all his fellow foxes cut off theirs.
  • Our wrangling lawyers... are so litigious and busy here on earth, that I think they will plead their clients' causes hereafter,—some of them in hell.
  • Hannibal, as he had mighty virtues, so had he many vices; he had two distinct persons in him.
  • All poets are mad.

Part IEdit

  • Carcasses bleed at the sight of the murderer.
    • Section 1, member 2, subsection 5.
  • Every man hath a good and a bad angel attending on him in particular, all his life long.
    • Section 2, member 1, subsection 2, A Digression of the nature of Spirits, bad Angels, or Devils, and how they cause Melancholy.
  • [Witches] steal young children out of their cradles, ministerio dæmonum, and put deformed in their rooms, which we call changelings.
    • Section 2, member 1, subsection 3.
  • Can build castles in the air.
    • Section 2, member 1, subsection 3.
  • Joh. Mayor, in the first book of his "History of Scotland," contends much for the wholesomeness of oaten bread; it was objected to him, then living at Paris, that his countrymen fed on oats and base grain…. And yet Wecker out of Galen calls it horse-meat, and fitter juments than men to feed on.
    • Section 2, member 2, subsection 1.
  • Cookery is become an art, a noble science; cooks are gentlemen.
    • Section 2, member 2, subsection 2.
  • As much valour is to be found in feasting as in fighting, and some of our city captains and carpet knights will make this good, and prove it.
    • Section 2, member 2, subsection 2.
  • No rule is so general, which admits not some exception.
    • Section 2, member 2, subsection 3, Custom of Diet, Delight, Appetite, Necessity, how they cause or hinder.
  • Idleness is an appendix to nobility.
    • Section 2, member 2, subsection 6. Immoderate Exercise a cause, and how. Solitariness, Idleness.
  • Why doth one man's yawning make another yawn?
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 2, Of the Force of Imagination.
  • A nightingale dies for shame if another bird sings better.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 6.
  • Every other sin hath some pleasure annexed to it, or will admit of an excuse; envy alone wants both. Other sins last but for awhile; the gut may be satisfied, anger remits, hatred hath an end, envy never ceaseth.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 7, Envy, Malice, Hatred, Causes.
  • They do not live but linger.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 10.
  • [Diseases] crucify the soul of man, attenuate our bodies, dry them, wither them, shrivel them up like old apples, make them so many anatomies.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 10.
  • [Desire] is a perpetual rack, or horsemill, according to Austin, still going round as in a ring.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 11.
  • [Ambitious men] may not cease, but as a dog in a wheel, a bird in a cage, or a squirrel in a chain, so Budaeus compares them; they climb and climb still, with much labour, but never make an end, never at the top.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 11, Concupiscible Appetite, as Desires, Ambition, Causes.
  • [The rich] are indeed rather possessed by their money than possessors.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 12, Covetousness, a Cause.
  • Like a hog, or dog in the manger, he doth only keep it because it shall do nobody else good, hurting himself and others.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 12.
  • Were it not that they are loath to lay out money on a rope, they would be hanged forthwith, and sometimes die to save charges.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 12, Covetousness, a Cause.
  • A mere madness, to live like a wretch and die rich.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 12, Covetousness, a Cause.
  • I may not here omit those two main plagues and common dotages of human kind, wine and women, which have infatuated and besotted myriads of people; they go commonly together.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 13, Love of Gaming, &c. and pleasures immoderate; Causes.
  • All our geese are swans.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 14.
  • Though they [philosophers] write contemptu gloriæ, yet as Hieron observes, they will put their names to their books.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 14.
  • They are proud in humility; proud that they are not proud.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 14, Philautia, or Self-love, Vainglory, Praise, Honour, Immoderate Applause, Pride, overmuch Joy, etc., Causes.
  • We can make majors and officers every year, but not scholars.
    • Section 2, member 3, subsection 15, Love of Learning, or overmuch study. With a Digression of the misery of Scholars, and why the Muses are Melancholy.
  • Hinc quam sic calamus sævior ense, patet. The pen worse than the sword.
    • Section 2, member 4, subsection 4.
  • Homer himself must beg if he want means, and as by report sometimes he did "go from door to door and sing ballads, with a company of boys about him."
    • Section 2, member 4, subsection 6.
  • See one promontory (said Socrates of old), one mountain, one sea, one river, and see all.
    • Section 2, member 4, subsection 7.
  • One was never married, and that's his hell; another is, and that's his plague.
    • Section 2, member 4, subsection 7, A heap of other Accidents causing Melancholy, Death of Friends, Losses, etc.
  • Felix Plater notes of some young physicians, that study to cure diseases, catch them themselves, will be sick, and appropriate all symptoms they find related of others to their own persons.
    • Section 3, member 1, subsection 2.
  • Aristotle said melancholy men of all others are most witty.
    • Section 3, member 1, subsection 3.

Part IIEdit

  • Seneca thinks the gods are well pleased when they see great men contending with adversity.
    • Section 2, member 1, subsection 1.
  • Like him in Æsop, he whipped his horses withal, and put his shoulder to the wheel.
    • Section 1, member 2, Lawful Cures, first from God.
  • Machiavel says virtue and riches seldom settle on one man.
    • Section 2, member 2.
  • Almost in every kingdom the most ancient families have been at first princes' bastards; their worthiest captains, best wits, greatest scholars, bravest spirits in all our annals, have been base [born].
    • Section 2, member 2.
  • As he said in Machiavel, omnes eodem patre nati, Adam's sons, conceived all and born in sin, etc. "We are by nature all as one, all alike, if you see us naked; let us wear theirs and they our clothes, and what is the difference?"
    • Section 2, member 2.
  • Set a beggar on horseback and he will ride a gallop.
    • Section 2, member 2.
  • Fabricius finds certain spots and clouds in the sun.
    • Section 2, member 3.
  • Christ himself was poor... And as he was himself, so he informed his apostles and disciples, they were all poor, prophets poor, apostles poor.
    • Section 2, member 3.
  • Who cannot give good counsel? 'Tis cheap, it costs them nothing.
    • Section 2, member 3, Air rectified. With a digression of the Air.
  • Many things happen between the cup and the lip.
    • Section 2, member 3, Air rectified. With a digression of the Air.
  • What can't be cured must be endured.
    • Section 2, member 3.
  • Everything, saith Epictetus, hath two handles,—the one to be held by, the other not.
    • Section 2, member 3.
  • All places are distant from heaven alike.
    • Section 2, member 4, Exercise rectified of Body and Mind.
  • The commonwealth of Venice in their armory have this inscription: "Happy is that city which in time of peace thinks of war."
    • Section 2, member 6, Perturbations of the mind rectified. From himself, by resisting to the utmost, confessing his grief to a friend, etc.
  • Every man, as the saying is, can tame a shrew but he that hath her.
    • Section 2, member 6, Perturbations of the mind rectified. From himself, by resisting to the utmost, confessing his grief to a friend, etc.
  • Almost in every kingdom the most ancient families have been at first princes' bastards.
    • Section 3, Member 2, Remedies against discontents.
  • Tobacco, divine, rare, superexcellent tobacco, which goes far beyond all the panaceas, potable gold, and philosopher's stones, a sovereign remedy to all diseases...but as it is commonly abused by most men, which take it as tinkers do ale, 'tis a plague, a mischief, a violent purger of goods, lands, health, hellish, devilish and damned tobacco, the ruin and overthrow of body and soul.
    • Section 4, member 2, subsection 1, Purging Simples upward.

Part IIIEdit

  • "Let me not live," saith Aretine's Antonia, "if I had not rather hear thy discourse than see a play."
    • Section 1, member 1, subsection 1.
  • Every schoolboy hath that famous testament of Grunnius Corocotta Porcellus at his fingers' end.
    • Section 1, member 1, subsection 1.
  • Birds of a feather will gather together.
    • Section 1, member 1, subsection 2, Love's Beginning, Object, Definition, Division.
  • And this is that Homer's golden chain, which reacheth down from heaven to earth, by which every creature is annexed, and depends on his Creator.
    • Section 1, member 2, subsection 1.
  • And hold one another's noses to the grindstone hard.
    • Section 1, member 3.
  • Every man for himself, his own ends, the Devil for all.
    • Section 1, member 3.
  • No cord nor cable can so forcibly draw, or hold so fast, as love can do with a twined thread.
    • Section 2, member 1, subsection 2, How Love tyranniseth over men. Love, or Heroical Melancholy, his definition, part affected.
  • To enlarge or illustrate this power and effect of love is to set a candle in the sun.
    • Section 2, member 1, subsection 2.
  • Diogenes struck the father when the son swore, because he taught him no better.
    • Section 2, member 1, subsection 5, The last and best Cure of Love-Melancholy, is to let them have their Desire.
  • He is only fantastical that is not in fashion.
    • Section 2, member 2, subsection 3.
  • [Quoting Seneca] Cornelia kept her in talk till her children came from school, "and these," said she, "are my jewels."
    • Section 2, member 2, subsection 3.
  • To these crocodile tears they will add sobs, fiery sighs, and sorrowful countenance.
    • Section 2, member 2, subsection 4.
  • Marriage and hanging go by destiny; matches are made in heaven.
    • Section 2, member 2, subsection 5.
  • Diogenes struck the father when the son swore.
    • Section 2, member 2, subsection 5.
  • Though it rain daggers with their points downward.
    • Section 2, member 3.
  • Going as if he trod upon eggs.
    • Section 2, member 3.
  • I light my candle from their torches.
    • Section 2, member 5, subsection 1.
  • England is a paradise for women and hell for horses; Italy a paradise for horses, hell for women, as the diverb goes.
    • Section 3, member 1, subsection 2.
  • The miller sees not all the water that goes by his mill.
    • Section 3, member 4, subsection 1.
  • As clear and as manifest as the nose in a man's face.
    • Section 3, member 4, subsection 1.
  • Make a virtue of necessity.
    • Section 3, member 4, subsection 1.
  • Where God hath a temple, the Devil will have a chapel.
    • Section 4, member 1, subsection 1.
  • If the world will be gulled, let it be gulled.
    • Section 4, member 1, subsection 2.
  • For ignorance is the mother of devotion, as all the world knows, and these times can amply witness.
    • Section 4, member 1, subsection 2, Causes of Religious melancholy. From the Devil by miracles, apparitions, oracles. His instruments or factors, politicians, Priests, Impostors, Heretics, blind guides. In them simplicity, fear, blind zeal, ignorance, solitariness, curiosity, pride, vainglory, presumption, &c. his engines, fasting, solitariness, hope, fear, etc.
  • The fear of some divine and supreme powers keeps men in obedience.
    • Section 4, member 1, subsection 2, Causes of Religious melancholy. From the Devil by miracles, apparitions, oracles. His instruments or factors, politicians, Priests, Impostors, Heretics, blind guides. In them simplicity, fear, blind zeal, ignorance, solitariness, curiosity, pride, vainglory, presumption, &c. his engines, fasting, solitariness, hope, fear, etc.
  • Out of too much learning become mad.
    • Section 4, member 1, subsection 2.
  • The Devil himself, which is the author of confusion and lies.
    • Section 4, member 1, subsection 3.
  • Isocrates adviseth Demonicus, when he came to a strange city, to worship by all means the gods of the place.
    • Section 4, member 1, subsection 5.
  • When they are at Rome, they do there as they see done.
    • Section 4, member 2, subsection 1.
  • One religion is as true as another.
    • Section 4, member 2, subsection 1, Religious Melancholy in defect; parties affected, Epicures, Atheists, Hypocrites, worldly secure, Carnalists; all impious persons, impenitent sinners, etc.
  • Melancholy and despair, though often, do not always concur; there is much difference: melancholy fears without a cause, this upon great occasion; melancholy is caused by fear and grief, but this torment procures them and all extremity of bitterness.
    • Section 4, member 2, subsection 3, Causes of Despair, the Devil, Melancholy, Meditation, Distrust, Weakness of Faith, Rigid Ministers, Misunderstanding Scriptures, Guilty Consciences, etc.
  • A good conscience is a continual feast.
    • Section 4, member 2, subsection 3, Causes of Despair, the Devil, Melancholy, Meditation, Distrust, Weakness of Faith, Rigid Ministers, Misunderstanding Scriptures, Guilty Consciences, etc.
  • Our conscience, which is a great ledger book, wherein are written all our offenses...grinds our souls with the remembrance of some precedent sins, makes us reflect upon, accuse and condemn ourselves.
    • Section 4, member 2, subsection 3, Causes of Despair, the Devil, Melancholy, Meditation, Distrust, Weakness of Faith, Rigid Ministers, Misunderstanding Scriptures, Guilty Consciences, etc.
  • They have cheveril consciences that will stretch.
    • Section 4, member 2, subsection 3.
  • What physic, what chirurgery, what wealth, favor, authority can relieve, bear out, assuage, or expel a troubled conscience? A quiet mind cureth all them, but all they cannot comfort a distressed soul: who can put to silence the voice of desperation?
    • Section 4, member 2, subsection 4, Symptoms of Despair, Fear, Sorrow, Suspicion, Anxiety, Horror of Conscience, Fearful Dreams and Visions.
  • Be not solitary, be not idle.
    • Section 4, member 2, subsection 6, Cure of Despair by Physic, Good Counsel, Comforts, etc.

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Last modified on 14 April 2014, at 15:28