« السابقةمتابعة »
Methinks the time runs very fleet.
By a brook side or wood so green,
In a dark grove, or irksome den,
All my griefs to this are jolly, None so sour as melancholy. Me thinks I hear, me thinks I see, Sweet musick, wondrous melodie, Towns, palaces, and cities fine; Here now, then there; the world is mine,
Rare beauties, gallant ladies shine, What e'er is lovely or divine.
All other joys to this are folly, None so sweet as melancholy. Methinks I hear, methinks I see Ghosts, goblins, fiends; my phantasie
Presents a thousand ugly shapes,
All my griefs to this are jolly,
Me thinks I court, me thinks I kiss, Me thinks I now embrace my
O blessed days, O sweet content,
So may I ever be in love.
All my joys to this are folly, Naught so sweet as melancholy. When I recount love's many frights, My sighs and tears, my waking nights,
My jealous fits; O mine hard fate
All my griefs 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 thoughts and I
Do domineer in privacie. No Gemm, no treasure like to this, 'Tis my delight, my crown, my bliss.
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 finde it now my misery. The scean is turn'd, my joys are gone, Fear, discontent, and sorrows come.
All my griefs to this are jolly, Naught so fierce as melancholy. Ile not change life with any King, I ravisht am: can the world bring More joy, then still to laugh and smile, In pleasant toys time to beguile ? Do not, O do not trouble me, So sweet content I feel and see.
All my joys to this are folly, None so divine as melancholy. Il'e change my state with any wretch,
Thou canst from gaole or dunghill,
My pain's past cure, another hell,
THE work now restored to public notice has had an extraordinary fate. At the time of its original publication it obtained a great celebrity, which continued more than half a century. During that period few books were more read, or more deservedly applauded. It was the delight of the learned, the solace of the indolent, and the refuge of the uninformed. It passed through at least eight editions, by which the bookseller, as WOOD records, got an estate; and, notwithstanding the objection sometimes opposed against it, of a quaint style, and too great an accumulation of authorities, the fascination of its wit, fancy, and sterling sense, have borne down all censures, and extorted praise from the first writers in the English language. The grave JOHNSON has praised it in the warmest terms, and the ludicrous STERNE has interwoven many parts of it into his own popular performance, MILTON did not disdain to build two of his finest poems on it; and a host of inferior writers have embellished their works with beauties not their own, culled from a performance which they had not the justice even to mention. Change of times, and the frivolity of fashion, suspended, in some degree, that fame which had lasted near a century; and the succeeding generation affected indifference towards an author, who at length was only looked into by the plunderers of literature, the poachers in obscure volumes. The plagiarisms of Tristram Shandy, so successfully brought to light by DR. FERRIAR, at length drew the attention of the public towards a writer, who, though then little known, might, without impeachment of modesty, lay claim to every mark of respect; and enquiry proved, beyond a doubt, that the calls of justice had been little attended to by others, as well as the facetious Yorick. WOOD observed, more than a century ago, that several authors had unmercifully stolen matter from BURTON without any acknowledgement. The time, however, at length arrived, when the merits of the "Anatomy of Melancholy" were to receive their due praise. The book was again sought for and read, and again it became an applauded performance. Its excellencies, once more stood confest, in the increased price which every copy offered for sale produced; and the increased demand pointed out the necessity of a new edi tion. This is now presented to the public in a manner not disgraceful to the memory of the author; and the undertakers of it rely with confidence, that so valuable a repository of amusement and information will continue to hold the rank it has been restored to, firmly supported by its own merit, and safe from the influence and blight of any future caprices of fashion.
ACCOUNT OF THE AUTHOR.
ROBERT BURTON was the son of Ralph Burton, of an ancient and genteel family at Lindley, in Leicestershire, and was born there 8 February, 1576*. He received the first rudiments of learning at the free school of Sutton Coldfield, in Warwickshire †, from
* His elder brother was William Burton, the Leicestershire antiquary, born August 24, 1575, educated at Sutton Coldfield, admitted commoner, or gentleman commoner, of Brazen Nose College, 1591; at the Inner Temple, May 20, 1593; B. A. June 22, 1594; and afterwards a barrister and reporter in the court of Common Pleas. "But his natural genius," says Wood, "leading him to the studies of heraldry, genealogies, and antiquities, he became excellent in those obscure and intricate matters; and look upon him as a gentleman, was accounted, by all that knew him, to be the best of his time for those studies, as may appear by his description of Leicestershire." His weak constitution not permitting him to follow business, he retired into the country, and his greatest work, The Description of Leicestershire, was published in folio, 1622. He died at Falde, after suffering much in the civil war, April 6, 1645, and was buried in the parish church belonging thereto, called Hanbury.
+ This is Wood's account. His will says, Nuneaton; but a passage in this work [vol. i. p. 395.] mentions Sutton Coldfield: probably, he may have been at both Schools,