Daily Archives: November 30, 2006

Item of the Day: Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy (1660)

Full Title:

The Anatomy of Melancholy. What it is, with all the kinds causes, symptoms, prognostickes, & seuerall cures of it, In three Partitions, with their severall Sections, members, & subsections, Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, opened & cut up By Democritus Junior. With a Satyricall Preface, conducing to the following Discourse. [By Robert Burton.] 7th edition. London: E. Wallis, 1660.

The Authors Abstract of Melancholy:

When I goe musing all alone,
Thinking of divers things fore-known,
When I build Castles in the air,
Void of sorrow and void of fear,
Pleasing my self with phantasms sweet,
Me thinks the time runs very fleet.

All my joyes to this are folly,
Naught so sweet as Melancholy.

When I lye walking all alone,
Recounting what I have ill done,
My thoughts on me then tyrannise,
Fear and sorrow me surprise,
Whether I tarry still or go,
Me thinks the time moves very slow.

All my griefs to this are jolly,
Naught so sad as Melancholy.

When to my selfe I act and smile,
With pleasing thoughts the time beguile.
By a brook side or wood so green,
Unheard, unsought for, or unseen,
A thousand pleasures doe me bless,
And crown my soul with happiness.

All my joyes besides are folly,
None of sweet as Melancholy.

When I lie, sit, or walk alone,
I sigh, I grieve, making great mone,
In a dark grove, or irksome den,
With discontents and Furies then,
A thousand miseries at once,
Mine heavy heart and soul ensconce.

All my grief to this are jolly,
None so sour as Melancholy.

Me thinks I hear, me thinks I see,
Sweet musick, wondrous melodie,
Towns, places and Cities fine;
Here now, then there; the world is mine,
Rare beauties, gallant Ladies shine,
What e’re is lovely or divine.

All other joyes to this are folly,
None so sweet as Melancholy.

Me thinks I hear, me thinks I see
Ghosts, goblins, fiends; my phantasie
Presents a thousand ugly shapes,
Headless bears, black men, and apes,
Dolefull outcries, and fearfull sights,
My sad and dismall soul affrights.

All my griefs to this are jolly,
None so damn’d as Melancholy.

Me thinks I court, me thinks I kiss,
Me thinks I now embrace my mistriss,
O blessed dayes, O sweet content,
In Paradise my time is spent.
Such thoughts may still my fancy move,
So may I ever be in love.

All my joyes to this are folly,
Naught so sweet as Melancholy.

When I recount loves many frights,
My sighes and tears, my waking nights,
My jealous fits; O mine hard fate
I now repent, but ’tis too late.
No torment is so bad as love,
So bitter to my soul can prove.

All my griefs to this are jolly,
Nought so harsh as Melancholy.

Friends and Companions get you gone,
‘Tis my desire to be alone;
Ne’re 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 joyes 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 scean is turn’d, my joyes 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 toy time to beguile?
Do not, O doe not trouble me,
So sweet content I feel and see.

All my joyes to this are folly,
None so divine as Melancholy.

Il’e change my state with any wretch,
Thou canst from gaole or dunghill fetch:
My pain, past cure, another Hell,
I may not in this torment dwell,
Now desparate I hate my life,
Lend me a halter or a knife.

All my griefs to this are jolly.
Naught so damn’d as Melancholy.


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Filed under 1660's, Poetry, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

Item of the Day: Travels of Anacharsis the Younger in Greece (1804)

Full Title: Travels of Anacharsis the Younger in Greece. During the middle of the fourth century, before the Christian era. Vol. I. By the Abbe Barthememi, Keeper of the Medals in the Cabinet of the King of France, and Member of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres. Translated from the French. Vol. I. First American edition. Philadelphia: Published by Jacob Johnson & Co. . . . , 1804.[The following advertisement is taken from the popular novel by Jean Jacques Barthelemy, which recounts the narrative of Anacharsis, a young Scythian who travels to Greece in the fourth century B.C.].


I imagine a Scythian, named Anacharsis, to arrive in Greece, some years before the birth of Alexander; and that from Athens, the usual place of his residence, he makes several excursions into the neighborring [sic] provinces; every where observing the manners and customs of the inhabitants, being present at their festivals, and studying the nature of their governments; sometimes dedicating his leisure to enquiries relative to the progress of the human mind, and sometimes conversing with the great men who flourished at that time; with Epaminondas, Phocion, Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, &c. As soon as he had seen Greece enslaved by Philip, the father of Alexander, he returns to Scythia, where he puts in order an account of his travels; and, to prevent any interruption in his narrative, relates in an introduction the memorable events which had passed in Greece before he left Scythia.

The aera I have chosen, which is one of the most interesting that the history of nations presents, may be considered in two points of view. With respect to literature and the arts, it connects the age of Pericles with that of Alexander. My Scythian has conversed with a number of Athenians, who had been intimately acquainted with Sophocles, Euripides, Artistophanes, Thucydides, Socrates, Zeuxis, and Parrhasius. I have mentioned some of the celebrated writers who were known to him. He has seen the masterly productions of Praxiteles, Euphranor, and Pamphilus, make their appearance, as also the first essays of Apelles and Protogenes; and in one of the latter years of his stay in Greece Epicurus and Menander were born.

Under the second point of view, this epocha is not less remarkable. Anacharsis was a witness to the revolution which changed the face of Greece, and which, some time after, destroyed the empire of the Persians. On his arrival, he found the your Philip with Epaminondas: he afterwards beheld him ascend the throne of Macedon; display, in his contests with the Greeks, during two and twenty years, all the resources of his genius; and, at length, compel those haughty republicans to submit to power.

I have chosen to write a narrative of travels rather than a history, because in such a narrative all is scenery and action; and because circumstantial details may be entered into which are not permitted to the historian. These details, when they have relation to manners and customs, are often only indicated by ancient authors, and have often given occasion to different opinions among modern critics. I have examined and discussed them all before I have made use of them; I have even, on a revisal, suppressed a great part of the, and ought perhaps to have suppressed still more.

I began this work in the year 1757, and, since that time, have never intermitted my labours to complete it.* I should not have undertaken it if, less captivated by the beauty of the subject, I had consulted my abilities more than my courage.

*These was written about the latter end of 1788, when the original work was published.

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Filed under 1800's, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Travel