Okay, so the world is a fool’s head, and now Robert Burton explains why:
Shall I tell you the reason of it? Fortune and Virtue, Wisdom and Folly, their seconds, upon a time contended in the Olympics; every man thought that Fortune and Folly would have the worst, and pitied their cases; but it fell out otherwise. Fortune was blind and cared not where she stroke, nor whom, without laws, Audabatarum instar, etc. Folly, rash and inconsiderate, esteemed as little what she said or did. Virtue and Wisdom gave place, were hissed out, and exploded by the common people; Folly and Fortune admired, and so are all their followers ever since: knaves and fools commonly fare and deserve best in worldlings’ eyes and opinions. Many good men have no better fate in their ages: Achish, 1 Sam. xxi. 14, held David for a madman. Elisha and the rest were no otherwise esteemed. David was derided of the common people, Ps. ix. 7,
I am become a monster to many. And generally we are accounted fools for Christ, 1 Cor. xiv.
We fools thought his life madness, and his end without honour, Wisd. v. 4. Christ and his Apostles were censured in like sort, John x.; Mark iii.; Acts xxvi. And so were all Christians in Pliny’s time… ‘Tis an ordinary thing with us, to account honest, devout, orthodox, divine, religious, plain-dealing men, idiots, asses, that cannot, or will not lie and dissemble, shift, flatter… make good bargains, supplant, thrive… that cannot temporise as other men do, hand and take bribes, etc. but fear God, and make a conscience of their doings. But the Holy Ghost that knows better how to judge, he calls them fools.
Gosh, that sounds an awful lot like what just happened with the US elections and what has been happening repeatedly since Burton wrote his nice book. WHEN ARE THE HUMANS GOING TO STOP DOING THIS?
This post is part of a long, tedious, and illustrated read-along of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy – more info here and follow along on Facebook here. Join us!