A of M, 62-65: A shop of knavery

AofM 62-64

And today, the world is…

A vast chaos, a confusion of manners, as fickle as the air, domicilium insanorum [a madhouse], a turbulent troop full of impurities, a mart of walking spirits, goblins, the theatre of of hypocrisy, a shop of knavery, flattery, a nursery of villainy, the scene of babbling, the school of giddiness, the academy of vice; a warfare… in which kill or be killed; wherein every man is for himself… Old friends become bitter enemies on a sudden for toys and small offences, and they that erst were willing to do all mutual offices of love and kindness, now revile and persecute one another to death, with more than Vatinian hatred, and will not be reconciled.

“Vatinian” means extremely hateful, and it is derived from the name Vatinius, who was a Roman that everyone really hated apparently.

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How would our Democritus have been affected to see a wicked caitiff or fool, a very idiot, a funge, a golden ass, a monster of men, to have many good men, wise, men, learned men to attend upon him with all submission, as an appendix to his riches, for that respect alone, because he hath more wealth and money, to honour him with divine titles, and bombast epithets, to smother him with fumes and eulogies, whom they know to be a dizzard, a fool, a covetous wretch, a beast, etc. because he is rich? To see sub exuviis leonis onagrum [an ass in a lion’s skin], a filthy loathsome carcass, a Gorgon’s head puffed up by parasites, assume this unto himself, glorious titles, in worth an infant, a Cuman ass, a painted sepulchre, an Egyptian temple?

You know who that reminds me of, and I briefly considered illustrating this colorful excerpt. But I would rather think about dinosaurs, and a Gorgon’s head puffed up by parasites isn’t fun to draw.


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

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