Anatomy of Melancholy, 300-330 — Pt. I, Sec. 2, Mem. III, Subsect. 15 — Love of Learning, or overmuch Study. With a Digression of the Misery of Scholars, and why the Muses are Melancholy (Overmuch Study) (Third Again)

This section is a real goldmine of insults, or more specifically: insults against greedy ecumenical scholars. I don’t know any of those, not being very godly myself, but still these might be useful the next time you get a bad grade in an English class, and also for instructors to use the next time time they give a bad grade in an English class. My favorite is “as a dog barks at the moon, to no purpose are your sayings,” but your “bones are full of epicurean hypocrisy” is good too. That kind of thing goes on for pages, but I’ll excerpt just one gloriously furious chunk:

They have cauterised consciences, they do not attend, as the enchanted adder, they stop their ears. Call them base, irreligious, profane, barbarous, pagans, atheists, epicures, (as some of them surely are) with the bawd in Plautus, Euge, optime, they cry and applaud themselves with that miser, simul ac nummos contemplor in arca: say what you will, quocunque modo rem: as a dog barks at the moon, to no purpose are your sayings: Take your heaven, let them have money. A base, profane, epicurean, hypocritical rout: for my part, let them pretend what zeal they will, counterfeit religion, blear the world’s eyes, bombast themselves, and stuff out their greatness with church spoils, shine like so many peacocks; so cold is my charity, so defective in this behalf, that I shall never think better of them, than that they are rotten at core, their bones are full of epicurean hypocrisy, and atheistical marrow, they are worse than heathens. 


This post is part of a long, tedious, and very illustrated read-along of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. More info here and follow along on Facebook here. Illustrations posted via devon_isadevon on Instagram.

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