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material into refined ore. He used Burton in a is just a trifle too anxious to show that he is way which savors, to say the least, of plagiarism. laughing with his reader, and so suggests the We could at least have wished for some passing question whether Burton did not see the joke allusion to the poor old author whose stores he himself. My impression would be that, in spite was using so freely. Had the thief acknowledged of his elaborate mask of pedantry, Burton was at his debts in the most cursory way, no one could bottom quite conscious of the comic aspect of his have objected, even on moral grounds, to the ad- preaching, and would have appreciated “Tristram mirable transformation of Burton into the elder Shandy” as well as any of its readers. After all, Shandy. The extent of Sterne's obligations was though the Oxford don of those days was nourrevealed in Ferriar's “ Illustrations,” but one case ished on great masses of obsolete scholasticism, will be sufficient to exhibit the nature of the pro- there must have been sharp fellows enough in cedure. Burton, in one of his chapters (it is the the common rooms, where Burton displayed his fifth number of the third section of the second “merry and facete" wit, to understand the humor partition, being part of a “consolatory digression of serving up the tritest commonplaces with this containing remedies to all discontents and pas- portentous sauce of learned authority. When sions of the mind '), goes through the good old James was king, even humor loved to masquerseries of reflections upon the death of friends. ade in quaint scholastic forms, and wit to resolve We know them all, alas ! too well, and in new itself into queer logical quibbling. dresses they still do duty on occasions of ad- The whole scheme of the book strikes us, in ministering “vacant chaff.” “'Tis an inevitable fact, as a semi-humorous affectation of elaborate chance," says Burton,“ the first statute in Magna system. Burton professes to “anatomize this Charta, an everlasting act of Parliament, all must humor of melancholy,” melancholy being a name die," and Sterne puts the phrase without altera- used with most convenient vagueness. From tion into Mr. Shandy's mouth. “Is it not much one point of view it is the general sense for hubetter not to hunger at all than to eat; not to man folly; it includes those who are “ metaphorthirst, than to drink to satisfy thirst ; not to ically mad, who are stupid, angry, drunken, sulky, be cold, than to put on clothes to drive away sottish, proud, vainglorious, ridiculous, beastly, cold ?” asks Burton, translating from Lucian, peevish, obstinate, extravagant, dry, doting, dull, and anticipating some modern pessimists; and desperate, hare-brained,” and so forth. More Sterne appropriates not merely the venerable properly, it seems, it is a disease so common “in sophistry, but the words of his author. But the this crazed age of ours, that scarce one in a thougeneral style of Burton is most happily ridiculed, sand is free from it, and that splenetical, hypoand the keynote of the sentiment struck in the chondriacal wind especially, which proceeds from opening passage:
the spleen and short ribs.” Every age, indeed, 'Tis either Plato, or Plutarch, or Seneca, or Xeno- seems to have the same pride in claiming a mophon, or Epictetus, or Theophrastus, or Lucian, or nopoly of hypochondria as was instituted by the some one, perhaps, of later date–either Cardan, or excellent Mrs. Pullet in her array of bottles. But Budæus, or Petrarch, or Stella-or possibly it may also it seems that melancholy may have pretty be some divine or father of the Church, St. Austin,' much its modern significance, as in the charming or St. Cyprian, or Bernard, who affirms that it is an verses which are supposed to have given a hint irresistible and natural passion to weep for the loss to Milton : of our friends or children and Seneca (I'm positive) tells us somewhere that such griefs evacuate them
“When I go musing all alone, selves best by that particular channel. And accord
Thinking of divers things foreknown ; ingly we find that David wept for his son Absalom,
When I build castles in the air, Adrian for his Antinous, Niobe for her children, and
Void of sorrow and void of fear; Apollodorus and Crito shed tears for Socrates before
Pleasing myself with phantasms sweet,
Methinks the time runs very fleet. his death.
All my joys to this are folly, The passage gives virtually Sterne's criticism
Naught so sweet as melancholy. of Burton. It shows the point of view from which he had contemplated his victim, poring over the
“When I lay waking all alone,
Recounting what I have ill done ; old folio, then a neglected curiosity, and chuckling
My thoughts on me then tyrannize, to himself over curiosities so seldom disturbed as
Fear and sorrow me surprise, to permit him a sense of personal proprietorship.
Whether I tarry still or go, He just takes a characteristic passage from Bur- Methinks the time moves very slow. ton, accentuates slightly the ludicrous side of his
All my griefs to this are jolly, manner, and turns him out as an exquisite por
Naught so bad as melancholy." trait of the ideal pedant. The art is inimitable, though possibly, in the passage just quoted, Sterne Melancholy is here a name for the ambiguous
mood in which we hold the lessons of sweet si- ment, however, is that, according to Nicholas lent thought. But, again, we drop to the most Leonicus, Solon, when “besieging I know not physiological, and, as we should now call it, ma- what city,” poisoned the springs with hellebore, terialistic view. Melancholy is "black choler,” as and so weakened the inhabitants that they could its name imports; and we are treated to the defi- not bear arms. Recent writers, however, espenitions of the whole series of physicians, the ques. cially Paracelsus and Matthiolus, have restored tion having been agitated by Galen, Avicenna, Va- the reputation of the injured drug. For so venlesius, Montanus, Cappivaccius, Bright, Fiennes, erable and classical a medicine, it was perhaps and others, with a variety of results anything natural to go back to the records of Solon's siege but encouraging to the patient. We can not but of “I know not what city.” Indeed, another sympathize with the excellent Trincavellius, who, statement may remind us that, even in the reign being demanded what he thought of a certain of experimental philosophy, the effects of familiar melancholy young man, “ ingenuously confessed drugs are not always established beyond possithat he was indeed melancholy, but he knew not bility of dispute. “ Tobacco," exclaims Burton, to what kind to reduce it.” Trincavellius, indeed, “divine, rare, and superexcellent tobacco, which being consulted on another occasion along with goes far beyond all panaceas, potable gold and Fallopius and Francanzanus, each of these three philosopher's stones, a sovereign remedy to all famous doctors gave a different opinion-an un- diseases. A good vomit, I confess, a virtuous precedented and startling phenomenon !
herb, if it be well qualified, opportunely taken, Undaunted, however, by this want of agree- and medicinally used; but, as it is commonly ment, or rather encouraged by the boundless abused by most men, who take it as tinkers do field of conjecture which it opened, Burton con- ale, 'tis a plague, a mischief, a violent purger of structs a vast and systematic scheme of analysis, goods, lands, health, hellish, devilish, and damned a network so comprehensive, with its judicious tobacco, the ruin and overthrow of body and divisions and subdivisions, partitions and mem- soul.” The controversy, as many contemporary bers, and sections and subsections, that the fish allusions testify, was as keen at that time as it is must indeed be strange which can not be some- at the present day. Bobadil, we may remember, where entangled in his toils. The causes of mel- professed to have lived for twenty-one weeks on ancholy range from the highest of all causes, the fumes of this simple, while Justice Overdo down through magicians, witches, the stars, old entreats all men to avoid “the creeping venom age, sickness, poverty, sorrow, and affright, to of this subtle serpent." special peculiarities of diet, such as the consump- Burton, to do him justice, does not fail to intion of " dried, soused, indurate fish, as ling, fu- sinuate a sly hit or two at his physicians, under mados, red herring, sprats, stock-fish, haberdine, due shelter of learned names. “Common expoorjohn, all shell-fish”; and even in detail we perience," he points out, shows that those “live are generally left in a painful attitude of doubt. freest from all manner of infirmities that make “ Mesarius commends salmon, which Bruerimus least use of apothecaries' physic"; though apothcontradicts,” and who is to decide between Me- ecaries might possibly argue that he is here insarius and Bruerimus ? The physiology, indeed, verting cause and effect. But he goes further : which forms so large a part of the book is a very “The devil himself was the first inventor of mediamusing illustration of the chaotic state of medi- cine,” he argues; “for Apollo invented it, and cal theory, which gave so many openings for the what was Apollo but the devil?” He points out satirists of the period, and which has so happily with more cogent logic the discord of the docbeen succeeded by perfect unanimity. Johnson tors of his day, and remarks: “This art is wholly was not improbably attracted to the “ Anatomy” conjectural, if it be an art, uncertain, imperfect, by the title, which promised to give him some hints and got by killing of men; they are a kind of in his life-long struggle with disease. If so, he butchers, leeches, menslayers, chirurgeons and must indeed have been edified. The general tone apothecaries especially, that are indeed the phyof the decisions of the physicians of the period is sicians' hangmen and common executioners, excellently given by the controversy as to helle- though, to say truth, the physicians themselves bore. This drug fell out of its old repute, it ap- come not far behind, for, according to that facete pears, owing to the authority of Mesue and some epigram of Maximilianus Urentius ” (which, in other Arabians; and it is “ still oppugned to this Burton's phrase, I here voluntarily pretermit), day by Crato and some junior physicians. Their “what's the difference?" And, though Burton's reasons are briefly that Aristotle and Alexander skepticism is judiciously tempered by a considAphrodiseus called it a poison, while Constantine eration which has restrained many of his fellow the Emperor, in his ‘Graponics,' attributes no satirists_namely, that when he is ill he will probother virtue to it than to kill mice and rats, flies ably want a physician himself-he significantly and mouldwarps.” The most prominent argu- prefaces his selections from the “infinite variety
of medicines which he finds in every pharmaco- pride itself upon a knowledge of the world than pæia” by the warning that they should be used the university don of modern times. A Fellow “ very moderately and advisedly," and only when of a college resents the traditional estimate which diet will not answer the purpose. The skepti- would make of him a mere smoke-dried bachelor, cism, indeed, was never pushed to any excess. ignorant, in virtue of his position, of the ordinary He was slightly scandalized, he tells us, when he play of human passion. But old Burton accepts saw his mother apply a spider in a nutshell and prides himself upon his character of learned wrapped in silk for the cure of a sufferer from recluse. He has looked at the world, perhaps, ague; but, on finding the very same remedy pre- more closely than he allows. He had been further scribed by Dioscorides, Matthiolus, and Aldero- from his common-room than merely to the bridge vandus, he began to “have a better opinion of end to hear the ribaldry of the bargees. But he it," and decides wisely with Renodæus that such thinks it necessary to defend himself for discoursamulets are “not altogether to be rejected." ing upon love by more than his usual affectation
Burton's collection of the prescriptions of the of learned authority. “It is part of my treatise,” day is a curious illustration of the time in which he says roundly, “and I must and will perform the most virtuous and benevolent men went about my task,” though in a spirit becoming a grave bleeding fever-struck patients to death, flogging divine. And certainly no fair reader will comothers out of madness, and with equal confidence plain that he has shown undue levity even in this administering spiders in nutshells—and all from department, where an access of gravity borders the best possible motives. Yet it is perhaps the most closely upon the ludicrous. least amusing part of the matter forced into an To get a little closer to Burton himself, to elaborate framework, which, as I have said, is catch a glimpse of the real man behind the elabcontrived with a view to including the most orate mask, we naturally turn to the chapters in heterogeneous stores of learning. One could which his personal experience is forced to come wish that he had not bothered himself with any nearer to the surface. “Democritus junior,” the ostensible method, and had avowedly presented professional laugher at all human folly, might be himself as a mere rambler, diverging hither and expected to show his bitterness when he treats of thither in obedience to any accidental association. his own craft. Beyond a doubt study is a cause Southey's “Doctor," the last book of any note of melancholy, and indeed, as Lavinius Lemmius which may be regarded as in some degree be- assures us, the commonest of all causes. The longing to the same class, is so far more judi- theme should be a fruitful one, and, indeed, we ciously constructed, though Southey perhaps falls find some touches of genuine feeling. It must into the contrary error of forcibly contorting the be admitted, however, that Burton has a denatural flow of his thought into an appearance cidedly matter-of-fact and prosaic mode of reof more arbitrary digressiveness than really be- garding the subject. The most obvious reason, longs to him. A deliberate resolution to be funny he tells us, of the melancholy of students is their and fanciful is perhaps more annoying than a ill-health. They alone, of all men, as Marsilius forced appearance of methodical order. And Ficinus observes, habitually neglect their tools. there is certainly something characteristic in this A painter washes his brushes, a smith looks to thoroughgoing affectation which seems to be a his anvil, a huntsman takes care of his hawks part of the very nature of the old pedant. He and hounds, and a musician of his lute; but a can not get rid of his academical costume even scholar never thinks of attending properly to his when he is disposed for a game of “high jinks." brains. Moreover, Saturn and Mercury, the paHe discusses the philosophy of love-melancholy trons of learning, are both of them dry planets, so with all the airs of an anatomical demonstrator, that the brains of their subjects become withered, and, if there is just a sly twinkle in his eye, he and the animal spirits, used up for contemplation, never permits himself such a smile as would be do not keep the other organs properly employed. inconsistent with his views of professorial dig- Whence it follows that bald students are comnity. He proves with his usual array of impos- monly troubled with gouts, catarrhs, rheums, ing authorities that men often fall in love with cachexia, bradiopepsia," and a long list of other beautiful women; and reminds us that “ Achilles diseases due to “overmuch sitting,” exceeding was moved in the midst of a battle by fair Briseis; even those which beset a famous lady at Diss in Ajax by Tecmessa ; Judith captivated that great Norfolk. A modern writer of Burton's meditacaptain Holofernes; Delilah, Samson ; Rosa- tive turn would despise this physiological cause; mond, Henry II.; Roxalana, Solyman the Mag- he would call his “ bradiopepsia " Welt-Schmerz, nificent, etc.”; and we dimly wonder whether and elaborate a philosophical pessimism, proving this comprehensive “ etc.” could even have in- conclusively that a man's disposition to melancluded the excellent Burton himself. There is choly must be proportioned to the depth of his perhaps no class of men which is more apt to knowledge of the general system of things. Bur
ton, in his old-fashioned way, considers melan- many mountebanks, empirics, quacksalvers, Paracholy to be at bottom a disease, and frequently celsians," and others, that he could scarcely find due to direct Satanic agency; and therefore, a patient. The “grasping patrons,” who plunthough he certainly considers that the evil-one der the Church for their own base purposes, are plays a very conspicuous part in human affairs, at the roots of the evil. It is useless to dehe can not properly pride himself upon his melan- nounce them; they care not so long as they have choly as a proof of intellectual and moral superi- money. “Dea Moneta, Queen Money,” the alority. We must not complain of him for not mighty dollar, was even then, it seems, the “godanticipating a modern discovery.
dess we adore.” We need not wonder, then, that He speaks, however, feelingly of the folly of patrons were a “ base, profane, epicurean, hypointellectual labor. Do not scholars labor like critical rout. So cold is my charity, so defecThebet Benchorat, who spent forty years in find- tive in this behalf, that I shall never think better ing out the motion of the eighth sphere, till they of them, than that they are rotten at core, their become “ dizzards,” and are scoffed at by gallants bones are full of epicurean hypocrisy and athefor not knowing how to manage a hack, salute a istical marrow, they are worse than heathens." gentlewoman, carve at table, and make cringes And then Burton proceeds to lament over the and congés, “ as every common swasher can do"? contempt for learning characteristic of his time, The greatest scholars are generally fools in all and, of course, of his time alone. Gentlemen worldly matters, such as Paglarensis, who thought thought it unworthy of them; merchants might that his farmer must be a cheat for reporting that study arithmetic, spectacle-makers optics, and his sow had eleven pigs and his mare only one “landleapers” geography—a rich man had no foal. This test of the imbecility of scholars was need of such knowledge. In that base, utilitaone upon which Hazlitt has dwelt in some vigor- rian age men only thought of practical advanous essays, and which has doubtless come home tages; in “former times "La very comprehensive more or less to many an honest senior wrangler, period—the highest were scholars themselves, and who has discovered that his mathematics did not loved scholars. “Evax, that Arabian prince,” enable him to tie his neckcloth after the latest was “a most expert jeweler and exquisite phimodel. But the man who could seriously whinelosopher"; Alexander sent Xenophanes fifty talover such a distress would be showing a defi- ents, because he was poor; and “ Archelaus, that ciency of self-respect only too much in Hazlitt's Macedonian king, would not willingly sup withvein. If here and there, in this polished age, a out Euripides (among the rest, he drank to him scholar is a bit of a clown, it is generally from at supper one night, and gave him a cup of gold puerile conceit, and his incapacity for business for his pains).” Those days are gone; though means only that he has admirers enough ready we still have our Cæsar, commonly called James to do his dirty work. Burton has a much more I., “our amulet, our sun, our sole comfort and serious ground for lamentation. Scholars, he refuge; . . . a famous scholar himself, and the says, are generally enforced to “want, poverty, sole patron, pillar, and sustainer of learning," to and beggary." He quotes a passage from Ver- which, in later editions, it had to be added that gil (applied by Johnson to precisely the same James had left a worthy successor.
But, after purpose) enumerating the terrible forms which making his reverence to the king's majesty, and surround the gates of hell—grief, care, labor, to certain rather hypothetical exceptions to the fear, hunger, and poverty--and observes that they general ignorance of the gentry, Burton returns are the familiar attendants of the scholar. His to his lamentations. Our modern nobles are best chance was to keep a school, or turn lec- abandoned to field-sports, gaming, and drinking; turer or curate, for which he might receive “ fal- they need nothing but some romance, play-book, coner's wages,” ten pounds a year and his food, or pamphlet, and know only a few scraps of so long as he pleased the parish or his parson; French and Italian picked up in a foreign jouror he might become chaplain in a gentleman's ney. And yet such must be the patrons ! and family, marry an old housekeeper or chamber- those will thrive who please them best. maid, and be settled in a small living—the natu- patron be precise, so must the clerk be; if he be ral aspiration of a poor clergyman for a century papistical, his clerk must be so too, or be turned later, according to the satirists and pamphleteers.out. These "--parasites and time-servers, to wit The scholar, again, might get into a great man's _" are those clerks which serve the turn, while, family, and live, at the cost of gross flattery, as a in the mean time, we, that are university men, like worthless parasite; or, seeing the worthlessness so many hide-bound calves in a pasture, tarry out of the higher learning, might take to one of the our time, wither away as a flower ungathered in " bread studies,” and become a lawyer, to strug- a garden, and are never used; or as so many gle against successful pettifoggers-or a physi- candles, illuminate ourselves alone, obscuring one cian, to find that in every village there were “ so another's light, and are not discerned here at all
the least of which, translated to a dark room, or older, he is constantly inclined to fancy that the to some country benefice where it might shine world must be growing worse. If not, why apart, would give a fair light, and be seen over should he be less cheerful? all.”
In this chapter Burton speaks more from his “We that are university men!” It is pleas- own mind, and gives us a stronger dose of pessiant to notice the touch of college pride which mism than is his wont. Yet even here he does breaks out in this little reference. The univer- not quite come up to the modern standard, or, sity indeed was not quite immaculate, but Burton indeed, to that of some of his contemporaries. judiciously veils his suggestions for its reform in The evils upon which he dwells are too specific learned language; it was not for one of the and contingent. He hardly seems to regard the “candles " to develop any doubt as to the bril- melancholy of the scholar as due to an imperfecliancy of his associated luminaries. We have the tion in human nature itself, but rather as somegood old don-the genuine believer in the uni- thing which might conceivably be removed by a versities as the sole sources of pure light in a virtuous prince and a judicious minister. He is feebly appreciative country—who used to flourish thoroughly roused to anger by the baseness of till very recent times, and has perhaps not been patrons and the general misapplication of church utterly abolished even by the profane intrusion of property, but scarcely rises above the tone of a reforming commissioners. But it is more curious sturdy conservative of the common-room grumto remark how easy it would be to rewrite all this bling over the slowness of patronage and the lamentation so as to make it an apparent echo of growth of Puritanism. He does not rise to the modern jeremiads. When, in speaking of politi- sphere of thought in which the many political cal disorders, Burton illustrates his case by“ those squabblings of the day appear as petty interludes goodly provinces in Asia Minor which govern in the vast drama of human history. The melanunder the burden of a Turkish government; and choly of the scholar does not suggest to him the those vast kingdoms of Muscovia, Russia, under lofty intellectual melancholy represented, for exa tyrannizing duke," we fancy that he might have ample, by Faust. Here and there, indeed, we been looking at an article in yesterday's paper; have hints of the futility of all philosophy; celeand the complaints to which we have just been brated authors have exploded school divinity, we listening require little more alteration. We know are told, as a “vast ocean of obs and sols-a how nervous disorders (we do not now call them labyrinth of intricable questions, unprofitable conmelancholy) are specially characteristic of the tentions", but he is scarcely sensible of that present age; how many of them may be traced weariness of soul which comes over the proto the excessive stimulation of youthful intellects founder thinker, awed by the contemplation of in the period of academical study; how all pro- the stupendous waste of the noblest human facfessions are filled to repletion, and how many ulties, of the vast energy of intellect that has been years a young man has to wait before he can get dissipated in turning the everlasting metaphysical a brief or a patient; how little the spirit of genu- treadmill. He is more of a Wagner than a Faust. ine research is encouraged, and how, in conse- He does not tremble at the comparison between quence, young men take to those studies which his narrow limits of human life and the illimitare likely to bring immediate results in the shape able series of problems to be solved, where each of pounds, shillings, and pence; how ill patronage new answer only serves to suggest new and more is distributed, and what a number of excellent perplexing questions; nor is he frightened by the clergymen are forced to keep up an excellent ap- many names of men greater and wiser than himpearance on totally inadequate stipends; how, if self which are now mere labels to some exploded patrons are no longer so conspicuous in our dem- theory, nor disgusted with the empty verbiage ocratic age, a man is still tempted to seek for presented to him by the most pretentious teachpreferment by flattering the ignorant prejudices ers for solid truth; nor tempted to become a of the many, and prostituting his talents to the charlatan himself in sheer bitterness of spirit, or base acts of popularity-hunting; and how “in to plunge into sensual pleasure as the only subformer times " these evils never existed; how stantial good in losing himself in the stupendous people really believed what they said; sold what labyrinths of sophistry and mutual contradiction they professed to sell ; revered their rulers; and misnamed philosophy. At a time when the keenlived sound, healthy lives, free from hysteria, est thinkers were bracing themselves for a fresh humbug, and money-worship. In every age the departure in inquiry, a man of powerful as well as last new prophet of the doctrine of deteriora- learned mind might have given utterance to some tion is convinced of the startling novelty and such feeling in surveying the huge wilderness of unimpeachable truth of his teaching. The ex- bygone speculation. Placed between the dead planation is probably the obvious one hinted by and the living, a rising and an expiring school of an old writer, who remarks that, as he grows thought, he might have meditated on the vanity