the world discovered
I seem to be collecting Theophrastian anthologies. By which I mean the text of John Earle’s Microcosmography (1628) is available here for the amusement and edification of all and sundry.1 Here’s an excerpt from ‘A Down-right Scholar’:
The time has got a vein of making him ridiculous, and men laugh at him by tradition, and no unlucky absurdity but is put upon his profession, and done like a scholar. But his fault is only this, that his mind is too much taken up with his mind, and his thoughts not loaden with any carriage besides. He has not put on the quaint garb of the age, which is now become a man’s total. He has not humbled his meditations to the industry of compliment, nor afflicted his brain in an elaborate leg. His body is not set upon nice pins, to be turning and flexible for every motion, but his scrape is homely and his nod worse. He cannot kiss his hand and cry, madam, nor talk idle enough to bear her company. His smacking of a gentlewoman is somewhat too savoury, and he mistakes her nose for her lips.[…] He cannot speak to a dog in his own dialect, and understands Greek better than the language of a falconer. He has been used to a dark room, and dark clothes, and his eyes dazzle at a sattin suit. The hermitage of his study has made him somewhat uncouth in the world, and men make him worse by staring on him. Thus is he ridiculous, and it continues with him for some quarter of a year out of the university.
I am also partial to ‘an antiquary’, ‘a contemplative man’, ‘a plodding student’, ‘a pretender to learning’, ‘a critic’, and ‘acquaintance’, to say nothing of ‘the common singing men in cathedral churches’ and the ‘lascivious man’
- As always, should you notice any typographical errors or are aware of any relevant resource which I should include, please let me know. [↩]