Friday, March 29, 2013


An Old Man

Wye Saltonstall (bap. 1602, d. after 1640), Picturae Loquentes, 2nd ed. (London: Tho. Cotes, 1635), no. 2:
An old Man,

Is loath to bid the world goodnight, hee knowes the grave is a long sleepe, and therefore would sit up as long as hee could. His soule has long dwelt in a ruinous tenement, and yet is so unwilling to leave it that it could be content to sue the body for reparitions. He lives now to be but a burthen to his friends, as age is to him, and yet his thoughts are as farre from death as he is nigh it. Howsoever time bee a continued motion, yet the Dyall of his age stands still at 50, that's his age for ten yeares afterward, and love's such a friend that like a flattering glasse tels him hee seemes farre younger. His memory is full of the actions of his youth, which hee often historifies to others in tedious tales, and thinks they should please others because himselfe. His discourses are full of parenthesis, and his wordes fall from him as slowly as water from an Alimbecke; drop by drop. He loves the chimney corner and his chaire which he brags was his grandfathers, from whence he secures the cubboard from the Catts and Dogges, or the milke from running over, and is onely good to build up the architecture of a seacole fyre by applying each circumstant cynder. When his naturall powers are all impotencyes, hee marries a young wench for warmth sake, and when hee dyes, makes her an estate durante viduitate onely for widowhood. At talke hee commonly uses some proverbiall verses gathered perhaps from cheese-trenchers or Schola Salerna, which he makes as applyable, as a mountebank plasters to all purposes, all occasions. Hee cals often to the Servingman for a cup of Sacke, and to that end stiles him friend; and wonders much that new wine should not bee put in old bottles. Though the proverbe be, once a man and twice a childe, yet he hopes from his second childhood to runne backe into his teenes, and so bee twice a man too. Lastly, hee's a candle burnt to the snuffe, the ruines onely of a man, whose soule is but the salt of his body to keepe it from stincking, and can scarcely performe that too.

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