Wednesday, May 28, 2014



Robert Burton (1577-1640), Anatomy of Melancholy, Part. II, Sect. III, Memb. VII, with notes from the edition of A.R. Shilleto, Vol. II (London: George Bell & Sons, 1920), p. 220:
It is an ordinary thing in these days to see a base impudent ass, illiterate, unworthy, insufficient, to be preferred before his betters, because he can put himself forward, because he looks big, can bustle in the world, hath a fair outside, can temporise, collogue, insinuate, or hath good store of friends or money, whereas a more discreet, modest, and better deserving man shall lie hid, or have a repulse. 'Twas so of old, and ever will be, and which Tiresias adviseth Ulysses in the 1Poet,
——Accipe quâ ratione queas ditescere, &c.
is still in use; lie, flatter and dissemble: if not, as he concludes,
——Ergo pauper eris,2
then go like a beggar as thou art. Erasmus, Melancthon, Lipsius, Budaeus, Cardan, lived and died poor. Gesner was a silly old man, baculo innixus,3 amongst all those huffing Cardinals, swelling Bishops that flourished in his time, and rode on foot-clothes. It is not honesty, learning, worth, wisdom, that prefers men. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but as the wise man said, 4chance, and sometimes a ridiculous chance. 5Casus plerumque ridiculus multos elevavit.

1 Hor. lib. 2. Sat. 5.[10. Learn how you may grow rich.]
[2 Hor. Sat. ii.5.19, 20.]
[3 Ovid, Met. viii.218. leaning on his staff.]
4 Solomon, Eccles. ix.11.
5 Sat. Menip.
Related post: The Way to Preferment.

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