Microcosmography - or, a Piece of the World Discovered; in Essays and Characters
by John Earle
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A Piece of the World discovered;









A Reprint of Dr. Bliss's Edition of 1811.




"From the contagion of the world's slow stain He was secure."


It may be reasonably asked why Dr. Bliss's[A] edition of the Microcosmography should require a preface, and the answer is that it does not require one. It would be difficult to have a more scholarly, more adequate, more self-sufficing edition of a favourite book. Almost everything that helps the elucidation of the text, almost everything about Bishop Earle that could heighten our affection for him (there is nothing known to his disparagement) is to be found here.[B] And affection for the editor is conciliated by the way. It is not only his standard of equipment that secures this—a standard that might have satisfied Mark Pattison[C]—but also the painstaking love revealed in it, which, like every other true love, whether of men or books, will not give of that which costs it nothing. And, as a further title to our regard, Dr. Bliss is amusing at his own expense, and compares himself to Earle's "critic," who swells books into folios with his comments. Not that this humorous self-depreciation is to be pressed; for, unlike that critic, he is no "troublesome vexer of the dead."

But though there is no need of a preface, I have two excuses for writing one.

The first is that I was asked to do it by my friend Mr. Frank George, of Bristol, who wished to see the book reprinted; and the second is the old professio pietatis, which seemed to Tacitus a sufficient defence of the Agricola, and may perhaps be allowed to serve humbler people as well. What Earle says of men is no less true of books: "Acquaintance is the first draught of a friend. Men take a degree in our respect till at last they wholly possess us;" and the history of this possession must, in every case, have a sort of interest, as long as it is not carried to the point of demanding from others the superlatives we permit to ourselves. It is sufficiently common for people to like the same book for different reasons; and where an author has a secure place in English literature, his shade, like the deity of Utopia, may be best pleased with a manifold and various worship.[D]

The character of Earle, as drawn by Clarendon, is itself a guarantee for his studies of character; and the fact that Lord Falkland was his chosen friend is evidence of his possessing something of that sweet reasonableness of temper for which his host was so remarkable. "He was very dear" (we are told) "to the Lord Falkland, with whom he spent as much time as he could make his own." Indeed, "Mr. Earles would frequently profess that he had got more useful learning by his conversation at Tew than he had at Oxford." Of Earle's conversation Clarendon says that it was "so pleasant and delightful, so very innocent and so very facetious, that no man's company was more desired and more loved." Walton, too, tells us of his "innocent wisdom and sanctified learning"; and another witness speaks of his "charitable heart," an epithet which is nobly borne out by the correspondence between himself and Baxter printed in this volume.

This is no superfluous citation of testimony. Without it we might, perhaps, have suspected, though not, I think, legitimately, something almost of a cynical spirit in the severity of the punishment which he deals out to the various disguises of vice and imposture, and in the pitiless nakedness in which he leaves them. But there are even stronger reasons for recalling contemporary verdicts pronounced on Earle as a man. Hallam, in the "Literature of Europe,"[E] has a short notice of him, and though it shews some appreciation of his ability, it contains a very unworthy aspersion on his character. "The chapter on the sceptic," he says, "is witty, but an insult to the honest searcher after truth, which could only have come from one that was content to take up his own opinions for ease or profit." If we accept all that is said of Earle's piety and devotion, and give its proper weight to the very significant epithet "innocent," used both by Walton and Clarendon, we shall, I think, be slow to suspect his motive in attacking the sceptic. The honest doubter, it must be remembered, was not the familiar—much less the fashionable—figure he has become since, and it is very certain that Earle described one type of sceptic both of his day and our own. That his sketch may have done injustice to other types is likely enough; but that is no reason for calling in question the sincerity of his opinions, or attributing an interested orthodoxy to one whom Bunyan might have christened Mr. Singleheart. The piety of the 17th Century was not disposed to be gentle to sceptics. Even Bacon's enlightenment allows itself harsher language on such subjects than any to be found in Earle. "None do refuse to believe in a God save those for whom it maketh that there were no God." And if Bacon is not thought a satisfactory witness, we have an unimpeachable one very much nearer to our time. Dr. Johnson's occasional strictures on sceptics are well-known, but his reputation for honest thinking has never been impaired by their severity. Earle knew what charity was, as the Baxter correspondence shows, and he has exposed in one of his characters "the faith that has no room for it"; and if his own faith needed further enlargement in the case of a sceptic,[F] some enlargement of Hallam's charity might also have been looked for in dealing with the earnestness of a militant piety.

The character-sketch is naturally a thing of limited scope. "Fine portraiture,"[G] it has been said, "is not possible under such conditions as it imposes. The traits, common to a class, cannot at the same time be the accurate and intimate likeness of an individual. For this, a simple enumeration of actions which such and such a man will do, is not enough. A novelist takes a long series of connected actions, and even then he has to interpret, to review from time to time whole stages of development." All this is, no doubt, true, but the character-writers differ to a remarkable extent in their individualising power—some of them achieving a high degree of success, as is subsequently admitted in the case of Thackeray by the writer just quoted. It may be noticed too, by the way, that great novelists are not always equally successful in the character-sketch. One is reminded of Johnson's phrase about Milton's inability "to carve heads upon cherry stones" when one thinks of "Theophrastus Such" on the one hand, and the almost unique position of George Eliot as a novelist on the other. Less successful as she often is in lightness of touch when she has to pause and interpret her story, she had not prepared us for such a complete exhaustion of power as her attempt in this branch of literature (apparently of the same genus, almost of the same species, as the novel) reveals to her disappointed admirers. It may, at any rate, be said that her failure is an instructive lesson in the literary division of labour, and that these studies require a peculiar delicacy of organisation in the observer, as well as a special gift of exposition.

"Dolus latet in generalibus" is a salutary warning, but the character-writers, as a whole, have in most instances got creditably out of the snare, while Earle, I think, has achieved something more. Besides his humour and acuteness, besides even his profundity, I find in him an exceptional power of individualizing. "The contemplative man," for instance, belongs to a small class at all times; but it is only an individual we have known, and known at rare intervals, of whose Wordsworthian temper we are able to say that "Nature asks his approbation as it were of her works and variety." Again, "the grave divine, who is not yet dean or canon, though his life is our religion's best apology," reads throughout like a personal experience. I at least so read it, or I should not have borrowed from Earle for the dedication which stands at the head of this preface. Yet such identifications are usually reserved for the great novelist, whose highest art, as Macaulay says, is to "make the inventions of one man seem like the recollections of another."

Some of Earle's readers appear to be chiefly impressed with his book as furnishing "a picturesque idea of a period now remote, and as possessing much of the affected quaintness of its age."[H] The picturesqueness I find, and a good deal of quaintness; but the total impression is that of a man who has got beyond words, ancient or modern, in his studies of human nature—of one who, whether

"invectively he pierceth through The body of the country, city, court;"

or is "anatomizing the wise man's folly," is as instructive a moralist in the end of the nineteenth century as in the beginning of the seventeenth. This, in a sense, is true of all great moralists, but the distinction of Earle, as I understand it, is that his characters are so often really people of our own day, with idiosyncracies that seem almost more applicable to our own age than to his.

Society is almost a technical term to-day, susceptible, one would have said, of refinements of difference infinitely more various than anything that could have existed more than two hundred years ago; yet one cannot but feel that this observer would have been fully equal to drawing our microcosm as well as his own. Earle's is a penetrating observation which is always fresh—so fresh that no archaism of phrase in him, and no cheery optimism in ourselves, can disguise the fact that it is our weaknesses he is probing, our motives he is discovering.

There are still with us "those well-behaved ghosts AEneas met with—friends to talk with, and men to look on, but if he grasped them but air"—those shadowy creatures that "wonder at your ill-breeding,[I] that cannot distinguish between what is spoken and what is meant."

We are no strangers to "the fashionable respect which loves not deeper mutualities, but though exceeding kind and friendly at your first acquaintance, is at the twentieth meeting but friendly still"; or to that similar temper which "nothing so much puts out as to trespass against the genteel way." And, to go a stage lower, the formal man still survives, whose "face is in so good a frame because he is not disjointed with other meditations—who hath staid in the world to fill a number; and when he is gone there wants one and there's an end."[J] He, to be sure, has no conversation, and that is his discretion—but others display then as now a bolder discretion, and in their talk "fly for sanctuary rather to nonsense which few descry, than to nothing which all."

But literary conversation is not forgotten. It may be a stretch beyond the power of a latter-day imagination to fancy a visitor proposing to fascinate his company by some "scatterings of Seneca and Tacitus," or even to think ourselves back to a time when these "were good for all occasions." Yet, those who say "Chaucer[K] for our money above all our English poets because the voice has gone so," (or had we better substitute Browning?),[L] are still common enough examples of those who desire to acquire inexpensively the reputation of good taste.

And there is another variety of modern artificiality which is not spared in this book. For the many forms of busy idleness, the worship of organisation and system, and all the other hindrances to life properly so-called, which it has been the cherished labour of this age to multiply, Earle would have had no reserve of patience. "The dull physician," we are told, has no leisure to be idle, that is, to study. "The grave divine," who has "studied to make his shoulders sufficient for his burden, comes not up thrice a week into his pulpit because he would not be idle"; whereas the commendation of the young raw preacher is that "he speaks without book, and, indeed, he was never used to it."

We may justly boast of the superior humanity of our century; but few would deny that the elaborate apparatus of modern philanthropy has too often become an end in itself, and absorption in it a serious detriment to any worthy preparation for the work of edifying. In the absence of leisure pulpits will hardly furnish us with that "sincere erudition which can send us clear and pure away unto a virtuous and happy life."[M] Nor is such a loss compensated by an endless succession of services or even a whole street of committee-rooms.

One would not, however, wish to rest in negations or dwell in the last resort on Earle's critical attitude. One feels that the delightful house at Tew did not spend all or even its best strength on criticism. Earle may have there pursued the method of verification and studied his characters in the flesh. Perhaps he saw there "the staid man," and duly appraised this specimen of "nature's geometry";[N] while his obvious gifts as a rational peace-maker, if not much needed in such a company, would not be overlooked by Lord Falkland. "The good old man," too is a portrait so strongly individualized that I cannot help thinking some very personal experience went to the making of it—experience of a sort that was sure to be revived at Tew, where "so good a relick of the old times" was not likely to be wanting. It was a house, at any rate, for the "modest man" to whom, as to the poet Cowper, public appearances were so many penances; for though the world may not agree with Earle as to the degree in which this quality sets off a man, there is no question of Lord Falkland's welcome of the modest man, even if that grave divine "Mr. Earles," did not point out this diffident guest as one who "had a piece of singularity," and, for all his modesty, "scorned something."

And, as "the most polite and accurate men of the University of Oxford"[O] were to be met with at Tew, we may further hope that Earle there watched the social mellowing of the "downright scholar whose mind was too much taken up with his mind,"[P] and strove to carry out his own recommendation, "practising him in men, and brushing him over with good company."

Symposium is a word that has been much abused and vulgarised of late, but something like its true Platonic sense must have been realised by the company at Lord Falkland's, as they "examined and refined those grosser propositions which laziness and consent made current in vulgar conversation":[Q] for a more Platonic programme it would be difficult to conceive. The pattern of the ideal republic is, we know, laid up somewhere in the heavens; but the republic of letters so far as it was represented, must have been as near the ideal in that house as it ever was on earth. And in this ideal one of Earle's characters already mentioned was not only a natural but a necessary element. "The contemplative man" is solitary, we are told, in company, but he would not be so in this company. "Outward show, the stream, the people," were not taken seriously at Lord Falkland's; and the man who "can spell heaven out of earth" would be the centre of a rare group—men upon whose fresh and eager appetites conversation that was "mysterious and inward" could not easily pall.

Bishop Berkeley is one of the very few men who could answer with any plausibility to this last character of Earle's. But the marvellous amenity of his social gifts brings him a little closer to the kindly race of men than Earle thinks is usual with the contemplative student. In every other point it is an accurate piece of portraiture.[R] Nature might well ask approbation of her works and variety from a man who was ever feeding his noble curiosity and never satisfying it. He, too, made a "ladder of his observations to climb to God." He, too, was "free from vice, because he had no occasion to employ it." "Such gifts," said the turbulent Bishop Atterbury of him, "I did not think had been the portion of any but angels." After this it is no hyperbole to say, as Earle does of the contemplative man, "He has learnt all can here be taught him, and comes now to heaven to see more."

Though Clarendon does full justice to Earle's personal charm, he uses the epithets "sharp and witty" to describe his published "discourses"; and the piercing severity of his wit is illustrated everywhere in this book. It is clear, however, from the sympathetic sketches that Earle's was no nil admirari doctrine, and that while he saw grave need on all hands for men to clear their mind of cant, and their company of those who live by it, he had great store of affection for all that is noble or noble in the making.

The "modest man" and the high-spirited man" are opposite types, but there is in both the worthy pursuit and the high ideal. Moreover, the second of those characters reveals a power of pathos which Earle might have developed with more opportunity.[S] "The child" whom "his father has writ as his own little story" is another indication of the same mood.

These sketches are full of suggestive melancholy—not the melancholy of the misanthrope, but the true melancholy—the melancholy of Virgil—Invalidus etiamque tremens etiam inscius aevi.[T]

There is another character drawn with a most incisive pathos, though less Virgilian[U] in its tone.

The poor man, "with whom even those that are not friends for ends love not a dearness," and who, "with a great deal of virtue, obtains of himself not to hate men," is a pathetic figure, but he is something more. He is a sermon on human weakness, not drawn as some Iago might have drawn it with exultant mockery, but with the painful unflinching veracity of one who is ashamed of himself and of his kind. When one thinks how often this weakness is spoken of as if it were peculiar to the moneyed class or to the uneducated, and how many people whom one knows act and think as if poverty were a vice if not a crime, though they shrink from avowing it, so unqualified an exposure indicates a conscience of no common sensitiveness.

Earle's wit and humour are deadly weapons, and it must be said that the trades and professions are treated with scant indulgence. He can even leave a mark like that of Junius when he has a mind. Thus the dull physician is present at "some desperate recovery, and is slandered with it, though he be guiltless"; and the attorney does not fear doomsday because "he hopes he has a trick to reverse judgment!"

But though one would not ask on behalf of impostors or scoundrels for suspension of sentence, one does wish for more than a single picture of the young man "who sins to better his understanding." The companionship of one who by his 34th year "had so much dispatched the business of life that the oldest rarely attain to that knowledge and the youngest enter not the world with more innocence,"[V] might have induced Earle to pourtray more than the weaknesses of immature manhood.

We could not, however, have missed this or the other pictures of characterless persons whether young or "having attained no proficiency by their stay in the world." Inexperience may fail to recognise them and suffer for it; or the gilding of rank and fashion may win for such persons a name in society above that which they deserve, and the moralist is bound to unmask them. These studies nevertheless are somewhat sombre;[W] and there is something much lighter and pleasanter in his presentation of some not unfamiliar phases of manners. There is the self-complacency that deals with itself like a "truant reader skipping over the harsh places"; the frank discourtesy that finds something vicious in the conventions and "circumstance" of good breeding; the patronising insolence[X] that "with much ado seems to recover your name"; the egoism of discontent that "has an accustomed tenderness not to be crossed in its fancy"; or lastly, that affectation of reticence which is as modern as anything in the book, though its illustrations look so remote. Where we meet with such a temper, Earle's is still the right method—"we must deal with such a man as we do with Hebrew letters, spell him backwards and read him!"

Despite all this searching analysis and the biting wit which accompanies it, I cannot think the epithet cynical, which I have heard ascribed to Earle, is defensible. There is a vast difference between recognising our frailty which is a fact, and insisting that our nature is made up of nothing else, which is not a fact. The severe critic and the cynic differ chiefly in this: the first reports distressing facts, the second invents disgraceful fictions; the one distrusts, the other insults our common nature; and in doing justice to the possibilities of that nature, no one has gone further than Earle in his "contemplative man."

Something may be said of Earle's style before this introduction is brought to an end.

I do not think it is uniformly conspicuous[Y] for quaintness, or that there is much that can be called affectation; though occasionally an excess of brevity has proved too tempting, or the desire to individualize runs away with him.

The following passages, taken at random from the Characters, seem to contain phrases that we should be well content to use to-day if we had thought of them.

He sighs to see what innocence he hath outlived.

We look on old age for his sake as a more reverent thing.

He has still something to distinguish him from a gentleman, though his doublet cost more.

It is discourtesy in you to believe him.

An extraordinary man in ordinary things.

His businesses with his friends are to visit them.

The main ambition of his life is not to be discredited.

He preaches heresy if it comes in his way, though with a mind I must needs say very orthodox.

These quotations have no very unfamiliar sound, nor much flavour of archaism about them. And there are many more, surprisingly free from conceits or other oddities, if we reflect that the book was written before Dryden was born, or modern prose with its precision and balance even thought of.

There is one very distinguishing mark set on Earle's characters, the profundity of the analysis that accompanies the sketch. He lets us know not only what the grave divine or the staid man looks like, but why they are what they are, and all this without turning his sketch into an essay. This mistake Bishop Hall is inclined to make, and Butler actually makes. The author of Hudibras, it seems, would have been too fortunate had he known where his own happiness lay—to wit in that "sting" of verse, which Cowper says prose neither has nor can have.

When one compares the essay in its beginnings with the essay as we know it to-day, it is not difficult to understand the change of form in the character sketch. "The Character of a Trimmer"[Z] is a very powerful piece of writing, containing some very fine things, but Halifax could not make of it that finished piece of brevity which it would have become in Earle's hands. Latin criticism has the right word for his work—"densus."[AA] We could not pack the thinking closer if we wished. And yet if we do not care to reason a type out, there are pictures enough unspoilt by commentary.[AB] Earle has some of that delightful suddenness of illustration which Selden makes so captivating in his Table-Talk. At once we are made to see likeness or unlikeness, we hear no comment on it; since the artist desires no more moral than is to be looked for in his art.

When on the other hand Earle makes more of the reason of the thing, he[AC] is literally "swift and sententious"—he never takes the opportunity to draw us into an instructive disquisition, or to assume airs of profundity. And his passing hint as to the cause of what we see no more injures any picture he may draw than Coleridge's prose argument at the side of the page destroys the imaginative spectacle in the Ancient Mariner.

Earle, it has been said, "is not so thoroughly at home with men of all sorts and conditions as Overbury, who had probably seen far more of the world."[AD] However relatively true this may be, Earle's book [published 1628] gives evidence of an experience of men as wide as it is intimate—an experience little short of marvellous in a resident Fellow of twenty-seven, whose younger years were chiefly distinguished for "oratory, poetry, and witty fancies."[AE] (Perhaps his youth may account for some of that excessive severity in handling follies which is occasionally noticeable.) The article in the "Dictionary of National Biography" gives a somewhat different impression of Earle as an observer. "The sketches throw," it says, "the greatest light upon the social condition of the time." Now this is not possible for anyone to achieve whose vision requires "the spectacles of books"; though with such help it is doubtless possible to extend and improve on the observations of others, with human nature as a constant quantity. But to be at home with one's contemporaries and to record one's intimacy means to see with the eye as well as the mind. The slow inductive method of personal contact is indispensable; and no reasoning from first principles, no assimilating of secondhand experience, with whatever touches of genius, can be mistaken for it.

It is not likely that the Registrar's house (his father's house) at York added much to Earle's sketch-book; and we have to fall back on what Clarendon says of his delightful conversation, and by implication, of his delight in it. In the society of a University and in the life of a University town there would be presented to an observer of his exceptional penetration enough of the fusion or confusion of classes to furnish the analytical powers with a tolerably wide field.

And Earle does not suffer by comparison with his rivals. "The concise narrative manner"[AF] of Theophrastus, though in its way as humorously informing as we find Plautus and Terence, and as we should have found the New Comedy which they copied, leaves us a little cold from the looseness or the connexion in the quasi-narrative: we rise a little unsatisfied from the ingenious banquet of conversational scraps; we desire more. Overbury, again, says less than Earle, and is more artificial in saying it. Butler and Bishop Hall too directly suggest the essay[AG] and the sermon. In no one of them is brevity so obviously the soul of wit as it is in Earle; no one of them is so humorously thoughtful, so lucid in conception, so striking in phrase.

When one has reckoned up all these gifts, and all that his friends and contemporaries said of him, and remember also who and what these friends were, one is not startled by the eulogistic epitaph in Merton College Chapel; these words are as moving as they are strong:

Si nomen ejus necdum suboleat, Lector, Nomen ejus ut pretiosa unguenta; Johannes Earle Eboracensis.

But his own choicer Latin in the epitaph he wrote for the learned Peter Heylin would serve no less well for himself; and the beautiful brevity of its closing cadences has so much of the distinction of his English, and puts so forcibly what Earle deserves to have said of him, that it may fitly be the last word here:

Plura ejusmodi meditanti mors indixit silentium: ut sileatur efficere non potest.


Clifton, May, 1896.


[A] It came out in 1811. Forty-four years afterwards he wrote that in his interleaved copy the list of Seventeenth Century Characters had increased fourfold—good evidence of his affection for and interest in Earle's Characters. Yet he despaired of anyone republishing a book so "common and unimportant" (??). (See Arber's reprint of Earle.) It is to the credit of Bristol that this pessimism has not been justified.

[B] Since writing this preface I have added a small supplementary appendix; but there is nothing in it to require much qualification of the opinion here expressed. It was hardly possible, as I gather, for Bliss to have known of the Durham MS.

[C] Mr. John Morley has called Pattison's standard "the highest of our time." Bliss's conception of an editor's duties is well illustrated in the note on p. 73.

[D] "Varium ac multiplicem expetens cultum deus."—Mori Utopia Lib. II.

[E] Vol. iii., pp. 153 and 154.

[F] Were the unorthodox opinions of Hobbes known to his friends as early as 1647? If so, Earle could hardly have been very curious in scenting out heresy, for Clarendon hopes Earle's intercession may secure for him a book of Hobbes's. (See letters of Clarendon in Supplementary Appendix.)

[G] Professor Jebb, in his edition of The Characters of Theophrastus. I rejoice to see that Professor Jebb assigns Earle a place of far more distinction than is implied in the measured tribute of Hallam. His preface furnishes lovers of Earle with just those reasoned opinions with which instinctive attraction desires to justify itself; and I take this opportunity of acknowledging my great obligations to it.

[H] Hallam. The same tone is taken in the article on Earle in the "Encyclopaedia Britannica."

[I] Mr. Bridges indeed, ("Achilles in Scyros"), finds that this character has been always with us, and gives it a place in the Heroic Age. The passage has almost the note of Troilus and Cressida:—

"My invitation, Sir, Was but my seal of full denial, a challenge For honor's eye not to be taken up. Your master hath slipped in manners."

[J] We may compare Matthew Arnold's travelling companion ("Essays in Criticism," 1st Edition, Preface), who was so nervous about railway murders, and who refused to be consoled by being reminded that though the worst should happen, there would still be the old crush at the corner of Fenchurch Street, and that he would not be missed: "the great mundane movement would still go on!"

[K] Chaucer could hardly have been well-known in 1811, or Dr. Bliss would scarcely have quoted in full the most familiar character in his Prologue; but I could not find courage to excise, or lay a profane hand on any of his notes.

[L] It is, perhaps, superfluous to say that no disrespect is intended to the Author of the "Ring and the Book"; but it would be difficult to find another poet who has had so many of the equivocal tributes of fashion.

[M] Sir Thomas Browne, "Christian Morals."

[N] "So infinite a fancy, bound in by a most logical ratiocination."—Clarendon (of Lord Falkland).

[O] Clarendon.

[P] "A great cherisher of good parts ... and if he found men clouded with poverty, or want, a most liberal and bountiful patron."—Clarendon, ib.

[Q] Clarendon, ib.

[R] Between Earle himself and Berkeley there is much resemblance. Of Berkeley too it would have been said—"a person certainly of the sweetest and most obliging nature that lived in our age"; and this resemblance extends beyond their social gifts or their cast of mind, even to their language. Earle's "vulgar-spirited" man, with whom "to thrive is to do well," recalls a famous passage in the Siris.

"He that hath not thought much about God, the human soul, and the summum bonum, may indeed be a thriving earth-worm, but he will make a sorry patriot, and a sorry statesman."

[S] Is this from Pliny's Letters? "Totum patrem mira similitudine exscripserat."—Lib. V. xvi.

[T] One may recall, too, the famous words of the Sophoclean Ajax to his son in connection with Earle's phrases. "He is not come to his task of melancholy," "he arrives not at the mischief of being wise," read like a free translation of Soph. Ajax, II. 554 and 555.

[U] Perhaps the simile in AEn. viii. 408 and one or two other places would justify us in calling this also Virgilian, as, indeed, one may call most good things.

[V] Clarendon—his character of Lord Falkland.

[W] There are certain things not at all sombre applicable not only to our day, but to our hour, e.g. "the poet (I regret to say he is 'a pot poet,') now much employed in commendations of our navy"; or this, "His father sent him to the University, because he heard there were the best fencing and dancing schools there." If we substitute athletics of some kind, we have a very modern reason for the existence of such things as Universities accepted as sound by both parents and children. cf. too Dr. Bliss's note on the serving-man, and its quotation, "An' a man have not skill in the hawking and hunting languages nowadays, I'll not give a rush for him!"

[X] cf. Falconbridge in "King John":

"And if his name be George I'll call him Peter, For new-made honour doth forget men's names."

It is this character which was the occasion of the most delightful of all stories of absence of mind, and though, doubtless, familiar to many, I cannot resist repeating it. The poet Rogers was looking at a new picture in the National Gallery in company with a friend. Rogers was soon satisfied, but his friend was still absorbed. "I say," said Rogers, "that fellow [Earle's insolent man] was at Holland House again last night, and he came up and asked me if my name was Rogers." "Yes," said the friend, still intent on the picture, "and was it?

[Y] The article in the "Dictionary of National Biography" lays stress on the freedom from conceits in Earle's few poems at a time when conceits were universal. The lines on Sir John Burroughs contain a couplet which is wonderfully close to Wordsworth's "Happy Warrior":

"His rage was tempered well, no fear could daunt His reason, his cold blood was valiant."

cf. "Who in the heat of conflict keeps the law In calmness made."

Earle's standard in poetry was high. "Dr. Earle would not allow Lord Falkland to be a good poet though a Great Witt," yet many poets praised his verses. Aubrey, who tells us of Earle's opinion, confirms it. "He (Lord Falkland) writt not a smooth verse, but a great deal of sense."

[Z] "The Trimmer" is no doubt a political manifesto—but no retreat from politics could have chastened Halifax's style into a resemblance to Earle's; when the "Character" became a political weapon, its literary identity was all but at an end. "The Trimmer" is commended by Macaulay in his History, where it will be remembered he pays a tribute to its "vivacity."

[AA] Quintilian uses it of Thucydides.

[AB] The "She precise hypocrite" is a striking example—one of Earle's most humorous pieces.

cf. also "The plain country fellow."

[AC] The pictures, with the moral attached, are best seen in places: in "The Tavern, the best theatre of natures"; in "The Bowl-alley, an emblem of the world where some few justle in to the mistress fortune"; in Paul's Walk, "where all inventions are emptied and not a few pockets!"

[AD] Professor Jebb, preface to "The Characters of Theophrastus."

[AE] Anthony Wood.

[AF] Professor Jebb.

[AG] Professor Jebb justly replies to Hallam that if La Bruyere is far superior to Theophrastus the scope of the two writers makes the comparison unfair. The difference between them may perhaps be expressed by saying that an essay was the last thing that the master and the first thing that the disciple was anxious to produce.





In the Cathedral Library at Durham is a small bound volume which contains forty-six of Earle's Characters, bearing date 1627[AH],—the date of the first edition being 1628. I was enabled by the kindness of Dr. Greenwell, the Librarian, to take it away and examine it at leisure; and the courtesy of the University Librarian, Dr. Fowler, furnished me with an exact collation of the MS. versions with the printed text[AI] of these forty-six Characters, the original of the contributions made by him to "Notes and Queries," and referred to in the "Dictionary of National Biography."

(2) I have printed, besides, some other versions quoted by Bliss from "Dr. Bright's MS.," and incorporated in his annotated copy of his own book. These are often the same with those of the Durham MS. I should mention that though this annotated copy is in the Bodleian Library, the Sub-Librarian, Mr. Falconer Madan, "knows of no 'Bright MS.,'[AJ] nor where Bliss's MS. with that name is." The copy in question contains so much additional matter that I have added a few things from it, but my space was necessarily limited; there is good evidence in it of Bliss's statement that he had continued collecting materials for the book for forty-four years after its publication. Moreover, in the "Bliss Sale Catalogue" in the Bodleian there are some 530 books of Characters (including duplicates). I am myself in possession, as I believe, of a copy of Bliss's edition which belonged to himself, and which is annotated by himself and Haslewood.[AK] It contains a castrated title-page (originally Bliss suppressed his name) and a notice of the book in the "Monthly Review" of 1812.

(3) I have added a few "testimonies" to Earle from Anthony Wood and others.

(4) I have printed three letters from Clarendon to Earle from the "Clarendon State Papers," with short extracts from two others; as well as two letters of Earle's from the Bodleian Library—interesting rather as personal relics than as containing anything very significant. All that relates to its author will, I believe, be acceptable to lovers of the "Cosmography."

For this additional matter, as well as for other help and counsel, I am indebted to Mr. Charles Firth, of Balliol College, Oxford, whose learning is always at the service of his friends, and who stands in no need of the old injunction—"not to be reserved and caitiff in this part of goodness."

(5) From a notebook of Bliss's (in MS.) in my possession I have added a few titles of Books of Characters.

I have retained in this Appendix the spelling I found. Bliss's text has, with a few exceptions (possibly accidental), the modern spelling.


[AH] Dec. 14th, 1627. [At the end, by way of Colophon:] at the top of page 1, in a different hand, "Edw. Blunt Author." This MS. was obviously one of "the written copies, passing severally from hand to hand, which grew at length to be a pretty number in a little volume." (See Blount's Preface to the Reader.)

[AI] As it appears in Arber's Reprint.

[AJ] The "Bright MS." was obviously later than that in the Durham Cathedral Library, since it contained several Characters known to have been added to the first edition.

[AK] Joseph Haslewood, Antiquary. One of the founders of the Roxburghe Club.



A Piece of the World discovered;














The present edition of Bishop Earle's Characters was undertaken from an idea that they were well worthy of republication, and that the present period, when the productions of our early English writers are sought after with an avidity hitherto unexampled, would be the most favourable for their appearance.

The text has been taken from the edition of 1732, collated with the first impression in 1628. The variations from the latter are thus distinguished:—those words or passages which have been added since the first edition are contained between brackets, [and printed in the common type]; those which have received some alteration, are printed in italic, and the passages, as they stand in the first edition, are always given in a note.

For the Notes, Appendix, and Index, the editor is entirely answerable, and although he is fully aware that many superfluities will be censured, many omissions discovered, and many errors pointed out, he hopes that the merits of the original author will, in a great measure, compensate for the false judgment or neglect of his reviver.

January 30, 1811.



This little book had six editions between 1628 and 1633, without any author's name to recommend it: I have heard of an eighth in 1664. From that of 33 this present edition is reprinted, without altering any thing but the plain errors of the press, and the old pointing and spelling in some places.

The language is generally easy, and proves our English tongue not to be so very changeable as is commonly supposed; nay, sometimes the phrase seems a little obscure, more by the mistakes of the printer than the distance of time. Here and there we meet with a broad expression, and some characters are far below others; nor is it to be expected that so great a variety of portraits should all be drawn with equal excellence, though there are scarce any without some masterly touches. The change of fashions unavoidably casts a shade upon a few places, yet even those contain an exact picture of the age wherein they were written, as the rest does of mankind in general: for reflections founded upon nature will be just in the main, as long as men are men, though the particular instances of vice and folly may be diversified. Paul's Walk is now no more, but then good company adjourn to coffee-houses, and, at the reasonable fine of two or three pence, throw away as much of their precious time as they find troublesome.

Perhaps these valuable essays may be as acceptable to the public now as they were at first; both for the entertainment of those who are already experienced in the ways of mankind, and for the information of others who would know the world the best way, that is—without trying it[AM].


[AL] London: Printed by E. Say, Anno Domini M.DCC.XXXII.

[AM] A short account of Earle, taken from the Athenae Oxonienses is here omitted.



As this entertaining little book is become rather scarce, and is replete with so much good sense and genuine humour, which, though in part adapted to the times when it first appeared, seems, on the whole, by no means inapplicable to any aera of mankind, the editor conceives that there needs little apology for the republication. A farther inducement is, his having, from very good authority, lately discovered[AO] that these Characters (hitherto known only under the title of Blount's[AP]), were actually drawn by the able pencil of JOHN EARLE, who was formerly bishop of Sarum, having been translated to that see from Worcester, A.D. 1663, and died at Oxford, 1665.

Isaac Walton, in his Life of Hooker, delineates the character of the said venerable prelate.

It appears from Antony Wood's Athen. Oxon. under the Life of Bishop Earle, that this book was first of all published at London in 1628, under the name of "Edward Blount."


[AN] "Microcosmography; or, a Piece of the World characterized; in Essays and Characters. London, printed A.D. 1650. Salisbury, Reprinted and sold by E. Easton, 1786. Sold also by G. and T. Wilkie, St. Paul's Church-yard, London."

[AO] I regret extremely that I am unable to put the reader in possession of this very acute discoverer's name.

[AP] This mistake originated with Langbaine, who, in his account of Lilly, calls Blount "a gentleman who has made himself known to the world by the several pieces of his own writing, (as Horae Subsecivae, his Microcosmography, &c.") Dramatic Poets, 8vo, 1691, p. 327.


The first edition (of which the Bodleian possesses a copy, 8vo. P. 154. Theol.) was printed with the following title: "Microcosmographie: or, a Peece of the World discovered; In Essayes and Characters. Newly composed for the Northerne parts of this Kingdome. At London. Printed by W. S. for Ed. Blount, 1628." This contains only fifty-four characters[AQ], which in the present edition are placed first. I am unable to speak of any subsequent copy, till one in the following year, (1629), printed for Robert Allot[AR], and called in the title "The first edition much enlarged." This, as Mr. Henry Ellis kindly informs me, from a copy in the British Museum, possesses seventy-six characters. The sixth was printed for Allot, in 1633, (Bodl. Mar. 441,) and has seventy-eight, the additional ones being "a herald," and "a suspicious, or jealous man." The seventh appeared in 1638, for Andrew Crooke, agreeing precisely with the sixth; and in 1650 the eighth. A copy of the latter is in the curious library of Mr. Hill, and, as Mr. Park acquaints me, is without any specific edition numbered in the title. I omit that noticed by the editor of 1732, as printed in 1664, for if such a volume did exist, which I much doubt, it was nothing more than a copy of the eighth with a new title-page. In 1732 appeared the ninth, which was a reprint of the sixth, executed with care and judgment. I have endeavoured in vain to discover to whom we are indebted for this republication of bishop Earle's curious volume, but it is probable that the person who undertook it, found so little encouragement in his attempt to revive a taste for the productions of our early writers, that he suffered his name to remain unknown. Certain it is that the impression, probably not a large one, did not sell speedily, as I have seen a copy, bearing date 1740, under the name of "The World display'd: or several Essays; consisting of the various Characters and Passions of its principal Inhabitants," &c. London, printed for C. Ward, and R. Chandler. The edition printed at Salisbury, in 1786, (which has only seventy-four characters,) with that now offered to the public, close the list.


[AQ] Having never seen or been able to hear of any copy of the second, third, or fourth editions, I am unable to point out when the additional characters first appeared.

[AR] Robert Allot, better known as the editor of England's Parnassus, appears to have succeeded Blount in several of his copy-rights, among others, in that of Shakspeare, as the second edition (1632) was printed for him.



Preface to the Reprint of 1897 vii.

Advertisement to the present edition (1811) xlv.

Preface to the edition of 1732 xlvii.

Advertisement to the edition of 1786 xlix.

Editions of Microcosmography li.

Blount's Preface to the Reader lix.

A child 1

A young raw preacher 4

A grave divine 8

A meer dull physician 11

An alderman 16

A discontented man 18

An antiquary 20

A younger brother 22

A meer formal man 25

A church papist 27

A self-conceited man 29

A too idly reserved man 31

A tavern 34

A shark 37

A carrier 40

A young man 42

An old college butler 45

An upstart country knight 48

An idle gallant 51

A constable 53

A downright scholar 54

A plain country fellow 57

A player 60

A detractor 63

A young gentleman of the university 65

A weak man 68

A tobacco-seller 70

A pot poet 71

A plausible man 74

A bowl-alley 76

The world's wise man 78

A surgeon 80

A contemplative man 82

A she precise hypocrite 84

A sceptick in religion 88

An attorney 93

A partial man 95

A trumpeter 97

A vulgar spirited man 98

A plodding student 101

Paul's walk 103

A cook 106

A bold forward man 108

A baker 111

A pretender to learning 112

A herald 115

The common singing-men in cathedral churches 116

A shop-keeper 118

A blunt man 119

A handsome hostess 122

A critic 123

A serjeant, or catch-pole 124

An university dun 126

A stayed man 128

[All from this character were added after the first edition.]

A modest man 131

A meer empty wit 134

A drunkard 136

A prison 138

A serving-man 140

An insolent man 142

Acquaintance 144

A meer complimental man 147

A poor fiddler 149

A meddling-man 151

A good old man 153

A flatterer 155

A high spirited man 158

A meer gull citizen 160

A lascivious man 165

A rash man 167

An affected man 169

A profane man 171

A coward 173

A sordid rich man 174

A meer great man 177

A poor man 179

An ordinary honest man 181

A suspicious, or jealous man 183


Some account of bishop Earle[AS] 186

Characters of bishop Earle 194

List of Dr. Earle's Works 197

Lines on sir John Burroughs 199

Lines on the death of the earl of Pembroke 201

Lines on Mr. Beaumont 203

Dedication to the Latin translation of the [Greek: Eikon Basilike] 207

Inscription on Dr. Heylin's monument 211

Correspondence between Dr. Earle and Mr. Bagster 213

Inscription in Streglethorp church 217

Chronological List of Books of Characters, from 1567 to 1700 219

Corrections and additions 279

A note on bishop Earle's arms, from Guillim's Heraldry 282

Supplementary Appendix, 1897, (Durham MS., Letters of Earle and Clarendon, etc.) 303


[AS] It will be remarked, that Dr. Earle's name is frequently spelled Earle and Earles in the following pages. Wherever the editor has had occasion to use the name himself, he has invariably called it Earle, conceiving that to be the proper orthography. Wherever it is found Earles, he has attended strictly to the original, from which the article or information has been derived.


I have (for once) adventured to play the midwife's part, helping to bring forth these infants into the world, which the father would have smothered; who having left them lapt up in loose sheets, as soon as his fancy was delivered of them, written especially for his private recreation, to pass away the time in the country, and by the forcible request of friends drawn from him: yet, passing severally from hand to hand, in written copies, grew at length to be a pretty number in a little volume: and among so many sundry dispersed transcripts, some very imperfect and surreptitious had liked to have passed the press, if the author had not used speedy means of prevention; when, perceiving the hazard he ran to be wronged, was unwillingly[AU] willing to let them pass as now they appear to the world. If any faults have escaped the press (as few books can be printed without), impose them not on the author, I intreat thee; but rather impute them to mine and the printer's oversight, who seriously promise, on the re-impression hereof, by greater care and diligence for this our former default, to make thee ample satisfaction. In the mean while, I remain




[AT] Gentile, or Gentle, 8th edit. 1650.

[AU] Willingly, 8th edit. evidently a typographical error.

[AV] Edward Blount, who lived at the Black Bear, Saint Paul's Church-yard, appears to have been a bookseller of respectability, and in some respects a man of letters. Many dedications and prefaces, with as much merit as compositions of this nature generally possess, bear his name, and there is every reason to suppose that he translated a work from the Italian, which is intituled "The Hospitall of Incurable Fooles," &c. 4to. 1600. Mr. Ames has discovered, from the Stationer's Register, that he was the son of Ralph Blount or Blunt, merchant-taylor of London; that he was apprenticed to William Ponsonby, in 1578, and made free in 1588. It is no slight honour to his taste and judgment, that he was one of the partners in the first edition of Shakspeare.



A piece of the World characterized.



Is a man in a small letter, yet the best copy of Adam before he tasted of Eve or the apple; and he is happy whose small practice in the world can only write his character. He is nature's fresh picture newly drawn in oil, which time, and much handling, dims and defaces. His soul is yet a white paper[1] unscribbled with observations of the world, wherewith, at length, it becomes a blurred note-book. He is purely happy, because he knows no evil, nor hath made means by sin to be acquainted with misery. He arrives not at the mischief of being wise, nor endures evils to come, by fore-seeing them. He kisses and loves all, and, when the smart of the rod is past, smiles on his beater. Nature and his parents alike dandle him, and tice him on with a bait of sugar to a draught of wormwood. He plays yet, like a young prentice the first day, and is not come to his task of melancholy. [[2]All the language he speaks yet is tears, and they serve him well enough to express his necessity.] His hardest labour is his tongue, as if he were loath to use so deceitful an organ; and he is best company with it when he can but prattle. We laugh at his foolish ports,

Shakspeare, of a child, says, "—— the hand of time Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume."

K. John II. i.

but his game is our earnest; and his drums, rattles, and hobby-horses, but the emblems and mocking of man's business. His father hath writ him as his own little story, wherein he reads those days of his life that he cannot remember, and sighs to see what innocence he hath out-lived. The elder he grows, he is a stair lower from God; and, like his first father, much worse in his breeches.[3] He is the Christian's example, and the old man's relapse; the one imitates his pureness, and the other falls into his simplicity. Could he put off his body with his little coat, he had got eternity without a burden, and exchanged but one heaven for another.


[1] So Washbourne, in his Divine Poems, 12mo. 1654:

"—— ere 'tis accustom'd unto sin, The mind white paper is, and will admit Of any lesson you will write in it."—p. 26.

[2] This, and every other passage throughout the volume, [included between brackets,] does not appear in the first edition of 1628.

[3] Adam did not, to use the words of the old Geneva Bible, "make himself breeches," till he knew sin: the meaning of the passage in the text is merely that, as a child advances in age, he commonly proceeds in the knowledge and commission of vice and immorality.



Is a bird not yet fledged, that hath hopped out of his nest to be chirping on a hedge, and will be straggling abroad at what peril soever. His backwardness in the university hath set him thus forward; for had he not truanted there, he had not been so hasty a divine. His small standing, and time, hath made him a proficient only in boldness, out of which, and his table-book, he is furnished for a preacher. His collections of study are the notes of sermons, which, taken up at St. Mary's,[4] he utters in the country: and if he write brachigraphy,[5] his stock is so much the better. His writing is more than his reading, for he reads only what he gets without book. Thus accomplished he comes down to his friends, and his first salutation is grace and peace out of the pulpit. His prayer is conceited, and no man remembers his college more at large.[6] The pace of his sermon is a full career, and he runs wildly over hill and dale, till the clock stop him. The labour of it is chiefly in his lungs; and the only thing he has made[7] in it himself, is the faces. He takes on against the pope without mercy, and has a jest still in lavender for Bellarmine: yet he preaches heresy, if it comes in his way, though with a mind, I must needs say, very orthodox. His action is all passion, and his speech interjections. He has an excellent faculty in bemoaning the people, and spits with a very good grace. [His stile is compounded of twenty several men's, only his body imitates some one extraordinary.] He will not draw his handkercher out of his place, nor blow his nose without discretion. His commendation is, that he never looks upon book; and indeed he was never used to it. He preaches but once a year, though twice on Sunday; for the stuff is still the same, only the dressing a little altered: he has more tricks with a sermon, than a taylor with an old cloak, to turn it, and piece it, and at last quite disguise it with a new preface. If he have waded farther in his profession, and would shew reading of his own, his authors are postils, and his school-divinity a catechism. His fashion and demure habit gets him in with some town-precisian, and makes him a guest on Friday nights. You shall know him by his narrow velvet cape, and serge facing; and his ruff, next his hair, the shortest thing about him. The companion of his walk is some zealous tradesman, whom he astonishes with strange points, which they both understand alike. His friends and much painfulness may prefer him to thirty pounds a year, and this means to a chambermaid; with whom we leave him now in the bonds of wedlock:—next Sunday you shall have him again.


[4] St. Mary's church was originally built by king Alfred, and annexed to the University of Oxford, for the use of the scholars, when St. Giles's and St. Peter's (which were till then appropriated to them,) had been mined by the violence of the Danes. It was totally rebuilt during the reign of Henry VII., who gave forty oaks towards the materials; and is, to this day, the place of worship in which the public sermons are preached before the members of the university.

[5] Brachigraphy, or short-hand-writing, appears to have been much studied in our author's time, and was probably esteemed a fashionable accomplishment. It was first introduced into this country by Peter Bales, who, in 1590, published The Writing Schoolmaster, a treatise consisting of three parts, the first "of Brachygraphie, that is, to write as fast as a man speaketh treatably, writing but one letter for a word;" the second, of Orthography; and the third, of Calligraphy. Imprinted at London, by T. Orwin, &c. 1590. 4to. A second edition, "with sundry new additions," appeared in 1597. 12mo. Imprinted at London, by George Shawe, &c. Holinshed gives the following description of one of Bale's performances:—"The tenth of August (1575,) a rare peece of worke, and almost incredible, was brought to passe by an Englishman borne in the citie of London, named Peter Bales, who by his industrie and practise of his pen, contriued and writ within the compasse of a penie, in Latine, the Lord's praier, the creed, the ten commandements, a praier to God, a praier for the queene, his posie, his name, the daie of the moneth, the yeare of our Lord, and the reigne of the queene. And on the seuenteenthe of August next following, at Hampton court, he presented the same to the queene's maiestie, in the head of a ring of gold, couered with a christall; and presented therewith an excellent spectacle by him deuised, for the easier reading thereof: wherewith hir maiestie read all that was written therein with great admiration, and commended the same to the lords of the councell, and the ambassadors, and did weare the same manie times vpon hir finger." Holinshed's Chronicle, page 1262, b. edit, folio, Lond. 1587.

[6] It is customary in all sermons delivered before the University, to use an introductory prayer for the founder of, and principal benefactors to, the preacher's individual college, as well as for the officers and members of the university in general. This, however, would appear very ridiculous when "he comes down to his friends" or, in other words, preaches before a country congregation.

[7] of, first edit. 1628.



Is one that knows the burthen of his calling, and hath studied to make his shoulders sufficient; for which he hath not been hasty to launch forth of his port, the university, but expected the ballast of learning, and the wind of opportunity. Divinity is not the beginning but the end of his studies; to which he takes the ordinary stair, and makes the arts his way. He counts it not prophaneness to be polished with human reading, or to smooth his way by Aristotle to school-divinity. He has sounded both religions, and anchored in the best, and is a protestant out of judgment, not faction; not because his country, but his reason is on this side. The ministry is his choice, not refuge, and yet the pulpit not his itch, but fear. His discourse is substance, not all rhetoric, and he utters more things than words. His speech is not helped with inforced action, but the matter acts itself. He shoots all his meditations at one but; and beats upon his text, not the cushion; making his hearers, not the pulpit groan. In citing of popish errors, he cuts them with arguments, not cudgels them with barren invectives; and labours more to shew the truth of his cause than the spleen. His sermon is limited by the method, not the hour-glass; and his devotion goes along with him out of the pulpit. He comes not up thrice a week, because he would not be idle; nor talks three hours together, because he would not talk nothing: but his tongue preaches at fit times, and his conversation is the every day's exercise. In matters of ceremony, he is not ceremonious, but thinks he owes that reverence to the church to bow his judgement to it, and make more conscience of schism, than a surplice. He esteems the church hierarchy as the church's glory, and however we jar with Rome, would not have our confusion distinguish us. In simoniacal purchases he thinks his soul goes in the bargain, and is loath to come by promotion so dear; yet his worth at length advances him, and the price of his own merit buys him a living. He is no base grater of his tythes, and will not wrangle for the odd egg. The lawyer is the only man he hinders, by whom he is spited for taking up quarrels. He is a main pillar of our church, though not yet dean or canon, and his life our religion's best apology. His death is the last sermon, where, in the pulpit of his bed, he instructs men to die by his example.[8]


[8] I cannot forbear to close this admirable character with the beautiful description of a "poure Persone," riche of holy thought and werk, given by the father of English poetry:—

"Benigne he was, and wonder diligent, And in adversite ful patient: And swiche he was ypreved often sithes. Ful loth were him to cursen for his tythes, But rather wolde he yeven out of doute, Unto his poure parishens aboute, Of his offring, and eke of his substance. He coude in litel thing have suffisance. Wide was his parish, and houses fer asonder, But he ne left nought for no rain ne thonder, In sikenesse and in mischief to visite The ferrest in his parish, moche and lite, Upon his fete, and in his hand a staf.

* * * * *

And though he holy were, and vertuous, He was to sinful men not dispitous, Ne of his speche dangerous ne digne, But in his teching discrete and benigne. To drawen folk to heven, with fairenesse, By good ensample, was his besinesse.

* * * * *

He waited after no pompe ne reverence, Ne maked him no spiced conscience, But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve, He taught, but first he folwed it himselve."

Chaucer, Prol. to Cant. Tales, v. 485.

We may surely conclude with a line from the same poem,

"A better preest I trowe that nowher non is."



His practice is some business at bedsides, and his speculation an urinal: he is distinguished from an empiric, by a round velvet cap and doctor's gown, yet no man takes degrees more superfluously, for he is doctor howsoever. He is sworn to Galen and Hippocrates, as university men to their statutes, though they never saw them; and his discourse is all aphorisms, though his reading be only Alexis of Piedmont,[9] or the Regiment of Health.[10] The best cure he has done, is upon his own purse, which from a lean sickliness he hath made lusty, and in flesh. His learning consists much in reckoning up the hard names of diseases, and the superscriptions of gally-pots in his apothecary's shop, which are ranked in his shelves, and the doctor's memory. He is, indeed, only languaged in diseases, and speaks Greek many times when he knows not. If he have been but a by-stander at some desperate recovery, he is slandered with it though he be guiltless; and this breeds his reputation, and that his practice, for his skill is merely opinion. Of all odours he likes best the smell of urine, and holds Vespasian's[11] rule, that no gain is unsavory. If you send this once to him you must resolve to be sick howsoever, for he will never leave examining your water, till he has shaked it into a disease:[12] then follows a writ to his drugger in a strange tongue, which he understands, though he cannot conster. If he see you himself, his presence is the worst visitation: for if he cannot heal your sickness, he will be sure to help it. He translates his apothecary's shop into your chamber, and the very windows and benches must take physic. He tells you your malady in Greek, though it be but a cold, or headach; which by good endeavour and diligence he may bring to some moment indeed. His most unfaithful act is, that he leaves a man gasping, and his pretence is, death and he have a quarrel and must not meet; but his fear is, lest the carkass should bleed.[13] Anatomies, and other spectacles of mortality, have hardened him, and he is no more struck with a funeral than a grave-maker. Noble-men use him for a director of their stomach, and ladies for wantonness,[14] especially if he be a proper man.[15] If he be single, he is in league with his she-apothecary; and because it is the physician, the husband is patient. If he have leisure to be idle (that is to study,) he has a smatch at alcumy, and is sick of the philosopher's stone; a disease uncurable, but by an abundant phlebotomy of the purse. His two main opposites are a mountebank and a good woman, and he never shews his learning so much as in an invective against them and their boxes. In conclusion, he is a sucking consumption, and a very brother to the worms, for they are both engendered out of man's corruption.


[9] The secretes of the reverende maister Alexis of Piemount, containyng excellente remedies against diuers diseases, &c. appear to have been a very favourite study either with the physicians, or their patients, about this period.

They were originally written in Italian, and were translated into English by William Warde, of which editions were printed at London, in 1558, 1562, 1595, and 1615. In 1603, a fourth edition of a Latin version appeared at Basil; and from Ward's dedication to "the lorde Russell, erle of Bedford," it seems that the French and Dutch were not without so great a treasure in their own languages. A specimen of the importance of this publication may be given in the title of the first secret. "The maner and secrete to conserue a man's youth, and to holde back olde age, to maintaine a man always in helth and strength, as in the fayrest floure of his yeres."

[10] The Regiment of Helthe, by Thomas Paynell, is another volume of the same description, and was printed by Thomas Berthelette, in 1541. 4to.

[11] Vespatian, tenth emperor of Rome, imposed a tax upon urine, and when his son Titus remonstrated with him on the meanness of the act, "Pecuniam," says Suetonius, "ex prima pensione admovit ad nares, suscitans num odore offenderetur? et illo negante, atqui, inquit, e lotio est."

[12] "Vpon the market-day he is much haunted with vrinals, where, if he finde any thing, (though he knowe nothing,) yet hee will say some-what, which if it hit to some purpose, with a fewe fustian words, hee will seeme a piece of strange stuffe." Character of an unworthy physician. "The Good and the Badde," by Nicholas Breton. 4to. 1618.

[13] That the murdered body bleeds at the approach of the murderer, was, in our author's time, a commonly received opinion. Holinshed affirms that the corps of Henry the Sixth bled as it was carrying for interment; and Sir Kenelm Digby so firmly believed in the truth of the report, that he has endeavoured to explain the reason. It is remarked by Mr. Steevens, in a note to Shakspeare, that the opinion seems to be derived from the ancient Swedes, or Northern nations, from whom we descend; as they practised this method of trial in all dubious cases.


"Faith, doctor, it is well, thy study is to please The female sex, and how their corp'rall griefes to ease."

Goddard's "Mastif Whelp." Satires. 4to. Without date. Sat. 17.

[15] Proper for handsome.



He is venerable in his gown, more in his beard, wherewith he sets not forth so much his own, as the face of a city. You must look on him as one of the town gates, and consider him not as a body, but a corporation. His eminency above others hath made him a man of worship, for he had never been preferred, but that he was worth thousands. He over-sees the commonwealth, as his shop, and it is an argument of his policy, that he has thriven by his craft. He is a rigorous magistrate in his ward; yet his scale of justice is suspected, lest it be like the balances in his warehouse. A ponderous man he is, and substantial, for his weight is commonly extraordinary, and in his preferment nothing rises so much as his belly. His head is of no great depth, yet well furnished; and when it is in conjunction with his brethren, may bring forth a city apophthegm, or some such sage matter. He is one that will not hastily run into error, for he treads with great deliberation, and his judgment consists much in his pace. His discourse is commonly the annals of his mayoralty, and what good government there was in the days of his gold chain, though the door posts were the only things that suffered reformation. He seems most sincerely religious, especially on solemn days; for he comes often to church to make a shew, [and is a part of the quire hangings.] He is the highest stair of his profession, and an example to his trade, what in time they may come to. He makes very much of his authority, but more of his sattin doublet, which, though of good years, bears its age very well, and looks fresh every Sunday: but his scarlet gown is a monument, and lasts from generation to generation.



Is one that is fallen out with the world, and will be revenged on himself. Fortune has denied him in something, and he now takes pet, and will be miserable in spite. The root of his disease is a self-humouring pride, and an accustomed tenderness not to be crossed in his fancy; and the occasion commonly of one of these three, a hard father, a peevish wench, or his ambition thwarted. He considered not the nature of the world till he felt it, and all blows fall on him heavier, because they light not first on his expectation. He has now foregone all but his pride, and is yet vain-glorious in the ostentation of his melancholy. His composure of himself is a studied carelessness, with his arms across, and a neglected hanging of his head and cloak; and he is as great an enemy to an hat-band, as fortune. He quarrels at the time and up-starts, and sighs at the neglect of men of parts, that is, such as himself. His life is a perpetual satyr, and he is still girding[16] the age's vanity, when this very anger shews he too much esteems it. He is much displeased to see men merry, and wonders what they can find to laugh at. He never draws his own lips higher than a smile, and frowns wrinkle him before forty. He at last falls into that deadly melancholy to be a bitter hater of men, and is the most apt companion for any mischief. He is the spark that kindles the commonwealth, and the bellows himself to blow it: and if he turn anything, it is commonly one of these, either friar, traitor, or mad-man.


[16] To gird, is to sneer at, or scorn any one. Falstaff says, "men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me."—Henry IV. Part 2.



He is a man strangly thrifty of time past, and an enemy indeed to his maw, whence he fetches out many things when they are now all rotten and stinking. He is one that hath that unnatural disease to be enamoured of old age and wrinkles, and loves all things (as Dutchmen do cheese,) the better for being mouldy and worm-eaten. He is of our religion, because we say it is most antient; and yet a broken statue would almost make him an idolater. A great admirer he is of the rust of old monuments, and reads only those characters, where time hath eaten out the letters. He will go you forty miles to see a saint's well or a ruined abbey; and there be but a cross or stone foot-stool in the way, he'll be considering it so long, till he forget his journey. His estate consists much in shekels, and Roman coins; and he hath more pictures of Caesar, than James or Elizabeth. Beggars cozen him with musty things which they have raked from dunghills, and he preserves their rags for precious relicks. He loves no library, but where there are more spiders volumes than authors, and looks with great admiration on the antique work of cobwebs. Printed books he contemns, as a novelty of this latter age, but a manuscript he pores on everlastingly, especially if the cover be all moth-eaten, and the dust make a parenthesis between every syllable. He would give all the books in his study (which are rarities all,) for one of the old Roman binding, or six lines of Tully in his own hand. His chamber is hung commonly with strange beasts skins, and is a kind of charnel-house of bones extraordinary; and his discourse upon them, if you will hear him, shall last longer. His very attire is that which is the eldest out of fashion, [[AW]and you may pick a criticism out of his breeches.] He never looks upon himself till he is grey-haired, and then he is pleased with his own antiquity. His grave does not fright him, for he has been used to sepulchers, and he likes death the better, because it gathers him to his fathers.


[AW] In the first edition it stands thus:—"and his hat is as antient as the tower of Babel."



His elder brother was the Esau, that came out first and left him like Jacob at his heels. His father has done with him, as Pharoah to the children of Israel, that would have them make brick and give them no straw, so he tasks him to be a gentleman, and leaves him nothing to maintain it. The pride of his house has undone him, which the elder's knighthood must sustain, and his beggary that knighthood. His birth and bringing up will not suffer him to descend to the means to get wealth; but he stands at the mercy of the world, and which is worse, of his brother. He is something better than the serving-men; yet they more saucy with him than he bold with the master, who beholds him with a countenance of stern awe, and checks him oftener than his liveries. His brother's old suits and he are much alike in request, and cast off now and then one to the other. Nature hath furnished him with a little more wit upon compassion, for it is like to be his best revenue. If his annuity stretch so far, he is sent to the university, and with great heart-burning takes upon him the ministry, as a profession he is condemned to by his ill fortune. Others take a more crooked path yet, the king's high-way; where at length their vizard is plucked off, and they strike fair for Tyburn: but their brother's pride, not love, gets them a pardon. His last refuge is the Low-countries,[17] where rags and lice are no scandal, where he lives a poor gentleman of a company, and dies without a shirt. The only thing that may better his fortunes is an art he has to make a gentlewoman, wherewith he baits now and then some rich widow that is hungry after his blood. He is commonly discontented and desperate, and the form of his exclamation is, that churl my brother. He loves not his country for this unnatural custom, and would have long since revolted to the Spaniard, but for Kent[18] only, which he holds in admiration.


[17] The Low-countries appear to have afforded ample room for ridicule at all times. In "A brief Character of the Low-countries under the States, being Three Weeks Observation of the Vices and Virtues of the Inhabitants, written by Owen Felltham, and printed Lond. 1659, 12mo. we find them epitomized as a general sea-land—the great bog of Europe—an universal quagmire—in short a green cheese in pickle. The sailors (in which denomination the author appears to include all the natives,) he describes as being able to "drink, rail, swear, niggle, steal, and be lowsie alike. P. 40.

[18] Gavelkind, or the practice of dividing lands equally among all the male children of the deceased, was (according to Spelman,) adopted by the Saxons, from Germany, and is noticed by Tacitus in his description of that nation. Gloss. Archaiol. folio. Lond. 1664. Harrison, in The Description of England, prefixed to Holinshed's Chronicle, (vol. 1. page 180,) says, "Gauell kind is all the male children equallie to inherit, and is continued to this daie in Kent, where it is onelie to my knowledge reteined, and no where else in England." And Lambarde, in his Customes of Kent, (Perambulation, 4to. 1596, page 538,) thus notices it:—"The custom of Grauelkynde is generall, and spreadeth itselfe throughout the whole shyre, into all landes subiect by auncient tenure vnto the same, such places onely excepted, where it is altered by acte of parleament."



Is somewhat more than the shape of a man; for he has his length, breadth, and colour. When you have seen his outside, you have looked through him, and need employ your discovery no farther. His reason is merely example, and his action is not guided by his understanding, but he sees other men do thus, and he follows them. He is a negative, for we cannot call him a wise man, but not a fool; nor an honest man, but not a knave; nor a protestant, but not a papist. The chief burden of his brain is the carriage of his body and the setting of his face in a good frame; which he performs the better, because he is not disjointed with other meditations. His religion is a good quiet subject, and he prays as he swears, in the phrase of the land. He is a fair guest, and a fair inviter, and can excuse his good cheer in the accustomed apology. He has some faculty in mangling of a rabbit, and the distribution of his morsel to a neighbour's trencher. He apprehends a jest by seeing men smile, and laughs orderly himself, when it comes to his turn. His businesses with his friends are to visit them, and whilst the business is no more, he can perform this well enough. His discourse is the news that he hath gathered in his walk, and for other matters his discretion is, that he will only what he can, that is, say nothing. His life is like one that runs to the[19]church-walk, to take a turn or two, and so passes. He hath staid in the world to fill a number; and when he is gone, there wants one, and there's an end.


[19] Minster-walk, 1st edit.



Is one that parts his religion betwixt his conscience and his purse, and comes to church not to serve God but the king. The face of the law makes him wear the mask of the gospel, which he uses not as a means to save his soul, but charges. He loves Popery well, but is loth to lose by it; and though he be something scared with the bulls of Rome, yet they are far off, and he is struck with more terror at the apparitor. Once a month he presents himself at the church, to keep off the church-warden, and brings in his body to save his bail. He kneels with the congregation, but prays by himself, and asks God forgiveness for coming thither. If he be forced to stay out a sermon, he pulls his hat over his eyes, and frowns out the hour; and when he comes home, thinks to make amends for this fault by abusing the preacher. His main policy is to shift off the communion, for which he is never unfurnished of a quarrel, and will be sure to be out of charity at Easter; and indeed he lies not, for he has a quarrel to the sacrament. He would make a bad martyr and good traveller, for his conscience is so large he could never wander out of it; and in Constantinople would be circumcised with a reservation. His wife is more zealous and therefore more costly, and he bates her in tires[20] what she stands him in religion. But we leave him hatching plots against the state, and expecting Spinola.[21]


[20] The word tire is probably here used as an abbreviation of the word attire, dress, ornament.

[21] Ambrose Spinola was one of the most celebrated and excellent commanders that Spain ever possessed: he was born, in 1569, of a noble family, and distinguished himself through life in being opposed to prince Maurice of Nassau, the greatest general of his age, by whom he was ever regarded with admiration and respect. He died in 1630, owing to a disadvantage sustained by his troops at the siege of Cassel, which was to be entirely attributed to the imprudent orders he received from Spain, and which that government compelled him to obey. This disaster broke his heart; and he died with the exclamation of "they have robbed me of my honour;" an idea he was unable to survive. It is probable that, at the time this character was composed, many of the disaffected in England were in expectation of an attack to be made on this country by the Spaniards, under the command of Spinola.



Is one that knows himself so well, that he does not know himself. Two excellent well-dones have undone him, and he is guilty of it that first commended him to madness. He is now become his own book, which he pores on continually, yet like a truant reader skips over the harsh places, and surveys only that which is pleasant. In the speculation of his own good parts, his eyes, like a drunkard's, see all double, and his fancy, like an old man's spectacles, make a great letter in a small print. He imagines every place where he comes his theater, and not a look stirring but his spectator; and conceives men's thoughts to be very idle, that is, [only] busy about him. His walk is still in the fashion of a march, and like his opinion unaccompanied, with his eyes most fixed upon his own person, or on others with reflection to himself. If he have done any thing that has past with applause, he is always re-acting it alone, and conceits the extasy his hearers were in at every period. His discourse is all positions and definitive decrees, with thus it must be and thus it is, and he will not humble his authority to prove it. His tenent is always singular and aloof from the vulgar as he can, from which you must not hope to wrest him. He has an excellent humour for an heretick, and in these days made the first Arminian. He prefers Ramus before Aristotle, and Paracelsus before Galen,[22] [and whosoever with most paradox is commended.] He much pities the world that has no more insight in his parts, when he is too well discovered even to this very thought. A flatterer is a dunce to him, for he can tell him nothing but what he knows before: and yet he loves him too, because he is like himself. Men are merciful to him, and let him alone, for if he be once driven from his humour, he is like two inward friends fallen out: his own bitter enemy and discontent presently makes a murder. In sum, he is a bladder blown up with wind, which the least flaw crushes to nothing.


[22] and Lipsius his hopping stile before either Tully or Quintilian. First edit.



Is one that is a fool with discretion, or a strange piece of politician, that manages the state of himself. His actions are his privy-council, wherein no man must partake beside. He speaks under rule and prescription, and dare not shew his teeth without Machiavel. He converses with his neighbours as he would in Spain, and fears an inquisitive man as much as the inquisition. He suspects all questions for examinations, and thinks you would pick something out of him, and avoids you. His breast is like a gentlewoman's closet, which locks up every toy or trifle, or some bragging mountebank that makes every stinking thing a secret. He delivers you common matters with great conjuration of silence, and whispers you in the ear acts of parliament. You may as soon wrest a tooth from him as a paper, and whatsoever he reads is letters. He dares not talk of great men for fear of bad comments, and he knows not how his words may be misapplied. Ask his opinion, and he tells you his doubt; and he never hears any thing more astonishedly than what he knows before. His words are like the cards at primivist,[23] where 6 is 18, and 7, 21; for they never signify what they sound; but if he tell you he will do a thing, it is as much as if he swore he would not. He is one, indeed, that takes all men to be craftier than they are, and puts himself to a great deal of affliction to hinder their plots and designs, where they mean freely. He has been long a riddle himself, but at last finds OEdipuses; for his over-acted dissimulation discovers him, and men do with him as they would with Hebrew letters, spell him backwards and read him.


[23] Primivist and primero were, in all probability, the same game, although Minshew, in his Dictionary, calls them "two games at cardes." The latter he explains "primum et primum visum, that is, first and first seene, because hee that can shew such an order of cardes, first winnes the game." The coincidence between Mr. Strutt's description of the former and the passage in the text, shews that there could be little or no difference between the value of the cards in these games, or in the manner of playing them. "Each player has four cards dealt to him, one by one, the seven was the highest card, in point of number, that he could avail himself of, which counted for twenty-one, the six counted for sixteen, the five for fifteen, and the ace for the same," &c. (Sports and Pastimes, 247.) The honourable Daines Barrington conceived that Primero was introduced by Philip the Second, or some of his suite, whilst in England. Shakspeare proves that it was played in the royal circle.

——"I left him (Henry VIII.) at Primero With the duke of Suffolk."——

Henry VIII.

So Decker: "Talke of none but lords and such ladies with whom you have plaid at Primero."—Gul's Hornebooke, 1609. 37.

Among the marquis of Worcester's celebrated "Century of Inventions," 12mo. 1663, is one "so contrived without suspicion, that playing at Primero at cards, one may, without clogging his memory, keep reckoning of all sixes, sevens, and aces, which he hath discarded."—No. 87.



Is a degree, or (if you will,) a pair of stairs above an ale-house, where men are drunk with more credit and apology. If the vintner's nose[24] be at door, it is a sign sufficient, but the absence of this is supplied by the ivy-bush: the rooms are ill breathed like the drinkers that have been washed well over night, and are smelt-to fasting next morning; not furnished with beds apt to be defiled, but more necessary implements, stools, table, and a chamber-pot. It is a broacher of more news than hogsheads, and more jests than news, which are sucked up here by some spongy brain, and from thence squeezed into a comedy. Men come here to make merry, but indeed make a noise, and this musick above is answered with the clinking below. The drawers are the civilest people in it, men of good bringing up, and howsoever we esteem of them, none can boast more justly of their high calling. 'Tis the best theater of natures, where they are truly acted, not played, and the business as in the rest of the world up and down, to wit, from the bottom of the cellar to the great chamber. A melancholy man would find here matter to work upon, to see heads as brittle as glasses, and often broken; men come hither to quarrel, and come hither to be made friends: and if Plutarch will lend me his simile, it is even Telephus's sword that makes wounds and cures them. It is the common consumption of the afternoon, and the murderer or maker-away of a rainy day. It is the torrid zone that scorches the[25] face, and tobacco the gun-powder that blows it up. Much harm would be done, if the charitable vintner had not water ready for these flames. A house of sin you may call it, but not a house of darkness, for the candles are never out; and it is like those countries far in the North, where it is as clear at mid-night as at mid-day. After a long sitting, it becomes like a street in a dashing shower, where the spouts are flushing above, and the conduits running below, while the Jordans like swelling rivers overflow their banks. To give you the total reckoning of it; it is the busy man's recreation, the idle man's business, the melancholy man's sanctuary, the stranger's welcome, the inns-of-court man's entertainment, the scholar's kindness, and the citizen's courtesy. It is the study of sparkling wits, and a cup of canary[26] their book, whence we leave them.


[24] "Enquire out those tauernes which are best customd, whose maistres are oftenest drunk, for that confirmes their taste, and that they choose wholesome wines."—Decker's Gul's Horne-booke, 1609.

[25] his, First edit.

[26] The editor of the edition in 1732, has altered canary to "sherry" for what reason I am at a loss to discover, and have consequently restored the reading of the first edition. Venner gives the following description of this favourite liquor. "Canarie-wine, which beareth the name of the islands from whence it is brought, is of some termed a sacke, with this adjunct, sweete; but yet very improperly, for it differeth not only from sacke in sweetness and pleasantness of taste, but also in colour and consistence, for it is not so white in colour as sack, nor so thin in substance; wherefore it is more nutritive than sack, and less penetrative." Via recta ad Vitam longum. 4to. 1622. In Howell's time, Canary wine was much adulterated. "I think," says he, in one of his Letters, "there is more Canary brought into England than to all the world besides; I think also, there is a hundred times more drunk under the name of Canary wine, than there is brought in; for Sherries and Malagas, well mingled, pass for Canaries in most taverns. When Sacks and Canaries," he continues, "were brought in first amongst us, they were used to be drunk in aqua vitae measures, and 'twas held fit only for those to drink who were used to carry their legs in their hands, their eyes upon their noses, and an almanack in their bones; but now they go down every one's throat, both young and old, like milk." Howell, Letter to the lord Cliff, dated Oct. 7, 1634.



Is one whom all other means have failed, and he now lives of himself. He is some needy cashiered fellow, whom the world hath oft flung off, yet still clasps again, and is like one a drowning, fastens upon anything that is next at hand. Amongst other of his shipwrecks he has happily lost shame, and this want supplies him. No man puts his brain to more use than he, for his life is a daily invention, and each meal a new stratagem. He has an excellent memory for his acquaintance, though there passed but how do you betwixt them seven years ago, it shall suffice for an embrace, and that for money. He offers you a pottle of sack out of joy to see you, and in requital of his courtesy you can do no less than pay for it. He is fumbling with his purse-strings, as a school-boy with his points, when he is going to be whipped, 'till the master, weary with long stay, forgives him. When the reckoning is paid, he says, It must not be so, yet is strait pacified, and cries, What remedy? His borrowings are like subsidies, each man a shilling or two, as he can well dispend; which they lend him, not with a hope to be repaid, but that he will come no more. He holds a strange tyrrany over men, for he is their debtor, and they fear him as a creditor. He is proud of any employment, though it be but to carry commendations, which he will be sure to deliver at eleven of the clock.[27] They in courtesy bid him stay, and he in manners cannot deny them. If he find but a good look to assure his welcome, he becomes their half-boarder, and haunts the threshold so long 'till he forces good nature to the necessity of a quarrel. Publick invitations he will not wrong with his absence, and is the best witness of the sheriff's hospitality.[28] Men shun him at length as they would do an infection, and he is never crossed in his way if there be but a lane to escape him. He has done with the age as his clothes to him, hung on as long as he could, and at last drops off.


[27] We learn from Harrison's Description of England, prefixed to Holinshed, that eleven o'clock was the usual time for dinner during the reign of Elizabeth. "With vs the nobilitie, gentrie, and students, doo ordinarilie go to dinner at eleuen before noone, and to supper at fiue, or between fiue and six at afternoon." (vol. i. page 171. edit. 1587.) The alteration in manners at this time is rather singularly evinced, from a passage immediately following the above quotation, where we find that merchants and husbandmen dined and supped at a later hour than the nobility.

[28] Alluding to the public dinners given by the sheriff at particular seasons of the year. So in The Widow, a comedy, 4to. 1652.

"And as at a sheriff's table, O blest custome! A poor indebted gentleman may dine, Feed well, and without fear, and depart so."



Is his own hackney-man; for he lets himself out to travel as well as his horses. He is the ordinary embassador between friend and friend, the father and the son, and brings rich presents to the one, but never returns any back again. He is no unlettered man, though in shew simple; for questionless, he has much in his budget, which he can utter too in fit time and place. He is [like] the vault[29] in Gloster church, that conveys whispers at a distance, for he takes the sound out of your mouth at York, and makes it be heard as far as London. He is the young student's joy and expectation, and the most accepted guest, to whom they lend a willing hand to discharge him of his burden. His first greeting is commonly, Your friends are well; [and to prove it][30] in a piece of gold delivers their blessing. You would think him a churlish blunt fellow, but they find in him many tokens of humanity. He is a great afflicter of the high-ways, and beats them out of measure; which injury is sometimes revenged by the purse-taker, and then the voyage miscarries. No man domineers more in his inn, nor calls his host unreverently with more presumption, and this arrogance proceeds out of the strength of his horses. He forgets not his load where he takes his ease, for he is drunk commonly before he goes to bed. He is like the prodigal child, still packing away and still returning again. But let him pass.

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