Robert Burton


English Clergyman, Writer and Scholar at Oxford University

Author Quotes

Though they [philosophers] write contemptu glori‘, yet as Hieron observes, they will put their names to their books.

Who cannot give good counsel? 'Tis cheap, it costs them nothing.

That which others hear or read of, I felt and practised myself; they get their knowledge by books, I mine by melancholizing.

To enlarge or illustrate this power of the effects of love is to set a candle in the sun.

Who is he that is now wholly overcome with idleness, or otherwise involved in a labyrinth of worldly care, troubles, and discontents, that will not be much lightened in his mind by reading of some enticing story, true or feigned, where, as in a glass, he shall observe what our forefathers have done; the beginnings, ruins, falls, periods of commonwealths, private men?s actions, displayed to the life, &c. Plutarch therefore calls them, secundas mensas et bellaria, the second course and junkets, because they were usually read at noblemen?s feasts.

The attachments of mirth are but the shadows of that true friendship of which the sincere affections of the heart are the substance.

To The Reader Who Employs His Leisure Ill - Whoever you may be, I caution you against rashly defaming the author of this work, or cavilling in jest against him. Nay, do not silently reproach him in consequence of others' censure, nor employ your wit in foolish disapproval or false accusation. For, should Democritus Junior prove to be what he professes, even a kinsman of his elder namesake, or be ever so little of the same kidney, it is all up with you: he will become both accuser and judge of you in his petulant spleen, will dissipate you in jest, pulverize you with witticisms, and sacrifice you, I can promise you, to the God of Mirth. Again I warn you against cavilling, lest, while you culumniate or disgracefully disparage Decmocritus Junior, who has no animosity against you, you should hear from some judicious friend the very words the people of Abdera heard of old from Hippocrates, when they held their well-deserving and popular fellow-citizen to be a madman: Truly, it is you, Democritus, that are wise, while the people of Abdera are fools and madmen. You have no more sense than the people of Abdera. Having given you this warning in a few words, O reader who employ your liesure ill, farewell.

Why are Italians at this day generally so good poets and painters? Because every man of any fashion amongst them hath his mistress

The commonwealth of Venice in their armory have this inscription: "Happy is that city which in time of peace thinks of war."

To these crocodile tears they will add sobs, fiery sighs, and sorrowful countenance.

Wine is strong, the king is strong, women are strong, but truth overcometh all things.

Melancholy and despair, though often, do not always concur; there is much difference: melancholy fears without a cause, this upon great occasion; melancholy is caused by fear and grief, but this torment procures them and all extremity of bitterness.

The devil [is] best able to work upon [melancholy persons], but whether by obsession or possession I will not determine.

Tobacco, divine, rare, superexcellent tobacco, which goes far beyond all the panaceas, potable gold, and philosopher's stones, a sovereign remedy to all diseases...but as it is commonly abused by most men, which take it as tinkers do ale, 'tis a plague, a mischief, a violent purger of goods, lands, health, hellish, devilish and damned tobacco, the ruin and overthrow of body and soul.

Witches steal young children out of their cradles, ministerio d‘monum, and put deformed in their rooms, which we call changelings.

Most part of a lover's life is full of agony, anxiety, fear and grief, complaints, sighs, suspicions, and cares (heigh-ho my heart is woe), full of silence and irksome solitariness.

The eyes are the harbingers of love, and the first step of love is sight.

Truth is the shattered mirror strewn in myriad bits; while each believes his little bit the whole to own

Women wear the breeches.

No cord nor cable can so forcibly draw, or hold so fast, as love can do with a twined thread.

The rich are indeed rather possessed by their money than possessors.

Virtue, wisdom, goodness and real worth; like the loadstone, never lose their power. These are the true graces, which are linked hand in hand, because it is by their influence that human hearts are so firmly united to each other.

One religion is as true as another.

The rich Physician, honor'd Lawyers ride, whilst the poor Scholar foots it by their side.

We can say nothing but what hath been said. Our poets steal from Homer... Our story-dressers do as much; he that comes last is commonly best.

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English Clergyman, Writer and Scholar at Oxford University