Robert Burton


English Clergyman, Writer and Scholar at Oxford University

Author Quotes

I say with Didacus Stella, a dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself

Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth; and therefore to such as are discontent, in woe, fear, sorrow, or dejected, it is a most present remedy

All places are distant from heaven alike

Compound for sins they are inclined to, by damning those they have no mind to.

For ignorance is the mother of devotion, as all the world knows, and these times can amply witness.

I would help others, out of a fellow-feeling.

All Poets are mad.

Cookery is become an art, a noble science; cooks are gentlemen.

From this it is clear how much more cruel the pen is than the sword.

I write of melancholy, by being busy to avoid melancholy.

Almost in every kingdom the most ancient families have been at first princes' bastards; their worthiest captains, best wits, greatest scholars, bravest spirits in all our annals, have been base [born].

Desire is a perpetual rack, or horsemill, according to Austin, still going round as in a ring.

Great actions are not always true sons Of great and mighty resolutions.

Idleness is an appendix to nobility

Ambition, that high and glorious passion, which makes such havoc among the sons of men, arises from a proud desire of honour and distinction, and, when the splendid trappings in which it is usually caparisoned are removed, will be found to consist of the mean materials of envy, pride, and covetousness. It is described by different authors as a gallant madness, a pleasant poison, a hidden plague, a secret poison, a caustic of the soul, the moth of holiness, the mother of hypocrisy, and, by crucifying and disquieting all it takes hold of, the cause of melancholy and madness.

Diogenes struck the father when the son swore, because he taught him no better.

Hannibal, as he had mighty virtues, so head he many vices. . . he had two distinct persons in him.

If heaven be so fair,the sun so fair, how much fairer shall He be that made them fair? For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures, proportionally the maker of them is seen.

Wonders I sing; the sun has set; no night has followed.

Worldly wealth is the Devil's bait; and those whose minds feed upon riches recede, in general, from real happiness, in proportion as their stores increase, as the moon, when she is fullest, is farthest from the sun.

Why doth one man's yawning make another yawn?

Wit without employment is a disease.

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.

Where God hath a temple, the devil will have a chapel.

Whilst the poor Scholar foots it by their side.

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English Clergyman, Writer and Scholar at Oxford University