The Anatomy of Melancholy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,057 pages of information about The Anatomy of Melancholy.

If through weakness, folly, passion, [811]discontent, ignorance, I have said amiss, let it be forgotten and forgiven.  I acknowledge that of [812] Tacitus to be true, Asperae facetiae, ubi nimis ex vero traxere, acrem sui memoriam relinquunt, a bitter jest leaves a sting behind it:  and as an honourable man observes, [813]"They fear a satirist’s wit, he their memories.”  I may justly suspect the worst; and though I hope I have wronged no man, yet in Medea’s words I will crave pardon,

------“Illud jam voce extrema peto,
Ne si qua noster dubius effudit dolor,
Maneant in animo verba, sed melior tibi
Memoria nostri subeat, haec irae data

       “And in my last words this I do desire,
        That what in passion I have said, or ire,
        May be forgotten, and a better mind,
        Be had of us, hereafter as you find.”

I earnestly request every private man, as Scaliger did Cardan, not to take offence.  I will conclude in his lines, Si me cognitum haberes, non solum donares nobis has facetias nostras, sed etiam indignum duceres, tam humanum aninum, lene ingenium, vel minimam suspicionem deprecari oportere.  If thou knewest my [814]modesty and simplicity, thou wouldst easily pardon and forgive what is here amiss, or by thee misconceived.  If hereafter anatomizing this surly humour, my hand slip, as an unskilful ’prentice I lance too deep, and cut through skin and all at unawares, make it smart, or cut awry, [815]pardon a rude hand, an unskilful knife, ’tis a most difficult thing to keep an even tone, a perpetual tenor, and not sometimes to lash out; difficile est Satyram non scribere, there be so many objects to divert, inward perturbations to molest, and the very best may sometimes err; aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus (some times that excellent Homer takes a nap), it is impossible not in so much to overshoot;—­opere in longo fas est obrepere, summum.  But what needs all this?  I hope there will no such cause of offence be given; if there be, [816]_Nemo aliquid recognoscat, nos mentimur omnia_.  I’ll deny all (my last refuge), recant all, renounce all I have said, if any man except, and with as much facility excuse, as he can accuse; but I presume of thy good favour, and gracious acceptance (gentle reader).  Out of an assured hope and confidence thereof, I will begin.


Tu vero cavesis edico quisquis es, ne temere sugilles Auctorem hujusce operis, aut cavillator irrideas.  Imo ne vel ex aliorum censura tacite obloquaris (vis dicam verbo) nequid nasutulus inepte improbes, aut falso fingas.  Nam si talis revera sit, qualem prae se fert Junior Democritus, seniori Democrito saltem affinis, aut ejus Genium vel tantillum sapiat; actum de te, censorem aeque ac delatorem [817]aget econtra (petulanti splene cum sit) sufflabit te in jocos, comminuet in sales, addo etiam, et deo risui te sacrificabit.

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The Anatomy of Melancholy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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