The Anatomy of Melancholy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,594 pages of information about The Anatomy of Melancholy.
          His well fraught head may find no trifling prize. 
        Should crafty lawyer trespass on our ground,
          Caitiffs avaunt! disturbing tribe away! 
        Unless (white crow) an honest one be found;
          He’ll better, wiser go for what we say. 
        Should some ripe scholar, gentle and benign,
          With candour, care, and judgment thee peruse: 
        Thy faults to kind oblivion he’ll consign;
          Nor to thy merit will his praise refuse. 
        Thou may’st be searched for polish’d words and verse
          By flippant spouter, emptiest of praters: 
        Tell him to seek them in some mawkish verse: 
          My periods all are rough as nutmeg graters. 
        The doggerel poet, wishing thee to read,
          Reject not; let him glean thy jests and stories. 
        His brother I, of lowly sembling breed: 
          Apollo grants to few Parnassian glories. 
        Menac’d by critic with sour furrowed brow,
          Momus or Troilus or Scotch reviewer: 
        Ruffle your heckle, grin and growl and vow: 
          Ill-natured foes you thus will find the fewer,
        When foul-mouth’d senseless railers cry thee down,
          Reply not:  fly, and show the rogues thy stern;
        They are not worthy even of a frown: 
          Good taste or breeding they can never learn;
        Or let them clamour, turn a callous ear,
          As though in dread of some harsh donkey’s bray. 
        If chid by censor, friendly though severe,
          To such explain and turn thee not away. 
        Thy vein, says he perchance, is all too free;
          Thy smutty language suits not learned pen: 
        Reply, Good Sir, throughout, the context see;
          Thought chastens thought; so prithee judge again. 
        Besides, although my master’s pen may wander
          Through devious paths, by which it ought not stray,
        His life is pure, beyond the breath of slander: 
          So pardon grant; ’tis merely but his way. 
        Some rugged ruffian makes a hideous rout—­
          Brandish thy cudgel, threaten him to baste;
        The filthy fungus far from thee cast out;
          Such noxious banquets never suit my taste. 
        Yet, calm and cautious moderate thy ire,
          Be ever courteous should the case allow—­
        Sweet malt is ever made by gentle fire: 
          Warm to thy friends, give all a civil bow. 
        Even censure sometimes teaches to improve,
          Slight frosts have often cured too rank a crop,
        So, candid blame my spleen shall never move,
          For skilful gard’ners wayward branches lop. 
        Go then, my book, and bear my words in mind;
          Guides safe at once, and pleasant them you’ll find.

THE ARGUMENT OF THE FRONTISPIECE.

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Project Gutenberg
The Anatomy of Melancholy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.