Utopia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about Utopia.
I am, indeed, apt to think that they learned that language the more easily from its having some relation to their own.  I believe that they were a colony of the Greeks; for though their language comes nearer the Persian, yet they retain many names, both for their towns and magistrates, that are of Greek derivation.  I happened to carry a great many books with me, instead of merchandise, when I sailed my fourth voyage; for I was so far from thinking of soon coming back, that I rather thought never to have returned at all, and I gave them all my books, among which were many of Plato’s and some of Aristotle’s works:  I had also Theophrastus on Plants, which, to my great regret, was imperfect; for having laid it carelessly by, while we were at sea, a monkey had seized upon it, and in many places torn out the leaves.  They have no books of grammar but Lascares, for I did not carry Theodorus with me; nor have they any dictionaries but Hesichius and Dioscerides.  They esteem Plutarch highly, and were much taken with Lucian’s wit and with his pleasant way of writing.  As for the poets, they have Aristophanes, Homer, Euripides, and Sophocles of Aldus’s edition; and for historians, Thucydides, Herodotus, and Herodian.  One of my companions, Thricius Apinatus, happened to carry with him some of Hippocrates’s works and Galen’s Microtechne, which they hold in great estimation; for though there is no nation in the world that needs physic so little as they do, yet there is not any that honours it so much; they reckon the knowledge of it one of the pleasantest and most profitable parts of philosophy, by which, as they search into the secrets of nature, so they not only find this study highly agreeable, but think that such inquiries are very acceptable to the Author of nature; and imagine, that as He, like the inventors of curious engines amongst mankind, has exposed this great machine of the universe to the view of the only creatures capable of contemplating it, so an exact and curious observer, who admires His workmanship, is much more acceptable to Him than one of the herd, who, like a beast incapable of reason, looks on this glorious scene with the eyes of a dull and unconcerned spectator.

“The minds of the Utopians, when fenced with a love for learning, are very ingenious in discovering all such arts as are necessary to carry it to perfection.  Two things they owe to us, the manufacture of paper and the art of printing; yet they are not so entirely indebted to us for these discoveries but that a great part of the invention was their own.  We showed them some books printed by Aldus, we explained to them the way of making paper and the mystery of printing; but, as we had never practised these arts, we described them in a crude and superficial manner.  They seized the hints we gave them; and though at first they could not arrive at perfection, yet by making many essays they at last found out and corrected all their errors and conquered every difficulty. 

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Utopia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.