« ElőzőTovább »
the earth, durable in their main bodies, alterable in their parts: whereof beside comets and new stars, perspectives begin to tell tales; and the spots that wander about the sun, with Phaeton's favour, would make clear conviction.
There is nothing strictly immortal, but immora tality: Whatever hath no beginning, may be confident of no endi All others have a dependent being, and within the reach of destruction, which is the peculiar of that necessary essence that cannot destroy itself, and the highest strain of omnipotency, to be so powerfully constituted, as not to suffer even from the power of itself. But the sufficiency of christian immortality frustrates all earthly glory, and the quality of either state after death makes a folly of posthumous memory. God, who can only destroy our souls, and hath assured our resurrection, either of our bodies or names, hath directly pro
duration. Wherein there is so much of chance, that the boldest expectants have found unhappy frustration; and to hold long subsistence seems but a scape in oblivion. But man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave, solemnizing nativities and deaths with equal lustre, nor omitting ceremonies of bravery in the infamy of his nature:
To subsist in lasting monuments, to live in their productions, to exist in their names, and prædica
ment of chimeras, was large satisfaction unto old expectations, and made one part of their elysiums. But all this is nothing in the metaphysics of true belief. To live indeed is to be again ourselves, which . being not only an hope, but an evidence in noble believers, it is all one to lie in St. Innocent's * church-yard, as in the sands of Egypt; ready to be any thing in the extacy of being ever, and as content with six foot as the moles of Adrianust.
Tabesne cadavera solvat
LUCAN. The Urn-burial is the work of a very singular, but original mind, Brown delighted to live in the conjectural world, and lived in it so long, that conjectures and things impossible to be known, assumed the place of realities and things knowable. The finding of these sepul. chral urns furnished him with an admirable occasion for the exercise of his eccentric and solemn genius. The deathy dwelling among pots and urns and gravestones and embalments, was exactly suited to call forth his grand and rambling mind; those curious considerations
* In Paris, where bodies soon consume.
of A stately mausoleum, or sepulchral pile, built by Adria. aus in Rome, where now standeth the castle of St. Angelo.
of death, of all that is to be known, and all that is not to be known concerning it, which so strangely fill up the latter half of this little work. A great part of these strange thoughts are contained in the above extracts.
4. Brown moreover wrote a brief account of Iceland, from information probably derived from Theodore Jonas, his friend, who lived in that island. These were the only works published in his life-time.
His posthumous works were numerous, the first collection of which was published by Dr. Tennison, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, under the title of “ Miscellaneous Tracts," containing, 1. Observations upon several Plants mentioned in Scripture. - 2. Of Garlands, and coronary or garland Plants. 3. Of the Fishes catched by our Saviour with his Disciples after the Resurrection. 4. An Answer to certain Queries relating to Fishes, Birds, and Insects. 5. Of Hawks and Falconry, ancient and modern. 6. Of Cymbals and other musical Instruments. 7. Of Ropalic or gradual Verses. 8. Of Languages, particularly the Saxon. 9. Of artificial Hills, Mounts, and Burrows in many places of England. 10. Of Troas, what place is meant by that name. Also the situation of Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zeboim. 11. Of the Answers of the Oracle of Apollo at Delphos to Cresus. 12. A Prophecy concerning the future state of several Nations. 13. Musaum Clausum, con taining some books, antiquities, pictures, and rarities of several kinds, scarce, or never seen by any man now living. These, with the other treatises published in his life-time, were printed in one volume, folio, Lond. 1686.-In 1690, his son, Dr. Edward Brown, published a « Letter” of his father's “ to a friend, upon occasion of the Death of his intimate Friend."
Besides this, Owen Brigstock, esq. his sonin-law by marriage, occasioned the publication of others of our author's works, from his original MSS. 1. Repertorium, or the Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Norwich. 2. Letters between Sir William Dugdale and Sir Thomas Brown. 3. Miscellanies.
Lastly, there was published in 1761, a book in 12mo. entitled, “ Christian Morals, by Sir Thomas Brown, of Norwich, M. D. and author of Religio Medici.”
Another remarkable circumstance in the writings of Brown is his perpetual Latinisms; he was so familiar with learned writings, that be worked their style into his English. He could not probably have expressed himself in pure English ; Latin was his vernacular dialect, more natural to him than what he heard spoken; so that what in common pedants would have been affectation, (i. e. going out of their way) was in him the true way. His Latinisms are to be considered in the same light as Milton's Mythologics, which critics have condemned as pedantry; not considering that his imbibing mind had sucked in the old heathen stories, till they had acted upon him with as much force as his own faith and christian devotion. He