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lost. This mutilation of character must have happened, among many others, to Sir Thomas Browne, had it not been delineated by his friend Mr. Whitefoot, “who esteemed it an especial favour of Providence, to have had a particular acquaintance with him for two thirds of his life." Part of his observations I shall therefore copy. “For a character of his
his complexion and hair was answerable to his name; his stature was moderate, and habit of body neither fat nor lean, but evrópuos.
“In his habit of clothing, he had an aversion to all finery, and affected plainness both in the fashion and ornaments. He ever wore a cloak, or boots, when few others did. He kept himself always very warm, and thought it most safe so to do, though he never loaded himself with such a multitude of garments, as Suetonius reports of Augustus, enough to clothe a good family.
• The horizon of his understanding was much larger than the hemisphere of the world : all that was visible in the heavens he comprehended so well, that few that are under them knew so much : he could tell the number of the visible stars in his horizon, and call them all by their names that had any; and of the earth he had such a minute and exact geographical knowledge, as if he had been by Divine Providence ordained surveyor-general of the whole terrestrial orb, and its products, minerals, plants, and animals. He was so curious a botanist, that, besides the specifical distinctions, he made nice and elaborate observations, equally useful as entertaining.
“ His memory, though not so eminent as that of Seneca or Scaliger, was capacious and tenacious, insomuch as he remembered all that was remarkable in any book that he had read; and not only knew all persons again that he had ever seen at any distance of time, but remembered the circumstances of their bodies, and their
particular discourses and speeches.
“In the Latin poets he remembered every thing that was acute and pungent: he had read most of the historians, ancient and modern, wherein his observations were singular, not taken notice of by common readers; he was excellent company when he was at leisure, and expressed more light than heat in the temper of his brain.
“He had no despotical power over his affections and passions (that was a privilege of original perfection, forfeited by the neglect of the use of it), but as large a political power over them, as any stoick, or man of his time, whereof he gave so great experiment, that he hath very rarely been known to have been overcome with any of them. . The strongest that were found in him, both of the irascible and concupiscible, were under the control of his reason. Of admiration, which is one of them, being the only product, either of ignorance, or uncommon knowledge, he had more and less than other men, upon the same account of his knowing more than others; so that though he met with many rarities, he admired them not so much as others do.
“ He was never seen to be transported with mirth, or dejected with sadness; always cheerful but rarely merry, at any sensible rate; seldom heard to break a jest; and, when he did, he
would be apt to blush at the levity of it: his gra-
“His modesty was visible in a natural habitual
They that knew no more of him than by the briskness of his writings, found themselves deceived in their expectation, when they came in his company, noting the gravity and sobriety of his aspect and conversation ; so free from loquacity or much talkativeness, that he was something difficult to be engaged in any discourse; though when he was so, it was always singular, and never trite or vulgar. Parsimonious in nothing but his time, whereof he made as much improvement with as little loss as any man in it: when he had any to spare from his drudging practice, he was scarce patient of any diversion from his study; so impatient of sloth and idleness, that he would say, he could not do nothing.
“ Sir Thomas understood most of the European languages; viz. all that are in Hutter's Bible, which he made use of. The Latin and Greek he understood critically; the Oriental languages, which never were vernacular in this part of the world, he thought the use of them would not answer the time and pains of learning them; yet had so great a veneration for the matrix of them, viz. the Hebrew, consecrated to the oracles of God, that he was not content to be totally ignorant of it; though very little of his science is to be found in any books of that primitive language. And though much is said to be written in the derivative idioms of that tongue, especially the Arabick, yet
he was satisfied with the translations wherein he found nothing admirable.
“In his religion he continued in the same mind which he had declared in his first book, written when he was but thirty years old, his Religio Medici, wherein he fully assented to that of the church of England, preferring it before any in the world, as did the learned Grotius. He attended the publick service very constantly, when he was not withheld by his practice; never missed the sacrament in his parish, if he were in town; read the best English sermons he could hear of, with liberal applause; and delighted not in controversies. In his last sickness, wherein he continued about a week's time, enduring great pain of the colick, besides a continual fever, with as much patience as hath been seen in any man, without any pretence of Stoical apathy, animosity, or vanity of not being concerned thereat, or suffering no impeachment of happiness_Nihil agis, dolor.
“His patience was founded upon the christian philosophy, and a sound faith of God's providence, and a meek and holy submission thereunto, which he expressed in few words. I visited him near his end, when he had not strength to hear or speak much; the last words which I heard from him were, besides some expressions of dearness, that he did freely submit to the will of God, being without fear: he had often triumphed over the king of terrours in others, and given many repulses in the defence of patients; but, when his own turn came, he submitted with a meek, rational, and religious courage:
“He might have made good the old saying of Dat Galenus opes, had he lived in a place that could have afforded it. But his indulgence and liberality to his children, especially in their travels, two of his sons in divers countries, and two of his daughters in France, spent him more than a little. He was liberal in his house entertainments and in his charity; he left a comfortable but no great estate, both to his lady and children, gained by his own industry.
“Such was his sagacity and knowledge of all history, ancient and modern, and his observations thereupon so singular, that it hath been said, by them that knew him best, that if his profession, and place of abode, would have suited his ability, he would have made an extraordinary man for the privy-council, not much inferiour to the famous Padre Paulo, the late oracle of the Venetian state.
“Though he were no prophet, nor son of a prophet, yet in that faculty which comes nearest it he excelled, i. e, the stochastick, wherein he was seldom mistaken, as to future events, as well publick as private; but not apt to discover any presages or superstition.”
It is observable, that he who in his earlier had read all the books against religion, was in the latter part of his life averse from controversies. To play with important truths, to disturb the repose
of established tenets, to subtilize objections, and elude proof, is too often the sport of youthful vanity, of which maturer experience commonly repents. There is a time when every man is weary of raising difficulties only to task himself with the solution, and desires to enjoy truth without the