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Religio Medici, Hydriotaphia, and the Letter to a Friend, by Sir Thomas Browne

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unknown to your eyes, who have beheld the best of
urns and noblest variety of ashes; who are yourself no
slender master of antiquities, and can daily command
the view of so many imperial faces; which raiseth your
thoughts unto old things and consideration of times
before you, when even living men were antiquities;
when the living might exceed the dead, and to depart
this world could not be properly said to go unto the
greater number.# And so run up your thoughts upon
the ancient of days, the antiquary's truest object, unto
whom the eldest parcels are young, and earth itself an
infant, and without Egyptian$ account makes but small
noise in thousands.

* Brought back by Cimon Plutarch.
+ The great urns at the Hippodrome at Rome, conceived to
resound the voices of people at their shows.
# "Abiit ad plures."
$ Which makes the world so many years old.

We were hinted by the occasion, not catched the
opportunity to write of old things, or intrude upon the
antiquary. We are coldly drawn unto discourses of
antiquities, who have scarce time before us to compre-
hend new things, or make out learned novelties. But
seeing they arose, as they lay almost in silence among
us, at least in short account suddenly passed over, we
were very unwilling they should die again, and be
buried twice among us.

Beside, to preserve the living, and make the dead to
live, to keep men out of their urns, and discourse of
human fragments in them, is not impertinent unto our
profession; whose study is life and death, who daily
behold examples of mortality, and of all men least need
artificial mementos, or coffins by our bedside, to mind us
of our graves.

'Tis time to observe occurrences, and let nothing
remarkable escape us: the supinity of elder days hath
left so much in silence, or time hath so martyred the
records, that the most industrious heads do find no easy
work to erect a new Britannia.

'Tis opportune to look back upon old times, and con-
template our forefathers. Great examples grow thin,
and to be fetched from the passed world. Simplicity
flies away, and iniquity comes at long strides upon us.
We have enough to do to make up ourselves from
present and passed times, and the whole stage of things
scarce serveth for our instruction. A complete piece of
virtue must be made from the Centos of all ages, as all
the beauties of Greece could make but one handsome

When the bones of King Arthur were digged up,* the
old race might think they beheld therein some originals

* In the time of Henry the Second.

of themselves; unto these of our urns none here can
pretend relation, and can only behold the relicks of
those persons who, in their life giving the laws unto
their predecessors, after long obscurity, now lie at their
mercies. But, remembering the early civility they
brought upon these countries, and forgetting long-passed
mischiefs, we mercifully preserve their bones, and piss
not upon their ashes.

In the offer of these antiquities we drive not at
ancient families, so long outlasted by them. We are
far from erecting your worth upon the pillars of your
forefathers, whose merits you illustrate. We honour
your old virtues, conformable unto times before you,
which are the noblest armoury. And, having long
experience of your friendly conversation, void of empty
formality, full of freedom, constant and generous
honesty, I look upon you as a gem of the old rock,*
and must profess myself even to urn and ashes.--Your
ever faithful Friend and Servant,


NORWICH, May 1st.

* "Adamas de rupe veteri praestantissimus."



IN the deep discovery of the subterranean world
a shallow part would satisfy some inquirers;
who, if two or three yards were open about
the surface, would not care to rake the bowels of Potosi,*
and regions toward the centre. Nature hath furnished
one part of the earth, and man another. The treasures
of time lie high, in urns, coins, and monuments, scarce
below the roots of some vegetables. Time hath endless
rarities, and shows of all varieties; which reveals old
things in heaven, makes new discoveries in earth, and
even earth itself a discovery. That great antiquity
America lay buried for thousands of years, and a large
part of the earth is still in the urn unto us.

Though if Adam were made out of an extract of the
earth, all parts might challenge a restitution, yet few
have returned their bones far lower than they might
receive them; not affecting the graves of giants, under

* The rich mountain of Peru.

hilly and heavy coverings, but content with less than
their own depth, have wished their bones might lie
soft, and the earth be light upon them. Even such as
hope to rise again, would not be content with central
interment, or so desperately to place their relicks as to
lie beyond discovery; and in no way to be seen again;
which happy contrivance hath made communication
with our forefathers, and left unto our view some parts,
which they never beheld themselves.

Though earth hath engrossed the name, yet water
hath proved the smartest grave; which in forty days
swallowed almost mankind, and the living creation;
fishes not wholly escaping, except the salt ocean were
handsomely contempered by a mixture of the fresh

Many have taken voluminous pains to determine the
state of the soul upon disunion; but men have been
most phantastical in the singular contrivances of their
corporal dissolution: whilst the soberest nations have
rested in two ways, of simple inhumation and burning.

That carnal interment or burying was of the elder
date, the old examples of Abraham and the patriarchs
are sufficient to illustrate; and were without com-
petition, if it could be made out that Adam was buried
near Damascus, or Mount Calvary, according to some
tradition. God himself, that buried but one, was pleased
to make choice of this way, collectible from Scripture
expression, and the hot contest between Satan and the
archangel about discovering the body of Moses. But
the practice of burning was also of great antiquity, and
of no slender extent. For (not to derive the same from
Hercules) noble descriptions there are hereof in the
Grecian funerals of Homer, in the formal obsequies of
Patroclus and Achilles; and somewhat elder in the
Theban war, and solemn combustion of Meneceus, and
Archemorus, contemporary unto Jair the eighth judge
of Israel. Confirmable also among the Trojans, from
the funeral pyre of Hector, burnt before the gates of
Troy: and the burning of Penthesilea the Amazonian
queen: and long continuance of that practice, in the
inward countries of Asia; while as low as the reign of
Julian, we find that the king of Chionia* burnt the
body of his son, and interred the ashes in a silver urn.

The same practice extended also far west; and
besides Herulians, Getes, and Thracians, was in use
with most of the Celtae, Sarmatians, Germans, Gauls,
Danes, Swedes, Norwegians; not to omit some use
thereof among Carthaginians and Americans. Of
greater antiquity among the Romans than most opinion,
or Pliny seems to allow: for (besides the old table laws+
of burning or burying within the city, of making the
funeral fire with planed wood, or quenching the fire
with wine), Manlius the consul burnt the body of his
son: Numa, by special clause of his will, was not burnt
but buried; and Remus was solemnly burned, according
to the description of Ovid.#

Cornelius Sylla was not the first whose body was
burned in Rome, but the first of the Cornelian family;
which being indifferently, not frequently used before;
from that time spread, and became the prevalent
practice. Not totally pursued in the highest run of
cremation; for when even crows were funerally burnt,
Poppaea the wife of Nero found a peculiar grave in-

* Gumbrates, king of Chionia, a country near Persia.
+ XII. Tabulae, part i., de jure sacro, "Hominem mortuum
in urbe ne sepelito neve urito."
# "Ultima prolata subdita flamma rogo," &c. Fast., lib.
iv., 856.

terment. Now as all customs were founded upon some
bottom of reason, so there wanted not grounds for this;
according to several apprehensions of the most rational
dissolution. Some being of the opinion of Thales, that
water was the original of all things, thought it most
equal<1> to submit unto the principle of putrefaction, and
conclude in a moist relentment.<2> Others conceived it
most natural to end in fire, as due unto the master
principle in the composition, according to the doctrine
of Heraclitus; and therefore heaped up large piles,
more actively to waft them toward that element,
whereby they also declined a visible degeneration into
worms, and left a lasting parcel of their composi-

Some apprehended a purifying virtue in fire, refining
the grosser commixture, and firing out the aethereal
particles so deeply immersed in it. And such as by
tradition or rational conjecture held any hint of the
final pyre of all things; or that this element at last
must be too hard for all the rest; might conceive most
naturally of the fiery dissolution. Others pretending
no natural grounds, politickly declined the malice of
enemies upon their buried bodies. Which consideration
led Sylla unto this practice; who having thus served
the body of Marius, could not but fear a retaliation
upon his own; entertained after in the civil wars, and
revengeful contentions of Rome.

But as many nations embraced, and many left it in-
different, so others too much affected, or strictly de-
clined this practice. The Indian Brachmans seemed
too great friends unto fire, who burnt themselves alive
and thought it the noblest way to end their days in
fire; according to the expression of the Indian, burning
himself at Athens, in his last words upon the pyre
unto the amazed spectators, "thus I make myself im-

But the Chaldeans, the great idolaters of fire, ab-
horred the burning of their carcases, as a pollution of
that deity. The Persian magi declined it upon the
like scruples, and being only solicitous about their bones,
exposed their flesh to the prey of birds and dogs. And
the Persees now in India, which expose their bodies
unto vultures, and endure not so much as feretra or
biers of wood, the proper fuel of fire, are led on with such
niceties. But whether the ancient Germans, who burned
their dead, held any such fear to pollute their deity of
Herthus, or the earth, we have no authentic conjecture.

The Egyptians were afraid of fire, not as a deity, but
a devouring element, mercilessly consuming their
bodies, and leaving too little of them; and therefore
by precious embalmments, depositure in dry earths, or
handsome inclosure in glasses, contrived the notablest
ways of integral conservation. And from such Egyp-
tian scruples, imbibed by Pythagoras, it may be con-
jectured that Numa and the Pythagorical sect first
waived the fiery solution.

The Scythians, who swore by wind and sword, that
is, by life and death, were so far from burning their
bodies, that they declined all interment, and made their
graves in the air: and the Ichthyophagi, or fish-eating
nations about Egypt, affected the sea for their grave;
thereby declining visible corruption, and restoring the
debt of their bodies. Whereas the old heroes, in
Homer, dreaded nothing more than water or drowning;
probably upon the old opinion of the fiery substance of
the soul, only extinguishable by that element; and

* And therefore the inscription on his tomb was made ac-
cordingly, "Hic Damase."

therefore the poet emphatically implieth* the total
destruction in this kind of death, which happened to
Ajax Oileus.

The old Balearians had a peculiar mode, for they
used great urns and much wood, but no fire in their
burials, while they bruised the flesh and bones of the
dead, crowded them into urns, and laid heaps of wood
upon them. And the Chinese without cremation or
urnal interment of their bodies, make use of trees and
much burning, while they plant a pine-tree by their
grave, and burn great numbers of printed draughts of
slaves and horses over it, civilly content with their
companies in effigy, which barbarous nations exact unto

Christians abhorred this way of obsequies, and though
they sticked not to give their bodies to be burnt in their
lives, detested that mode after death: affecting rather a
depositure than absumption, and properly submitting
unto the sentence of God, to return not unto ashes but
unto dust again, and conformable unto the practice of
the patriarchs, the interment of our Saviour, of Peter,
Paul, and the ancient martyrs. And so far at last de-
clining promiscuous interment with Pagans, that some
have suffered ecclesiastical censures,+ for making no
scruple thereof.

The Mussulman believers will never admit this fiery
resolution. For they hold a present trial from their
black and white angels in the grave; which they must
have made so hollow, that they may rise upon their

The Jewish nation, though they entertained the old
way of inhumation, yet sometimes admitted this

* Which Magius reads [Greek omitted].
+ Martialis the Bishop.

practice. For the men of Jabesh burnt the body of
Saul; and by no prohibited practice, to avoid contagion
or pollution, in time of pestilence, burnt the bodies of
their friends.* And when they burnt not their dead
bodies, yet sometimes used great burnings near and
about them, deducible from the expressions concerning
Jehoram, Zedechias, and the sumptuous pyre of Asa.
And were so little averse from Pagan burning, that the
Jews lamenting the death of Caesar their friend, and
revenger on Pompey, frequented the place where his
body was burnt for many nights together. And as
they raised noble monuments and mausoleums for their
own nation,+ so they were not scrupulous in erecting
some for others, according to the practice of Daniel, who
left that lasting sepulchral pile in Ecbatana, for the
Median and Persian kings.#

But even in times of subjection and hottest use, they
conformed not unto the Roman practice of burning;
whereby the prophecy was secured concerning the body
of Christ, that it should not see corruption, or a bone
should not be broken; which we believe was also pro-
videntially prevented, from the soldier's spear and nails
that passed by the little bones both in his hands and
feet; not of ordinary contrivance, that it should not
corrupt on the cross, according to the laws of Roman
crucifixion, or an hair of his head perish, though observ-
able in Jewish customs, to cut the hair of male-

* Amos vi. 10.
+ As in that magnificent sepulchral monument erected by
Simon.--1 Macc. xiii.
# [Greek omitted], whereof a Jewish
priest had always custody until Josephus' days.--Jos. Antiq.,
lib. x.

Nor in their long cohabitation with Egyptians, crept
into a custom of their exact embalming, wherein deeply
slashing the muscles, and taking out the brains and en-
trails, they had broken the subject of so entire a resur-
rection, nor fully answered the types of Enoch, Elijah,
or Jonah, which yet to prevent or restore, was of equal
facility unto that rising power able to break the fascia-
tions and bands of death, to get clear out of the cerecloth,
and an hundred pounds of ointment, and out of the
sepulchre before the stone was rolled from it.

But though they embraced not this practice of burn-
ing, yet entertained they many ceremonies agreeable
unto Greek and Roman obsequies. And he that ob-
serveth their funeral feasts, their lamentations at the
grave, their music, and weeping mourners; how they
closed the eyes of their friends, how they washed,
anointed, and kissed the dead; may easily conclude
these were not mere Pagan civilities. But whether
that mournful burthen, and treble calling out after
Absalom, had any reference unto the last conclamation,
and triple valediction, used by other nations, we hold
but a wavering conjecture.

Civilians make sepulture but of the law of nations,
others do naturally found it and discover it also in
animals. They that are so thick-skinned as still to
credit the story of the Phoenix, may say something for
animal burning. More serious conjectures find some
examples of sepulture in elephants, cranes, the sepul-
chral cells of pismires, and practice of bees,--which
civil society carrieth out their dead, and hath exequies,
if not interments.


THE solemnities, ceremonies, rites of their cremation
or interment, so solemnly delivered by authors, we
shall not disparage our reader to repeat. Only the last
and lasting part in their urns, collected bones and ashes,
we cannot wholly omit or decline that subject, which
occasion lately presented, in some discovered among us.

In a field of Old Walsingham, not many months past,
were digged up between forty and fifty urns, deposited
in a dry and sandy soil, not a yard deep, nor far from
one another.--Not all strictly of one figure, but most
answering these described; some containing two pounds
of bones, and teeth, with fresh impressions of their com-
bustion; besides the extraneous substances, like pieces
of small boxes, or combs handsomely wrought, handles
of small brass instruments, brazen nippers, and in one
some kind of opal.

Near the same plot of ground, for about six yards
compass, were digged up coals and incinerated sub-
stances, which begat conjecture that this was the ustrina
or place of burning their bodies, or some sacrificing
place unto the Manes, which was properly below the
surface of the ground, as the arae and altars unto the
gods and heroes above it.

That these were the urns of Romans from the common
custom and place where they were found, is no obscure
conjecture, not far from a Roman garrison, and but five
miles from Brancaster, set down by ancient record under
the name of Branodunum. And where the adjoining
town, containing seven parishes, in no very different
sound, but Saxon termination, still retains the name of
Burnham, which being an early station, it is not im-
probable the neighbour parts were filled with habitations,
either of Romans themselves, or Britons Romanized,
which observed the Roman customs.

Nor is it improbable, that the Romans early possessed
this country. For though we meet not with such strict
particulars of these parts before the new institution of
Constantine and military charge of the count of the
Saxon shore, and that about the Saxon invasions, the
Dalmatian horsemen were in the garrison of Brancaster;
yet in the time of Claudius, Vespasian, and Severus, we
find no less than three legions dispersed through the
province of Britain. And as high as the reign of
Claudius a great overthrow was given unto the Iceni,
by the Roman lieutenant Ostorius. Not long after, the
country was so molested, that, in hope of a better state,
Prastaagus bequeathed his kingdom unto Nero and his
daughters; and Boadicea, his queen, fought the last
decisive battle with Paulinus. After which time, and
conquest of Agricola, the lieutenant of Vespasian, pro-
bable it is, they wholly possessed this country; ordering
it into garrisons or habitations best suitable with their
securities. And so some Roman habitations not im-
probable in these parts, as high as the time of Vespasian,
where the Saxons after seated, in whose thin-filled maps
we yet find the name of Walsingham. Now if the Iceni
were but Gammadims, Anconians, or men that lived in
an angle, wedge, or elbow of Britain, according to the
original etymology, this country will challenge the
emphatical appellation, as most properly making the
elbow or iken of Icenia.

That Britain was notably populous is undeniable, from
that expression of Caesar.* That the Romans themselves
were early in no small numbers--seventy thousand,
with their associates, slain, by Boadicea, affords a sure
account. And though not many Roman habitations
are now known, yet some, by old works, rampiers,
coins, and urns, do testify their possessions. Some urns
have been found at Castor, some also about Southcreak,
and, not many years past, no less than ten in a field at
Buston, not near any recorded garrison. Nor is it
strange to find Roman coins of copper and silver among
us; of Vespasian, Trajan, Adrian, Commodus, Anto-
ninus, Severus, &c.; but the greater number of Dio-
clesian, Constantine, Constans, Valens, with many of
Victorinus Posthumius, Tetricus, and the thirty tyrants
in the reign of Gallienus; and some as high as Adrianus
have been found about Thetford, or Sitomagus, mentioned
in the Itinerary of Antoninus, as the way from Venta or
Castor unto London. But the most frequent discovery
is made at the two Castors by Norwich and Yarmouth
at Burghcastle, and Brancaster.

Besides the Norman, Saxon, and Danish pieces of
Cuthred, Canutus, William, Matilda, and others, some
British coins of gold have been dispersedly found, and
no small number of silver pieces near Norwich, with a
rude head upon the obverse, and an ill-formed horse
on the reverse, with inscriptions Ic. Duro. T.; whether
implying Iceni, Durotriges, Tascia, or Trinobantes, we
leave to higher conjecture. Vulgar chronology will
have Norwich Castle as old as Julius Caesar; but his
distance from these parts, and its Gothick form of
structure, abridgeth such antiquity. The British coins
afford conjecture of early habitation in these parts,

* "Hominum infinita multitudo est creberrimaque; aedi-

ficia fere Gallicis consimilia."--Caesar de Bello. Gal., lib. v.
though the city of Norwich arose from the ruins of
Venta; and though, perhaps, not without some habi-
tation before, was enlarged, builded, and nominated by
the Saxons. In what bulk or populosity it stood in the
old East-Angle monarchy tradition and history are
silent. Considerable it was in the Danish eruptions,
when Sueno burnt Thetford and Norwich, and Ulfketel,
the governor thereof, was able to make some resistance,
and after endeavoured to burn the Danish navy.

How the Romans left so many coins in countries of
their conquests seems of hard resolution; except we
consider how they buried them under ground when,
upon barbarous invasions, they were fain to desert their
habitations in most part of their empire, and the strict-
ness of their laws forbidding to transfer them to any
other uses: wherein the Spartans were singular, who,
to make their copper money useless, contempered it with
vinegar. That the Britons left any, some wonder, since
their money was iron and iron rings before Caesar; and
those of after-stamp by permission, and but small in
bulk and bigness. That so few of the Saxons remain,
because, overcome by succeeding conquerors upon the
place, their coins, by degrees, passed into other stamps
and the marks of after-ages.

Than the time of these urns deposited, or precise
antiquity of these relicks, nothing of more uncertainty;
for since the lieutenant of Claudius seems to have made
the first progress into these parts, since Boadicea was
overthrown by the forces of Nero, and Agricola put a
full end to these conquests, it is not probable the country
was fully garrisoned or planted before; and, therefore,
however these urns might be of later date, not likely of
higher antiquity.

And the succeeding emperors desisted not from their
conquests in these and other parts, as testified by history
and medal-inscription yet extant: the province of
Britain, in so divided a distance from Rome, beholding
the faces of many imperial persons, and in large account;
no fewer than Caesar, Claudius, Britannicus, Vespasian,
Titus, Adrian, Severus, Commodus, Geta, and Cara-

A great obscurity herein, because no medal or em-
peror's coin enclosed, which might denote the date of
their interments; observable in many urns, and found
in those of Spitalfields, by London, which contained the
coins of Claudius, Vespasian, Commodus, Antoninus,
attended with lacrymatories, lamps, bottles of liquor,
and other appurtenances of affectionate superstition,
which in these rural interments were wanting.

Some uncertainty there is from the period or term of
burning, or the cessation of that practice. Macrobius
affirmeth it was disused in his days; but most agree,
though without authentic record, that it ceased with the
Antonini,--most safely to be understood after the reign
of those emperors which assumed the name of Antoninus,
extending unto Heliogabalus. Not strictly after Marcus;
for about fifty years later, we find the magnificent burn-
ing and consecration of Servus; and, if we so fix this
period or cessation, these urns will challenge above
thirteen hundred years.

But whether this practice was only then left by em-
perors and great persons, or generally about Rome, and
not in other provinces, we hold no authentic account;
for after Tertullian, in the days of Minucius, it was
obviously objected upon Christians, that they con-
demned the practice of burning.* And we find a pass-

* "Execrantur rogos, et damnant ignium sepulturam."--Min.
in Oct.

age in Sidonius, which asserteth that practice in France
unto a lower account. And, perhaps, not fully disused
till Christianity fully established, which gave the final
extinction to these sepulchral bonfires.

Whether they were the bones of men, or women, or
children, no authentic decision from ancient custom in
distinct places of burial. Although not improbably
conjectured, that the double sepulture, or burying-place
of Abraham, had in it such intention. But from exility
of bones, thinness of skulls, smallness of teeth, ribs, and
thigh-bones, not improbable that many thereof were
persons of minor age, or woman. Confirmable also from
things contained in them. In most were found sub-
stances resembling combs, plates like boxes, fastened
with iron pins, and handsomely overwrought like the
necks or bridges of musical instruments; long brass
plates overwrought like the handles of neat implements;
brazen nippers, to pull away hair; and in one a kind
of opal, yet maintaining a bluish colour.

Now that they accustomed to burn or bury with them,
things wherein they excelled, delighted, or which were
dear unto them, either as farewells unto all pleasure, or
vain apprehension that they might use them in the
other world, is testified by all antiquity, observable
from the gem or beryl ring upon the finger of Cynthia,
the mistress of Propertius, when after her funeral pyre
her ghost appeared unto him; and notably illustrated
from the contents of that Roman urn preserved by
Cardinal Farnese, wherein besides great number of
gems with heads of gods and goddesses, were found an
ape of agath, a grasshopper, an elephant of amber, a
crystal ball, three glasses, two spoons, and six nuts of
crystal; and beyond the content of urns, in the monu-
ment of Childerek the first, and fourth king from
Pharamond, casually discovered three years past at
Tournay, restoring unto the world much gold richly
adorning his sword, two hundred rubies, many hundred
imperial coins, three hundred golden bees, the bones
and horse-shoes of his horse interred with him, accord-
ing to the barbarous magnificence of those days in
their sepulchral obsequies. Although, if we steer by
the conjecture of many a Septuagint expression, some
trace thereof may be found even with the ancient
Hebrews, not only from the sepulchral treasure of David,
but the circumcision knives which Joshua also buried.

Some men, considering the contents of these urns,
lasting pieces and toys included in them, and the custom
of burning with many other nations, might somewhat
doubt whether all urns found among us, were properly
Roman relicks, or some not belonging unto our British,
Saxon, or Danish forefathers.

In the form of burial among the ancient Britons, the
large discourses of Caesar, Tacitus, and Strabo are silent.
For the discovery whereof, with other particulars, we
much deplore the loss of that letter which Cicero ex-
pected or received from his brother Quintus, as a resolu-
tion of British customs; or the account which might
have been made by Scribonius Largus, the physician,
accompanying the Emperor Claudius, who might have
also discovered that frugal bit of the old Britons, which
in the bigness of a bean could satisfy their thirst and

But that the Druids and ruling priests used to burn
and bury, is expressed by Pomponius; that Bellinus,
the brother of Brennus, and King of the Britons, was
burnt, is acknowledged by Polydorus, as also by Am-
andus Zierexensis in Historia and Pineda in his Universa
(Spanish). That they held that practice in
Gallia, Caesar expressly delivereth. Whether the Britons
(probably descended from them, of like religion, lan-
guage, and manners) did not sometimes make use of
burning, or whether at least such as were after civilized
unto the Roman life and manners, conformed not unto
this practice, we have no historical assertion or denial.
But since, from the account of Tacitus, the Romans
early wrought so much civility upon the British stock,
that they brought them to build temples, to wear the
gown, and study the Roman laws and language, that
they conformed also unto their religious rites and cus-
toms in burials, seems no improbable conjecture.

That burning the dead was used in Sarmatia is affirmed
by Gaguinus; that the Sueons and Gathlanders used to
burn their princes and great persons, is delivered by
Saxo and Olaus; that this was the old German practice,
is also asserted by Tacitus. And though we are bare in
historical particulars of such obsequies in this island, or
that the Saxons, Jutes, and Angles burnt their dead,
yet came they from parts where 'twas of ancient practice;
the Germans using it, from whom they were descended.
And even in Jutland and Sleswick in Anglia Cymbrica,
urns with bones were found not many years before us.

But the Danish and northern nations have raised an
era or point of compute from their custom of burning
their dead: some deriving it from Unguinus, some from
Frotho the great, who ordained by law, that princes and
chief commanders should be committed unto the fire,
though the common sort had the common grave inter-
ment. So Starkatterus, that old hero, was burnt, and
Ringo royally burnt the body of Harold the king slain
by him.

What time this custom generally expired in that na-
tion, we discern no assured period; whether it ceased
before Christianity, or upon their conversion, by Aus-
gurius the Gaul, in the time of Ludovicus Pius, the son
of Charles the Great, according to good computes; or
whether it might not be used by some persons, while
for an hundred and eighty years Paganism and Christi-
anity were promiscuously embraced among them, there
is no assured conclusion. About which times the Danes
were busy in England, and particularly infested this
country; where many castles and strongholds were
built by them, or against them, and great number of
names and families still derived from them. But since
this custom was probably disused before their invasion
or conquest, and the Romans confessedly practised the
same since their possession of this island, the most
assured account will fall upon the Romans, or Britons

However, certain it is, that urns conceived of no
Roman original, are often digged up both in Norway
and Denmark, handsomely described, and graphically
represented by the learned physician Wormius. And
in some parts of Denmark in no ordinary number, as
stands delivered by authors exactly describing those
countries. And they contained not only bones, but
many other substances in them, as knives, pieces of
iron, brass, and wood, and one of Norway a brass gilded

Nor were they confused or careless in disposing the
noblest sort, while they placed large stones in circle
about the urns or bodies which they interred: somewhat
answerable unto the monument of Rollrich stones in
England, or sepulchral monument probably erected by
Rollo, who after conquered Normandy; where 'tis not
improbable somewhat might be discovered. Meanwhile
to what nation or person belonged that large urn found
at Ashbury,* containing mighty bones, and a buckler;
what those large urns found at Little Massingham;+
or why the Anglesea urns are placed with their mouths
downward, remains yet undiscovered.


PLAISTERED and whited sepulchres were anciently
affected in cadaverous and corrupted burials; and the
rigid Jews were wont to garnish the sepulchres of the
righteous.# Ulysses, in Hecuba, cared not how meanly
he lived, so he might find a noble tomb after death.$
Great princes affected great monuments; and the fair
and larger urns contained no vulgar ashes, which makes
that disparity in those which time discovereth among
us. The present urns were not of one capacity, the
largest containing above a gallon, some not much above
half that measure; nor all of one figure, wherein there
is no strict conformity in the same or different countries;
observable from those represented by Casalius, Bosio,
and others, though all found in Italy; while many
have handles, ears, and long necks, but most imitate a
circular figure, in a spherical and round composure;
whether from any mystery, best duration or capacity,
were but a conjecture. But the common form with
necks was a proper figure, making our last bed like our
first; nor much unlike the urns of our nativity while
we lay in the nether part of the earth,|| and inward
vault of our microcosm. Many urns are red, these but
of a black colour somewhat smooth, and dully sounding,

* In Cheshire. + In Norfolk. # St Matt. xxiii.
$ Euripides. || Psal. lxiii.

which begat some doubt, whether they were burnt, or
only baked in oven or sun, according to the ancient way,
in many bricks, tiles, pots, and testaceous works; and,
as the word testa is properly to be taken, when occur-
ring without addition and chiefly intended by Pliny,
when he commendeth bricks and tiles of two years old,
and to make them in the spring. Nor only these con-
cealed pieces, but the open magnificence of antiquity,
ran much in the artifice of clay. Hereof the house of
Mausolus was built, thus old Jupiter stood in the Capitol,
and the statua of Hercules, made in the reign of Tar-
quinius Priscus, was extant in Pliny's days. And such
as declined burning or funeral urns, affected coffins of
clay, according to the mode of Pythagoras, a way pre-
ferred by Varro. But the spirit of great ones was above
these circumscriptions, affecting copper, silver, gold, and
porphyry urns, wherein Severus lay, after a serious
view and sentence on that which should contain him.*
Some of these urns were thought to have been silvered
over, from sparklings in several pots, with small tinsel
parcels; uncertain whether from the earth, or the first
mixture in them.

Among these urns we could obtain no good account
of their coverings; only one seemed arched over with
some kind of brickwork. Of those found at Buxton,
some were covered with flints, some, in other parts, with
tiles; those at Yarmouth Caster were closed with Roman
bricks, and some have proper earthen covers adapted
and fitted to them. But in the Homerical urn of
Patroclus, whatever was the solid tegument, we find the
immediate covering to be a purple piece of silk: and
such as had no covers might have the earth closely

* [Greek omitted]--

pressed into them, after which disposure were probably
some of these, wherein we found the bones and ashes
half mortared unto the sand and sides of the urn, and
some long roots of quich, or dog's-grass, wreathed about
the bones.

No Lamps, included liquors, lacrymatories, or tear
bottles, attended these rural urns, either as sacred unto
the manes, or passionate expressions of their surviving
friends. While with rich flames, and hired tears, they
solemnized their obsequies, and in the most lamented
monuments made one part of their inscriptions.* Some
find sepulchral vessels containing liquors, which time
hath incrassated into jellies. For, besides these lacry-
matories, notable lamps, with vessels of oils, and aro-
matical liquors, attended noble ossuaries; and some
yet retaining a vinosity and spirit in them, which, if
any have tasted, they have far exceeded the palates of
antiquity. Liquors not to be computed by years of
annual magistrates, but by great conjunctions and the
fatal periods of kingdoms.+ The draughts of consulary
date were but crude unto these, and Opimian wine but
in the must unto them.#

In sundry graves and sepulchres we meet with rings,
coins, and chalices. Ancient frugality was so severe,
that they allowed no gold to attend the corpse, but only
that they allowed no gold to attend the corpse, but only
that which served to fasten their teeth. Whether the
Opaline stone in this were burnt upon the finger of the
dead, or cast into the fire by some affectionate friend,
it will consist with either custom. But other inciner-
able substances were found so fresh, that they could
feel no singe from fire. These, upon view, were judged

* "Cum lacrymis posuere."
+ About five hundred years.
# "Vinum Opimianum annorum centum."--Petron.

to be wood; but, sinking in water, and tried by the
fire, we found them to be bone or ivory. In their
hardness and yellow colour they most resembled box,
which, in old expressions, found the epithet of eternal,
and perhaps in such conservatories might have passed

That bay leaves were found green in the tomb of S.
Humbert, after an hundred and fifty years, was looked
upon as miraculous. Remarkable it was unto old
spectators, that the cypress of the temple of Diana lasted
so many hundred years. The wood of the ark, and
olive-rod of Aaron, were older at the captivity; but
the cypress of the ark of Noah was the greatest vegetable
of antiquity, if Josephus were not deceived by some
fragments of it in his days: to omit the moor logs
and fir trees found underground in many parts of
England; the undated ruins of winds, floods, or earth-
quakes, and which in Flanders still show from what
quarter they fell, as generally lying in a north-east

But though we found not these pieces to be wood, ac-
cording to first apprehensions, yet we missed not alto-
gether of some woody substance; for the bones were
not so clearly picked but some coals were found amongst
them; a way to make wood perpetual, and a fit associate
for metal, whereon was laid the foundation of the great
Ephesian temple, and which were made the lasting tests
of old boundaries and landmarks. Whilst we look on
these, we admire not observations of coals found fresh
after four hundred years. In a long-deserted habitation
even egg-shells have been found fresh, not tending to

In the monument of King Childerick the iron relicks
were found all rusty and crumbling into pieces; but
our little iron pins, which fastened the ivory works,
held well together, and lost not their magnetical quality,
though wanting a tenacious moisture for the firmer
union of parts; although it be hardly drawn into fusion,
yet that metal soon submitteth unto rust and dissolu-
tion. In the brazen pieces we admired not the duration,
but the freedom from rust, and ill savour, upon the
hardest attrition; but now exposed unto the piercing
atoms of air, in the space of a few months, they begin
to spot and betray their green entrails. We conceive
not these urns to have descended thus naked as they
appear, or to have entered their graves without the old
habit of flowers. The urn of Philopoemen was so laden
with flowers and ribbons, that it afforded no sight of
itself. The rigid Lycurgus allowed olive and myrtle.
The Athenians might fairly except against the practice
of Democritus, to be buried up in honey, as fearing to
embezzle a great commodity of their country, and the
best of that kind in Europe. But Plato seemed too
frugally politick, who allowed no larger monument
than would contain four heroick verses, and designed
the most barren ground for sepulture: though we can-
not commend the goodness of that sepulchral ground
which was set at no higher rate than the mean salary
of Judas. Though the earth had confounded the ashes
of these ossuaries, yet the bones were so smartly burnt,
that some thin plates of brass were found half melted
among them. Whereby we apprehend they were not
of the meanest caresses, perfunctorily fired, as some-
times in military, and commonly in pestilence, burn-
ings; or after the manner of abject corpses, huddled
forth and carelessly burnt, without the Esquiline Port
at Rome; which was an affront continued upon Tiberius,
while they but half burnt his body, and in the amphi-
theatre, according to the custom in notable malefac-
tors;* whereas Nero seemed not so much to fear his
death as that his head should be cut off and his body
not burnt entire.

Some, finding many fragments of skulls in these urns,
suspected a mixture of bones; in none we searched was
there cause of such conjecture, though sometimes they
declined not that practice.--The ashes of Domitian
were mingled with those of Julia; of Achilles with
those of Patroclus. All urns contained not single ashes;
without confused burnings they affectionately com-
pounded their bones; passionately endeavouring to
continue their living unions. And when distance of
death denied such conjunctions, unsatisfied affections
conceived some satisfaction to be neighbours in the
grave, to lie urn by urn, and touch but in their manes.
And many were so curious to continue their living rela-
tions, that they contrived large and family urns, where-
in the ashes of their nearest friends and kindred might
successively be received, at least some parcels thereof,
while their collateral memorials lay in minor vessels
about them.

Antiquity held too light thoughts from objects of
mortality, while some drew provocatives of mirth from
anatomies,+ and jugglers showed tricks with skeletons.
When fiddlers made not so pleasant mirth as fencers,
and men could sit with quiet stomachs, while hanging
was played before them.# Old considerations made few

* "In amphitheatro semiustulandum."--Suetonius Vit.

+ "Sic erimus cuncti, ... ergo dum vivimus vivamus."
# [Greek omitted]. A barbarous pastime at feasts, when
men stood upon a rolling globe, with their necks in a rope and
a knife in their hands, ready to cut it when the stone was

mementos by skulls and bones upon their monuments.
In the Egyptian obelisks and hieroglyphical figures it
is not easy to meet with bones. The sepulchral lamps
speak nothing less than sepulture, and in their literal
draughts prove often obscene and antick pieces. Where
we find D. M.* it is obvious to meet with sacrificing
pateras and vessels of libation upon old sepulchral
monuments. In the Jewish hypogaeum and subter-
ranean cell at Rome, was little observable beside the
variety of lamps and frequent draughts of Anthony and
Jerome we meet with thigh-bones and death's-heads;
but the cemeterial cells of ancient Christians and
martyrs were filled with draughts of Scripture stories;
not declining the flourishes of cypress, palms, and olive,
and the mystical figures of peacocks, doves, and cocks;
but iterately affecting the portraits of Enoch, Lazarus,
Jonas, and the vision of Ezekiel, as hopeful draughts,
and hinting imagery of the resurrection, which is the
life of the grave, and sweetens our habitations in the
land of moles and pismires.

Gentle inscriptions precisely delivered the extent of
men's lives, seldom the manner of their deaths, which
history itself so often leaves obscure in the records of
memorable persons. There is scarce any philosopher but
dies twice or thrice in Laertius; nor almost any life
without two or three deaths in Plutarch; which makes
the tragical ends of noble persons more favourably re-
sented by compassionate readers who find some relief
in the election of such differences.

The certainty of death is attended with uncertainties,
rolled away, wherein, if they failed, they lost their lives, to
the laughter of their spectators.

* Diis manibus.

in time, manner, places. The variety of monuments
hath often obscured true graves; and cenotaphs con-
founded sepulchres. For beside their real tombs, many
have found honorary and empty sepulchres. The
variety of Homer's monuments made him of various
countries. Euripides had his tomb in Africa, but his
sepulture in Macedonia. And Severus found his real
sepulchre in Rome, but his empty grave in Gallia.

He that lay in a golden urn eminently above the earth,
was not like to find the quiet of his bones. Many of
these urns were broke by a vulgar discoverer in hope of
enclosed treasure. The ashes of Marcellus were lost
above ground, upon the like account. Where profit
hath prompted, no age hath wanted such miners. For
which the most barbarous expilators found the most
civil rhetorick. Gold once out of the earth is no more
due unto it; what was unreasonably committed to the
ground, is reasonably resumed from it; let monuments
and rich fabricks, not riches, adorn men's ashes. The
commerce of the living is not to be transferred unto the
dead; it is not injustice to take that which none com-
plains to lose, and no man is wronged where no man is

What virtue yet sleeps in this terra damnata and aged
cinders, were petty magic to experiment. These crumb-
ling relicks and long fired particles superannuate such
expectations; bones, hairs, nails, and teeth of the dead,
were the treasures of old sorcerers. In vain we revive
such practices; present superstition too visibly per-
petuates the folly of our forefathers, wherein unto old
observation this island was so complete, that it might
have instructed Persia.

Plato's historian of the other world lies twelve days
incorrupted, while his soul was viewing the large stations
of the dead. How to keep the corpse seven days from
corruption by anointing and washing, without extentera-
tion, were an hazardable piece of art, in our choicest
practice. How they made distinct separation of bones
and ashes from fiery admixture, hath found no historical
solution; though they seemed to make a distinct col-
lection and overlooked not Pyrrhus his toe. Some pro-
vision they might make by fictile vessels, coverings,
tiles, or flat stones, upon and about the body (and in
the same field, not far from these urns, many stones were
found underground), as also by careful separation of
extraneous matter composing and raking up the burnt
bones with forks, observable in that notable lamp of
Galvanus Martianus, who had the sight of the vas
or vessel wherein they burnt the dead, found
in the Esquiline field at Rome, might have afforded
clearer solution. But their insatisfaction herein begat
that remarkable invention in the funeral pyres of some
princes, by incombustible sheets made with a texture of
asbestos, incremable flax, or salamander's wool, which
preserved their bones and ashes incommixed.

How the bulk of a man should sink into so few pounds
of bones and ashes, may seem strange unto any who
considers not its constitution, and how slender a mass
will remain upon an open and urging fire of the carnal
composition. Even bones themselves, reduced into
ashes, do abate a notable proportion. And consisting
much of a volatile salt, when that is fired out, make a
light kind of cinders. Although their bulk be dis-
proportionable to their weight, when the heavy principle
of salt is fired out, and the earth almost only remaineth;
observable in sallow, which makes more ashes than oak,
and discovers the common fraud of selling ashes by
measure, and not by ponderation.

Some bones make best skeletons, some bodies quick
and speediest ashes. Who would expect a quick flame
from hydropical Heraclitus? The poisoned soldier
when his belly brake, put out two pyres in Plutarch.
But in the plague of Athens, one private pyre served
two or three intruders; and the Saracens burnt in large
heaps, by the king of Castile, showed how little fuel
sufficeth. Though the funeral pyre of Patroclus took
up an hundred foot,* a piece of an old boat burnt Pompey;
and if the burthen of Isaac were sufficient for an holo-
caust, a man may carry his own pyre.

From animals are drawn good burning lights, and
good medicines against burning. Though the seminal
humour seems of a contrary nature to fire, yet the body
completed proves a combustible lump, wherein fire
finds flame even from bones, and some fuel almost from
all parts; though the metropolis of humidity+ seems
least disposed unto it, which might render the skulls of
these urns less burned than other bones. But all flies
or sinks before fire almost in all bodies: when the com-
mon ligament is dissolved, the attenuable parts ascend,
the rest subside in coal, calx, or ashes.

To burn the bones of the king of Edom for lime,#
seems no irrational ferity; but to drink of the ashes
of dead relations,$ a passionate prodigality. He that
hath the ashes of his friend, hath an everlasting
treasure; where fire taketh leave, corruption slowly
enters. In bones well burnt, fire makes a wall against
itself; experimented in Copels,<3> and tests of metals,
which consist of such ingredients. What the sun com-
poundeth, fire analyzeth, not transmuteth. That de-

* [Greek omitted]
+ The Brain. Hippocrates. # Amos ii. 1.
$ As Artemisia of her husband Mausolus.

vouring agent leaves almost always a morsel for the
earth, whereof all things are but a colony; and which,
if time permits, the mother element will have in their
primitive mass again.

He that looks for urns and old sepulchral relicks, must
not seek them in the ruins of temples, where no religion
anciently placed them. These were found in a field,
according to ancient custom, in noble or private burial;
the old practice of the Canaanites, the family of Abra-
ham, and the burying-place of Joshua, in the borders
of his possessions; and also agreeable unto Roman
practice to bury by highways, whereby their monu-
ments were under eye:--memorials of themselves, and
mementoes of mortality unto living passengers; whom
the epitaphs of great ones were fain to beg to stay and
look upon them,--a language though sometimes used,
not so proper in church inscriptions.* The sensible
rhetorick of the dead, to exemplarity of good life, first
admitted to the bones of pious men and martyrs within
church walls, which in succeeding ages crept into pro-
miscuous practice: while Constantine was peculiarly
favoured to be admitted into the church porch, and the
first thus buried in England, was in the days of Cuthred.

Christians dispute how their bodies should lie in the
grave. In urnal interment they clearly escaped this
controversy. Though we decline the religious considera-
tion, yet in cemeterial and narrower burying-places, to
avoid confusion and cross-position, a certain posture
were to be admitted: which even Pagan civility observed.
The Persians lay north and south; the Megarians and
Phoenicians placed their heads to the east; the Athen-
ians, some think, towards the west, which Christians
still retain. And Beda will have it to be the posture

* Siste, viator.

of our Saviour. That he was crucified with his face
toward the west, we will not contend with tradition and
probable account; but we applaud not the hand of the
painter, in exalting his cross so high above those on
either side: since hereof we find no authentic account
in history, and even the crosses found by Helena, pre-
tend no such distinction from longitude or dimension.

To be knav'd out of our graves, to have our skulls
made drinking-bowls, and our bones turned into pipes,
to delight and sport our enemies, are tragical abomina-
tions escaped in burning burials.

Urnal interments and burnt relicks lie not in fear of
worms, or to be an heritage for serpents. In carnal
sepulture, corruptions seem peculiar unto parts; and
some speak of snakes out of the spinal marrow. But
while we suppose common worms in graves, 'tis not
easy to find any there; few in churchyards above a foot
deep, fewer or none in churches though in fresh-decayed
bodies. Teeth, bones, and hair, give the most lasting
defiance to corruption. In an hydropical body, ten
years buried in the churchyard, we met with a fat con-
cretion, where the nitre of the earth, and the salt and
lixivious liquor of the body, had coagulated large lumps
of fat into the consistence of the hardest Castile soap,
whereof part remaineth with us.<4> After a battle with
the Persians, the Roman corpses decayed in few days,
while the Persian bodies remained dry and uncorrupted.
Bodies in the same ground do not uniformly dissolve, nor
bones equally moulder; whereof in the opprobrious
disease, we expect no long duration. The body of the
Marquis of Dorset* seemed sound and handsomely cere-
clothed, that after seventy-eight years was found uncor-

* Who was buried in 1530, and dug up in 1608, and found

perfect like an ordinary corpse newly interred.
rupted. Common tombs preserve not beyond powder:
a firmer consistence and compage of parts might be ex-
pected from arefaction, deep burial, or charcoal. The
greatest antiquities of mortal bodies may remain in
putrefied bones, whereof, though we take not in the
pillar of Lot's wife, or metamorphosis of Ortelius, some
may be older than pyramids, in the putrefied relicks of
the general inundation. When Alexander opened the
tomb of Cyrus, the remaining bones discovered his pro-
portion, whereof urnal fragments afford but a bad
conjecture, and have this disadvantage of grave inter-
ments, that they leave us ignorant of most personal dis-
coveries. For since bones afford not only rectitude and
stability but figure unto the body, it is no impossible
physiognomy to conjecture at fleshy appendencies,
and after what shape the muscles and carnous parts
might hang in their full consistencies. A full-spread
cariola shows a well-shaped horse behind; handsome
formed skulls give some analogy of fleshy resemblance.
A critical view of bones makes a good distinction of
sexes. Even colour is not beyond conjecture, since it
is hard to be deceived in the distinction of the Negroes'
skulls.<5> Dante's* characters are to be found in skulls as
well as faces. Hercules is not only known by his foot.
Other parts make out their comproportions and infer-
ences upon whole or parts. And since the dimensions
of the head measure the whole body, and the figure
thereof gives conjecture of the principal faculties:
physiognomy outlives ourselves, and ends not in our

Severe contemplators, observing these lasting relicks,
may think them good monuments of persons past, little
advantage to future beings; and, considering that power

* Purgat. xxiii. 31.

which subdueth all things unto itself, that can resume
the scattered atoms, or identify out of anything, conceive
it superfluous to expect a resurrection out of relicks:
but the soul subsisting, other matter, clothed with due
accidents, may salve the individuality. Yet the saints,
we observe, arose from graves and monuments about
the holy city. Some think the ancient patriarchs so
earnestly desired to lay their bones in Canaan, as hoping
to make a part of that resurrection; and, though thirty
miles from Mount Calvary, at least to lie in that region
which should produce the first-fruits of the dead. And
if, according to learned conjecture, the bodies of men
shall rise where their greatest relicks remain, many are
not like to err in the topography of their resurrection,
though their bones or bodies be after translated by
angels into the field of Ezekiel's vision, or as some will
order it, into the valley of judgment, or Jehosaphat.


CHRISTIANS have handsomely glossed the deformity
of death by careful consideration of the body, and civil
rites which take off brutal terminations: and though
they conceived all reparable by a resurrection, cast not
off all care of interment. And since the ashes of sacrifices
burnt upon the altar of God were carefully carried out
by the priests, and deposed in a clean field; since they
acknowledged their bodies to be the lodging of Christ,
and temples of the Holy Ghost, they devolved not all
upon the sufficiency of soul-existence; and therefore
with long services and full solemnities, concluded their
last exequies, wherein to all distinctions the Greek
devotion seems most pathetically ceremonious.

Christian invention hath chiefly driven at rites, which
speak hopes of another life, and hints of a resurrection.
And if the ancient Gentiles held not the immortality of
their better part, and some subsistence after death, in
several rites, customs, actions, and expressions, they
contradicted their own opinions: wherein Democritus
went high, even to the thought of a resurrection, as
scoffingly recorded by Pliny.* What can be more
express than the expression of Phocylides?+ Or who
would expect from Lucretius# a sentence of Ecclesiastes?
Before Plato could speak, the soul had wings in Homer,
which fell not, but flew out of the body into the man-
sions of the dead; who also observed that handsome
distinction of Demas and Soma, for the body conjoined
to the soul, and body separated from it. Lucian spoke
much truth in jest, when he said that part of Hercules
which proceeded from Alcmena perished, that from
Jupiter remained immortal. Thus Socrates was con-
tent that his friends should bury his body, so they
would not think they buried Socrates; and, regarding
only his immortal part, was indifferent to be burnt or
buried. From such considerations, Diogenes might
contemn sepulture, and, being satisfied that the soul
could not perish, grow careless of corporal interment.
The Stoicks, who thought the souls of wise men had

* "Similis****reviviscendi promissa Democrito vanitas,
qui non revixit ipse. Quae (malum) ista dementia est iterari
vitam morte?
"--Plin. I. vii. c. 55.
+ [Greek omitted]
# "Cedit item retro de terra quod fuit ante in terras."--
Luc., lib. ii. 998.

their habitation about the moon, might make slight
account of subterraneous deposition; whereas the
Pythagoreans and transcorporating philosophers, who
were to be often buried, held great care of their inter-
ment. And the Platonicks rejected not a due care of
the grave, though they put their ashes to unreasonable
expectations, in their tedious term of return and long
set revolution.

Men have lost their reason in nothing so much as
their religion, wherein stones and clouts make martyrs;
and, since the religion of one seems madness unto
another, to afford an account or rational of old rites
requires no rigid reader. That they kindled the pyre
aversely, or turning their face from it, was an handsome
symbol of unwilling ministration. That they washed
their bones with wine and milk; that the mother
wrapped them in linen, and dried them in her bosom,
the first fostering part and place of their nourishment;
that they opened their eyes toward heaven before they
kindled the fire, as the place of their hopes or original,
were no improper ceremonies. Their last valediction,*
thrice uttered by the attendants, was also very solemn,
and somewhat answered by Christians, who thought it
too little, if they threw not the earth thrice upon the
interred body. That, in strewing their tombs, the
Romans affected the rose; the Greeks amaranthus and
myrtle: that the funeral pyre consisted of sweet fuel,
cypress, fir, larix, yew, and trees perpetually verdant,
lay silent expressions of their surviving hopes. Wherein
Christians, who deck their coffins with bays, have found
a more elegant emblem; for that it, seeming dead, will
restore itself from the root, and its dry and exsuccous

* "Vale, vale, nos to ordine quo natura permittet sequamur."

leaves resume their verdure again; which, if we mis-
take not, we have also observed in furze. Whether the
planting of yew in churchyards hold not its original
from ancient funeral rites, or as an emblem of resur-
rection, from its perpetual verdure, may also admit

They made use of musick to excite or quiet the
affections of their friends, according to different har-
monies. But the secret and symbolical hint was the
harmonical nature of the soul; which, delivered from
the body, went again to enjoy the primitive harmony
of heaven, from whence it first descended; which,
according to its progress traced by antiquity, came
down by Cancer, and ascended by Capricornus.

They burnt not children before their teeth appeared,
as apprehending their bodies too tender a morsel for
fire, and that their gristly bones would scarce leave
separable relicks after the pyral combustion. That they
kindled not fire in their houses for some days after was
a strict memorial of the late afflicting fire. And mourn-
ing without hope, they had an happy fraud against
excessive lamentation, by a common opinion that deep
sorrows disturb their ghosts.*

That they buried their dead on their backs, or in a
supine position, seems agreeable unto profound sleep,
and common posture of dying; contrary to the most
natural way of birth; nor unlike our pendulous
posture, in the doubtful state of the womb. Diogenes
was singular, who preferred a prone situation in
the grave; and some Christians+ like neither, who
decline the figure of rest, and make choice of an
erect posture.

That they carried them out of the world with their

* "Tu manes ne loede meos." + The Russians. &c.

feet forward, not inconsonant unto reason, as contrary
unto the native posture of man, and his production first
into it; and also agreeable unto their opinions, while
they bid adieu unto the world, not to look again upon
it; whereas Mahometans who think to return to a
delightful life again, are carried forth with their heads
forward, and looking toward their houses.

They closed their eyes, as parts which first die, or
first discover the sad effects of death. But their iterated
clamations to excitate their dying or dead friends, or
revoke them unto life again, was a vanity of affection;
as not presumably ignorant of the critical tests of death,
by apposition of feathers, glasses, and reflection of
figures, which dead eyes represent not: which, however
not strictly verifiable in fresh and warm cadavers,
could hardly elude the test, in corpses of four or five

That they sucked in the last breath of their expiring
friends, was surely a practice of no medical institution,
but a loose opinion that the soul passed out that way,
and a fondness of affection, from some Pythagorical
foundation, that the spirit of one body passed into
another, which they wished might be their own.

That they poured oil upon the pyre, was a tolerable
practice, while the intention rested in facilitating the
ascension. But to place good omens in the quick and
speedy burning, to sacrifice unto the winds for a
despatch in this office, was a low form of supersti-

The archimime, or jester, attending the funeral train,
and imitating the speeches, gesture, and manners of the
deceased, was too light for such solemnities, contradict-
ing their funeral orations and doleful rites of the

That they buried a piece of money with them as a fee
of the Elysian ferryman, was a practice full of folly.
But the ancient custom of placing coins in considerable
urns, and the present practice of burying medals in the
noble foundations of Europe, are laudable ways of his-
torical discoveries, in actions, persons, chronologies;
and posterity will applaud them.

We examine not the old laws of sepulture, exempting
certain persons from burial or burning. But hereby we
apprehend that these were not the bones of persons
planet-struck or burnt with fire from heaven; no relicks
of traitors to their country, self-killers, or sacrilegious
malefactors; persons in old apprehension unworthy of the
earth; condemned unto the Tartarus of hell, and bottom-
less pit of Pluto, from whence there was no redemp-

Nor were only many customs questionable in order
to their obsequies, but also sundry practices, fictions,
and conceptions, discordant or obscure, of their state
and future beings. Whether unto eight or ten bodies
of men to add one of a woman, as being more in-
flammable and unctuously constituted for the better
pyral combustion, were any rational practice; or
whether the complaint of Periander's wife be toler-
able, that wanting her funeral burning, she suffered
intolerable cold in hell, according to the constitution
of the infernal house of Pluto, wherein cold makes a
great part of their tortures; it cannot pass without
some question.

Why the female ghosts appear unto Ulysses, before
the heroes and masculine spirits,--why the Psyche or
soul of Tiresias is of the masculine gender, who, being
blind on earth, sees more than all the rest in hell; why
the funeral suppers consisted of eggs, beans, smallage,
and lettuce, since the dead are made to eat asphodels
about the Elysian meadows:--why, since there is no
sacrifice acceptable, nor any propitiation for the cove-
nant of the grave, men set up the deity of Morta, and
fruitlessly adored divinities without ears, it cannot
escape some doubt.

The dead seem all alive in the human Hades of
Homer, yet cannot well speak, prophecy, or know the
living, except they drink blood, wherein is the life of
man. And therefore the souls of Penelope's paramours,
conducted by Mercury, chirped like bats, and those
which followed Hercules, made a noise but like a flock
of birds.

The departed spirits know things past and to come;
yet are ignorant of things present. Agamemnon fore-
tells what should happen unto Ulysses; yet ignorantly
inquires what is become of his own son. The ghosts
are afraid of swords in Homer; yet Sibylla tells AEneas
in Virgil, the thin habit of spirits was beyond the force
of weapons. The spirits put off their malice with their
bodies, and Caesar and Pompey accord in Latin hell; yet
Ajax, in Homer, endures not a conference with Ulysses;
and Deiphobus appears all mangled in Virgil's ghosts,
yet we meet with perfect shadows among the wounded
ghosts of Homer.

Since Charon in Lucian applauds his condition among
the dead, whether it be handsomely said of Achilles,
that living contemner of death, that he had rather be a
ploughman's servant, than emperor of the dead? How
Hercules his soul is in hell, and yet in heaven; and
Julius his soul in a star, yet seen by AEneas in hell?--
except the ghosts were but images and shadows of the
soul, received in higher mansions, according to the
ancient division of body, soul, and image, or simulachrum
of them both. The particulars of future beings must
needs be dark unto ancient theories, which Christian
philosophy yet determines but in a cloud of opinions.
A dialogue between two infants in the womb concerning
the state of this world, might handsomely illustrate
our ignorance of the next, whereof methinks we
yet discourse in Pluto's den, and are but embryo

Pythagoras escapes in the fabulous hell of Dante,*
among that swarm of philosophers, wherein, whilst we
meet with Plato and Socrates, Cato is to be found in no
lower place than purgatory. Among all the set,
Epicurus is most considerable, whom men make honest
without an Elysium, who contemned life without en-
couragement of immortality, and making nothing after
death, yet made nothing of the king of terrors.

Were the happiness of the next world as closely appre-
hended as the felicities of this, it were a martyrdom to
live; and unto such as consider none hereafter, it must be
more than death to die, which makes us amazed at those
audacities that durst be nothing and return into their
chaos again. Certainly such spirits as could contemn
death, when they expected no better being after, would
have scorned to live, had they known any. And there-
fore we applaud not the judgment of Machiavel, that
Christianity makes men cowards, or that with the con-
fidence of but half-dying, the despised virtues of
patience and humility have abased the spirits of men,
which Pagan principles exalted; but rather regulated
the wildness of audacities in the attempts, grounds, and
eternal sequels of death; wherein men of the boldest
spirits are often prodigiously temerarious. Nor can we
extenuate the valour of ancient martyrs, who contemned

* Del Inferno, cant. 4.

death in the uncomfortable scene of their lives, and in
their decrepit martyrdoms did probably lose not many
months of their days, or parted with life when it was
scarce worth the living. For (beside that long time
past holds no consideration unto a slender time to come)
they had no small disadvantage from the constitution
of old age, which naturally makes men fearful, and
complexionally superannuated from the bold and
courageous thoughts of youth and fervent years. But
the contempt of death from corporal animosity, pro-
moteth not our felicity. They may sit in the orchestra,
and noblest seats of heaven, who have held up
shaking hands in the fire, and humanly contended
for glory.

Meanwhile Epicurus lies deep in Dante's hell, where-
in we meet with tombs enclosing souls which denied
their immortalities. But whether the virtuous heathen,
who lived better than he spake, or erring in the prin-
ciples of himself, yet lived above philosophers of more
specious maxims, lie so deep as he is placed, at least so
low as not to rise against Christians, who believing or
knowing that truth, have lastingly denied it in their
practice and conversation--were a query too sad to
insist on.

But all or most apprehensions rested in opinions of
some future being, which, ignorantly or coldly believed,
begat those perverted conceptions, ceremonies, sayings,
which Christians pity or laugh at. Happy are they
which live not in that disadvantage of time, when men
could say little for futurity, but from reason: whereby
the noblest minds fell often upon doubtful deaths, and
melancholy dissolutions. With these hopes, Socrates
warmed his doubtful spirits against that cold potion;
and Cato, before he durst give the fatal stroke, spent part
of the night in reading the Immortality of Plato, thereby
confirming his wavering hand unto the animosity of
that attempt.

It is the heaviest stone that melancholy can throw at
a man, to tell him he is at the end of his nature; or
that there is no further state to come, unto which
this seems progressional, and otherwise made in vain.
Without this accomplishment, the natural expectation
and desire of such a state, were but a fallacy in nature;
unsatisfied considerators would quarrel the justice of
their constitutions, and rest content that Adam had
fallen lower; whereby, by knowing no other original,
and deeper ignorance of themselves, they might have
enjoyed the happiness of inferior creatures, who in
tranquillity possess their constitutions, as having not
the apprehension to deplore their own natures, and,
being framed below the circumference of these hopes,
or cognition of better being, the wisdom of God hath
necessitated their contentment: but the superior in-
gredient and obscured part of ourselves, whereto all
present felicities afford no resting contentment, will be
able at last to tell us, we are more than our present
selves, and evacuate such hopes in the fruition of their
own accomplishments.


Now since these dead bones have already outlasted
the living ones of Methuselah, and in a yard under-
ground, and thin walls of clay, outworn all the strong
and specious buildings above it; and quietly rested
under the drums and tramplings of three conquests:
what prince can promise such diuturnity unto his relicks,
or might not gladly say,

Sic ego componi versus in ossa velim?*

Time, which antiquates antiquities, and hath an art to
make dust of all things, hath yet spared these minor

In vain we hope to be known by open and visible
conservatories, when to be unknown was the means of
their continuation, and obscurity their protection. If
they died by violent hands, and were thrust into their
urns, these bones become considerable, and some old
philosophers would honour them, whose souls they
conceived most pure, which were thus snatched from
their bodies, and to retain a stronger propension unto
them; whereas they weariedly left a languishing corpse
and with faint desires of re-union. If they fell by
long and aged decay, yet wrapt up in the bundle of
time, they fall into indistinction, and make but one
blot with infants. If we begin to die when we live,
and long life be but a prolongation of death, our life is
a sad composition; we live with death, and die not in
a moment. How many pulses made up the life of
Methuselah, were work for Archimedes: common
counters sum up the life of Moses his man. Our days
become considerable, like petty sums, by minute ac-
cumulations: where numerous fractions make up but
small round numbers; and our days of a span long,
make not one little finger.+

If the nearness of our last necessity brought a nearer
conformity into it, there were a happiness in hoary

* Tibullus, lib. iii. el. 2, 26.
+ According to the ancient arithmetick of the hand, wherein
the little finger of the right hand contracted, signified an
hundred.--Pierius in Hieroglyph.

hairs, and no calamity in half-senses. But the long
habit of living indisposeth us for dying; when avarice
makes us the sport of death, when even David grew
politickly cruel, and Solomon could hardly be said to
be the wisest of men. But many are too early old, and
before the date of age. Adversity stretcheth our days,
misery makes Alcmena's nights,* and time hath no
wings unto it. But the most tedious being is that which
can unwish itself, content to be nothing, or never to
have been, which was beyond the malcontent of Job,
who cursed not the day of his life, but his nativity; con-
tent to have so far been, as to have a title to future being,
although he had lived here but in an hidden state of
life, and as it were an abortion.

What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles
assumed when he hid himself among women, though
puzzling questions,+ are not beyond all conjecture. What
time the persons of these ossuaries entered the famous
nations of the dead, and slept with princes and coun-
sellors, might admit a wide solution. But who were
the proprietaries of these bones, or what bodies these
ashes made up, were a question above antiquarism; not
to be resolved by man, nor easily perhaps by spirits,
except we consult the provincial guardians, or tutelary
observators. Had they made as good provision for
their names, as they have done for their relicks, they
had not so grossly erred in the art of perpetuation. But
to subsist in bones, and be but pyramidally extant, is a
fallacy in duration. Vain ashes which in the oblivion
of names, persons, times, and sexes, have found unto
themselves a fruitless continuation, and only arise unto

* One night as long as three.
+ The puzzling questions of Tiberius unto grammarians.--
Marcel. Donatus in Suet.

late posterity, as emblems of mortal vanities, antidotes
against pride, vain-glory, and madding vices. Pagan
vain-glories which thought the world might last for
ever, had encouragement for ambition; and, finding no
atropos unto the immortality of their names, were never
dampt with the necessity of oblivion. Even old ambi-
tions had the advantage of ours, in the attempts of
their vain-glories, who acting early, and before the
probable meridian of time, have by this time found
great accomplishment of their designs, whereby the
ancient heroes have already outlasted their monuments
and mechanical preservations. But in this latter scene
of time, we cannot expect such mummies unto our
memories, when ambition may fear the prophecy of
Elias,* and Charles the Fifth can never hope to live
within two Methuselahs of Hector.+

And therefore, restless inquietude for the diuturnity
of our memories unto the present considerations seems
a vanity almost out of date, and superannuated piece of
folly. We cannot hope to live so long in our names,
as some have done in their persons. One face of Janus
holds no proportion unto the other. 'Tis too late to be
ambitious. The great mutations of the world are acted,
or time may be too short for our designs. To extend
our memories by monuments, whose death we daily
pray for, and whose duration we cannot hope, without
injury to our expectations in the advent of the last day,
were a contradiction to our beliefs. We whose genera-
tions are ordained in this setting part of time, are pro-
videntially taken off from such imaginations; and,
being necessitated to eye the remaining particle of

* That the world may last but six thousand years.
+ Hector's fame outlasting above two lives of Methuselah
before that famous prince was extant.

futurity, are naturally constituted unto thoughts of the
next world, and cannot excusably decline the considera-
tion of that duration, which maketh pyramids pillars
of snow, and all that's past a moment.

Circles and right lines limit and close all bodies, and
the mortal right-lined circle* must conclude and shut
up all. There is no antidote against the opium of time,
which temporally considereth all things: our fathers
find their graves in our short memories, and sadly tell
us how we may be buried in our survivors. Grave-
stones tell truth scarce forty years. Generations pass
while some trees stand, and old families last not three
oaks. To be read by bare inscriptions like many in
Gruter, to hope for eternity by enigmatical epithets or
first letters of our names, to be studied by antiquaries,
who we were, and have new names given us like many
of the mummies, are cold consolations unto the students
of perpetuity, even by everlasting languages.

To be content that times to come should only know
there was such a man, not caring whether they knew
more of him, was a frigid ambition in Cardan;+ dispar-
aging his horoscopal inclination and judgment of himself.
Who cares to subsist like Hippocrates's patients, or
Achilles's horses in Homer, under naked nominations,
without deserts and noble acts, which are the balsam
of our memories, the entelechia and soul of our sub-
sistences? To be nameless in worthy deeds, exceeds
an infamous history. The Canaanitish woman lives
more happily without a name, than Herodias with
one. And who had not rather have been the good
thief, than Pilate?

* The character of death.
+ "Cuperem notum esse quod sim non opto ut sciatur
qualis sim."

But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her
poppy, and deals with the memory of men without
distinction to merit of perpetuity. Who can but
pity the founder of the pyramids? Herostratus lives
that burnt the temple of Diana, he is almost lost that
built it. Time hath spared the epitaph of Adrian's
horse, confounded that of himself. In vain we com-
pute our felicities by the advantage of our good
names, since bad have equal durations, and Thersites
is like to live as long as Agamemnon without the
favour of the everlasting register. Who knows
whether the best of men be known, or whether there
be not more remarkable persons forgot, than any
that stand remembered in the known account of time?
The first man had been as unknown as the last,
and Methuselah's long life had been his only

Oblivion is not to be hired. The greater part must
be content to be as though they had not been, to be
found in the register of God, not in the record of man.
Twenty-seven names make up the first story and the
recorded names ever since contain not one living cen-
tury. The number of the dead long exceedeth all that
shall live. The night of time far surpasseth the day,
and who knows when was the equinox? Every hour
adds unto that current arithmetick, which scarce stands
one moment. And since death must be the Lucina
of life, and even Pagans<6> could doubt, whether
thus to live were to die; since our longest sun sets
at right descensions, and makes but winter arches,
and therefore it cannot be long before we lie down
in darkness, and have our light in ashes; since the
brother of death daily haunts us with dying memen-
toes, and time that grows old in itself, bids us hope
no long duration;--diuturnity is a dream and folly
of expectation.

Darkness and light divide the course of time, and
oblivion shares with memory a great part even of our
living beings; we slightly remember our felicities, and
the smartest strokes of affliction leave but short smart
upon us. Sense endureth no extremities, and sorrows
destroy us or themselves. To weep into stones are
fables. Afflictions induce callosities; miseries are slip-
pery, or fall like snow upon us, which notwithstanding
is no unhappy stupidity. To be ignorant of evils to
come, and forgetful of evils past, is a merciful provision
in nature, whereby we digest the mixture of our few
and evil days, and, our delivered senses not relapsing
into cutting remembrances, our sorrows are not kept
raw by the edge of repetitions. A great part of antiquity
contented their hopes of subsistency with a transmigra-
tion of their souls,--a good way to continue their me-
mories, while having the advantage of plural successions,
they could not but act something remarkable in such
variety of beings, and enjoying the fame of their passed
selves, make accumulation of glory unto their last dura-
tions. Others, rather than be lost in the uncomfortable
night of nothing, were content to recede into the common
being, and make one particle of the public soul of all
things, which was no more than to return into their un-
known and divine original again. Egyptian ingenuity
was more unsatisfied, contriving their bodies in sweet
consistences, to attend the return of their souls. But
all is vanity, feeding the wind, and folly. Egyptian
mummies, which Cambyses or time hath spared,
avarice now consumeth. Mummy is become mer-
chandise, Mizraim, cures wounds, and Pharaoh is sold
for balsams.

In vain do individuals hope for immortality, or any
patent from oblivion, in preservations below the moon;
men have been deceived even in their flatteries, above
the sun, and studied conceits to perpetuate their names
in heaven. The various cosmography of that part hath
already varied the names of contrived constellations;
Nimrod is lost in Orion, and Osyris in the Dog-star.
While we look for incorruption in the heavens, we find
that they are but like 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 immortality.
Whatever hath no beginning, may be confident of no
end;--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 promised no 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.

Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible sun
within us. A small fire sufficeth for life, great flames
seemed too little after death, while men vainly affected
precious pyres, and to burn like Sardanapalus; but
the wisdom of funeral laws found the folly of prodigal
blazes and reduced undoing fires unto the rule of sober
obsequies, wherein few could be so mean as not to pro-
vide wood, pitch, a mourner, and an urn.

Five languages<7> secured not the epitaph of Gordianus.
The man of God lives longer without a tomb than any
by one, invisibly interred by angels, and adjudged to
obscurity, though not without some marks directing
human discovery. Enoch and Elias, without either
tomb or burial, in an anomalous state of being, are
the great examples of perpetuity, in their long and
living memory, in strict account being still on this
side death, and having a late part yet to act upon this
stage of earth. If in the decretory term of the world
we shall not all die but be changed, according to re-
ceived translation, the last day will make but few graves;
at least quick resurrections will anticipate lasting
sepultures. Some graves will be opened before they
be quite closed, and Lazarus be no wonder. When many
that feared to die, shall groan that they can die but once,
the dismal state is the second and living death, when
life puts despair on the damned; when men shall wish
the coverings of mountains, not of monuments, and
annihilations shall be courted.

While some have studied monuments, others have
studiously declined them, and some have been so vainly
boisterous, that they durst not acknowledge their graves;
wherein Alaricus seems most subtle, who had a river
turned to hide his bones at the bottom. Even Sylla,
that thought himself safe in his urn, could not prevent
revenging tongues, and stones thrown at his monument.
Happy are they whom privacy makes innocent, who
deal so with men in this world, that they are not
afraid to meet them in the next; who, when they die,
make no commotion among the dead, and are not
touched with that poetical taunt of Isaiah.*

Pyramids, arches, obelisks, were but the irregularities
of vain-glory, and wild enormities of ancient magna-
nimity. But the most magnanimous resolution rests in
the Christian religion, which trampleth upon pride and
sits on the neck of ambition, humbly pursuing that
infallible perpetuity, unto which all others must
diminish their diameters, and be poorly seen in angles
of contingency.+

Pious spirits who passed their days in raptures of
futurity, made little more of this world, than the world
that was before it, while they lay obscure in the chaos
of pre-ordination, and night of their fore-beings. And
if any have been so happy as truly to understand
Christian annihilation, ecstasies, exolution, liquefaction,
transformation, the kiss of the spouse, gustation of
God, and ingression into the divine shadow, they have
already had an handsome anticipation of heaven; the
glory of the world is surely over, and the earth in ashes
unto them.

To subsist in lasting monuments, to live in their pro-
ductions, to exist in their names and predicament of
chimeras, was large satisfaction unto old expectations,
and made one part of their Elysiums. But all this
is nothing in the metaphysicks of true belief. To live
indeed, is to be again ourselves, which being not only an
hope, but an evidence in noble believers, 'tis all one to
lie in St Innocent's# church-yard as in the sands of

* Isa. xiv. 16. + The least of angles.
# In Paris, where bodies soon consume.
Egypt. Ready to be anything, in the ecstasy of
being ever, and as content with six foot as the moles
of Adrianus.*

--"Tabesne cadavera solvat,
An rogus, haud refert."
--LUCAN. viii. 809.

* A stately mausoleum or sepulchral pile, built by Adrianus
in Rome, where now standeth the castle of St Angelo.



[page intentionally blank]


GIVE me leave to wonder that news of this nature
should have such heavy wings that you should
hear so little concerning your dearest friend,
and that I must make that unwilling repetition to tell
you "ad portam rigidos calces extendit," that he is dead
and buried, and by this time no puny among the mighty
nations of the dead; for though he left this world not
very many days past, yet every hour you know largely
addeth unto that dark society; and considering the
incessant mortality of mankind, you cannot conceive
there dieth in the whole earth so few as a thousand an

Although at this distance you had no early account
or particular of his death, yet your affection may cease
to wonder that you had not some secret sense or intima-
tion thereof by dreams, thoughtful whisperings, mer-
curisms, airy nuncios or sympathetical insinuations,
which many seem to have had at the death of their
dearest friends: for since we find in that famous story,
that spirits themselves were fain to tell their fellows
at a distance that the great Antonio was dead, we have
a sufficient excuse for our ignorance in such particulars,
and must rest content with the common road, and Ap-
pian way of knowledge by information. Though the
uncertainty of the end of this world hath confounded
all human predictions; yet they who shall live to see
the sun and moon darkened, and the stars to fall from
heaven, will hardly be deceived in the advent of the
last day; and therefore strange it is, that the common
fallacy of consumptive persons who feel not themselves
dying, and therefore still hope to live, should also reach
their friends in perfect health and judgment;--that you
should be so little acquainted with Plautus's sick com-
plexion, or that almost an Hippocratical face should
not alarum you to higher fears, or rather despair, of
his continuation in such an emaciated state, wherein
medical predictions fail not, as sometimes in acute dis-
eases, and wherein 'tis as dangerous to be sentenced by
a physician as a judge.

Upon my first visit I was bold to tell them who had
not let fall all hopes of his recovery, that in my sad
opinion he was not like to behold a grasshopper,<1> much
less to pluck another fig; and in no long time after
seemed to discover that odd mortal symptom in him
not mentioned by Hippocrates, that is, to lose his own
face, and look like some of his near relations; for he
maintained not his proper countenance, but looked like
his uncle, the lines of whose face lay deep and invisible
in his healthful visage before: for as from our begin-
ning we run through variety of looks, before we come
to consistent and settled faces; so before our end, by
sick and languishing alterations, we put on new visages:
and in our retreat to earth, may fall upon such looks
which from community of seminal originals were before
latent in us.

He was fruitlessly put in hope of advantage by change
of air, and imbibing the pure aerial nitre of these parts;
and therefore, being so far spent, he quickly found Sar-
dinia in Tivoli,* and the most healthful air of little
effect, where death had set her broad arrow;+ for he
lived not unto the middle of May, and confirmed the
observation of Hippocrates of that mortal time of the
year when the leaves of the fig-tree resemble a daw's
claw. He is happily seated who lives in places whose
air, earth, and water, promote not the infirmities of his
weaker parts, or is early removed into regions that
correct them. He that is tabidly<2> inclined, were unwise
to pass his days in Portugal: cholical persons will find
little comfort in Austria or Vienna: he that is weak-
legged must not be in love with Rome, nor an infirm
head with Venice or Paris. Death hath not only par-
ticular stars in heaven, but malevolent places on earth,
which single out our infirmities, and strike at our
weaker parts; in which concern, passager and migrant
birds have the great advantages, who are naturally
constituted for distant habitations, whom no seas nor
places limit, but in their appointed seasons will visit
us from Greenland and Mount Atlas, and, as some think,
even from the Antipodes.#

Though we could not have his life, yet we missed not
our desires in his soft departure, which was scarce an

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