Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Essay: "Hydriotaphia: Urne Burial." Sir Thomas Browne.

One-minute review: Monuments do not lead to immortality. We are all forgotten. The only immortality is in God, not among men.


“Time…hath an art to make dust of all things….”

“…we begin to die when we live….”

“We live with death and die not in a moment.”

“But the long habit of living indisposeth us for dying….”

“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 into late posterity as emblems of moral vanities.”

“There is no antidote against the opium of time….”

“…buried in our survivors.”

“Who can but pity the founder of the pyramids? Herostratus lives that burnt the Temple of Diana, he is almost lost that built it….”

“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 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.”

“In vain do individuals hope for immortality or any patent from oblivion, in preservations below the moon.”

“There is nothing strictly immortal, but immortality….”

“ ‘Tis all one to lie in St. Innocents Church yard, as in the sands of Egypt…and as content with six foot as the moles of Adrianus.”

Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc. 1960.

What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.

No comments:

Post a Comment