« PredošláPokračovať »
in it: I only say for myself what my annotations bear in the frontispiece.
Nec satis est vulgasse fidem that is, that it was not enough to all persons (though pretenders to learning) that our physician had published his creed, because he wanted an exposition. I say further, that the German's is not full; and that (quicquid sum ego quamvis infra Lucilli censum ingeniumq;-) my explications do in many things illustrate the text of my author.
24 Martii, 1654.
BETWEEN DR. BROWNE AND SIR KENELM DIGBY.
A Letter sent upon the information of animadversions to come forth, upon the imperfect and surreptitious copy of Religio Medici, whilst this true one was going to press.
Give your servant, who hath ever honoured you, leave to take notice of a book at present in the press, intituled (as I am informed,) animadversions upon a treatise lately printed under the name of Religio Medici; hereof, I am advertized, you have descended to be the author. Worthy Sir, permit your servant to affirm there is contained therein nothing that can deserve the reason of your contradictions, much less the candour of your animadversions ; and to certify the truth thereof, that book (whereof I do acknowledge myself the author) was penned many years past, and (what cannot escape your apprehension) with no intention for the press, or the least desire to oblige the faith of any man to its assertions. But what hath more especially emboldened my pen unto you at present, is, that the same piece, contrived in my private study, and as an exercise unto my self, rather than exercitation for any other, having past from my hand under a broken and imperfect copy, by frequent transcription it still run forward into corruption, and after the addition of some things,
omission of others, and transposition of many, without my assent or privacy, the liberty of these times committed it unto the press; whence it issued so disguised, the author without distinction could not acknowledge it. Having thus miscarried, within a few weeks I shall, God willing, deliver unto the press the true and intended original (whereof in the mean time your worthy self may command a view) otherwise when ever that copy shall be extant, it will most clearly appear, how far the text hath been mistaken, and all observations, glosses, or exercitations thereon, will in a great part impugn the printer or transcriber, rather than the author. If, after that, you shall esteem it worth your vacant hours to discourse thereon, you shall but take that liberty which I assume myself, that is, freely to abound in your sense, as I have done in my own. However ye shall determine, you shall sufficiently honour me in the vouchsafe of your refute, and I oblige the whole world in the occasion of your pen.
T.B. March 3, 1642.
Worthy Sir, Speedily upon the receipt of your letter of the third current, I sent to find out the printer that Mr. Crook (who delivered me yours) told me was printing something under my name, concerning your Treatise of Religio Medici, and to forbid him any further proceeding therein; but my servant could not meet with him; whereupon I have left with Mr. Crook a note to that purpose, entreating him to deliver it to the printer. I verily believe there is some mistake in the information given you, and that what is printing must be from some other pen than mine; for such reflexions as I made upon your learned and ingenious discourse, are so far from meriting the press, as they can tempt no body to a serious reading of them; they were notes hastily set down, as I suddenly ran over your excellent piece, which is of so weighty subjects, and so strongly penned, as requireth much time, and sharp attention, but to comprehend it; whereas what I writ
was the employment but of one sitting; and there was not twenty-four hours between my receiving my Lord of Dorset's Letter that occasioned what I said, and the finishing my answer to him; and yet part of that time was taken up in procuring your book, which he desired me to read, and give him an account of; for till then I was so unhappy as never to have heard of that worthy Discourse. If that letter ever come to your view, you will see the high value I set upon your great parts: and if it should be thought I have been something too bold in differing from your sense, I hope I shall easily obtain pardon, when it shall be considered, that his Lordship assigned it me as an exercitation to oppose in it, for entertainment, such passages as I might judge capable thereof; wherein what liberty I took is to be attributed to the security of a private letter, and to my not knowing (nor my Lord's) the person whom it concerned.
But Sir, now that I am so happy as to have that knowledge, I dare assure you, that nothing shall ever issue from me, but savouring of all honour, esteem, and reverence, both to yourself, and that worthy production of yours. If I had the vanity to give myself reputation by entering the lists, in publick, with so eminent and learned a man as you are, yet I know right well, I am no ways able to do it; it would be a very unequal congress: I pretend not to learning: those slender notions I have are but disjointed pieces I have by chance gleaned up here and there : to encounter such a sinewy opposite, or make animadversions upon so smart a piece as yours is, requireth a sulid stock and exercise in school-learning. My superficial besprinkling will serve only for a private letter, or a familiar discourse with lady-auditors. With longing I expect the coming abroad of the true copy of that book, whose false and stolen one hath already given me so much delight. And so, assuring you I shall deem it a great good fortune to deserve your favour and friendship, I kiss your hand, and rest,
Your most humble servant,
"-Religio Medici was more accurately published, with an admonition prefixed • to those who have or shall peruse the observations upon a former corrupt copy;' in which there is a severe censure, not upon Digby, who was to be used with ceremony, but upon the Observator who had usurped his name: nor was this invective written by Dr. BROWNE, who was supposed to be satisfied with his opponent's apology ; but by some officious friend zealous for his honour, without his consent.” Dr. Johnson's life of Sir T. Browne.
To such as have, or shall peruse
upon former corrupt copy of this book.
There are some men that Politian speaks of, Cui quam recta manus, tam fuit et facilis : and it seems the author to the Observations upon this book would arrogate as much to himself, for they were, by his own confession, but the conceptions of one night; a hasty birth; and so it proves: for what is really controllable he generally omitteth, and what is false upon the errour of the copy, he doth not always take notice of; and wherein he would contradict, he mistaketh, or traduceth the intention, and (besides a parenthesis sometimes upon the author) only meddleth with those points from whence he takes an hint to deliver his prepared conceptions. But the gross of his book is made out by discourses collateral, and digressions of his own, not at all emergent from this discourse; which is easily perceptible unto the intelligent reader. Thus much I thought good to let thee understand without the author's knowledge, who, slighting the refute, hath inforcedly published (as a sufficient confutation) his own book: and in this I shall not make so bold with him, as the observator hath done with that noble knight, whose name he hath wrongfully prefixed, as I am informed, to slight animadversions : but I leave him to repentance, and thee to thy satisfaction.
Yours, A. B.