1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Robert Burton

James Granger, in Biographical History of England (1769; 1824) 2:70-71.



Robert Burton, better known by the name of Democritus Junior, was younger brother to William Burton, author of the Description of Leicestershrie. He compiled The Anatomy of Melancholy, a book which has been universally read and admired. This work is, for the most part, what the author himself styles it, "a Cento;" but it is a very ingenious one. His quotations, which abound in every page, are pertinent; but if he had made more use of his invention, and less of his common-place book, his work would perhaps have been more valuable than it is. He is generally free from the affected language, and ridiculous metaphors, which disgrace most of the books of his time. He was famous for his skill in astrology; and is said to have foretold the precise time of his own death. It is certain, that the same thing was reported of him that was before said of Cardan, that he died a voluntary death, that his prediction might prove true: but this is very improbable. Ob. Jan. 1639. See Athen. Oxon.