Serviceable sentences, 25/10,000

To insist in all particulars were an Herculean task, to reckon up insanas substructiones, insanos labores, insanum luxum, mad labours, mad books, endeavours, carriages, gross ignorance, ridiculous actions, absurd gestures; insanam gulam, insana jurgia [mad gluttony, mad disputes], insaniam villarum, as Tully terms them, madness of villages, stupend structures; as those Egyptian pyramids, labyrinths, and sphinxes, which a company of crowned asses, ad ostentationem opum [to show off their wealth], vainly built, when neither the architect nor king that made them, or to what use and purpose, are yet known: in insist in their hypocrisy, in constancy, blindness, rashness, dementem temeritatem, fraud, cozenage, malice, anger, impudence, ingratitude, ambition, gross superstition, tempora infecta et adulatione sordida, as in Tiberius’ times, such base flattery, stupend, parasitical fawning and colloguing, etc., brawls, conflicts, desires, contentions, it would ask an expert Vesalius to anatomize every member.
—Robert Burton, “Democritus Junior to the Reader,” The Anatomy of Melancholy (1638/1651)

(Cf. Beckett, three hundred years later: “For if you set out to mention everything you would never be done, and that’s what counts, to be done, to have done.”)

[16,318]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s