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“ But to come back to our Physician; truly, my lord, I must needs pay him, as a due, the acknowledging his pious discourses to be excellent and pathetical ones, containing worthy motives to incite one to virtue, and to deter one from vice; thereby to gain heaven, and to avoid hell. Assuredly he is owner of a solid head, and of a strong, generous heart.”
SIR KENELM Digby.
In preparing this volume of the Miscellaneous Works of Sir Thomas Browne, the Editor has endeavoured to include in it what are generally esteemed the best productions of that extraordinary writer. At the head of these stand unquestionably the “Religio Medici," and the “Hydriotaphia"; which pieces, as well as the "Letter to a Friend on the Death of his Intimate Friend,” are published without omission or variation.
The Notes appended to the “Religio Medici,” are, for the most part, selected from the Annotations, first published in 1654, the author of which is unknown. With much that is valuable in these Annotations is blended not a little that is irrelevant and superfluous. For the anonymous Annotator has the fault, common to all his tribe, of gliding over the dark and difficult places with a most provoking blindness or indifference, whilst he encumbers with erudite explanation those passages that are as clear as the noon-day. In the “Observations”
upo on the same work, by Sir Kenelm Digby, the Editor could find nothing worth transferring to these pages.
A few pages at the close of the volume have been filled up with miscellaneous selections from various parts of the “Enquiries into Vulgar and Common Errors," which may serve to give the reader some idea of that singular work. It is to be wished that there was sufficient taste in the community for such writings to authorize the reprinting of the whole of this book, with such supplemental and emendatory notes as the progress of physical science since the time of Browne, has made necessary.
Boston, NOVEMBER 25, 1831.
PSEUDODOXIA EPIDEMICA ; - or Enquiries into
very many Received Tenets and commonly Pre-