Reference > Cambridge History > Cavalier and Puritan > Antiquaries > A Letter to a Friend
  Hydriotaphia; The Garden of Cyrus Christian Morals  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

X. Antiquaries.

§ 7. A Letter to a Friend.


There are few provocatives to a similar enthusiasm in the posthumous miscellanies, with the exception above noted; and it would be unreasonable to complain of their absence, seeing that these miscellanies are somewhat unceremoniously “gnawed,” if not “knaved,” out of the author’s unguarded “remains” in commonplace-books, scientific memoranda and the like. But the two major posthuma are in a different position. They have a curious interconnection—for certain passages occur in both, and it is impossible to say whether, if Browne had ever finally decided on publishing either, he might not have issued the two as one. Actually, A Letter to a Friend begins by a description—curiously blended between medical sangfroid and human sympathy—of (apparently) a case of rapid consumption; which description passes into remarks on the dying man’s thoughts and so forth, while these, in their turn, fray out into general moral reflections and precepts; the whole being almost more deeply suffused than any other piece with Browne’s intense, though quiet, melancholy.   20

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Hydriotaphia; The Garden of Cyrus Christian Morals  
 
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