Robert Burton (1577-1640)

The author of The Anatomy of Melancholy is said to have laboured long in the writing of this book to suppress his own melancholy, and yet did but improve it; and that some readers have found the same effect. In an interval of vapours he would be extremely pleasant, and raise laughter in any company. Yet I have heard that nothing at last could make him laugh but going down to the Bridge-foot in Oxford, and hearing the barge-men scold and storm and swear at one another, at which he would set his hands to his sides, and laugh most profusely. Yet in his college and chamber so mute and mopish that he was suspected to be felo de se.

From White Kennet, A Register and Chronicle Ecclesiastical and Civil (1728), pp. 320-1.

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