Black and white image of English scholar, writer, and clergyman Robert Burton.

Robert Burton

(1577 - 1640)

In 1599 Robert Burton was made a fellow at Oxford University, where he spent the majority of his “silent, sedentary, solitary” life. Apparently having failed to obtain a patron, Burton complained of being “left behind, as a dolphin on shore, confined to my College, as Diogenes to his tub.” He became a vicar of St. Thomas’ Church in 1616, writing his Anatomy because he felt obligated to “prescribe means how to prevent and cure so universal a malady” as melancholy. 

All Writing

Voices In Time

1621 | Oxford

Harm Done

Many are called, few are chosen. More

See one promontory (said Socrates of old), one mountain, one sea, one river, and see all.

—Robert Burton, c. 1620

Health indeed is a precious thing, to recover and preserve which we undergo any misery, drink bitter potions, freely give our goods—restore a man to his health, his purse lies open to thee.

—Robert Burton, 1621

One religion is as true as another.

—Robert Burton, 1621

Voices In Time

1621 | Oxford

Endgames

Robert Burton on the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.More

Voices In Time

1621 | Oxford

The Devil’s Tools

“As fern grows in untilled grounds...so do gross humors in an idle body.”More

What a glut of books! Who can read them? As already, we shall have a vast chaos and confusion of books; we are oppressed with them, our eyes ache with reading, our fingers with turning.

—Robert Burton, 1621

Issues Contributed