It is an old saying, "A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword"; and many men are as much galled with a calumny, a scurrile and bitter jest, a libel, a pasquil, satire, apologue, epigram, stage-plays, or the like, as with any misfortune whatsoever.
Plato in his Protagoras well saith, a good philosopher as much excels other men, as a great king doth the commons of his country; and again,  quoniam illis nihil deest, et minimè egere solent, et disciplinas quas profitentur, soli à contemptu vindicare possunt, they needed not to beg so basely, as they compel  scholars in our times to complain of poverty, or crouch to a rich chuff for a meal's meat, but could vindicate themselves, and those arts which they professed. Now they would and cannot: for it is held by some of them, as an axiom, that to keep them poor, will make them study; they must be dieted, as horses to a race, not pampered,  Alendos volunt, non saginandos, ne melioris mentis flammula extinguatur; a fat bird will not sing, a fat dog cannot hunt, and so by this depression of theirs  some want means, others will, all want  encouragement, as being forsaken almost; and generally contemned.
We that are bred up in learning, and destinated by our parents to this end, we suffer our childhood in the grammar-school, which Austin calls magnam tyrannidem, et grave malum, and compares it to the torments of martyrdom; when we come to the university, if we live of the college allowance, as Phalaris objected to the Leontines, [Greek: pan ton endeis plaen limou kai phobou] , needy of all things but hunger and fear, or if we be maintained but partly by our parents' cost, do expend in unnecessary maintenance, books and degrees, before we come to any perfection, five hundred pounds, or a thousand marks. If by this price of the expense of time, our bodies and spirits, our substance and patrimonies, we cannot purchase those small rewards, which are ours by law, and the right of inheritance, a poor parsonage, or a vicarage of 50 l. per annum, but we must pay to the patron for the lease of a life (a spent and out-worn life) either in annual pension, or above the rate of a copyhold, and that with the hazard and loss of our souls, by simony and perjury, and the forfeiture of all our spiritual preferments, in esse and posse, both present and to come. What father after a while will be so improvident to bring up his son to his great charge, to this necessary beggary? What Christian will be so irreligious, to bring up his son in that course of life, which by all probability and necessity, coget ad turpia, enforcing to sin, will entangle him in simony and perjury, when as the poet said, Invitatus ad hæc aliquis de ponte negabit: a beggar's brat taken from the bridge where he sits a begging, if he knew the inconvenience, had cause to refuse it." This being thus, have not we fished fair all this while, that are initiate divines, to find no better fruits of our labours,  hoc est cur palles, cur quis non prandeat hoc est? do we macerate ourselves for this? Is it for this we rise so early all the year long?  "Leaping" (as he saith) "out of our beds, when we hear the bell ring, as if we had heard a thunderclap." If this be all the respect, reward and honour we shall have,  frange leves calamos, et scinde Thalia libellos: let us give over our books, and betake ourselves to some other course of life; to what end should we study?
Generally thus much we may conclude of melancholy; that it is  most pleasant at first, I say, mentis gratissimus error,  a most delightsome humour, to be alone, dwell alone, walk alone, meditate, lie in bed whole days, dreaming awake as it were, and frame a thousand fantastical imaginations unto themselves.
Now go and brag of thy present happiness, whosoever thou art, brag of thy temperature, of thy good parts, insult, triumph, and boast; thou seest in what a brittle state thou art, how soon thou mayst be dejected, how many several ways, by bad diet, bad air, a small loss, a little sorrow or discontent, an ague, &c.; how many sudden accidents may procure thy ruin, what a small tenure of happiness thou hast in this life, how weak and silly a creature thou art.
To The Reader Who Employs His Leisure IllWhoever you may be, I caution you against rashly defaming the author of this work, or cavilling in jest against him. Nay, do not silently reproach him in consequence of others' censure, nor employ your wit in foolish disapproval or false accusation. For, should Democritus Junior prove to be what he professes, even a kinsman of his elder namesake, or be ever so little of the same kidney, it is all up with you: he will become both accuser and judge of you in his petulant spleen, will dissipate you in jest, pulverize you with witticisms, and sacrifice you, I can promise you, to the God of Mirth.Again I warn you against cavilling, lest, while you culumniate or disgracefully disparage Decmocritus Junior, who has no animosity against you, you should hear from some judicious friend the very words the people of Abdera heard of old from Hippocrates, when they held their well-deserving and popular fellow-citizen to be a madman: "Truly, it is you, Democritus, that are wise, while the people of Abdera are fools and madmen." You have no more sense than the people of Abdera. Having given you this warning in a few words, O reader who employ your liesure ill, farewell.
...those impious epicures, libertines, atheists, hypocrites, infidels, worldly, secure, impenitent, unthankful, and carnal-minded men, that attribute all to natural causes, that will acknowledge no supreme power; that have cauterized consciences, or live in a reprobate sense; or such desperate persons as are too distrustful of his mercies.
When I lie waking all alone,Recounting what I have ill done,My thoughts on me then tyrannize,Fear and sorrow me surprise,Whether I tarry still or go,Methinks the time moves very slow,All my griefs to this are jolly,Naught so sad as melancholy.'Tis my sole plague to be alone,I am a beast, a monster grown,I will no light nor company,I find it now my misery.The scene is turn'd, my joys are gone,Fear, discontent, and sorrows come.All my griefs to this are folly,Naught so fierce as melancholy.
[E]very man hath liberty to write, but few ability. Heretofore learning was graced by judicious scholars, but now noble sciences are vilified by base and illiterate scribblers, that either write for vain-glory, need, to get money, or as Parasites to flatter and collogue with some great men, they put out trifles, rubbish and trash. Among so many thousand Authors you shall scarce find one by reading of whom you shall be any whit better, but rather much worse; by which he is rather infected than any way perfected…What a catalogue of new books this year, all his age (I say) have our Frankfurt Marts, our domestic Marts, brought out. Twice a year we stretch out wits out and set them to sale; after great toil we attain nothing…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. For my part I am one of the number—one of the many—I do not deny it...
I am not poor, I am not rich; nihil est, nihil deest, I have little, I want nothing: all my treasure is in Minerva’s tower...I live still a collegiate student...and lead a monastic life, ipse mihi theatrum [sufficient entertainment to myself], sequestered from those tumults and troubles of the world...aulae vanitatem, fori ambitionem, ridere mecum soleo [I laugh to myself at the vanities of the court, the intrigues of public life], I laugh at all.