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Now to dissuade inquisitive persons (as much as possible) from this sneaking and most despicable humor, it would contribute much, if they would but recollect and review all their past observations. For as Simonides, using at certain times to open two chests he kept by him, found that wherein he put rewards ever full, and the other appointed for thanks always empty; so, if inquisitive people did but now and then look into their bag of news, they would certainly be ashamed of that vain and foolish [p. 437] curiosity which, with so much hazard and trouble to themselves, had been gathering together such a confused heap of worthless and loathsome trash. If a man, in reading over the writings of the ancients, should rake together all the dross he could meet with, and collect into one volume all the unfinished scraps of verse in Homer, the incongruous expressions in the tragedians, or those obscenities of smutty Archilochus for which he was scorned and pointed at, would not such a filthy scavenger of books well deserve that curse of the tragedian,
Pox on your taste ! Must you, like lice and fleas,
Be always fed with scabs and nastiness?

But without this imprecation, the practice itself becomes its own punishment, in the dishonest and unprofitable drudgery of amassing together such a noisome heap of other men's vices and follies; a treasure much resembling the city Poneropolis (or Rogue-town), so called by King Philip after he had peopled it with a crew of rogues and vagabonds. For curious people do so load their dirty brains with the ribaldry and solecisms of other men's writings, as well as the defects and blemishes of their lives, that there is not the least room left in their heads for one witty, graceful, or ingenious thought.

There is a sort of people at Rome who, being unaffected with any thing that is beautiful and pretty, either in the works of art or nature, despise the most curious pieces in painting or sculpture, and the fairest boys and girls that are there exposed to sale, as not worth their money; therefore they much frequent the monster-market, looking after people of distorted limbs and preternatural shapes, of three eyes and pointed heads, and mongrels

Where kinds of unlike form oft blended be
Into one hideous deformity.

All which are sights so loathsome, that they themselves [p. 438] would abhor them were they compelled often to behold them. And if they who curiously enquire into those vicious deformities and unlucky accidents that may be observed in the lives of other men would only bind themselves to a frequent recollection of what they had seen and heard, there would be found very little delight or advantage in such ungrateful and melancholy reflections.

1 From the Theseus of Euripides, Frag. 383.

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