Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"We have also rare compositions of minds amongst us which look so many fair ways at once that I doubt it will go near to pose any other nation of Europe to muster out in any age four men who, in so many respects, should excel four such as we are able to show - Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Thomas More, Sir Philip Sidney and Sir Francis Bacon; for they were all a kind of monsters in their several ways.

The fourth was a creature of incomparable abilities of mind, of a sharp and catching apprehension, large and faithful memory, plentiful and sprouting invention, deep and solid judgement for as much as might concern the understanding part: - a man so rare in knowledge and of so many several kinds, indued with the faculty and felicity of expressing it all, in so elegant, significant so abundant and yet so choice and ravishing a way of words, of metaphors and allusions, as perhaps the world has not seen since it was a world.

I know this may seem a great hyperbole and strange kind of riotous excess of speech, but the best means of putting me to shame will be for you to place any man of yours by this man of mine. And in the meantime, even this little makes a shift to show that the Genius of England is still not only eminent, but predominant, for the assembling great variety of those rare parts in some single man, which used to be incompatible anywhere else."

- Sir Tobie Matthew