Anthony Wood (1691-1692) Athenae Oxonienses, vol. 2, pp. 535-537

Anthony Wood: Life of Sir Thomas Browne

454. Thomas Browne eldest son of Th. Br. Gent. was born in S. Michaels Cheap, or in the parish of S. Michael in Cheapside in London, on the 19 of Nov. an 1605,1 educated in Grammar learning in Wykehams School near Winchester, entred a Commoner of Broadgates Hall (soon after known by the name of Pembroke Coll.) in the beginning of the year 1623, took the degrees in Arts, as a Member of the said Coll, entred on the physick line, and practised that faculty for some time in these parts. Afterward he travelled beyond the seas, was made Doctor of Physick at Leyden, and after his return he was incorporated in this University, an. 1637. About which time, he, by the perswasions of Tho. Lushington his somtimes Tutor,2 retired to the city of Norwych, where being setled he was much resorted to by Patients for his admirable skill in Physick, which he practiced there with good success for many years, was made Socius honorarius of the Coll. of Physitians at London, and at length, in the latter end of Sept. 1671. had the honour of Knighthood confer'd upon him by his Maj. Ch. 2, then at, and near, the City of Norwych. He hath written,

Religio Medici. Lond. 1642. &c. oct. in English. Answerd in a book intit. Medicus Medicatus, written by Alex. Ross a Scot, and had English Observations put on it about the same time by Sir Ken. Digby, and Annotations by another. Afterwards the book it self was translated into Latine by Joh. Merryweather M.A. of Cambridge, and had latine annotations put to it by a certain German, who subscribes himself L.N.M.E.M. Printed at Strasburgh 1652. in oct: whose preface to it tells us that the book it self, which is translated into French, Italian, Dutch, German, &c. hath been much taken into the hands of curious and learned men, who have read it with great delight. See more there of the author Browne and of his Relig. Med. in the said translat.

Pseud. Epidem. Enquiries into very many received Tenents, and commonly presumed truths, or enquiries into common and vulgar errours. Lond. 1646 in a little fol. There again 1650. and 57 &c. The sixth edit. in 16733 was enlarged by the author with many explanations, additions, alterations, &c. Twas answer'd by the said Alex. Ross in his —— Arcana Microcosmi: Or the hid secrets of mans body discovered, &c. Lond. 1652 oct. &c. And in a book written by Job. Robinson M.D. entit. Eudoxa, seu questionum quarundam Miscellenarium examen probabile, &c. Lond. 1656. oct.4 The Reader may be pleased now to know that there hath been published under Dr. Tho. Brownes name, a book bearing this title.

Natures Cabinet unlocked, wherein is discovered the natural causes of Metalls, Stones, Pretious Earths, &c. — Printed 1657 in tw. A dull worthless thing, stole for the most part out of the Physicks of Magirus by a very ignorant person, a Plagiary so ignorant and unskilful in his rider, that not distinguishing between Laevis and Levis in the said Magirus, hath told us of the Liver, that one part of it is gibbous and the other light:5 And yet he had the confidence to call this scribble Natures Cabinet &c., an arrogant and fanciful title, of which our authors (Browne) true humilitie, would have no more have suffer'd him to have been the father, than his great learning could have permitted him to have been the author of the said book. For it is (*) certain that as he was a Philosopher very inward with nature, so was he one that never boasted his acquaintance with her. Sir Tho. Browne hath written also,

Urn-burial: or, a discourse of Sepulchral Urns, lately found out in Norfolke, &c. Lond. 1658. oct. &c.

The Garden of Cyrus: or, the Quincuncial, Lozenge or Net-work plantations of the antients, artificially, naturally, mystically considered, with sundry observations, &c. —— Printed with Urn-burial.

Certaine Miscellany Tracts: (1) Observations upon several plants mention'd in Scripture (2) Of Garlands, and coronary or garden-plants7 (3) Of the Fishes eaten by our Saviour with his Disciples, after his resurrection from the dead. (4) Answer to certain e[n]queries relating to Fishes, Birds, Insects. (5) Of Hawkes and falconry, antient and moderne. (6) Of Cymbals, &c. (7) Of ropalic or gradual verses, &c. (8) Of Languages and particularly of the Saxon tongue. (9) Of artificial Hills, mounts or burrowes in many parts of England. (10) What place is meant by that name.8 (11) Of the answers of the Oracle of Apollo at Delphos to Croesus King of Lydia. (12) A prophecie concerning the future state of several nations. (13) Musæum Clausum, or Bibliotheca abscondita, &c. —— All these were printed at Lond. 1686 in oct. with the authors picture before them (shewing him to have been an handsome man) and an Epistle written by Dr. Tho. Tenison the publisher of them, who saith that there is on foot a design of writing the authors life, and that there are already some memorialls collected for that purpose by one of his antient friends, and puts the reader in expectation of receiving hereafter some other remaining brief Discourses; among which is his Repertorium: or, some account of the Tombes, Monuments, &c. in the Cath.Ch. of Norwish. This learned and worthy Physitian (whose works were published in fol. 1686, with his picture also before them) died in his house in Norwych, on the 19 day of Octob. in sixteen hundred and eighty and two, and was buyried within the Railes at the East end of the Chancell, in the Church of S. Peter in Mancroft within the said City. Over his grave was a Monument soon after erected by his Relict Dame Dorothy, who had been his affectionate wife 41. years, with this inscription thereon. M.S. Hic situs est Thomas Browne M.D. & Miles, An. 1605 Londini natus, generosâ famliâ apud Upton in agro Cestrensi oriundus, Scholâ primum Wintoniensi, postea in Coll. Pembr. apud Oxonienses, bonis literis haud levitur imbutus; in urbe hâc Nordovicensi Medicinam, arte egregiâ & fælici successu professus. Scriptis, quibus tituli, Religio Medici & Pseudodoxia Epidemica, aliisque per orbem notissimus. Vir prudentissimus, integerrimus, doctissimus. Obiit Octob. 19, an. 1682. Pie posuit mæstissima conjux Da Dor. Br. There is also an English Epitaph, which, for brevity sake, I shall now pass by.


1. 19 November 1605: old style. Most biographers say October.

2. Thomas Lushington: According to Wood, 171-172: "Thomas Lushington a famous Scholar of his time, was born at Sandwych in Kent, matriculated in the University, as a member of Broadgates Hall, in Lent term, 1606/7 aged 17 years, but how long he stayed there, it appears not. Sure it is, that he having had some publick employment in the Country or elsewhere, did not take the degree of Bachelaur, nor that of Master of Arts till 1618, in which year he was a Communer of Linc. Coll. Not long after he returned to Broadgates again, and was there at the time when it was converted into the College of Pembroke, where he spent some years in Theological studies, took the degree of Bach. of Div. and soon after, for the great respect that Corbet B. of Oxon had for, made, him one of this Chaplains. In June 1631, he became Prebendary of Bemister Secunda in the Church of Salisbury, on the promotion of the said Corbet to the See of Oxon, and in the year following proceeding in his faculty, the said Bishop took him with him when he was translatd to Norwych, bestowed on him the rectory of Burnham-Westgate in Norfolk, and got him to be chaplain to K. Ch. 1. When the grand rebellion broke out, he lost his spiritualities, and lived obscurely in several places, publishing then divers books to gain money for his maintenance. At length upon the return of K. Ch. 2, in 1660, he was restored to his spiritualities, and had offers mad eto him of great dignities int he Church ,but being then aged and infirm, he chose rather to keep what he had with quietness, then be a Dean with riches. He was esteemed a right reverend and learned Theologist, yet in many matters imprudent, and too much inclined to the opinions of Socinus. ... At length our Author retiring in his last days to some of his relations living at Sittingbourne near Milton in Kent, where he lived for some time in great retiredness, surrendred up his soul to God on 22 of Decemb. in sixteen hundred sixty and one, aged 72 years, and was buried in the fourth Chancel of the Church there. Over his grave was soon after set up against the fourth wall of the said Chancel a comely monument, containing an arch of Alabaster supported by two pillars of black marble; between which is the statue or bust to the middle of our Author Lushington in his Doctor's gown, holding his right hand on his breast, and having in his left a book, leaning on a cusheon. Over his head is an Urne, and under him a square table of black marble, with a large Inscription thereon, beginnig thus, Siste viator, raro calcabis doctos simul & mansuetos cineres, &c. Under all are piles of books. On the stone that covers his grave is another Inscription, beginning thus, Hic jacet Thomas Lushingtonus olim Collegii Lincolniensis & Pembr. &c. The copies of both which you may see in Hist. & Antiq. Univ. Oxon. lib. 2. p. 335.b. in the first of which is an high character given of him."

3. 1673 Really 1672. The date derives presumably from the 1673 of the first title page of the 1672 edition. (This we would call the half title page, but, the 17th century being the 17th century, you can imagine how much "half-ing" of title (author, or any other information) goes on.)

4. Eudoxa: properly Endoxa; an English translation by the author Robinson was published in 1658. The part dealing with Pseudodoxia Epidemica is entitled A Calm Ventilation of Pseudodoxia Epidemica; or Doctrine of Vulgar Errours, Set forth by the hand of the most sedulous Thomas Brown, Dr. in Physick, by the still Gale of John Robsinon, His Fellow-Citizen and Collegian (in the 17th century one could judge a book by its cover — or at least by its full title page).

5. Two parts: On page 211, but Wood (or whoever wrote this) isn't accurate; dull as the work is, what the author writes is "[The liver] hath two parts or superficies, the exterior and interior: the exterior is called Gibba; and it is light; the interior is named Cava, and it is rough." There is a long explanatory note on the anatomy of the liver.

(*) See a Discourse by way of Introduction to Baconiana; or certaine genuine Remaines of Franc. Visc. S. Alban. [The author's note. The passage beginning "A dull worthless thing" to the end of the paragraph is from Tenison's Discourse introducing the Baconiana.]

7. Garden-plants: thus the author for "garland-plants".

8. That name: Troas. Also of Sodom, etc.

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