The Complete Gentleman: The Truth of Our Times, and the Art of Living in London

By Henry Peacham; Virgil B. Heltzel | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XII
Of Antiquities1

OUT of the treasury and storehouse of venerable antiquities I have selected these three sorts: statues, inscriptions, and coins, desiring you to take a short view of them ere you proceed any further.

The pleasure of them is best known to such as have seen them abroad in France, Spain, and Italy, where the gardens and galleries of great men are beautified and set forth to admiration with these kinds of ornaments. And indeed the possession of such rarities, by reason of their dead costliness, doth properly belong to princes or rather to princely minds. But the profitable necessity of some knowledge in them will plainly appear in the handling of each particular. Sure I am that he that will travel must both heed them and understand them if he desire to be thought ingenious and to be welcome to the owners. For next men and manners there is nothing fairly more delightful, nothing worthier observation, than these copies and memorials of men and matters of elder times, whose lively presence is able to persuade a man that he now seeth two thousand years ago. Such as are skilled in them are by the Italians termed virtuosi, as if others that either neglect or despise them were idiots or rakehells. And to say truth, they are somewhat to be excused if they have all Leeffhebbers, as the Dutch call them, in so high estimation, for they themselves are so great lovers of them (et similis simili gaudet2) that they

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1
This chapter appeared for the first time in the edition of 1634.
2
"Like pleases like."

-117-

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