The Scandal and Credulities of John Aubrey

The Scandal and Credulities of John Aubrey

The Scandal and Credulities of John Aubrey

The Scandal and Credulities of John Aubrey

Excerpt

John Aubrey, whose name is now famous, yet who is unknown, was in 1670 a country gentleman run out of his estate. He was a scholar with no place among the dons, and he was the companion of such as Davenant and Wren, yet he was neither a patron nor a poet. He was always there, but perhaps not always invited. He cannot but have been beloved; it must have been a little contemptuously. Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

From Johnson Lives of the Poets down to the present day, there is scarcely a considerable piece of writing on the great figures of Elizabethan or Stuart times which is not vastly indebted to Aubrey, and wherever he is quoted first-hand, one notices a peculiar relish and affection. His magpie collection of anecdotes has been found to be a great storehouse of biographical data, and while this accounts for the frequency with which he is drawn upon by scholars, the relish is suggestive of something more. That something more is of the very highest value.

Three-quarters of Aubrey's principal work, his Brief Lives, is an accumulation of frag-

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