Sunday, August 09, 2015

Too Garrulous

Pardon my coarse language, but here is a footnote that just made me say, "What the hell!" out loud. It's in THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY. It's not one of Burton's own footnotes, which are clearly marked in the text, but one by his 1927 editors, explaining an allusion that Burton makes to "Albertus' brasen head." I'll just quote the whole thing: "'It is related of Albertus that he made an entire man of brass, putting together its limbs under various constellations, and occupying no less than thirty years in its formation. This man would answer all sorts of questions, and was even employed as a domestic. But at length it is said to have become so garrulous that Thomas Aquinas, a pupil of Albertus, finding himself disturbed perpetually by its uncontrollable loquacity, caught up a hammer and beat it to pieces.' - William Godwin's Lives of the Necromancers." You know, I had a vague feeling I had "blogged" about this unfortunate robot butler before, but no, that was just a "golden talking head that murmured secret advice" to a pope.