Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
An Affectate Traveller
By Sir Thomas Overbury (15811613)
From The Characters
IS a speaking fashion; he hath taken pains to be ridiculous, and hath seen more than he hath perceived. His attire speaks French or Italian, and his gait cries, Behold me. He censures all things by countenances, and shrugs, and speaks his own language with shame and lisping: he will choke, rather than confess beer good drink; and his pick-tooth is a main part of his behaviour. He chooseth rather to be counted a spy, than not a politician; and maintains his reputation by naming great men familiarly. He chooseth rather to tell lies, than not wonders, and talks with men singly: his discourse sounds big, but means nothing; and his boy is bound to admire him howsoever. He comes still from great personages, but goes with mean. He takes occasion to show jewels given him in regard of his virtue, that were bought at S. Martins; and not long after having with a mountebanks method pronounced them worth thousands, impawneth them for a few shillings. Upon festival days he goes to court, and salutes without resaluting: at night in an ordinary he canvasseth the business in hand, and seems as conversant with all intents and plots as if he begot them. His extraordinary account of men is, first to tell them the ends of all matters of consequence, and then to borrow money of them; he offereth courtesies, to show them, rather than himself, humble. He disdains all things above his reach, and preferreth all countries before his own. He imputeth his want and poverty to the ignorance of the time, not his own unworthiness; and concludes his discourse with half a period, or a word, and leaves the rest to imagination. In a word, his religion is fashion, and both body and soul are governed by fame; he loves most voices above truth.