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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Some Relations Whose Truth We Fear
By Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682)
From ‘Pseudoxia Epidemica’

MANY other accounts like these we meet sometimes in history, scandalous unto Christianity, and even unto humanity; whose verities not only, but whose relations, honest minds do deprecate. For of sins heteroclital, and such as want either name or precedent, there is ofttimes a sin even in their histories. We desire no records of such enormities; sins should be accounted new, that so they may be esteemed monstrous. They omit of monstrosity as they fall from their rarity; for men count it venial to err with their forefathers, and foolishly conceive they divide a sin in its society. The pens of men may sufficiently expatiate without these singularities of villainy; for as they increase the hatred of vice in some, so do they enlarge the theory of wickedness in all. And this is one thing that may make latter ages worse than were the former; for the vicious examples of ages past poison the curiosity of these present, affording a hint of sin unto seducible spirits, and soliciting those unto the imitation of them, whose heads were never so perversely principled as to invent them. In this kind we commend the wisdom and goodness of Galen, who would not leave unto the world too subtle a theory of poisons; unarming thereby the malice of venomous spirits, whose ignorance must be contented with sublimate and arsenic. For surely there are subtler venerations, such as will invisibly destroy, and like the basilisks of heaven. In things of this nature silence commendeth history: ’tis the veniable part of things lost; wherein there must never rise a Pancirollus, nor remain any register but that of hell.  1

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