Wednesday 24 July 2013

Sun-Bathing and Philosophy

Just a repost.

There's a rather strange work by Thomas Nashe called Summer's Last Will and Testament. It is about the handover of seasons in the changing year. In it, Winter describes how writing was invented for the warmer seasons, and that writing is a Bad Thing. Its first evil result was poetry.

There grew up certain drunken parasites, 
Termed Poets, which for a meal's meat or two 
Would promise monarchs immortality;
They vomited in verse all that they knew, 
Found causes and beginnings of the world...

But even worse than that poets were the resulting philosophers:

Next them, a company of ragged knaves,
Sun-bathing beggars, lazy hedge-creepers,
Sleeping face upwards in the fields all night,
Dreamed strange devices of the Sun and Moon;
And they, like Gypsies, wand'ring up and down,
Told fortunes, juggled, nicknamed all the stars,
And were of idiots termed Philosophers:

And that is the first ever recorded reference in English to sun-bathing. It beats the posher aprication by 31 years.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a hedge into which I must lazily creep.

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