I rub on privus privatus

From Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy

….amidst the gallantry and misery of the world; jollity, pride, perplexities and cares, simplicity and villainy; subtlety, knavery, candour and integrity, mutually mixed and offering themselves; I rub on privus privatus; as I have still lived, so I now continue, statu quo prius, left to a solitary life, and mine own domestic discontents: saving that sometimes, ne quid mentiar, as Diogenes went into the city, and Democritus to the haven to see fashions, I did for my recreation now and then walk abroad, look into the world, and could not choose but make some little observation, non tam sagax observator ac simplex recitator, not as they did, to scoff or laugh at all, but with a mixed passion.

Bilem saepe, jocum vestri movere tumultus.
Ye wretched mimics, whose fond heats have been,
How oft! the objects of my mirth and spleen.

I did sometime laugh and scoff with Lucian, and satirically tax with Menippus, lament with Heraclitus, sometimes again I was petulanti splene cachinno, and then again, urere bilis jecur, I was much moved to see that abuse which I could not mend.

Bilem saepe … – Horace Epistles 1.20.  Burton flowers it a bit.

Petulanti splene cachinno – Persius Satires 1.12.  The grammar of the quote doesn’t fold into the grammar of the context.  I give the context at greater length because it better connects with Burton’s application than the other quotes.

nam Romae quis non—a, si fas dicere—sed fas
tum cum ad canitiem et nostrum istud vivere triste
aspexi ac nucibus facimus quaecumque relictis,
cum sapimus patruos. tunc tunc—ignoscite (nolo,
quid faciam?) sed sum petulanti splene—cachinno.


Is there anyone at Rome who doesn’t  —oh, if only I could say it—but I may, when I look at our grey heads and that gloomy life of ours and everything we’ve been doing since we gave up our toys, since we started sounding like strict uncles. Then, then—excuse me (I don’t want to, I can’t help it), but I’ve got a cheeky temper—I cackle.

urere bilis iecur – a slight misquote of Horace Satires 1.9.65 – meum iecur urere bilis – ‘my liver burns with bile’

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