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An Affected Man Post by :rkotwal Category :Essays Author :John Earle Date :September 2011 Read :2017

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An Affected Man

Is an extraordinary man in ordinary things. One that would go a strain beyond himself, and is taken in it. A man that overdoes all things with great solemnity of circumstance; and whereas with more negligence he might pass better, makes himself with a great deal of endeavour ridiculous. The fancy of some odd quaintnesses have put him clean beside his nature; he cannot be that he would, and hath lost what he was. He is one must be point-blank in every trifle, as if his credit and opinion hung upon it; the very space of his arms in an embrace studied before and premeditated, and the figure of his countenance of a fortnight's contriving; he will not curse you without-book and extempore, but in some choice way, and perhaps as some great man curses. Every action of his cries,--"Do ye mark me? " and men do mark him how absurd he is: for affectation is the most betraying humour, and nothing that puzzles a man less to find out than this. All the actions of his life are like so many things bodged in without any natural cadence or connection at all. You shall track him all through like a schoolboy's theme, one piece from one author and this from another, and join all in this general, that they are none of his own. You shall observe his mouth not made for that tone, nor his face for that simper; and it is his luck that his finest things most misbecome him. If he affect the gentleman as the humour most commonly lies that way, not the least punctilio of a fine man, but he is strict in to a hair, even to their very negligences, which he cons as rules. He will not carry a knife with him to wound reputation, and pay double a reckoning, rather than ignobly question it: and he is full of this--ignobly--and nobly--and genteely;--and this meer fear to trespass against the genteel way puts him out most of all. It is a humour runs through many things besides, but is an ill-favoured ostentation in all, and thrives not:--and the best use of such men is, they are good parts in a play.


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John Earle's essay: Affected Man

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