Poisonous Men & Abominable Sprites

“Are not some men themselves meere poisons by nature? for these slanderers and backbiters in the world, what doe they else but lance poison out of their black tongues, like hideous serpents? what doe these envious persons, but with their malicious and poisonfull breath sindge and burne all before them that they can reach or meet with, finding fault with every thing whatsoever? Are they not well and fitly compared to those cursed souls flying in the dark, which albeit they sequester themselves from birds of the day, yet they bewray their spight and envy even to the night and the quiet repose thereof, by their heavie grones (the only voice that they utter) disquieting and troubling those that be at rest: and finally, all one they be with those unluckie creatures, which if they happen to meet or crosse the way upon a man, presage alwaies some ill toward, opposing themselves (as it were) to all goodnesse, and hindering whatsoever is profitable for this life. Neither do these monstrous and abominable sprites know any other reward of this their deadly breath, their cursed and detestable malice, but to hate and abhor all things.”

Pliny The Elder, The Naturall Historie, The Eighteenth Booke, Chap. 1. Of the venomes of man, in the 1634 English translation by Philomen Holland

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