"The World, I Count It Not An Inn"
Context: Browne looks at the inner man, at the soul, and sees it as a great glory: ". . . I study to find how I am a Microcosm, or little World, I find myself something more than great." He says he knows there is a divinity in man, that Nature tells him, as does Scripture, that God made man in His image. This knowledge, says Browne, makes him content, and, he asks, ". . . what should Providence add more?" It is the soul that he sees as immortal, as the higher, more potent aspect of man; he suggests that even in sleep, when our souls dream, we are somewhat more than our waking selves, that "surely it is not a melancholy conceit to think we are all asleep in this World, and that the conceits of this life are as meer dreams to those of the next." Sir Thomas Browne is proud to be a man:
Now for my life, it is a miracle of thirty years, which to relate, were not a History, but a piece of Poetry, and would sound to common ears like a Fable. For the World, I count it not an Inn, but an Hospital; and a place not to live, but to die in. The world that I regard is myself; it is the Microcosm of my own frame that I cast mine eye on; for the other, I use it but like my Globe, and turn it round sometimes for my recreation. Men that look upon my outside, perusing only my conditions and Fortunes, do err in my Altitude; for I am above Atlas his shoulders. The earth is a point not only in respect of the Heavens above us, but of that heavenly and celestial part within us. . . .