from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Pertaining to or affected with hydropsy; dropsical; hence, thirsty.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
It is not only that they show little of Donne's subtlety of mind or 'hydroptic, immoderate thirst of human learning', but they want, what gives its interest to this subtle and fantastic misapplication of learning, the complexity of mood, the range of personal feeling which lends such fullness of life to Donne's strange and troubled poetry.
He must escape from that "hydroptic, immoderate" thirst of experience by yielding to it.
He has left it on record in one of his letters that he was a victim at one period of "the worst voluptuousness, an hydroptic, immoderate desire of human learning and languages."
He rebukes himself for his abandonment to 'the worst voluptuousness, which is an hydroptic, immoderate desire of human learning and languages.'
The John Donne quote is from the poem “A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day”: “The general balm th’ hydroptic earth hath drunk, / Whither, as to the bed’s-feet, life is shrunk.”
This I made account: I began early, when I understood the study of our laws; but was diverted by leaving that, and embracing the worst voluptuousness, an hydroptic immoderate desire of human learning and languages; beautiful ornaments indeed to men of great fortunes, but mine was grown so low as to need an occupation; which I thought I entered well into, when I subjected myself to such a service as I thought might exercise my poor abilities; and there I stumbled, and fell too; and now I am become so little, or such a nothing, that I am not a subject good enough for one of my own letters.