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As the authors of this race were perhaps more de-
sirous of being admired than understood, they some-
times drew their conceits from recesses of learning
not very much frequented by common readers of poe-
try. Thus Cowley on Knowledge:
The sacred tree ʼmidst the fair orchard grew;

The phenix Truth did on it rest,
And built his perfum'd nest,
That right Porphyrian tree which did true logic shew.

Each leaf did learned notions give,

And th' apples were demonstrative:
So clear their colour and divine,
The very shade they cast did other lights outshine.
On Anacreon continuing a lover in his old age:

Love was with thy life entwin’d,
Close as heat with fire is join'd;
A powerful brand prescrib'd the date
Of thine, like Meleager's fate.
Th’antiperistasis of age

More enflam'd thy amorous rage.
In the following verses we have an allusion to a
Rabbinical opinion concerning Manna:

Variety I ask not: give me one
To live perpetually upon.
The person Love does to us fit,

Like manna, has the taste of all in it.
Thus Donne shews his medicinal knowledge in
some encomiastick verses:

In every thing there naturally grows
A Balsamum to keep it fresh and new,
· If 'twere not injur’d by extrinsique blows;
Your youth and beauty are this balm in you.


But you, of learning and religion,
And virtue and such ingredients, have made

A mithridate, whose operation
Keeps off, or cures what can be dorie or said.

Though the following lines of Donne, on the last night of the year, have something in them too scholastick, they are not inelegant: This twilight of two years, not past nor next,

Some emblem is of me, or I of this,
Who, meteor-like, of stuff and form perplest,

Whose what and where in disputation is,

If I should call me any thing, should miss.
I sum the years and me, and find me not

Debtor to th' old, nor creditor to th’ new.
That cannot say, my thanks I have forgot,
Nor trust I this with hopes; and yet scarce true
This bravery is, since these times shew'd me you.

DONNE. ( Yet more abstruse and profound is Donne's reflection upon Man as a Microcosm :)

If men be worlds, there is in every one
Something to answer in some proportion
All the world's riches: and in good men, this
Virtue, our form's form, and our soul's soul is.

Of thoughts so far-fetched, as to be not only unexpected, but unnatural, all their books are full.

To a Lady, who wrote poesies for rings.

They, who above do various circles find,
Mo x Say, like a ring, th’equator Heaven does bind.

When Heaven shall be adornd by thee,
(Which then more Heaven than 'tis will be)


"Tis thou must write the poesy there,

For it wanteth one as yet,
Then the sun pass through 't twice a year,
The sun, which is esteem'd the god of wit.


The difficulties which have been raised about identity in philosophy, are by Cowley with still more perplexity applied to Love:

Five years ago (says story) I lov’d you,
For which you call me most inconstant now;
Pardon me, madam, you mistake the man ;
For I am not the same that I was then;
No flesh is now the same 'twas then in me,
And that my mind is chang’d yourself may see.
The same thoughts to retain still, and intents,
Were more inconstant far: for accidents
Must of all things most strangely inconstant prove,
If from one subject they t' another move;
My members then, the father members were
From whence these take their birth, which now are here.
If then this body love what th’ other did,
"Twere incest, which by nature is forbid.

The love of different women is, in geographical poetry, compared to travels through different countries :

Hast thou not found each woman's breast

(The land where thou hast travelled)
Either by savages possest,

Or wild, and uninhabited ?
What joy could'st take, or what repose,
In countries so unciviliz'd as'those ?

Lust, the scorching dog-star, here

Rages with immoderate heat ;
Whilst Pride, the rugged Northern bear,

In others makes the cold too great.
And where these are temperate known,
The soil 's all barren sand, or rocky stone.


A Lover, burnt up by his affection, is compared to Egypt:

The fate of Egypt I sustain,

And never feel the dew of rain
From clouds which in the head appear;

But all my too much moisture owe
To overflowings of the heart below.

Cowley. The lover supposes his lady acquainted with the ancient laws of augury and rites of sacrifice:

And yet this death of mine, I fear,
Will ominous to her appear:

When sound in every other part,
Her sacrifice is found without an heart.

For the last tempest of my death
Shall sigh out that too, with my breath.

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That the chạos was harmonized, has been recited of old; but whence the different sounds arose remained for a modern to discover :

Th’ungovern'd parts no correspondence knew;
An artless war from thwarting motions grew;
Till they to number and fixt rules were brought.
Water and air he for the Tenor chose,
Earth made the Base; the Treble, flame arose.


The tears of lovers are always of great poetical account; but Donne has extended them into worlds. If the lines are not easily understood, they may be read again.

On a round ball
A workman, that hath copies by, can lay

An Europe, Afric, and an Asia,
And quickly make that, which was nothing, all.

So doth each tear,

Which thee doth wear,
A globe, yea world, by that impression grow,
Till thy tears mixt with mine do overflow
This world, by waters sent from thee my heaven

dissolved so.

On reading the following lines, the reader may perhaps cry out-Confusion worse confounded.

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Who but Donne would have thought that a good man is a telescope ?

we S see

Though God be our true glass through which we see
All, since the being of all things is he,
Yet are the trunks, which do to us derive
Things in proportion fit, by perspective
Deeds of good men; for by their living here,
Virtues, indeed remote, seem to be near.

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