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And show its* graceful power. I would not praise
And I rejoice I am not so severe,
And wonder not; for when a general loss
Dull age! Oh I would spare thee; but th'art worse;
But, more rmuur'd. did his full soul conceive,
But sure the silent are ambitious all
l Her. 2 Sifcr.
a '' La Corona," a Holy Sonnet on the Crown of Thorns, printed in Donne's Poems, ed. 1633, p. a8, and commencing thus:
"Deign at my hands this Crown of prayer and praise." * For piety, for wit.
* As since St Paul none did, none could! those know
Do waste the brain), make silence a safe way
T' in large the soul from these walls, mud and clay
(Materials of this hody), to remain
With Donne in heaven, where no promiscuous pain
Lessens the joy we have; for, with him, all
Are satisfied with joys essential.
My thoughts, dwell on this joy, and do not call8
A monument, great as Donns's matchless worth. Iz. Wa."1
It has been remarked that in these verses Walton calls himself Donne's " convert; " but he perhaps meant no more than that he had been induced by his sermons and example to take a proper view of religion, in which sense the word is used in a preceding line.
A second edition of Dr Donne's Poems was published in 1635, with a portrait of the author, engraved by Marshall, from a picture painted in 1591, when he was in his eighteenth year; and the following lines by Walton were placed under it:
"This was, for ynuth, strength, mirth, and wit, that time
With love; but ends with sighs and tears f or sins. Iz. Wa."
Sir Henry Wotton having intended to write the life of Donne, he requested Walton, who readily undertook the task, to collect materials for the purpose; but several years having elapsed without any progress being made in the work, Walton reminded him of his purpose in a "most ingenuous letter," the answer to which is printed in the "Reliquiae Wottonianae." The date of Sir Henry Wotton's letter to Walton, wherein he expresses a wish for his
8 Dwell on this joy, my thoughts: ob 1 do not call.
"This and the three following lines are added from the edition of 1635.
"ever-welcome company" in the approaching fishing season, does not occur; but the allusion to Dr King's appointment as Dean of Rochester, in which office he was installed on the 6th of February 1638—9,2 fixes it to the early part of the year 1639:
"My WORThY FRIEND,—T am not able to yield any reason, no, not so much as may satisfy myself, why a most ingenuous letter of yours hath lain so long by me (as it were in lavender) without an answer, save this only, the pleasure I have taken in your style and conceptions, together with a meditation of the subject you propound, may seem to have cast me into a gentle slumber. But being now awaked, I do herein return you most hearty thanks for the kind prosecution of your first motion, touching a just office due to the memory of our ever-memorable friend, to whose good fame, though it be needless to add anything (and my age considered, almost hopeless from my pen); yet I will endeavour to perform my promise, if it were but even for this cause, that in saying somewhat of the life of so deserving a man, I may perchance over-live mine own. That which you add of Dr King (now made Dean of Rochester, and by that translated into my native soil), is a great spur unto me: with whom I hope shortly to confer about it in my passage towards Boughton Malherb, which was my genial air, and invite him to a friendship with that family where his predecessor was familiarly acquainted. I shall write to you at large by the next messenger (being at present a little in business), and then I shall set down certain general heads, wherein I desire information by your loving diligence; hoping shortly to enjoy your own ever-welcome company in this approaching time of the Fly and the Cork. And so I rest, your very hearty poor friend to serve you, H. Wotton."*
Sir Henry Wotton died in the ensuing December; and on Walton's hearing that Dr Donne's Sermons were ahout to be published without a life of the author, he determined to supply the deficiency. His motives for becoming Donne's biographer are explained in so natural and pleasing a manner in his " Introduction," dated on the 15th February 1639 (164o), that it ought not to be omitted:
"If that great master of language and art, Sir Henry Wotton, the late provost of Eton College, had lived to see the publication of these sermons, he had presented the world with the author's life exactly written; and it was pity he did not; for it was a work worthy his undertaking, and he fit to undertake it: betwixt whom, and the author, there was so mutual a knowledge, and such a friendship contracted in their youth, as nothing but death could force a separation. And though their bodies were divided, their affections were not: for that learned knight's love followed his friend's fame beyond death and the forgetful grave: which he testified by entreating me, whom he acquainted with his design, to inquire of some particulars that concerned it, not doubting but my knowledge of the author, and love to his memory, might make my diligence useful. I did most
* Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicans;. 8 Reliquiae Wottonianae, ed. 1685, p. 360.
gladly undertake the employment, and continued it with great content, till I had made my collection ready to be augmented and completed by his matchless pen; but then death prevented his intentions. When I heard that sad news, and heard also that these sermons were to be printed and want the author's life, which I thought to be very remarkable; indignation or grief (indeed I know not which) transported me so far, that I reviewed my forsaken collections, and resolved the world should see the best plain picture of the author's life that my artless pencil, guided by the hand of truth, could present to it. And if I shall now be demanded, as once Pompey's poor bondman was ;—(the grateful wretch had been left alone on the sea-shore, with the forsaken dead body of his once glorious lord and master: and was then gathering the scattered pieces of an old broken boat to make a funeral pile to burn it, which was the custom of the Romans)—' Who art thou that alone hast the honour to bury the body of l'ompey the Great?' so, who am I that do thus officiously set the author's memory on Ere? I hope the question will prove to have in it more of wonder than disdain. But wonder indeed the reader may, that I, who profess myself artless, should presume with my faint light to show forth his life, whose very name makes it illustrious! but be this to the disadvantage of the person represented, certain I am it is to the advantage of the beholder; who shall here see the author's picture in a natural dress which ought to beget faith in what is spoken : for he that wants skill to deceive may safely be trusted. And if the author's glorious spirit, which now is in heaven, can have the leisure to look down and see me, the poorest, the meanest of all his friends, in the midst of this officious duty, confident I am, that he will not disdain this well-meant sacrifice to his memory: for, whilst his conversation made me and many others happy below, I know his humility and gentleness were then eminent; and I have heard divines say, those virtues that were but sparks upon earth, become great and glorious flames in heaven."4
The first volume of Donne's Sermons, to which his life was prefixed, was published in 164o in folio, by John Marriott, probably the father of the Richard Marriott who was Walton's friend as well as publisher for nearly half a century.
Walton's first essay as a biographer was highly applauded by his contemporaries. King Charles the First, whose private virtues and literary acquirements gave greater value to his opinion than even his exalted rank, honoured it with his approbation ; 5 and the learned and "ever-memorable " Jobn Hales, who was styled from his vast erudition " the walking library," told Dr King that "he had not seen a life written with more advantage to the subject, or more reputation to the writer, than that of Dr Donne." But the following letter to Wralton from Donne's eldest son, thanking him for having written the life of his father, and sending
* Walton's Lives. «t. Zouch, I. pp. 37-4o.
* Sec Walton's Dedication of the reprint of the Life of Donne in 1658, postea.
him, as a token of his gratitude, a copy of the volume of sermons 6 in which it occurred, was probably more agreeable to Walton's feelings than the praises of the great and the learned:
"Sir,—I send this book rather to witness my debt than to make any payment. For it would be uncivil in me to offer any satisfaction for that that all my father's friends, and indeed all good men are so equally engaged. Courtesies that are done to the dead being examples of so much piety, that they cannot have their reward in this life, because lasting as long, and still (by awaking the like charity in others) propagating the debt, they must expect a retrilmtion from him who gave the first inclination. And by this circle, sir, I have set you in my place, and instead of making you a payment, I have made you a debtor; but 'tis to Almighty God, to whom I know you will be so willingly committed, that I may safely take leave to write myself, your thankful servant, Jo. Donne.7
"From my house in Covent Garden, a4th June 164o."
Sir Jobn Hawkins says that in 163a Walton was living in Chancery Lane, in a house a few doors higher up on the left hand than the one he had previously occupied, and that he was then described as a "sempster;" but his residence from 16a8 until 1644,8 is stated in the parish books of St Dunstan's to have been ahout the seventh house on the left-hand side, though, unlike most other houses, that of Walton is not called a shop. From those records it also appears that he filled a parish office in December 163a; served on the grand jury in 1633; was appointed a constable on the aoth of December 1636; was again on the grand jury in 1638; was one of the overseers of the poor, and a sidesman on the 18th of April 1639; and a vestryman in February 164o.
During Walton's residence in Chancery Lane, he experienced severe afflictions, by the loss of no less than seven children,9
8 The book in question, together with the original letter from the younger Donne to Walton, was in 1714 in the possession of the Rev. Dr Borradale, rector of Market Deeping, in Lincolnshire.—Hawkins's Life of Walton, p. 16, note.
'Zouch's Life of Walton, II. 3aa, 3a3.
8 Vide Appendix, Note H. The Books of the parish of St Dunstan's leave little or no douWt that Walton always lived in Chancery Lane during that period : but it is remarkable that the Parish Register of that church should state that his son Henry was baptized on the a1st March 1633-4, "ou* ojFleet Street," though as early as December 16a7. as well as so lately as October 163a, his children are said to have been baptized or buried "out of Chancery Lane." Vide Appendix, Note H. The discrepancy would, however, disappear if Walton then resided in the corner house of Chancery Lane, which is partly in Fleet Street.
9 Namely, Izaak, who was baptized 19th December 16a7, and buried a8th March 1631 ; John, who was bapnzed a3d July 16a9, and is presumed to have died soon afterwards; Thomas, baptized aoth January 163o-1, and was buried 6th March following; Henrv, bapnzed 1ath October 163a, and buried on the 17th of the same month; Henev, baptized a1st March 1633-4, and buried 4th December 1634; Thomas, buried 19th August 1637; and Anne, hora 1oth July 164o, and died 11th May 164a.