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DR. JOHN DONNE,
DEAN OF ST. PAUL'S,
Qnid vetat et nosmet Lucili scripta legentes
Quærere, num illius, pum rerum dura negarit
Versiculos natura magis factos, et euntes
Yes, thank my stars! as early as I knew
This town, I had the sense to hate it too ;
Yet here, as ev'n in hell, there must be still
One giant-vice, so excellently ill, .
That all beside one pities, not abhors :
As who knows Sappho, smiles at other whores.
I grant that poetry's a crying sin;
It brought (no doubt) the excise and army in :
Catch'd like the plague,or love, the Lord knows how,
But that the cure is starving, all allow,
Yet like the papist's is the poet's state,
Poor and disarm’d, and hardly worth your hate !
Here a lean bard, whose wit could never give Himself a dinner, makes an actor live : The thief condemn'd, in law already dead, So prompts and saves a rogue who cappot read. Thus as the pipes of some carv'd organ move, The gilded puppets dance and mount above :
Heav'd by the breath the inspiring bellows blow;
The' inspiring bellows lie and pant below.
One sings the fair; but songs no longer move;
No rat is rhym'd to death, por maid to love :
In love's, in nature's spite, the siege they hold,
And scórn the flesh, the devil, and all but gold.
These write to lords, some mean reward to get,
As needy beggars sing at doors for meat:
Those write because all write, and so have still
Excuse for writing, and for writing ill.
Wretched, indeed! but far more wretched yet Is he who makes his meal on others' wit: 'Tis chang'd, no doubt, from what it was before; His rank digestion makes it wit no more : Sense pass'd through him no longer is the same; For food digested takes another name.
I pass o'er all those cónfessors and martyrs, Who live like S-tt-n, or who die like Chartres, Out-cant old Esdras, or out-drink his heir, Out-usure Jews, or Irishmen out-swear; Wicked as pages, who in early years Act sihs which Prisca's confessor scarce hears. Ev'n those I pardon, for whose sinful sake Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make; Of whose strange crimes no canonist can tell In what commandment's large contents they dwell.
One, one man only breeds my juşt offence, Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth gave impuTime, that at last matures a clap to p-x; [dente: Whose gentle progress makes a calf an ox, And brings all natural events to pass, Hath made him an attorney of an ass. No young divine, new-benific'd, can be More pert, more proud, more positive, than be.
What further.could I wish the fop to do,
But turn a wit, and scribble verses too?
Pierce the soft labyrinth of a lady's ear
With rhymes of this per cent. and that per year ?
Or court a wife, spread out his wily parts,
Like nets, or lime-twigs, for rich widows' hearts;
Call himself barrister to every wench,
And woo in language of the Pleas and Bench?
Language which Boreas might to Auster hold,
More rough than forty Germans when they scold,
Curs'd be the wretch, so vepal and so vain,
Paltry and proud as drabs in Drury-lane.
'Tis such a bounty as was never known,
If Peter deigns to help you to your own,
What thanks, what praise, if Peter bnt supplies !
And what a solemn face if he denies !
Grave, as when prisoners shake the head, and swear
'Twas only suretyship that brought 'em there,
His office keeps your parchment fates entire,
He starves with cold to save them from the fire ;
For you he walks the streets through rain or dust,
For not in chariots Peter puts his trust:
For you he sweats and labours at the laws,
Takes God to witness he affects your cause,
And lies to every lord in every thing,
Like a king's favourite-or like a king.
These are the talents that adorn them all,
From wicked Waters ev'n to godly *.
Not more of simony beneath black gowns,
Nor more of bastardy in heirs to crowns.
In shillings and in pence at first they deal,
And steal 30 little, few perceive they steal ;
Till, like the sea, they compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover strand :
And when rank widows purchase luscious nights,
Or when a duke to Jansen punts at White's,
Or city-heir in mortgage melts away,
Satan himself feels far less joy than they.
Piecemeal they win this acre first, then that,
Glean on, and gather up the whole estate;
Then strongly fencing ill-got wealth by law,
Indentures, covenants, articles, they draw,
Large as the fields themselves, and larger far
Than civil codes, with all their glosses, are ;
So vast, our new divines, we must confess,
Are fathers of the church for writing less.
But let them write, for you each rogue impairs
The deeds, and dextrously omits ses heires:
No commentator can more slily pass
O’er a learn'd unintelligible place;
Or in quotation shrewd divines leave ont
Those words that would against them clear the
So Lnther thonght the Pater-noster long,
When doom'd to say his beads and even-song;
But having cast his cowl, and left those laws,
Adds to Christ's pray'r, the power and glory clanse.
The lands are bought; but where are to be found Those ancient woods that shaded all the ground? We see no new-built palaces aspire, No kitchens emulate the vestal fire, Where are those troops of poor, that throng'd of yore The good old landlord's hospitable door? Well, I could wish that still, in lordly domes, Some beasts were kill'd, though not whole heca
tombs; That both extreines were banishid from their walls, Carthasian fasts and fulsome bacchanals;
And all mankind might that just mean observe,
In which none e'er could surfeit, none could starve :
These as good works, 'tis true, we all allow,
But, oh! these works are not in fashion now:
Like rich old wardrobes, things extremely rare,
Extremely fine, but what no man will wear.
Tbus much I've said, I trust without offence;
Let no court sycophant pervert my sense,
Nor sly informer watch, these words to draw
Within the reach of treason or the law.
WELL; if it be my time to quit the stage,
Adieu to all the follies of the age!
I die in charity with fool and knave,
Secure of peace at least beyond the grave.
I've had my purgatory here betimes,
And paid for all my satires, all my rhymes.
The poet's hell, its tortures, fiends, and flames,
To this were trifles, toys, and empty nanies.
With foolish pride my heart was never fir'd,
Nor the vain itch to'admire or be admir'd;
I hop'd for no commission from his grace:
I bought no benefice, I beg'd no place;
Had no new verses nor new suit to show,
Yet weót to coárt!- the devil would have it so.
But as the fool that in reforming days
Would go to mass in jest, (as story says)
Could not bnt think to pay his fine was odd,
Since 'twas no form'd design of serving God;
So was I punish’d, as if full as proud
As prone to ill, and negligent of good,