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Dr. JOHN DONNE,
Dean of ST. PAUL's,
Quid vetat et nofmet Lucili fcripta legentes
SATIRES of Dr. DONNE.
THE manly Wit of Donne, which was the character of his genius, fuited best with Satire; and in this he excelled, thongh he wrote but little; fix fhort poems being all we find amongst his writings of this fort. Mr. Pope has embellished two of them with his wit and harmony. He called it verfifying them, because indeed the lines have nothing more of numbers than their being compofed of a certain quantity of fyllables. This is the more to be admired, because, as appears by his other poems, and especially from that fine fragment, called the Progrefs of the Soul, his Verfe did not want harmony. But, I fuppofe, he took the fermoni propiora of Horace too seriously; or rather, was content with the character his master gives of Lucilius,
"Emunctae naris durus componere verfus."
Having spoken of his Progress of the Soul, let me add, that Poetry scarce ever loft more than by his not pursuing and finishing that noble defign; of which he has only given us the introduction. With regard to his Satires, it is almost as much to be lamented that Mr. Pope did not give us a Paraphrafe, in his manner, of the Third, which treats the nobleft subject not only of this, but perhaps of any fatiric poet. To fupply this lofs, though in a very fmall degree, I have here inferted it in the verification of Dr. Parnell. It will at least serve to fhew the force of Dr. Donne's genius, and of Mr. Pope's; by removing all that was ruftic and shocking in the one, and by not being able to reach a single grace of the other.
Compaffion checks my spleen, yet Scorn denies
The tears a paffage thro' my fwelling Eyes;
Is not Religion (Heav'n-descended dame)
As worthy all our foul's devoutest flame,
When the best Heathens faw by doubtful day?
And fhall thy Father's spirit meet the fight,
Of Heathen Sages cloath'd in heav'nly light,
Oh! if thy temper fuch a fear can find,
Dar'ft thou provoke, when rebel fouls afpire,
Attempt a paffage by the Northern pole?
Or for fome Idol of thy Fancy draw
Some loose-gown'd dame; O courage made of ftraw!
The World's thy fecond Love, thy fecond Foe,
High flush'd with all the fenfual joys it tastes,
And loves her Relick rags, as men obey
The foot-cloth where the Prince fat yesterday.
These pageant Forms are whining Obed's fcorn,
Who feeks Religion at Geneva born,