« PreviousContinue »
Dr. JOHN DONNE, Dean of ST. PAUL's,
Quid vetat et nofmet Lucili fcripta legentes
Quaerere, num illius, num rerum dura negarit
Verficulos natura magis factos, et euntes
IR; though (I thank God for it) I do hate Perfectly all this town; yet there's one state In all ill things fo excellently beft,
That hate towards them, breeds pity towards the reft.
Though Poetry, indeed, be fuch a fin,
As, I think, that brings dearth and Spaniards in :
Though like the peftilence, and old-fashion❜d love,
Ridlingly it catch men, and doth remove
Never, till it be ftarv'd out; yet their ftate
Is poor, difarm'd, like Papists, not worth hate.
One (like a wretch, which at barre judg’d as dead, Yet prompts him which ftands next, and cannot read, And faves his life) gives Idiot Actors means, (Starving himself) to live by's labour'd fcenes. As in fome Organs, Puppits dance above And bellows pant bellow, which them do move. One would move love by rythmes; but witchcraft's
Bring not now their old fears, nor their old harms;
ES; thank my ftars! as early as I knew
This Town, I had the fenfe to hate it too:
Yet here, as ev'n in Hell, there must be ftill
One Giant-Vice, fo excellently ill,
That all befide, one pities, not abhors;
As who knows Sapho, fmiles at other whores.
I grant that Poetry's a crying fin;
It brought (no doubt) th' Excise and Army in:
Catch'd like the Plague, or Love, the Lord knows
But that the cure is ftarving, all allow.
Yet like the Papift's, is the Poet's state,
Poor and difarm'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 faves a rogue who cannot read.
Thus as the pipes of fome carv'd Organ move,
The gilded puppets dance and mount above.
Heav'd by the breath th' inspiring bellows blow:
Th' infpiring bellows lie and pant below.
One fings the Fair; but fongs no longer move;
No rat is rhym'd to death, nor maid to love:
Rams, and flings now are filly battery,
Pistolets are the best artillery.
And they who write to Lords, rewards to get,
Are they not like fingers at doors for meat?'
And they who write, because all write, have ftill
That 'fcufe for writing, and for writing ill.
But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw
Others wits fruits, and in his ravenous maw
Rankly digefted, doth those things out-fpue,
As his own things; and they're his own, 'tis true,
For if one eat my meat, though it be known,
The meat was mine, the excrement's his own.
But thefe do me no harm, nor they which use,
..... to out-usure Jews,
T'out-drink the fea, t'out-fwear the Letanie,
Who with fins all kinds as familiar be
As Confeffors, and for whofe finful fake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell muft make;
Whofe ftrange fins Canonifts could hardly tell
In which Commandment's large receit they dwell.
VER. 44. In what Commandment's large contents they dwell.] The Original is more humourous,
In what Commandment's large receit they dwell. As if the Ten Commandment: were fo wide, as to ftand ready
In love's, in nature's fpite, the fiege they hold,
And scorn the flesh, the dev'l, and all but gold.
Thefe write to Lords, fome mean reward to get,
As needy beggars fing at doors for meat.
Those write because all write, and fo have ftill
Excufe 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 digeftion makes it wit no more:
Senfe, past thro' him, no longer is the fame;
For food digested takes another name.
I pafs o'er all thofe Confeffors and Martyrs, 35
Who live like S-tt-n, or who die like Chartres,
Out-cant old Efdras, or out-drink his heir,
Out-ufure Jews, or Irifhmen out-swear;
Wicked as Pages, who in early years
A&t fins which Prifca's Confeffor fcarce hears.
Ev'n those I pardon, for whose finful fake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make;
Of whofe ftrange crimes no Canonist can tell
In what Commandment's large contents they dwell.
to receive every thing within them, that either the Laraof Nature or the Gospel commands. A just ridicule on thofe practical Commentators, as they are called, who include all moral and religious Duties within thein.