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Dr. JOHN DONNE,
Dean of ST. PAUL's,
Quid vetat et nofmet Lucili fcripta legentes
Quaerere, num illius, num rerum dura negârit
Verficulos natura magis factos, & euntes
IR; though (I thank God for it) I do hate
S town, one
Perfectly all this town; yet there's one state
In all ill things, so 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 state
Is poor, difarm'd, like Papifts, not worth hate.
One (like a wretch, which at barre judg'd as dead, Yet prompts him which stands 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 below, which them do move. One would move love by rythmes; but witchcraft's charms
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 still One Giant-Vice, fo excellently ill,
That all befide, one pities, not abhors ;
As who knows Sappho, 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, whofe 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'infpiring 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-spue,
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-ufure Jews,
Toutdrink the fea, t'out-fwear the Letanie,
Who with fins all kinds as familiar be
As Confeffors, and for whose finful fake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must 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 which Commandment's large receit they dwell. As if the Ten Commandments were fo wide, as to stand ready to receive every thing within them, that either the Law of Nature or the Gospel commands. A just ridicule on thofe practical Com
In love's, in nature's fpite, the fiege they hold,
And scorn the flesh, the dev'l, and all but gold.
These write to Lords, fome mean reward to get,
As needy beggars fing 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:
Senfe, paft thro' him, no longer is the fame;
For food digefted takes another name.
I pass 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 Irishmen out-fwear;
Wicked as Pages, who in early years
A&t fins which Prifca's Confeffor scarce hears.
Ev'n those I pardon, for whofe finful fake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make;
Of whose strange crimes no Canonist can tell
In what Commandment's large contents they dwell
mentators, as they are called, who include all moral and religious Duties within them. Whereas their true original fenfe is much more confined, being a short summary of duty fitted for a fingle People, upon a particular occafion, and to serve tranfitory