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John Davies, der Sohn eines Gerbers, ward 1570 zu Chisgrove in Wiltshire geboren, studirte zu Oxford, widmete sich der Rechtswissenschaft, und trat, nach einer bewegten Jugend, 1601 in das Parlament, als Mitglied für Corfe-Castle. Jakob I. wurde ihm ausserordentlich gewogen und ernannte ihn zuerst zum Solicitor dann zum Attorney general in Irland. 1607 ward er zum Ritter geschlagen und darauf Sprecher des ersten irischen Hauses der Gemeinen. Im Jahre 1615 kehrte er nach England zurück, wo er von nun an das Amt eines Oberrichters, Lord Chief Justice, bekleiden sollte, jedoch vor seiner förmlichen Installation vom Schlagfluss getroffen am 7. December 1616 starb.

D. darf nicht mit seinem Namensvetter dem berühmten kritischen Philologen (1679-1731) in Cambridge verwechselt werden. Er hinterliess eine Sammlung von Lobgedichten, Akrostichen auf die Königin Elisabeth unter dem Titel Hymns to Astrea; ein didactisches Gedicht, Nosce te ipsum or the Immortality of the soul, welches zuerst 1599 zu London erschien; Orchestra, ein Gedicht über den Tanz, das unvollendet blieb und mehrere kleine lyrische Poesieen. Eine vollständige Sammlung seiner dichterischen Werke ist nie veranstaltet worden, doch finden sich die besten zusammengestellt im zweiten Bande von Anderson's British Poets. Tiefes Gefühl, Scharfsinn, elegante Diction und für jene Zeit, seltene Correctheit, zeichnen Davies als Dichter aus.

From the Immortality of the Soul. What is this knowledge? but the sky-stoll'n fire, For which the thief still chain'd in ice doth sit?

And which the poor rude satyr did admire,

Is now become a sparkle, which doth lie
Under the ashes, half extinct, and dead:

How can we hope, that through the eye and ear,
This dying sparkle, in this cloudy place,

And needs would kiss, but burnt his lips with it. Can recollect these beams of knowledge clear,

What is it? but the cloud of empty rain,
Which when Jove's guest embrac'd, he mon-
sters got?

Or the false pails, which oft being fill'd with

Receiv'd the water, but retain'd it not?

In fine, what is it? but the fiery coach
Which the youth sought, and sought his death

Or the boy's wings, which when he did approach
The sun's hot beams, did melt and let him

And yet, alas! when all our lamps are burn'd,
Our bodies wasted, and our spirits spent,
When we have all the learned volumes turn'd
Which yield men's wits both help and orna-


What can we know, or what can we discern,
When error clouds the windows of the mind?
The divers forms of things, how can we learn,
That have been ever from our birth-day blind?
When reason's lamp, which (like the sun in sky)
Throughout man's little world her beams did

Which were infus'd in the first minds by grace?

So might the heir, whose father hath, in play,
Wasted a thousand pounds of ancient rent,

By painful earning of one groat a day,

Hope to restore the patrimony spent.

If ought can teach us ought, affliction's looks,
(Making us pry into ourselves so near)
Teach us to know ourselves, beyond all books
Or all the learned schools that ever were.

This mistress lately pluck'd me by the ear,

And many a golden lesson hath me taught; Hath made my sences quick, and reason clear; Reform'd my will, and rectify'd my thought.

So do the winds and thunders cleanse the air:
So working seas settle and purge the wine:
So lopp'd and pruned trees do flourish fair:
So doth the fire the drossy gold refine.

Neither Minerva, nor the learned Muse,

Nor rules of art, nor precepts of the wise, Could in my brain those beams of skill infuse,

As but the glance of this dame's angry eyes.

She within lists my ranging mind hath brought, I know my soul hath power to know all things,

That now beyond myself I will not go; Myself am centre of my circling thought, Only myself I study, learn, and know.

I know my body's of so frail a kind,

As force without, fevers within can kill: I know the heavenly nature of my mind, But 'tis corrupted both in wit and will:

Yet is she blind and ignorant in all:
I know I'm one of Nature's little kings,
Yet to the least and vilest things am thrall.

I know my life's a pain, and but a span;

I know my sense is mock'd in ev'ry thing: And to conclude, I know myself a man,

Which is a proud, and yet a wretched thing.


John Donne ward 1573 zu London geboren und zeichnete sich schon so früh durch seine bedeutenden geistigen Fähigkeiten aus, dass er bereits in seinem zwölften Jahre die Universität Oxford besuchen konnte. Von hier ging er nach Cambridge, und widmete sich dann der Rechtswissenschaft; die kirchlichen Streitigkeiten seiner Zeit beschäftigten ihn aber so sehr, dass er ihnen seine ganze Zeit widmete und endlich in Folge seiner Forschungen offen vom Katholicismus zum Protestantismus übertrat. 1596 begleitete er den Grafen von Essex auf der Expedition nach Cadix, machte dann eine grössere Reise durch Spanien und Italien und ward bei seiner Heimkehr Secretair des Lord Kanzlers Egerton. Später trat er in den geistlichen Stand, wurde Caplan des Königs, dann Prediger der Gesellschaft von Lincolns-Inn und zuletzt Dechant von St. Paul. Er starb am 31. März 1631 und ward in der Kathedrale begraben, wo man ihm auch ein Monument errichtete. Seine poetischen Werke erschienen zuerst London 1633 in 4. und wurden später öfter und in verschiedenem Format wieder aufgelegt. Sie enthalten Satyren, Elegieen, Epigramme, Lieder, Sonette u. s. W. Er wird gewöhnlich als einer der ersten englischen Satyriker gepriesen, doch sind seine Satyren, welche Pope später überarbeitete, ihnen jedoch dadurch viel von ihrer Originalität raubte, mehr durch meisterhafte Reflectionen als durch Schilderungen bedeutend. Donne besass reiche Phantasie, Scharfsinn, Witz und tiefes Gefühl, aber seine Bilder sind oft zu gehäuft, sein Styl gesucht und dunkel und seine Diction selten correct. Unter seinen lyrischen Poesieen findet sich dagegen viel Gelungenes und Hübsches.

The Storm.

East, west, day, night; and

could onely say,

The south and west winds joyn'd, and, as they If the world had lasted, now it had beene day.


Waves like a rowling trench before them threw.
Sooner than you read this line did the gale,
Like shot, not fear'd till felt, our sailes assaile;
And what at first was call'd a gust, the same
Hath now a stormes, anon a tempest's name.
Jonas! I pitty thee, and curse those men
Who, when the storm rag'd most, did wake thee


Sleepe is paines easiest salve, and doth fullfill
All offices of death except to kill.

But when I wak'd, I saw that I saw not;

Thousands our noyses were, yet we 'mongst all
Could none by his right name but thunder call
Lightning was all our light, and it rain'd more
Than if the sunne had drunke the sea before.
Some coffin'd in their cabbins lye, equally
Griev'd that they are not dead, and yet must dye;
And as sin-burd'ned soules from grave will

At the last day, some forth their cabbins peepe,
And, tremblingly, aske what newes? and doe
hear so

As jealous husbands, what they would not know.

I and the sunne, which should teach me, had Some, sitting on the hatches,, would seeme there,

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Seas into seas throwne we suck in againe : Hearing hath deaf'd our saylors; and if they Knew how to heare, there's none knowes what to say.

Compar'd to these stormes, death is but a qualme,

Hell somewhat lightsome, the Bermud a calme.

Darknesse, Light's eldest brother, his birth-right Claimd o'er this world, and to heaven hath chas'd light.

All things are one; and that one none can be,
Since all formes uniforme deformity
Doth cover; so that wee, except God say
Another Fiat, shall have no more day:
So violent, yet long these furies bee,

The Will.

Before I sigh my last gaspe, let me breath,
Great Love, some legacies; I here bequeath
Mine eyes to Argus, if mine eyes can see,
If they be blinde, then, Love, I give them thee;
My tongue to Fame; to ambassadours mine ears;
To women or the sea, my teares.

Thou, Love, hast taught mee heretofore

By making mee serve her who had twenty more, That I should give to none, but such, as had too much before.

My constancie I to the planets give,
My truth to them, who at the court doe live;
Mine ingenuity and opennesse

To Jesuites; to buffones my pensivenesse;

My silence to any, who abroad hath been,
My money to a capuchin.

Thou, Love! taught'st me, by appointing mee
To love there, where no love receiv'd can be,
Onely to give to such as have an incapacitie.

My faith I give to Roman Catholiques;
All my good works unto the schismaticks

That though thine absense sterve mee I wish Of Amsterdam; my best civility

not thee.

And courtship to an universitie:

My modesty I give to souldiers bare;

My patience let gamester's share.

The Good Morrow.

I wonder, by my troth, what thou, and I
Did, till we lov'd! Were we not wean'd till then,
But suck'd on countrey pleasures chiildishly?
Or snorted we in the seven-sleeper's den?
'Twas so; but thus all pleasures fancies bee.
If ever any beauty I did see,

Which I desir'd, and got, 'twas but a dreame of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking soules,
Which watch not one another out of feare;
For love, all love of other sights controules,
And makes one little roome, an every-where.
Let sea-discovercrs to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other worlds our world have showne,
Let us possesse one world; each hath one, and
is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares,
And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest,
Where can we finde two fitter hemispheares
Without sharp North, without declining West?
Whatever dyes was not mixt equally;

If our two loves be one, or, thou and I

Thou, Love, taught'st mee, by making mee
Love her that holds my love disparity,
Onely to give to those that count my gifts in-

I give my reputation to those

Which were my friends; mine industrie to foes:
To schoolemen I bequeath my doubtfulnesse;
My sicknesse to physitians or excesse;
To Nature, all that I in ryme have writ;
And to my company my wit.
Thou, Love, by making mee adore
Her, who begot this love in mee before,
Taught'st me to make, as though I gave, when
I did but restore.

To him for whom the passing - bell next tolls,
I give my physick books; my written rowles
Of morall counsels, I to Bedlam give;
My brazen medals, unto them which live
In want of bread; to them which passe among
All forraigners, mine English tongue.
Thou, Love, by making mee love one
Who thinkes her friendship a fit portion

Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die. For yonger lovers, dost my gifts thus dispro


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Admit, but not the busied man.

It kill'd mee again, that I who still was true

He which hath businesse, and makes love, doth In life, in my last will should cozen you.

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