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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. 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, And which the poor rude satyr did admire,
This dying sparkle, in this cloudy place, And needs would kiss, but burnt his lips with it. Can recollect these beams of knowledge clear,
Which were infus'd in the first minds by grace? What is it? but the cloud of empty rain, Which when Jove's guest embrac'd, he mon- So might the heir, whose father hath, in play,
Wasted a thousand pounds of ancient rent, Or the false pails, which oft being fill’d with By painful earning of one groat a day,
Hope to restore the patrimony spent.
If ought can teach us ought, affliction's looks, Which the youth sought, and sought his death
(Making us pry into ourselves so near) withal ?
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; And yet, alas ! when all our lamps are burn'd, Our bodies wasted, and our spirits spent,
Hath made my sences quick, and reason clear;
Reform'd my will, and rectify'd my thought. When we have all the learned volumes turn'd Which yield men's wits both help and orna
So do the winds and thunders cleanse the air:
So working seas settle and purge the wine : What can we know, or what can we discern,
So lopp'd and pruned trees do flourish fair :
So doth the fire the drossy gold refine.
Neither Minerva, nor the learned Muse,
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; Yet is she blind and ignorant in all : Myself am centre of my circling thought, I know I'm one of Nature's little kings, Only myself I study, learn, and know.
Yet to the least and vilest things am thrall.
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:
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.
East, west, day, night; and I could onely say, The south and west winds joyn'd, and, as they If the world had lasted, now it had beene day.
Thousands our noyses were, yet we 'mongst all Waves like a rowling trench before them threw. Could none by his right name but thunder call Sooner than you read this line did the gale, Lightning was all our light, and it rain'd more Like shot, not fear'd till felt, our sailes assaile; Than if the sunne had drunke the sea before. And what at first was call'd a gust, the same Some coffin'd in their cabbins lye, equally Hath now a stormes, anon a tempest's name. Griev'd that they are not dead, and yet must dye; Jonas ! I pitty thee, and curse those men And as sin - burd'ned soules from grave will Who, when the storm rag'd most, did wake thee
At the last day, some forth their cabbins peep e, Sleepe is paines easiest salve, and doth fullfill And, tremblingly, aske what newes? and doe All offices of death except to kill.
hear so But when I wak’d, I saw that I saw not; 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,
With hideous gazing, to feare away Feare :
There note they the ship's sicknesses, the mast
Before I sigh my last gaspe, let me breath,
Mine eyes to Argus, if mine eyes can see, As from one hang'd in chaines a yeere ago :
If they be blinde, then, Love, I give them thee; Even our ordinance, plac'd for our defence, My tongue to Fame; to ambassadours mine ears; Strive to breake loose, and 'scape away from To women or the sea, my teares.
| Thou, Love, hast taught mee heretofore Pumping hath tir'd our men, and what's the By making nee serve her who had twenty more,
That I should give to none, but such, as had Seas into seas throwne we suck in againe :
too much before. Hearing hath deafʼd our saylors; and if they Knew how to heare, there's none knowes what
My constancie I to the planets give,
My truth to them, who at the court doe live; Compar'd to these stormes, death is but a
Mine ingenuity and opennesse
To Jesuites; to buffones my pensivenesse;
her, his birth-right My silence to any, who abroad hath been Claimd o'er this world, and to heaven hath
My money to a capuchin. chas'd light.
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
And courtship to an universitie:
Thou, Love, taught'st mee, by making mee
Love her that holds my love disparity,
dignity. But suck'd on countrey pleasures chiildishly? Or snorted we in the seven-sleeper's den? 'Twas so; but thus all pleasures fancies bee.
I give my reputation to those
Which were my friends; mine industrie to foes: If ever any beauty I did see,
To schoolemen I bequeath my doubtfulnesse; Which I desir'd, and got, 'twas but a dreame
My sicknesse to physitians or excesse; of thee.
To Nature, all that I in ryme have writ; And now good-morrow to our waking soules, And to my company my wit. Which watch not one another out of feare; Thou, Love, by making mee adore For love, all love of other sights controules, Her, who begot this love in mee before, And makes one little roome, an every-where. Taught'st me to make, as though I gave, when Let sea-discovercrs to new worlds have gone,
I did but restore. Let maps to other worlds our world have showne, Let us possesse one world; each hath one, and
To him for whom the passing - bell next tolls,
I give my physick books; my written rowles My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares, Of morall counsels, I to Bedlam give; And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest, My brazen medals, unto them which live Where can we finde two fitter hemispheares In want of bread; to them which passe among Without sharp North, without declining West? All forraigners, mine English tongue. Whatever dyes was not mixt equally;
Thou, Love, by making mee love one If cur two loves be one, or, thou and I
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
Therefore I'll give no more, but I'll undoe
Love's Deitie. The world by dying'; because Love dies too. Then all your beauties will bee no moore worth Who dyed before the god of love was borne :
I long to talke with some old lover's ghost, Then gold in mines, where none doth draw it
I cannot thinke that hee, who then lov'd most,
Sunke so low, as to love one which did scorne: And all your graces no more use shall have
But since this god produc'd a destinie, Then a sun dyal in a grave.
And that vice-nature, custome, lets it be,
I must love her, that loves not mee:
Sure, they which made him god, meant not so late all three.
Only his subject was; it cannot bee
Love, till I love her that loves mee.
But every moderne god will now extend
His vast prerogative as far as Jove,
To rage, to lust, to write to, to commend,
Oh! were wee wakned by this tyrannie
To ungod this child againe, it could not bee. Warm’d by thy eyes more than the sunne;
I should love her, who loves not mee.
Rebell and Atheist too, why murmure I,
As though I felt the worst that love could doe? When thou wilt swimme in that live bath,
Love may make me leave loving, or might trie Each fish, which every channell hath,
A deeper plague, to make her love mee too, Will amorously to thee swimme,
Which, since she loves before, I am loth to see Gladder to catch thee, than thou him. Falsehood is worse than hate; and that must bee,
If shee whom I love, should love mee.
Breake of Day.
"Tis true, 't is day, what though it be? And cut their legges, with shells and weeds, O! wilt thou therefore rise from me? Or treacherously poore fish beset
Why should we rise, because 't is light? With strangling snare or windowie net. Did we lie down, because 't was night?
Love which, in spight of darkness, brought us Let coarse bold hands, from slimy nest
hitler, The bedded fish in banks out-wrest,
Should, in despight of light keepe us together.
If it could speake as well as spie,
And that I lov'd my heart and honor so,
That I would not from him, that had them, go.
Must businesse thee from hence remove?
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.
But colours it and corners had,
As good as could be made by art
It seem'd, and therefore for our losses sad,
I meant to send this heart in stead of mine; Send home my long strayd eyes to mee
But oh, no man could hold it, for't was thine.
Sweetest Love, I do not goe
For wearinesse of thee
Nor in hope the world can show
But since that I
Must dye at last, it is best, Of protestings
To use myselfe in jest
Thus by fain'd death to dye.
Yesternight the sunne went hence,
And yet is here to-day, Yet send me back my heart and eyes,
He hath no desire nor sense, That I may know, and see thy lyes,
Nor halfe so short a way: And may laugh and joy, when thou
Then feare not mee, Art in anguish
But beleeve that I shall make And dost languish
Speedier journeyes, since I take
More wings and spurres then hee.
O how feeble is man's power,
But come bad chance,
And wee joine to it our strength,
And wee teach it art and length,
Itselfe or us t' advance.
When thou sigh'st, thou sigh’st not winde, I can remember yet, that I,
But sigh’st my soule away,
It cannot bee
That thou lov'st mee, as thou say'st: I heard mee say, Tell her anon
If in thine my life thou waste,
That art the best of mee.
Let not thy divining heart
Forethinke me any ill, When I had ripp'd me and search'd where hearts Destiny may take thy part,
And may thy feares fulfill;