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Dr. JOHN DONNE,
Dean of ST. PAUL's,
Quid vetat et nofmet Lucili scripta legentes
Quaerere, num illius, num rerum dura negârit
Versiculos natura magis factos, et euntes
THE SATIRES of Dr. Donne.
THE manly Wit of Donne, which was the Character of his genius, suited best with Satire; and in this he excelled, tho' he wrote but little ; fix short poems being all we find amongst his writings of this sort. Mr. Pope has embellished two of them with his wit and harmony. He called it verhifying them, because indeed the lines have nothing more of numbers than their being composed of a certain quantity of syllables. This is the more to be admired, because, as appears by his other poems, and especially from that fine one called the Progress of the Soul, his verse did not want harmony. But, I suppose, he took the sermoni propiora of Horace too seriously : or rather, was content with the character his master gives of Lua cilius,
Emunctae naris durus componere versus. Having spoken of his Progress of the Soul, let me add, that Poetry never lost more than by his not pursuing and finishing that noble Design; of which he has only given us the Introduction, With regard to his Satires, it is almost as much to be lamente ed that Mr. Pope did not give us a Paraphrase, in his manner, of the Third, which treats the noblest subject not only of This, but perhaps of any satiric Poet. To supply this lofs, tho' in a very small degree, I have here inserted it, in the versification of Dr. Parnell. It will at least ferve to shew the force of Dr. Donne’s genius, and of Mr. Pope's; by removing all that was rustic and shocking in the one, and not being able to reach a single grace of the other.
nompassion checks my spleen, yet Scorn denies
U The tears a passage thro' my swelling eyes;
. To laugh or weep at sins, might idly show
Unheedful passion, or unfruitful woe.
Satire! arise, and try thy sharper ways,
If ever Satire cur'd an old disease,
Is not Religion (Heav'n-descended dame)
As worthy all our soul's devouteft fame,
As Moral Virtue in her early sway,
When the best Heathens saw by doubtful day?
Are not the joys, the promis’d joys above,
As great and strong to vanquish earthly love,
As earthly glory, fame, respect, and show,
As all rewards their virtue found below?
Alas ? Religion proper means prepares,
These means are ours, and must its End be theirs ?
And shall thy Father's fpirit meet the sight
Of Heathen Sages cloath'd in heav'nly light,
Whose Merit of strict life, feverely suited
To Reason's dictates, may be faith imputed ?
Whilst thou, to whom he taught the nearer road,
Art ever banish'd from the blest abode.
Oh! if thy temper such a fear can find,
This fear were valour of the noblest kind.
Dar'st thou provoke, when rebel souls aspire,
Thy Maker's Vengeance, and thy Monarch’s Ire?
Or live entomb'd in ships, thy leader's prey,
Spoil of the war, the famine, or the sea ?
In search of pearl, in depth of ocean breathe,
Or live, exil'd the sun, in mines beneath ?
Or, where in tempests icy mountains roll,
Attempt a passage by the Northern pole?
Or dar'st thou parch within the fires of Spain,
Or burn beneath the line, for Indian gain ?
Or for some Idol of thy Fancy draw, : 35
Some loose-gown'd dame ; O courage made of straw!
Thus, desp'rate Coward! would'st thou bold appear,
Yet when thy God has plac'd thee Centry here,
To thy own foes, to bis, ignobly yield,
And leave, for wars forbid, th' appointed field ?
Know thy own foes; th’ Apoftate Angel, he
You strive to please, the foremost of the Three;
He makes the pleasures of his realm the bait,
But can be give for Love, that acts in Hate ?
The World's thy second Love, thy second Foe,
The World, whose beauties perish as they blow,
They fly, she fades herself, and at the best
You grasp a wither'd strumpet to your breast,
The Flesh is next, which in fruition waftes,
High Aush'd with all the sensual joys it tastes,
While men the fair, the goodly Soul destroy,
From whence the flesh has pow'r to taste a joy.
Seekst thou Religion, primitively found
Well, gentle friend, but where may she be found ?
By Faith Implicite blind Ignaro led,
Thinks the bright Seraph from his Country Aled,
And seeks her seat at Rome, because we know
She there was seen a thousand years ago;
And loves her Relick rags, as men obey
The foot-cloth where the Prince fat yesterday.
These pageant Forms are whining Obed's scorn, Who seeks Religion at Geneva born,