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Str, though (I thank God for it) I do hate
Perfectly all this town; yet there's one state In all ill things, fo excellently best, That hate towards them, breeds pity towards the rest. Though Poetry, indeed, be such a sin, As, I think, that brings Dearth and Spaniards in:
Ver: 1. Yes; thank my stars!] Two noblemen of taste and learning, the Duke of Shrewsbury and the Earl of Oxford, defired Pope to melt down and cast anew, the weighty bullion of Dr. Donne's Satires ; who had degraded and deformed a valt fund of sterling wit and strong sense, by the most harsh and uncouth diction. Pope succeeded in giving harmony to a writer, more rough and rugged than even any of his age, and who profited fo Áttle by the example Spencer had set, of a moft mufical and mellifluous versification ; far beyond the versification of Fairfax, who is frequently mentioned as the greatest improver of the har. mony of our language The Satires of Hall, written in very smooth and pleasing numbers, preceded those of Donne many years ; for his Virgidemiarum were published, in fix books, in the year 1597 ; in which he calls himself the
first English Satirist. This, however, was not true in fact; for Sir Thomas Wyatt, of Allington Castle in Kent, the friend and favourite of Henry VIII. and, as was fuggefted, of Ann Boleyn, was our first writer of Satire worth notice. But it was not in his' numbers only that Donne was reprehensible. He abounds in false thoughts, in far-fought fentiments, in forced unnatural conceits. He was the first corrupter of Cowley. Dryden was the first who called him a metaphyfical poet. He had a considerable share of learn. ing, and though he entered late into orders, yet he was eleemed
YES; thank my stars! as early as I knew
This Town, I had the sense to hate it too:
5 As who knows Sappho, smiles at other whores.
I grant that Poetry's a crying fin;
a good divine. James I. was so earnest to prefer him in the church, that he even refused the Earl of Somerset, his favourite, the request he earnestly made, of giving Donne an office in the council. In the entertaining account of that con
onversation, which Ben Jonson is said to have held with Mr. Drummond, of Hau. thornden in Scotland, in the year :6:9, containing his judgments of the English Poets, he speaks thus of Donne, (who was his in. timate friend, and had frequently addressed him in various poems :) “ Donne was originally a poct; his grand-father, on the mother's lide, was Heywood the epigrammatilt; but for not being under itood, he would perish. He esteemed him the first poet in the world for some things; his Verses of the Lost Ochadine, he had by heart ; and that passage of the Calm, “that dust and feather, did not flir, all was so quict.” He affirmed, that Donne wrote all his best pieces before he was twenty-five years of age.
Donne was one of our Poets who wrote elegantly in Latin ; as did Ben Jonson, Cowley, Milton, Addison, and Gray. The private character of Donne, the inconvenience he underwent on account of his early marriage, and his remarkable fenfibility of temper, render him very amiable.
Though like the pestilence, and old-fashion'd love,
dead, Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot
read, And saves his life) gives Idiot Actors means, (Starving himself,) to live by's labour'd scenes. As in some Organs, Purpits dance above, And bellows pant below, which them do move. One would move love by rhymes; but witchcraft's
charms Bring not now their old fears, nor their old harms: Rams and slings now are filly battery, Pistolets are the best artillery. And they who write to Lords, rewards to get, Are they not like singers at doors for meat? And they who write, because all write, have still That 'fcuse for writing, and for writing ill.
But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw Others wits fruits, and in his ravenous maw Rankly digested, doth these 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 these do me no harm, nor they which use,
to out-usure Jews, 3
Catch'd like the Plague, or Love, the Lord knows how,
One fings the Fair; but songs no longer move; No rat is rhym'd to death, nor maid to love: 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, some 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 yét Is he who makes his meal on others wit :
30 'Tis chang’d, no doubt, from what it was before, His rank digestion makes it wit no more; Sense, past through him, no longer is the same; For food digelted takes another name.
I pass o'er all those Confessors and Martyrs 35 Who live like S-t-n, or who die like Chartres, Out-cant old Efdras, or out-drink his heir, Out-usure Jews, or Irishmen out-fwear;
Tout-drink the sea, tout-swear the Letanie,
But these punish themselves. The infolence
goes His title of Barrister on ev'ry wench, And wooes in language of the Pleas and Bench.**
Words, words which would tear The tender labyrinth of a Maid's soft ear:
VER. 38. Irislomen out./rear ;] The Original says,
os out-swear the Letanie," improved by the Imitator into a just stroke of Satire. Dr. Donne's is a low allufion to a licentious quibble used at that time by the enemies of the Engliski Liturgy: who, disliking the frequent invocations in the Letanie, called them the taking God's Name in vain, which is the Scripture periphrafis for Swearing.
WARBURTON Ver. 43. Of whose frange crimes ] Such as Sanchez de Matrimonio has minutely enumerated and described. Such Canonists deserved this animadversion. In Pascal's fine Provincial Letters are also some strange and striking examples.