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SIR, though (I thank God for it) I do hate
Perfectly all this town; yet there's one state
In all ill things, fo 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:



VER. 1. Yes; thank my ftars!] Two noblemen of taste and learning, the Duke of Shrewsbury and the Earl of Oxford, defired Pope to melt down and caft anew, the weighty bullion of Dr. Donne's Satires; who had degraded and deformed a vast fund of sterling wit and strong fenfe, by the most harsh and uncouth diction. Pope fucceeded in giving harmony to a writer, more rough and rugged than even any of his age, and who profited fottle by the example Spencer had fet, of a moft mufical and mellifluous verfification; far beyond the verfification of Fairfax, who is frequently mentioned as the greateft improver of the harmony of our language The Satires of Hall, written in very fmooth and pleafing 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 very first English Satirift. This, however, was not true in fact; for Sir Thomas Wyatt, of Allington Caftle in Kent, the friend and favourite of Henry VIII. and, as was fuggefted, of Ann Boleyn, was our firft writer of Satire worth notice. But it was not in his numbers only that Donne was reprehenfible. He abounds in falfe thoughts, in far-fought fentiments, in forced unnatural conceits. He was the first corrupter of Cowley. Dryden was the firft who called him a metaphyfical poet. He had a confiderable fhare of learn. ing, and though he entered late into orders, yet he was esteemed a good


YES; thank my stars! 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' Excife and Army in: Catch'd


a good divine. James I. was fo earnest to prefer him in the church, that he even refufed the Earl of Somerset, his favourite, the requeft he earnestly made, of giving Donne an office in the council. In the entertaining account of that conversation, which Ben Jonfon is faid to have held with Mr. Drummond, of Hauthornden in Scotland, in the year 1619, containing his judgments of the English Poets, he speaks thus of Donne, (who was his intimate friend, and had frequently addreffed him in various poems :) "Donne was originally a poet; his grand-father, on the mother's fide, was Heywood the epigrammatit; but for not being undertood, he would perish. He esteemed him the first poet in the world for fome things; his Verfes of the Loft Ochadine, he had by heart; and that paffage of the Calm, that duft and feather, did not flir, all was fo quiet." 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 Jonfon, Cowley, Milton, Addifon, 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. WARTON.

Though like the pestilence, and old-fashion'd love, Ridlingly it catch men, and doth remove

Never, till it be starv'd out; yet their state

Is poor, difarm'd, like Papifts, not worth hate.

One (like a wretch, which at barre judg'd as


Yet prompts him which ftands next, and cannot


And faves his life) gives Idiot Actors means,
(Starving himself,) to live by's labour'd scenes.
As in fome Organs, Puppits dance above,
And bellows pant below, which them do move.
One would move love by rhymes; but witchcraft's


Bring not now their old fears, nor their old harms: 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 still
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 digested, doth these things out-fpue,
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,


T' out



Catch'd like the Plague, or Love, the Lord knows how,
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
Here a lean Bard, whose 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:
In love's, in nature's fpite, the fiege they hold,
And fcorn the flesh, the dev'l, and all but gold.

Thefe 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
Excufe for writing, and for writing ill.

Wretched indeed! but far more wretched





Is he who makes his meal on others wit:
'Tis chang'd, no doubt, from what it was before,


His rank digeftion makes it wit no more;
Senfe, past through him, no longer is the fame;
For food digested takes another name.

I pass o'er all thofe Confeffors and Martyrs
Who live like S-tt-n, or who die like Chartres,
Out-cant old Efdras, or out-drink his heir,
Out-ufure Jews, or Irifhmen out-fwear;



T'out-drink the fea, t' out-fwear the Letanie,
Who with fins all kinds as familiar be

As Confeffors, and for whofe finful fake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell muft make;
Whofe ftrange fins Canonifts could hardly tell
In which Commandment's large receit they dwell.
But thefe punish themfelves. The infolence
Of Cofcus, only, breeds my just offence,

Whom time (which rots all, and makes botches pox,
And plodding on, muft make a calf an ox)
Hath made a Lawyer; which (alas) of late
But scarce a Poet: jollier of this state,
Than are new-bencfic'd Minifters, he throws,
Like nets or lime-twigs, wherefoe'er he 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. Irishmen out-frwear ;] The Original fays,

"out-fwear the Letanie,"


improved by the Imitator into a juft ftroke of Satire. Dr. Donne's is a low allufion to a licentious quibble used at that time by the enemies of the English Liturgy: who, difliking the frequent invocations in the Letanie, called them the taking God's Name in vain, which is the Scripture periphrafis for fwearing. WARBURTON.

VER. 43. Of whofe frange crimes] Such as Sanchez de Matrimonio has minutely enumerated and defcribed. Such Canonifts deferved this animadverfion. In Pafcal's fine Provincial Letters are alfo fome strange and striking examples.


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