« ZurückWeiter »
SAT I R E II.
V ES; thank my stars! as early as I knew
1 This Town, I had the sense to hate it too: Yet here, as ev’n in Hell, there must be still One Giant-Vice, so excellently ill, That all beside, one pities, not abhors; 5 As who knows Sappho, smiles at other whores.
I grant that Poetry's a crying sin; It brought (no doubt) th’ Excise and Army in: Catch'd like the Plague, or Love, the Lord knows
how, But that the cure is starving, all allow. 10 Yet like the Papist's, is the Poet's state, Poor and disarm’d, and hardly worth your hate!
Here a lean Bard, whose wit could never give Himself a dinner, makes an Actor live : The Thief condemn’d, in law already dead, 15 So prompts, and saves a rogue who cannot read. Thus as the pipes of some carv'd Organ move, The gilded puppets dance and mount above. Heav'd by the breath, th’inspiring bellows blow : Th’inspiring bellows lie and pant below. 20
One fings the Fair; but songs no longer move; No rat is rhym'd to death, nor maid to love;
Rams, and flings now are silly battery, .
But he is worst, who beggarly doth chaw
But these do me no harm, nor they which use, .......... to out-usure Jews, T'out-drink the sea, t' out-swear the Letanie, Who with fins all kinds as familiar be As Confessors, and for whose finful fake Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make; Whose strange fins Canonists could hardly tell In which Commandment's large receit they dwell.
"out-swear the Letanie.” improved by the Imitator into a just stroke of Satire. Dr. Donne's is a low allusion to a licentious quibble used at that time by the enemies of the English Liturgy; who disliking the
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. 26 Those write because all write, and so have still Excuse for writing, and for writing ill.
Wretched indeed! but far more wretched yet 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 thro' him, no longer is the same; For food digested takes another name.
I pass o'er all those Confessors and Martyrs 35 Who live like S-tt-n, or who die like Chartres, Out-cant old Efdras, or out-drink his heir, Out-usure Jews, or Irishmen out-swear; Wicked as Pages, who in early years Act sins which Prisca's Confessor scarce hears. 40 Ev’n those I pardon, for whose sinful fake Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make ; Of whose strange crimes no Canonist can tell InwhatCommandment's largecontents they dwell.
NOTE s. frequent invocations in the Letanie, called them the taking God's Name in vain, which is the Scripture periphrasis for swearing.
VER. 44. In what Commandment's large contents they dwell.] The Original is more humorous;
" In which Commandment's large receit they dwell.”
But these punish themselves. The infolence Of Cofcus, only, breeds my just offence, Whom time (which rots all, and makes botches
рох, And plodding on, must make a calf an ox) Hath made a Lawyer ; which (alas) of late ; But scarce a Poet: jollier of this state, Then are new-benefic'd Ministers, he throws, Like nets or lime-twigs, wherefoe'er he goes His title of Barrister on ev'ry wench, And woes in language of the Pleas and Bench. **
Words, words which would tear The tender labyrinth of a Maid's soft ear : More, more than ten Sclavonians scolding, more Than when winds in our ruin'd Abbyes roar.
NOTES. As if the Ten Commandments were so wide, as to stand ready to receive every thing within them, that either the Law of Nature, or the Gospel, enjoins. A just ridicule on those practical Commentators, as they are called, who include all moral and religious duties within the Decalogue. Whereas their true original sense is much more confined ; being a short fummary of moral duty fitted for a single people, upon a particular ofcalion, and to serve transitory ends.
Ver.61. Language, which Boreas ] The Criginal has here a very fine stroke of Satire,
« Than when winds in our ruin'd Abbyes roar."
One, one man only breeds my juft offence; 45 Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth gave im
pudence: Time, that at last matures a clap to pox, Whofe gentle progrefs makes a calf an ox, And brings all natural events to pass, Hath made him an Attorney of an Ass. No young Divine, new-benefic'd, can be More pert, more proud, more positive than he. What further could I wish the fop to do, But turn a wit, and scribble verses too; Pierce the foft lab'rinth of a Lady's ear 55 With rhymes of this per cent. and that per year? Or court a Wife, spread out his wily parts, Like nets, or lime-twigs, for rich Widows hearts; Call himself Barrister to ev'ry wench, And wooe in language of the Pleas and Bench? 60 Language, which Boreas might to Auster hold More rough than forty Germans when they scold.
NOTE s. The frauds with which that work (so necessary for the welfare both of religion and the state) was begun; the rapine with which it was carried on; and the disoluteness in which the plunder arising from it was wasted, had scandalized all sober men; and disposed some even of the best Protestants to wish, that some part of that immense wealth, arising from the fup. pression of the Monasteries, had been reserved for charity, hospitality, and even for the service of religion.