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DR. JOHN DONNE,
Dean of ST. PAUL's,
Quid verat & nofmet Lucili fcripta legentes Quaerere, num illius, num rerum dura negârit Verticulos natura magis factos, & euntes Mollius?
THE manly wit of Donne, which was the Character of his genius, fuited beft with Satire; and in this he excelled, tho' he wrote but little; fix fhort poerns being all we find amongst his writings of this fort. Mr. Pope has embellifhed two of them with his wit and harmony. He called it verfifying them because indeed the lines have nothing more of numbers than their being composed of a certain quantity of fyllables. 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 verfe did not want harmony. But, I fuppofe, he took the fermoni propiora of Horace too feriously or rather, was content with the character his master gives of Lucilius,
Emun&tæ naris durus componere verfus.
Having spoken of his Progress of the Soul, let me add, thar Poetry never loft 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 lamented that Mr. Pope did net give us a Paraphrafe, in his manner of the Third, which treats the nobleft fubject not only of This, but perhaps of any fatiric Poet. To fupply this lofs, tho' in a very small degree, I have here inferted it, in the verfification of Dr. Parnell. It will at leaft ferve to fhew the force of Dr. Donne's genius, and of Mr. Pope's; by removing all that was ruftic and shocking in the one, and not being able to reach a fingle grace of the other.
Compaffion checks my fpleen, yet Scorn denies
The tears a paffage thro' my fwelling eyes;
Is not Religion (Heav'n - defcended dame)
When the best Heathens faw by doubtful day? 10
Oh! if thy temper fuch a fear can find, This fear were valour of the nobleft kind.
Dar'st thou provoke, when rebel fouls afpire, 25. Thy Maker's Vengeance, and thy Monarch's Ire? Or live entomb'd in fhips, thy leader's prey, Spoil of the war, the famine, or the fea? In fearch of pearl, in depth of ocean breathe, Or live, exil'd the fun, in mines beneath ?