Page images
PDF
EPUB

Then fick with Poetry, and poffeft with Muse Thou wast, and mad I hop'd; but men which chufe

Law practice for meer gain; bold foul repute
Worse than imbrothel'd ftrumpets prostitute *.
Now like an owl-like watchman he must walk,
His hand still at a bill; now he must talk
Idly, like prifoners, which whole months will
fwear,

That only furetyship hath brought them there,
And to every fuitor lye in every thing,
Like a King's Favourite-or like a King.
Like a wedge in a block, wring to the barre,
Bearing like affes, and more shameless farre
Than carted whores, lye to the grave Judge; for
Baftardy abounds not in King's titles, nor
Simony and Sodomy in Church-men's lives,
As these things do in him; by these he thrives.

NOTES.

He speaks here of thofe illiberal Advocates who frequent the Bar for mere gain, without any purpofe of promoting or advancing civil juftice; the confequence of which, he tells us, is a flavish attendance, together with a degradation of their parts and abilities. So that when they undertake to excuse the bad conduct of their client, they talk as idly, and are heard with the fame contempt, as debtors, whofe common

65

Curs'd be the wretch, fo venal and fo vain: Paltry and proud, as Drabs in Drury-lane. 'Tis fuch a bounty as was never known, If PETER deigns to help you to your own : What thanks, what praife, if Peter but fupplies! And what a folemn face, if he denies! Grave, as when pris'ners shake the head and swear 'Twas only Suretiship that brought 'em there. 70 His Office keeps your Parchment fates entire, He ftarves with cold to fave them from the fire; For you he walks the streets through rain or dust, For not in Chariots Peter puts his trust; For you he sweats and labours at the laws, Takes God to witness he affects your cause, And lies to ev'ry Lord, in ev'ry thing, Like a King's Favourite—or like a King. These are the talents that adorn them all, From wicked Waters ev'n to godly Not more of Simony beneath black gowns, Nor more of Bastardy in heirs to Crowns. In fhillings and in pence at first they deal And steal fo little, few perceive they steal;

75

80

NOTES.

cant is, that they were undone by Suretyship. The Imitator did not feem to take the fineness of the fatire, or would not have neglected an abuse of this importance, to fall upon fuch paultry things as Peter, and those whom Peter confidered (and fo well ufed) as his patrimony.

Shortly (as th' fea) he'll compafs all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover ftrand.
And spying heirs melting with Luxury,
Satan will not joy at their fins as he:
For (as a thrifty wench fcrapes kitchen-stuffe,
And barrelling the droppings, and the fnuffe
Of wafting candles, which in thirty year,
Reliquely kept, perchance buys wedding chear)
Piecemeal he gets lands, and spends as much time
Wringing each acre, as maids pulling prime.
In parchment then, large as the fields, he draws
Affurances, big as glofs'd civil laws,
So huge that men (in our times forwardness)
Are Fathers of the Church for writing less.
These he writes not; nor for these written payes,
Therefore fpares no length (as in those first dayes
When Luther was profeft, he did defire
Short Pater-nofters, faying as a Fryer
Each day his Beads; but having left those laws,
Adds to Chrift's prayer, the Power and Glory claufe)
But when he fells or changes land, h' impaires
The writings, and (unwatch'd) leaves out fes heires,
As flily as any Commenter goes by
Hard words, or fenfe; or, in Divinity

As controverters in vouch'd Texts, leave out Shrewd words, which might against them clear the doubt.

90

"Till, like the Sea, they compafs all the land, 85
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover strand:
And when rank Widows purchase luscious nights,
Or when a Duke to Jansen punts at White's,
Or City-heir in mortgage melts away;
Satan himself feels far lefs joy than they.
Piecemeal they win this acre first, then that,
Glean on, and gather up the whole estate.
Then strongly fencing ill-got wealth by law,
Indenture, Cov'nants, Articles they draw,
Large as the fields themselves, and larger far 95
Than civil Codes, with all their Gloffes, are;
So vaft, our new Divines, we must confefs,
Are Fathers' of the Church for writing lefs.
But let them write for you, each rogue impairs
The deeds, and dextrously omits, fes heires: 100
No Commentator can more flily pafs

O'er a learn'd, unintelligible place;

Or, in quotation, fhrewd Divines leave out Those words, that would against them clear the doubt.

So Luther thought the Pater-nofter long,
When doom'd to fay his beads and Even-fong;
But having caft his cowle, and left thofe laws,
Adds to Christ's prayer, the Power and Glory clause,

105

NOTES.

VER. 105. So Luther, &c.] Our Poet, by judiciously tranfpofing this fine fimilitude, has given new luftre to his

VOL. IV.

S

Where are these spread woods which cloath'd heretofore

Those bought lands? not built, not burnt within door.

Where the old landlords troops, and almes? In

halls

Carthufian Fafts, and fulfome Bacchanals Equally I hate. Mean's bleft. In rich men's homes I bid kill fome beafts, but no hecatombs ;

NOTES.

Author's thought. The Lawyer (fays Dr. Donne) enlarges his legal inftruments, to the bignefs of glass'd civil Laws, when it is to convey property to himself, and to fecure his own illgot wealth. But let the fame Lawyer convey property to you, and he then omits even the neceffary words; and becomes as concife and loose as the hafty poftils of a modern Divine. So Luther, while a Monk, and by his Inflitution, obliged to fay Mafs, and pray in person for others, thought even his Pater-nofter too long. But when he fet up for a Governor in the Church, and his bufinefs was to direct others how to pray for the fuccefs of his new Model; he then lengthened the Pater-nofter by a new claufe. This reprefentation of the first part of his conduct was to ridicule his want of devotion; as the other, where he tells us, that the addit or was the power and glory claufe, was to fatirize his ambition; and both together, to infinuate that from a Monk, he was become totally fecularized. About this time of his life Dr. Donne had a ftrong propenfity to the Roman Catholic Religion, which appears from feveral ftrokes in thefe Satires. We find amongst his works, a fhort fatirical thing called a Catalogue of rare Books, one article of which is entitled, M. Lutherus de abbreriatione Orationis Dominica, alluding to Luther's omiffion of the concluding Doxology in his two Catechifms; which thews the Poet was fond of his joke. In this catalogue (to intimate

« EelmineJätka »