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Dr. JOHN DONNE,
Dean of St. PAUL's,
Quid vetat et nosmet Lucil scripta legentes
Τ Η Ε
SATIRES of Dr. Donne.
THE manly Wit of Donne, which was the Character of his genius, fuited best with Satire; and in this he excelled, tho' he wrote but little; fix short poems being all we find amongst his writings of this fort. Mr. Pope has embellished two of them with his wit and harmony. He called it versifying them, because indeed the lines have nothing more of numbers than their being composed of a certain quantity of syllables. 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 verse did not want harmony. But, I fuppose, he took the sermoni propiora of Horace too seriousy: or rather, was content with the character his master gives of Lucilius,
Emunctae naris durus componere versus. Having spoken of his Progress of the Soul, let me add, that Pom etry 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 not give us a Paraphrase, in his manner, of the Third, which treats the noblest subject not only of This, but perhaps of any satiric Poet. To supply this lofs, tho' in a very small degree, I have here inferted it, in the versification of Dr. Parnell. It will at least serve to shew the force of Dr. Donne's genius, and of Mr. Pope's; by removing all that was rustic and shocking in the one, and not being able to reach a single grace of the other. TOmpassion checks my spleen, yet Scorn denies
The tears a passage thro' my swelling eyes;
Is not Religion (Heav'n-descended dame)
Oh! if thy temper such a fear can find, This fear were valour of the noblest kind.
Dar’st thou provoke, when rebel souls aspire, 25 Thy Maker's Vengeance, and thy Monarch's Ire? Or live entomb'd in ships, thy leader's prey, Spoil of the war, the famine, or the sea? In search of pearl, in depth of ocean breathe, Or live, exil'd the sun, in mines beneath?
30 Or, where in tempests icy mountains roll, Attempt a passage by the Northern pole? Or dar'ft thou parch within the fires of Spain, Or burn beneath the line, for Indian gain ?