Page images

These he writes not; nor for these written

payes, Therefore spares no length (as in those first dayes When Luther was profest, he did desire Short Pater-nosters, saying as a Fryer Each day his Beads; but having left those laws, Adds to Christ's

prayer, the power and glory clause) But when he sells or changes land, h’impaires The writings, and (unwatch’d) leaves out, ses heires, As sily as any Commenter goes by Hard words, or sense; or, in Divinity As controverters in vouch'd Texts, leave out Shrewd words, which might against them clear the

doubt. Where are these spread woods which cloath'd

heretofore Those bought lands? not built, not burntwithin door.

NOTES. VER. 104. So Luther etc.] Our Poet, by judiciously trans, posing this tine fimilitude, has given new lustre to his Author's thought. The Lawyer (says Dr. Donne) enlarges the legal instruments for conveying property to the bigness of gloss'd civil Laws, when it is to secure his own ill-got wealth. But let the fame Lawyer convey property for you, and he then omits even the necessary words; and becomes as concise and hasty as the loose postils of a modern Divine. So Luther' while a Monk, and, by his Institution, obliged to say Mass, and pray in person for others, thought even his Pater-noster too long. But when he set up for a Governor in the Church, and his business was to direởt others how to pray for the success of his new Model; he then lengthened the Pater nofter by a new clause. This




But let them write for


each rogue impairs The deeds, and dextrously omits, ses heires : No Commentator can more flily pass O'er a learn'd, unintelligible place; Or, in quotation, shrewd Divines leave out Those words, that would against them clear the

doubt. So Luther thought the Pater-nofter long, When doom'd to say his beads and Even-song; 105 But having cast his cowle, and left those laws, Adds to Christ's pray’r, the Pow'r and Glory clause.

The lands are bought; but where are to be found Those ancient woods, that shaded all the ground? We see no new-built palaces aspire, No kitchens emulate the veftal fire.


NOTE s. representation of the first part of his conduct was to ridicule his want of devotion; as the other, where he teils us, that the addition was the power and glory clause, was to satirize his ambition; and both together to infinuate that, from a Monk, he was become totally secularized.- About this time of his life Dr. Donne had a strong propensity to Popery, which appears from several strokes in these fatires. We find amongst his works, a short satirical thing called a Catalogue of rare books, one article of which is intitled, M. Lutherus de abbreviatione Orationis Dominica, alluding, to Luther's omission of the concluding Doxology, in his two Catechismes, which shews he was fond of the joke; and, in the first instance (for the sake of his moral) at the expence of truth. As his putting Erasmus and Reuchlin in the rank of Lully and Agrippa fhews what were

Where the old landlords troops, and almes? In halls

Carthusian Fasts, and fulsome Bacchanals

Equally I hate. Mean’s bleft. In rich men's homes

I bid kill some beasts, but no hecatombs ;

None ftarve, none surfeit so. But (oh) we allow

Good works as good, but out of fashion now,

Like old rich wardrobes. But my words none draws

Within the vast reach of th' huge statutes jawes.


then his sentiments of Reformation. I will only obferve, that this Catalogue was written in imitation of Rabelais's famous Catalogue of the Library of St. Vietor. It is one of the finest strokes in that extravagant satire (which was then the Manual of the Wits) and so became the subject of much imitation; the best of which are this of Dr. Donne's and one of Sir Thomas Brown's. VER. 120. These as good works, etc.) Dr. Donne says,

But (oh) we allow Good works as good, but out of fashion now. The popish Doctrine of good works was one of those abuses of Religion which the Church of England condemns in its Articles, To this the Poet's words satirically allude.

And having

Where are those troops of Poor, that throng'dof

yore The good old landlord's hospitable door? Well, I could wish, that still in lordly domes Some beasts were kill'd, tho'not whole hetacombs; That both extremes were banilh'd from their walls, Carthusian fasts, and fulsome Bacchanals; And all mankind might that just Mean observe, In which none e'er could surfeit, none could starve, These as good works, 'tis true, we all allow; 120 But oh! these works are not in fashion now: Like rich old wardrobes, things extremely rare, Extremely fine, but what no man will wear.

Thus much I've said, I trust, without offence; Let no Court Sycophant pervert my sense, 125 Nor fly Informer watch these words to draw Within the reach of Treason, or the Law,

NOTES. throughout this fatire had several flings at the Reformation, which it was penal, and then very dangerous, to accuse, he had reason to bespeak the Reader's candor, in the concluding words,

Bụt my words none draws Within the vast reach of th' huge statutes jawes. Ver. 127. Trcafon, or the Law.] By the Law is here meant the Lawyers.


ELL; I may now receive, and die. My fin
Indeed is great, but yet I have been in


A Purgatory, such as fear'd hell is

A recreation, and scant


of this,

My mind, neither with pride’s itch, nor hath been

Poyson’d with love to see or to be seen,

I had no suit there, nor new suit to show,

Yet went to Court; but as Glare which did


Ver. 1. Well, if it be etc.] Donne says,

Well; I may now receive and die. which is very indecent language on so ludicrous an occasion,

VER. 3. I die in charity with fool and knave,] We verity think he did. But of the immediate cause of his departure hence there is some small difference between his Friends and Enemies. His family suggests that a general decay of nature, which had been long coming on, ended with a Dropsy in the breast. The Gentlemen of the Dunciad maintain, that he fell by the keen pen of our redoubtable Laureat. We ourselves should be inclined to this latter opinion, for the sake of ornamenting his story; and that we might be able to say, that he died, like his immortal namesake, Alexander the Great, by a drug of so deadly cold a nature, that, as Plutarch and other

« EelmineJätka »