Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

80

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 Baftardy in heirs to Crowns.
In Shillings and in pence at first they deal;
And steal fo little, few perceive they steal;
Till like the Sea, they compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover ftrand:
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 less 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
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 dextroufly omits, fes heires :
No Commentator can more flily pafs

85

90

95

100

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,

105

When doom'd to fay his beads and Even-fong;

But

NOTES.

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

[blocks in formation]

Each day his Beads; but having left thofe laws,
Adds to Christ's prayer, the Power and Glory clause);
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.

Where are thefe fpread woods which cloath'd

heretofore

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

NOTES.

thought. The Lawyer (fays Dr. Donne) enlarges his legal instruments, to the bigness of glofs'd civil Laws, when it is to convey property to himself, and to fecure his own ill-got 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 Inftitution, obliged to fay Mass, 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 representation of the first part of his conduct was to ridicule his want of devotion; as the other, where he tells us, that the addition 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 these Satires. We find amongst his works, a short fatirical thing called a Catalogue of rare Books, one article of which is intitled, M. Lutherus de abbreviatione Orationis Dominica, alluding to Luther's omiffion of the concluding Doxology in his two Catechifms; which fhews the Poet was fond of his joke. In this catalogue (to intimate his fentiments of Reformation) he puts Erasmus

and

But having cast his cowl, and left those laws,
Adds to Chrift's prayer, the Power and Glory claufe.
The lands are bought; but where are to be found
Those ancient woods that fhaded all the ground? 110
We fee no new-built palaces afpire,

No kitchens emulate the vestal fire.

Where are those troops of Poor, that throng'd of

yore

The good old landlord's hofpitable door?

Well, I could wish, that still in lordly domes

115

Some beasts were kill'd, tho' not whole hecatombs ;

NOTES.

That

and Reuchlin in the rank of Lully and Agrippa. I will only obferve, that it was written in imitation of Rabelais's famous Catalogue of the Library of St. Vidor, one of the fineft paffages in that extravagant Satire, which was the Manual of the Wits of this time. It was natural therefore to think, that the Catalogue of the Library of St. Vidor would become, as it did, the fubject of many imitations. The best of which are this of Dr. Donne's, and one of Sir Thomas Brown's.-Dr. Donne afterwards took orders in the church of England. We have a large volume of his fermons in the false taste of that time. But the book which made his fortune was his Pfeudo martyr, to prove that Papists ought to take the oath of allegiance. In this book, though Hooker had then written his Ecclefiaftical Policy, he has approved himself entirely ignorant both of the Origin and End of Civil Government. In the 168th page, and elsewhere, he holds, that when men congregate to form the body of Civil Society, then it is, that the foul of Society, SOVEREIGN POWER, is fent into it immediately from God, just as he fends the foul into the human embryo, when the two fexes propagate their kind. In the 191ft page, and elsewhere, he maintains that the office of the civil Sovereign extends to the care of Souls. For this abfurd and blafphemous trash, James I. made him Dean of St. Paul's; all the wit and fublimity of his genius having never enabled him to get bread throughout the better part of his life.

W.

Where the old landlords troops, and almes? In halls Carthufian Fafts, and fulfome Bacchanals

Equally I hate. Means bleft.

I bid kill fome beasts. but no

None starve, none furfeit fo.

In rich men's homes hecatombs ;

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 ftatutes jaws.

NOTES.

VER. 121. These as good works, &c.] Dr. Donne fays, "But (oh) we allow

Good works as good, but out of fashion now."

The popish doctrine of good works was one of those abuses in Religion which the Church of England condemns in its Articles. To this the Poet's words fatirically allude. And having throughout this fatire given feveral malignant ftrokes at the Reformation, which it was penal, and then very dangerous to abuse, he had reafon to befpeak the Reader's candor, in the concluding lines, "But my words none draws Within the vast reach of th' huge ftatutes jaws."

W.

That both extremes were banish'd from their walls, Carthufian fafts, and fulfome Bacchanals;

And all mankind might that juft Mean obferve,

121

In which none e'er could furfeit, none could starve.
These as good works, 'tis true, we all allow,
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 faid, I truft, without offence;
Let no Court Sychophant pervert my sense,
Nor fly Informer watch these words to draw
Within the reach of Treafon, or the Law,

126

NOTES.

VER. 125. Thus much I've faid,] These three additional lines are redundant. And two ftrong epithets in the last line of Donne, vaft and huge, were too emphatical to be omitted.

« PredošláPokračovať »