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'Tis chang'd, no doubt, from what it was before,
His rank digestion makes it wit no more:
Sense, past through him, no longer is the same;
For food digested takes another name.
I pass o'er all those Confessors and Martyrs 35
Who live like S-tt-n, or who die like Chartres,
Out-cant old Esdras, or out-drink his heir,
Out-usure Jews, or Irishmen out-swear;
Wicked as Pages, who in early years
Act sins which Prisca's Confessor scarce hears. 40
Ev'n those I pardon, for whose sinful sake
Schoolmen new tenements in Hell must make
Of whose strange crimes no Canonist can tell
In what Commandment's large contents they dwell.
One, one man only breeds my just offence:
Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth gave im-
Time, that at last matures a clap to pox,
Whose gentle progress makes a calf an ox,
And brings all natural events to pass,
Hath made him an Attorney of an Ass.
As if the Ten Commandments were so wide, as to stand ready to receive every thing within them, that either the Law of Nature, or the Gospels, enjoin. A just ridicule on those practical Commentators, as they are called, who include all moral and religious duties within the Decalogue. Whereas their true original sense is much more confined; being a short summary of moral duty fitted for a single people, upon a particular occasion, and to serve temporary ends. W.
Ver. 48. makes a calf an ox,] An unaccountable blunder in our Author. As if an ox was in his natural state.
Than are new-benefic'd Ministers, he throws,
Like nets or lime-twigs, wheresoe'r he goes
His title of Barrister on ev'ry wench,
And wooes in language of the pleas and Bench.**
Words, words which would tear
The tender labyrinth of a Maid's soft ear:
More, more than ten Sclavonians scolding, more
Than when winds in our ruin'd Abbyes roar.
Then sick with Poetry, and possest with Muse
Thou wast, and mad I hop'd; but men which choose
Law practice for mere gain; bold soul repute
Worse than imbrothel'd strumpets prostitute.
Now like an owl-like watchman he must walk,
His hand still at a bill; now he must talk
Idly, like prisoners, which whole months will swear,
That only suretyship hath brought them there,
And to every suitor 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 asses, and more shameless farre
Ver. 61. Language, which Boreas-] The Original has here a very fine stroke of Satire,
"Than when winds in our ruin'd Abbyes roar."
The frauds with which that work (so necessary for the welfare both of religion and the state) was begun; the rapine with which it was carried on; and the dissoluteness in which the plunder arising from it was wasted, had scandalized all sober men; and disposed some even of the best Protestants to wish, that some part of that immense wealth, arising from the suppression of the Monasteries, had been reserved for charity, hospitality, and even for the service of religion. W.
Ver. 78. Like a King's Favourite] A line from the Original, as
young Divine, new-benefic'd, can be
More pert, more proud, more positive than he.
What further could I wish the fop to do,
But turn a wit, and scribble verses too;
Pierce the soft lab'rinth of a Lady's ear
With rhymes of this per cent. and that per year?
Or court a Wife, spread out his wily parts,
Like nets, or lime-twigs, for rich Widows' hearts;
Call himself Barrister to ev'ry wench,
And wooe in language of the Pleas and Bench?
Language which Boreas might to Auster hold 61
More rough than forty Germans when they scold.
Curs'd be the wretch, so venal and so vain :
Paltry and proud, as Drabs in Drury-lane.
'Tis such a bounty as was never known,
If PETER deigns to help you to your own:
What thanks, what praise, if Peter but supplies!
And what a solemn face, if he denies!
Grave, as when pris'ners shake the head and swear
'Twas only Suretyship that brought them there. 70
His Office keeps your Parchment fates entire,
He starves with cold to save 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.
also line 60; which shews that Donne, if he had properly attend
ed to it, could have written harmoniously.
Than carted whores, lie to the grave Judge; for
Bastardy abounds not in the King's titles, nor
Simony and Sodomy in Church-men's lives,
As these things do in him; by these he thrives.
Shortly (as th' sea) he'll compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover strand.
And spying heirs melting with Luxury,
Satan will not joy at their sins as he :
For (as a thrifty wench scraps kitchen-stuffe,
And barrelling the droppings, and the snuffe,
Of wasting candles, which in thirty year,
Reliquely kept, perchance buys wedding chear)
Piecemeal he gets lands, and spends as much
Wringing each acre, as maids pulling prime.
In parchment then, large as the fields, he draws
Assurances, big as gloss'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 spares no length (as in those first dayes
When Luther was profest, he did desire
Short Pater-nosters, saying as a Fryar
Ver. 105. So Luther, &c.] Our Poet, by judiciously transposing this fine similitude, has given new lustre to his Author's thought. The Lawyer (says Dr. Donne) enlarges his legal instruments, to the bigness of gloss'd civil Laws, when it is to convey property to himself, and to secure his own ill-got wealth. But let the same Lawyer convey property to you, and he then omits even the necessary words; and becomes as concise and loose as the hasty postils of a modern Divine. So Luther, while
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 shillings and in pence at first they deal;
And steal so little, few perceive they steal;
Till like the Sea, they compass all the land,
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 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 Glosses, are;
So vast, our new Divines, we must confess,
Are Fathers of the Church for writing less.
But let them write for you, each rogue impairs
The deeds, and dextrously omits, ses heires:
No commentator can more slily 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-noster long,
When doom'd to say his beads and Even-song;
a Monk, and by his Institution, obliged to say Mass, and pray in person for others, thought even his Pater-noster too long. But