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THE

SATIRES

OF

DR. JOHN DONNE,
DEAN OF ST. PAUL'S,

VERSIFIED.

Quid vetat et nosmet Lucili scripta legentes
Quærere, num illius, num rerum dura negarit
Versiculos natura magis factos, et euntes
Mollius?

HOR

SATIRE II.

YES, thank my stars ! as early as I knew
This town, I had the sense to hate it too;
Yet here, as ev'n in hell, there must be still
One giant vice so excellently ill,
That all beside one pities, not abhors,

5 As who knows Sappho smiles at other whores.

SATIRE II. SIR, tho' (I thank God for it) I do hate Perfectly all this town, yet there's one state In all things so excellently best, That hate towards them breeds pity towards the rest.

a

I grant that poetry's a crying sin ; It brought (no doubt) the Excise and Army in: Catch'd like the plague, or love, the Lord knows how, But that the cure is starving all allow.

10 Yet like Papists is the poet's state, Poor and disarm’d, and hardly worth your hate!

Here a lean bard, whose wit could never give Himself a dinner, makes an actor live: The thief condemn’d, in law already dead, 15 So prompts and saves a rogue who cannot read. Thus as the pipes of some carv'd organ move, The gilded puppets dance and mount above: Heav'n by th’ breath th' inspiring bellows blow; Th’ inspiring bellows lie and pant below.

20

Tho' poetry, indeed, be such a siu
As I think brings death and Spaniards in ;
Tho', like the pestilence and old-fashion'd love,
Ridlingly it catch men, and doth remove
Never till it be starv'd out; yet their state
Is poor, disarm’d, like Papists, not worth hate :
One (like a wretch, which at bar judg'd as dead,
Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot read,
And saves his life) gives idiot actors means,
(Starving himself) to live by's labour'd scenes.
As in some organs puppets dance above,
And bellows pant below which them do move,

One sings the fair; but songs no longer move;
No rat is rhym'd to death, nor maid to love :
In love's, in Nature's spite, the siege they hold,
And scorn the flesh, the devil, and all but gold.

These write to lords, some mean reward to get, As needy beggars sing at doors for meat: 26 Those write because all write, and so have still Excuse for writing, and for writing ill.

Wretched, indeed! but far more wretched yet Is he who makes his meal on others wit:

30 'Tis chang'd, no doubt, from what it was before; His rank digestion makes it wit no more:

One would move love by rhymes; but witchcraft's

charms Bring not now their old fears nor their old harms. Rams and slings now are silly battery; Pistolets are the best artillery : And they who write to lords rewards to get, Are they not like singers at doors for meat ? And they who write, because all write, have still Th' excuse for writing, and for writing ill. But he is worst who (beggarly) doth chaw Others' wits' fruits, and in his ravenous maw Rankly digested, doth those things out-spue As his own things: and they're his own, 'tis true;

Sense pass'd thro' 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,
Outcant old Esdras, or outdrink his heir,
Outusure Jews, or Irishmen outswear;
Wicked as pages, who in early years
Act sins which Prisca's confessor scarce hears. 40
Ev'n those I pardon, for wbose 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 impu

dence:

For if one my meat, tho' it be known
The meat was mine, th' excrement is his own.
But these do me no harm, nor they which use
To * * * * * * * * * outusure Jews.
T' outdrink the sea, t' outswear the Litany,
Who with sins all kinds as familiar be
As confessors, and for whose sinful sake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make;
Whose strange sins canonists could hardly tell
In which commandment's large receipt they dwell.
But these punish themselves. The insolence
Of Coscus only breeds my just offence,

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.

50
No young divine, 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

55 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 woo in language of the Pleas and Bench? 60

a

Whom time (which rots all, and make botches pox,
And plodding on must make a calf an ox)
Hath made a lawyer which (alas!) of late,
But scarce a poet, jollier of this state
Than are new-benefic'd ministers: he throws,
Like nets or lime-twigs, wheresoe'er he goes,
His title of Barrister on ev'ry wench,
And woos in language of the Pleas and Bench **

Words, words which would tear
The tender labyrinth of a maid's soft ear,

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