Page images
PDF
EPUB

And swiftly shoot along the mall,
Or softly glide by the canal;
Now shown by Cynthia's silver ray,
And now on rolling waters snatch'd away.

BOOK IV. ODE IX.

A FRAGMENT.

LEST

you

should think that verse shall die Which sounds the silver Thames along, Taught on the wings of truth to fly

Above the reach of vulgar song:

Though daring Milton sits sublime,

In Spenser native Muses play; Nor yet shall Waller yield to time,

Nor pensive Cowley's moral lay

Sages and chiefs long since had birth

Ere Cæsar was, or Newton named; These raised new empires o'er the earth,

And those new heavens and systems framed.

Vain was the chief's the sage's pride!
They had no poet, and they died.
In vain they schemed, in vain they bled !
They had no poet, and are dead.

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 negârit
Versiculos natura magis factos, et euntes
Mollias?

Hor.

1

[ocr errors]

in :

SATIRE II. YES, thank my stars! as early as I knew This town, I had the sense to hate it too ; Yet here, as e'en in Hell, there must be still One giant-vice, so excellently ill, That all beside one pities, not abhors: As who knows Sappho, smiles at other whores.

I grant that poetry's a crying sin; It brought (no doubt) the excise and army Catch'd like the plague, or love, the Lord knows But that the cure is starving, all allow; [how, Yet like the papist's 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, So prompts and

saves a rogue who cannot read. Thus as the pipes of some carved organ move, The gilded puppets dance and mount above :

[ocr errors]

a

Heaved by the breath the inspiring bellows blow; The' inspiring bellows lie and pant below.

One sings the fair; but songs no longer move; No rat is rhymed 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: 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: 'Tis changed, no doubt, from what it was before; His rank digestion makes it wit no more: Sense pass’d through him no longer is the same; For food digested takes another name. I pass

o'er all those confessors and martyrs, 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. E’en 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 impuTime, that at last matures a clap to pox; [dence: Whose gentle progress makes a calf an ox, And brings all natural events to pass, Hath made him an attorney of an ass. No young divine, new-beneficed, can be More pert, more proud, more positive, than he.

[ocr errors]

a

What further could I wish the fop to do,
But turn a wit, and scribble verses too?
Pierce the soft labyrinth 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 every wench,
And woo in language of the Pleas and Bench?
Language which Boreas might to Auster hold,
More rough than forty Germans when they scold.

Cursed 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 prisoners shake the head, and

swear

'Twas only suretyship that brought them there.
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 every lord in every thing,
Like a king's favourite-or like a king.
These are the talents that adorn them all,
From wicked Waters even 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 ;

[ocr errors][merged small]

Till, like the sea, they compass all the land,
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Doverstrand:
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,
Indentures, covenants, 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 dexterously 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 Paternoster long,
When doom'd to say his beads and even-song;
But having cast his cowl, and left those laws,
Adds to Christ's prayer,the power 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 vestal fire.
Where are those troops

of

poor, that throng'd of The good old landlord's hospitable door? [yore Well I could wish that still, in lordly domes, Some beasts were kill'd, though not whole heca

tombs;

а

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »