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able if I might not die'; and after those words, closed many periods of his faint breath by saying often, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.' His speech, which had long been his ready and faithful servant, left him not till the last minute of his life, and then forsook him, not to serve another master-for who speaks like him,—but died before him; for that it was then become useless to him, that now conversed with God on Earth, as Angels are said to do in Heaven, only by thoughts and looks. Being speechless, and seeing Heaven by that illumination by which he saw it, he did, as St. Stephen, 'look stedfastly into it, till he saw the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God his Father'; and being satisfied with this blessed sight, as his soul ascended, and his last breath departed from him, he closed his own eyes, and then disposed his hands and body into such a posture, as required not the least alteration by those that came to shroud him. Thus variable, thus virtuous was the life: thus excellent, thus exemplary was the death of this memorable man.

He was buried in that place of St. Paul's Church, which he had appointed for that use some years before his death ; and by which he passed daily to pay his public devotions to Almighty God-who was then served twice a day by a public form of prayer and praises in that place :—but he was not buried privately, though he desired it; for, beside an unnumbered number of others, many persons of Nobility, and of eminence for Learning, who did love and honour him in his life, did shew it at his death, by a voluntary and sad attendance of his body to the grave, where nothing was so remarkable as a public sorrow.

To which place of his burial some mournful friends repaired, and, as Alexander the Great did to the grave of the famous Achilles, so they strewed his with an abundance of curious and costly flowers; which course, they,-who were never yet known,-continued morning and evening for many days, not ceasing, till the stones, that were taken up in that Church, to give his body admission into the cold earth-now his bed of rest, were again by the mason's art so levelled and firmed as they had been

formerly, and his place of burial undistinguishable to common view.

The next day after his burial, some unknown friend, some one of the many lovers and admirers of his virtue and learning, writ this epitaph with a coal on the wall over his grave:

Reader! I am to let thee know,
Donne's Body only lies below;
For, could the grave his Soul comprise,
Earth would be richer than the Skies!

Nor was this all the honour done to his reverend ashes; for, as there be some persons that will not receive a reward for that for which God accounts himself a debtor; persons that dare trust God with their charity, and without a witness; so there was by some grateful unknown friend, that thought Dr. Donne's memory ought to be perpetuated, an hundred marks sent to his faithful friends1 and executors, towards the making of his monument. It was not for many years known by whom; but, after the death of Dr. Fox, it was known that it was he that sent it; and he lived to see as lively a representation of his dead friend, as marble can express: a statue indeed so like Dr. Donne, that as his friend Sir Henry Wotton hath expressed himself,-'It seems to breathe faintly, and posterity shall look upon it as a kind of artificial miracle.'

He was of stature moderately tall; of a straight and equally-proportioned body, to which all his words and actions gave an unexpressible addition of comeliness.

The melancholy and pleasant humour were in him so contempered, that each gave advantage to the other, and made his company one of the delights of mankind.

His fancy was unimitably high, equalled only by his great wit; both being made useful by a commanding judgment. His aspect was cheerful, and such as gave a silent testimony of a clear knowing soul, and of a conscience at peace with itself.

His melting eye shewed that he had a soft heart, 1 Dr. King and Dr. Montford.

full of noble compassion; of too brave a soul to offer injuries, and too much a Christian not to pardon them in others.

He did much contemplate-especially after he entered into his sacred calling-the Mercies of Almighty God, the Immortality of the Soul, and the Joys of Heaven and would often say in a kind of sacred ecstasy,- Blessed be God that he is God, only and divinely like himself.'

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He was by nature highly passionate, but more apt to reluct at the excesses of it. A great lover of the offices of humanity, and of so merciful a spirit, that he never beheld the miseries of mankind without pity and relief.

He was earnest and unwearied in the search of knowledge, with which his vigorous soul is now satisfied, and employed in a continual praise of that God that first breathed it into his active body: that body, which once was a Temple of the Holy Ghost, and is now become a small quantity of Christian dust :

But I shall see it re-animated.

Feb. 15, 1639.

I. W.



He that would write an Epitaph for thee,
And write it well, must first begin to be
Such as thou wert; for none can truly know
Thy life and worth, but he that hath liv'd so:
He must have Wit to spare, and to hurl down,
Enough to keep the gallants of the town.

He must have Learning plenty; both the Laws,
Civil and Common, to judge any cause.;
Divinity, great store, above the rest,
Not of the last edition, but the best.

He must have Language, Travel, all the Arts,
Judgment to use, or else he wants thy parts.
He must have friends the highest, able to do,
Such as Mecaenas and Augustus too.
He must have such a sickness, such a death,
Or else his vain descriptions come beneath.
He that would write an Epitaph for thee,
Should first be dead ;-let it alone for me.


To have liv'd eminent, in a degree

Beyond our loftiest thoughts, that is, like thee;

Or t'have had too much merit is not safe,

For such excesses find no epitaph.

At common graves we have poetic eyes
Can melt themselves in easy elegies;
Each quill can drop his tributary verse,
And pin it, like the hatchments, to the hearse;
But at thine, poem or inscription-

Rich soul of wit and language-we have none.
Indeed a silence does that tomb befit,
Where is no herald left to blazon it.
Widow'd Invention justly doth forbear
To come abroad, knowing thou art not there
Late her great patron, whose prerogative
Maintain'd and cloth'd her so, as none alive
Must now presume to keep her at thy rate,
Tho' he the Indies for her dower estate.
Or else, that awful fire which once did burn
In thy clear brain, now fallen into thy urn,
Lives there, to fright rude empirics from thence,
Which might profane thee by their ignorance.
Whoever writes of thee, and in a style
Unworthy such a theme, does but revile
Thy precious dust, and wakes a learned spirit,
Which may revenge his rapes upon thy merit :
For, all a low-pitch'd fancy can devise
Will prove at best but hallow'd injuries.

Thou like the dying swan didst lately sing,
Thy mournful dirge in audience of the King;
When pale looks and faint accents of thy breath,
Presented so to life that piece of death,
That it was fear'd and prophesy'd by all
Thou thither cam'st to preach thy funeral.
Oh! had'st thou in an elegiac knell
Rung out unto the world thine own farewell,
And in thy high victorious numbers beat
The solemn measures of thy griev'd retreat,
Thou might'st the Poet's service now have miss'd
As well as then thou didst prevent the Priest;
And never to the world beholden be,
So much as for an epitaph for thee.

I do not like the office; nor is't fit

Thou, who didst lend our age such sums of wit,
Should'st now re-borrow from her bankrupt mine
That ore to bury thee which first was thine:
Rather still leave us in thy debt; and know,
Exalted soul, more glory 'tis to owe
Thy memory what we can never pay,
Than with embased coin those rites defray.

Commit we then thee to thyself, nor blame
Our drooping loves, that thus to thine own fame
Leave thee executor, since but thine own
No pen could do thee justice, nor bays crown
Thy vast deserts; save that we nothing can
Depute, to be thy ashes' guardian.

So Jewellers no art or metal trust,

To form the diamond, but the diamond's dust.


H. K.

Our Donne is dead! and we may sighing say,
We had that man, where language choose to stay,
And shew her utmost power. I would not praise
That, and his great wit, which in our vain days
Make others proud; but as these serv'd to unlock
That cabinet his mind, where such a stock
Of knowledge was repos'd, that I lament
Our just and general cause of discontent.

And I rejoice I am not so severe,
But as I write a line, to weep a tear
For his decease; such sad extremities
Can make such men as I write elegies.

And wonder not; for when so great a loss Falls on a nation, and they slight the cross, God hath raised Prophets to awaken them From their dull lethargy; witness my pen, Not us'd to upbraid the world, though now it must Freely and boldly, for the cause is just.

Dull age! Oh, I would spare thee, but thou'rt worse: Thou art not only dull, but hast a curse

Of black ingratitude; if not, couldst thou

Part with this matchless man, and make no vow

For thee and thine successively to pay

Some sad remembrance to his dying day?


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