« PreviousContinue »
Thou like the dying swan didst lately sing,
I do not like the office; nor is't fit
Commit we then Thee to Thyself, nor blame
So Jewellers no art or metal trust,
AN ELEGY ON DR. DONNE,
BY IZAAC WALTON.
OUR Donne is dead! and we may sighing say,
And I rejoice I am not so severe,
And wonder not; for when so great a loss
Not us'd to upbraid the world, though now it must
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
Did his youth scatter Poetry, wherein Lay Love's Philosophy? was every sin Pictur'd in his sharp Satires, made so foul,
That some have fear'd sin's shapes, and kept their soul
Safer by reading verse; Did he give days,
Past marble monuments, to those whose praise
He would perpetuate? Did he-I fear
But, more matur'd, did his rich soul conceive
Which all devout men love, and doubtless shall,
* "La Corona," a poem, written by Dr. Donne, and consisting of seven holy sonnets, the first line of each sonnet beginning with the last line of the preceding one, the poem beginning and ending with the same line—namely
'Deigne at my hands this crown of prayer and praise."
The subjects are- -Annunciation-Nativitie-Temple-crucifying-Resurrection
† A poem so called, written by Dr. Donne, who, in a letter to his friend, Sir Henry Goodyere, gives this account of it. "Since my imprisonment my bed I have made a meditation in verse, which I call a Litany. The word, you know, imports no other than supplication; but all churches have one form of supplication by that name. Amongst ancient annals, I mean some 800 years, I have met two Litanies in Latin verse, which gave me not the reason of my meditations; for in good faith I thought not upon them, but they give me a defence, if any man to a Layman and a Private impute it as a fault to take such divine and publique names to his own little thoughts." (Letters, &c. p. 32.)
Did he these wonders? and is his dear loss
But sure the silent are ambitious all
Or knowing grief conceiv'd and hid, consumes
Corrupt the brain,-take silence for the way T'enlarge the soul from these walls, mud and clay,— Materials of this body—to remain
With him in heaven, where no promiscuous pain
Dwell on these joys, my thoughts! Oh! do not call Grief back, by thinking on his funeral. Forget he loved me: waste not my swift years, Which haste to David's seventy, fill'd with fears And sorrows for his death: forget his parts, They find a living grave in good men's hearts: And, for my first is daily paid for sin, Forget to pay my second sigh for him: Forget his powerful preaching; and forget I am his convert. Oh my frailty! let My flesh be no more heard; it will obtrude This lethargy so should my gratitude, My vows of gratitude should so be broke Which can no more be, than his virtues, spoke By any but himself: for which cause, I Write no encomiums, but this elegy; Which, as a free-will offering, I here give Fame and the world; and parting with it, grieve
I want abilities fit to set forth
A monument, as matchless as his worth.
April 7, 1631.