Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IN MEMORY OF DOCTOR DONNE, by R. B.

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First Line: Donne dead? 'tis here reported true, though I
Last Line: And now beleeve that miracles are ceas'd.
Subject(s): Donne, John (1572-1631); Poetry & Poets

Donne dead? 'Tis here reported true, though I
Ne'r yet so much desir'd to heare a lye,
'Tis too too true, for so wee finde it still,
Good newes are often false, but seldome, ill:
But must poore fame tell us his fatall day,
And shall we know his death, the common way,
Mee thinkes some Comet bright should have foretold
The death of such a man, for though of old
'Tis held, that Comets Princes death foretell,
Why should not his, have needed one as well?
Who was the Prince of wits, 'mongst whom he reign'd,
High as a Prince, and as great State maintain'd?
Yet wants he not his signe, for wee have seene
A dearth, the like to which hath never beene,
Treading on harvests heeles, which doth presage
The death of wit and learning, which this age
Shall finde, now he is gone; for though there bee
Much graine in shew, none brought it forth as he,
Or men are misers; or if true want raises
The dearth, then more that dearth Donnes plenty praises.
Of learning, languages, of eloquence,
And Poesie, (past rauishing of sense,)
He had a magazine, wherein such store
Was laid up, as might hundreds serve of poore.
But he is gone, O how will his desire
Torture all those that warm'd them by his fire?
Mee thinkes I see him in the pulpit standing,
Not eares, or eyes, but all mens hearts commanding,
Where wee that heard him, to our selves did faine
Golden Chrysostome was alive againe;
And never were we weari'd, till we saw
His houre (and but an houre) to end did draw.
How did he shame the doctrine-men, and use,
With helps to boot, for men to beare th'abuse
Of their tir'd patience, and endure th'expence
Of time, O spent in hearkning to non-sense,
With markes also, enough whereby to know,
The speaker is a zealous dunce, or so.
'Tis true, they quitted him, to their poore power,
They humm'd against him; And with face most sowre
Call'd him a strong lin'd man, a Macaroon,
And no way fit to speake to clouted shoone,
As fine words [truly] as you would desire,
But [verily,] but a bad edifier.
Thus did these beetles slight in him that good,
They could not see, and much lesse understood.
But we may say, when we compare the stuffe
Both brought; He was a candle, they the snuffe.
Well, Wisedome's of her children justifi'd,
Let therefore these poore fellowes stand aside;
Nor, though of learning he deserv'd so highly,
Would I his booke should save him; Rather slily
I should advise his Clergie not to pray,
Though of the learn'dst sort; Me thinkes that they
Of the same trade, are Judges not so fit,
There's no such emulation as of wit.
Of such, the Envy might as much perchance
Wrong him, and more, then th'others ignorance.
It was his Fate (I know't) to be envy'd
As much by Clerkes, as lay men magnifi'd;
And why? but 'cause he came late in the day,
And yet his Penny earn'd, and had as they.
No more of this, least some should say, that I
Am strai'd to Satyre, meaning Elegie.
No, no, had DONNE need to be judg'd or try'd,
A Jury I would summon on his side,
That had no sides, nor factions, past the touch
Of all exceptions, freed from Passion, such
As nor to feare nor flatter, e'r were bred,
These would I bring, though called from the dead:
Southampton, Hambleton, Pembrooke, Dorsets Earles,
Huntingdon, Bedfords Countesses (the Pearles
Once of each sexe.) If these suffice not, I
Ten decem tales have of Standers by:
All which, for DONNE, would such a verdict give,
As can belong to none, that now doth live.
But what doe I? A diminution 'tis
To speake of him in verse, so short of his,
Whereof he was the master; All indeed
Compar'd with him, pip'd on an Oaten reed.
O that you had but one 'mongst all your brothers
Could write for him, as he hath done for others:
(Poets I speake to) When I see't, I'll say,
My eye-sight betters, as my yeares decay,
Meane time a quarrell I shall ever have
Against these doughty keepers from the grave,
Who use, it seemes their old Authoritie,
When (Verses men immortall make) they cry:
Which had it been a Recipe true tri'd,
Probatum esset, DONNE had never dy'd.
For mee, if e'r I had least sparke at all
Of that which they Poetique fire doe call,
Here I confesse it fetched from his hearth,
Which is gone out, now he is gone to earth.
This only a poore flash, a lightning is
Before my Muses death, as after his.
Farewell (faire soule) and deigne receive from mee
This Type of that devotion I owe thee,
From whom (while living) as by voice and penne
I learned more, then from a thousand men:
So by thy death, am of one doubt releas'd,
And now beleeve that miracles are ceas'd.

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