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AN ELEGIE UPON THE INCOMPARABLE DR. DONNE, by                    
First Line: All is not well when such a one as I
Last Line: His glory is as his gifts, 'bove others farre.
Subject(s): Donne, John (1572-1631); Poetry & Poets


All is not well when such a one as I
Dare peepe abroad, and write an Elegie;
When smaller Starres appeare, and give their light,
Phoebus is gone to bed: Were it not night,
And the world witlesse now that DONNE is dead,
You sooner should have broke, then seene my head.
Dead did I say? Forgive this Injury
I doe him, and his worthes Infinity,
To say he is but dead; I dare averre
It better may be term'd a Massacre,
Then Sleepe or Death; See how Muses mourne
Upon their oaten Reeds, and from his Vrne
Threaten the World with this Calamity,
They shall have Ballads, but no Poetry.

Language lyes speechlesse; and Divinity,
Lost such a Trump as even to Extasie
Could charme the Soule, and had an Influence
To teach best judgements, and please dullest Sense.
The Court, the Church, the Vniversitie,
Lost Chaplaine, Deane, and Doctor, All these, Three.
It was his Merit, that his Funerall
Could cause a losse so great and generall.

If there be any Spirit can answer give
Of such as hence depart, to such as live:
Speake, Doth his body there vermiculate,
Crumble to dust, and feele the lawes of Fate?
Me thinkes, Corruption, Wormes, what else is foule
Should spare the Temple of so faire a Soule.
I could beleeve they doe; but that I know
What inconvenience might hereafter grow:
Succeeding ages would Idolatrize,
And as his Numbers, so his Reliques prize.

If that Philosopher, which did avow
The world to be but Motes, was living now:
He would affirme that th'Atomes of his mould
Were they in severall bodies blended, would
Produce new worlds of Travellers, Divines,
Of Linguists, Poets: sith these severall lines
In him concentred were, and flowing thence
Might fill againe the worlds Circumference.
I could beleeve this too; and yet my faith
Not want a President: The Phoenix hath
(And such was He) a power to animate
Her ashes, and herselfe perpetuate.
But, busie Soule, thou dost not well to pry
Into these Secrets; Griefe, and Jealousie,
The more they know, the further still advance,
And finde no way so safe as Ignorance.
Let this suffice thee, that his Soule which flew
A pitch of all admir'd, known but of few,
(Save those of purer mould) is now translated
From Earth to Heaven, and there Constellated.
For, if each Priest of God shine as a Starre,
His Glory is as his Gifts, 'bove others farre.





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