« ZurückWeiter »
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 veftal fire. Where are those troops of Poor, that throng'd of
That both extremes werebanith'd from their walls,
NOTE s. his sentiments of Reformation) he puts Erasmus and Richlieu in the rank of Lully and Agrippa. I will only observe, that it was written in imitation of Rabelais's famous Catal gue of the Library of St. Victor, one of the finest passages in that extravagant Satire, which was the Manual of the Wits of this time. It was natural therefore to think, that the Cataloque of the Library of St. Victor would become, as it did, the subject of many imitations. The best of which are this of Dr. Donne's, and one of Sir Thomas Brown's.-Dr. Donne afterwards took orders in the church of England. We have a large volume of his fermons in the falle taste of that time. But the book which made his fortune was his Pseudo martyr, to prove that Papists ought to take the oath of allegiance. In this book, though Hooker had then written his Eccletaslical Policy, he has approved himself entirely ignorant both of the Origine and End of Civil Government. In the 168th page and elsewhere he holds, that when men congregate to form
None starve, none surfeit so. But (oh) we allow Good works as good, but out of fashion now, Like old rich wardrobes. But my words none
draws Within the vast reach of th’huge statutes jaws.
NO TE s. the body of Civil Society, then is that foul of it, SOVEREIGN POWER, sent into it immediately from God, just as he sends the soul into the human embrio, when the two sexes propagate'their kind. In the gift page, and elsewhere, he maintains that the office of the civil Sovereign extends to the care of Souls. For this absurd and blasphemous trash, James I. made him Dean of St. Paul's; all the wit and fublimity of his genius having never enabled him to get bread throughout the better part of his life. Ver. 120. These as good works, &c.] Dr. Donne says,
“ But (oh) we allow " Good works as good, but out of fashion now." The popish doctrine of good works was one of those abuses in Religion which the Church of England condemns in its
These as good works, 'tis true, we all allow, 121 But oh! these works are not in fashion now : Like rich old wardrobes, things extremely rare, Extremely fine, but what no man will wear.
Thus much I've said, I trust, without offence; Let no Court Sycophant pervert my sense, 126 Nor fly Informer watch these words to draw Within the reach of Treason, or the Law.
N o T E s. Articles. To this the Poet's words satirically allude. And having throughout this satire given several malignant strokes at the Reformation, which it was penal, and then very dangerous, to abuse, he had reason to bespeak the Reader's candor, in the concluding lines,
words none draws “ Within the vast reach of th’huge statutes jaws." VER 128. Treason, or the Law] By the Law is here meant the Lawyers.
S À TIRE
LL; I may fowreceive, and die. My fin Indeed is
I have been in
VER. I. IVell, if it be, &c.] Donne fay3,
Well; I may now receive and die. which is very indecent language on so ludicrous an occafion.
VER. 3. 1 die in charity with fool and knave,] Wė verily believe he did. But of the cause of his death, not only the Doctors, but other people, differed. His family suggests, that a general decay of nature, which had been long coming on, ended in a dropsy of the brealt. The Gentlemen of the Dunciad say, that he fell by the keen pen of our redoubtable Laureat. We ourselves should be inclined to this opinion, for the sake of ornamenting his story: and that we might be able to say, he died like his great name-fake, by a drug of so deadly cold a nature, that, as Plutarch, and other grave Writers tells us, it could be contained in nothing but the Scull of an Ass.
SCRIBL. This is a grievous error (says Aristarchus) it was the bife of an ass : a much more likely vehicle of mischief.—But this might be pardoned : the thing to be admired is, that the learned Scholiaft should pass over the general subject fo very Nightingly; I mean, litrrary homicide; a species of murdir, which, though attended with every atrocious circumstante of malice forethought, all human laws, and, what is still stranger, divine Vengeance (whose motions rarely escape our notice have entirely overlooked. It is only indeed in these last miserable ages of the world that this mischief has become excessive : nothing being now more common than for the Pea
S A TIRE
ELL, if it be my time to quit the stage,
Adieu to all the follies of the age!
to perform the office of the Stiletto, and to leave the vanquished Disputant stark dead at the feet of the Conqueror. For, though as Macbeth says,
“ Blood has been shed ere now, i'th' olden time,” Yet no great execution was then done with this instrument, if you except the fate of two or three green girls, by the Iambics of Archilogus. Indeed so inexpert was the pen ar these times in Murder, that the hurt, when it did any, was recoiling on the heads of the Users; witness the Philippics of Demofthenes and Cicero. But at the revival of learning, when the Pen came out new ground and sharpened by the Letter-founder, then it was that it acquired this fatal property; a malignity contracted, as should seem, from its too near neighbourhood to new invented gun-powder, that amiable contemporary of the printing-press.
From henceforth we hear of nothing but death and Naughter. Dispute was now no longer a drawn battle; the common issue of old classical combats : It was a Duel à outrance (to speak in the language of the times) where the vanquished resigned his life and his fame together. Nor was disease, or even old age itself, a security or afilum from these barbarous ravages of the Pen. The Academy became, like a field of battle in Homer, ornamented by an incredible variety of deaths,