Poems, by J.D. With Elegies On the Authors Death

By J. D.
Printed by M. F. for JOHN MARRIOT, and are to be sold at his shop in St Dunstans Churchyard
in Fleet-street. 1633.

[Page 45]

1. Elegie II

Marry, and love thy Flavia, for, shee
Hath all things, whereby others beautious bee,
For, though her eyes be small, her mouth is great,
Though they be Ivory, yet her teeth be jear,
Though they be dimme, yet she is light enough,
And though her harsh haire fall, her skinne is rough;
What though her cheeks be yellow, her haire's red,
Give her thine, and she hath a maydenhead.
These things are beauties elements, where these
Meet in one, that one must, as perfect, please.
If red and white and each good quality
Be in thy wench, ne'r aske where it doth lye.
In buying things perfum'd, we aske; if there
Be muske and amber in it, but not where.
Though all her parts be not in th'usuall place,
She'hath yet an Anagram of a good face.
If we might put the letters but one way,
[Page 46]
In the leane dearth of words, what could wee say?
When by the Gamut some Musitions make
A perfect song, others will undertake,
By the same Gamut chang'd, to equall it.
Things simply good, can never be unfit;
She's faire as any, if all be like her,
And if none bee, then she is singular.
All love is wonder; if wee justly doe
Account her wonderfull, why not lovely too?
Love built on beauty, soone as beauty, dies,
Chuse this face, chang'd by no deformities;
Women are all like Angels; the faire be
Like those which fell to worse; but such as shee,
Like to good Angels, nothing can impaire:
'Tis lesse griefe to be foule, then to'have beene faire.
For one nights revels, silke and gold we chuse,
But, in long journeyes, cloth, and leather use.
Beauty is barren oft; best husbands say
There is best land, where there is foulest way.
Oh what a soveraigne Plaister will shee bee
If thy past sinnes have taught thee jealousie!
Here needs no spies, nor eunuches; her commit
Safe to thy foes; yea, to a Marmosit.
When Belgiaes citties, the round countries drowne,
That durty foulenesse guards, and armes the towne:
So doth her face guard her; and so, for thee,
Which, forc'd by businesse, absent oft must bee,
Shee, whose face, like clouds, turnes the day to night,
Who, mightier the~ the sea, makes Moores seem white,
Who, though seaven yeares, she in the Stews had laid,
[Page 47]
A Nunnery durst receive, and thinke a maid,
And though in childbeds labour she did lie,
Midwifes would sweare, 'twere but a tympanie,
Whom, if shee accuse her selfe, I credit lesse
Then witches, which impossibles confesse.
One like none, and lik'd of none, fittest were,
For, things in fashion every man will weare.
[Page 329]

2. Satyre II

SIr; though (I thanke God for it) I do hate
Perfectly all this towne, yet there's one state
In all ill things so excellently best,
That hate, toward them, breeds pitty towards the rest;
Though Poëtry indeed be such a sinne
As I thinke that brings dearth, and Spaniards in,
Though like the Pestilence and old fashion'd love,
Ridlingly it catch men; and doth remove
Never, till it be sterv'd out; yet their state
Is poore, disarm'd, like Papists, not worth hate:
One, (like a wretch, which at Barre judg'd as dead,
Yet prompts him which stands next, and cannot reade,
And saves his life) gives ideot actors meanes
(Starving himselfe) to live by his labor'd sceanes.
As in some Organ, Puppits dance above
And bellows pant below, which the~ do move.
One would move Love by rithmes; but witchchrafts charms
Bring not now their old feares, nor their old harmes.
Rammes, and slings now are seely battery,
Pistolets are the best Artillerie.
And they who write to Lords, rewards to get,
Are they not like singers at doores for meat?
And they who write, because all write, have still
That excuse for writing, and for writing ill;
But hee is worst, who (beggarly) doth chaw
Others wits fruits, and in his ravenous maw
[Page 330]
Rankly digested, doth those things outspue,
As his owne things; and they are his owne, 'tis true,
For if one eate my meate, though it be knowne
The meate was mine, th'excrement is his owne:
But these do mee no harme, nor they which use
To out-doe,and out-usure Jewes;
To out-drinke the sea, to out-sweare the
Who with sinnes of all kindes as familiar bee
As Confessors; and for whose sinfull sake
Schoolemen, new tenements in hell must make:
Whose strange sinnes, Canonists could hardly tell
In which Commandements large receit they dwell.
But these punish themselves; the insolence
Of Coscus onely breeds my just offence,
Whom time (which rots all, and makes botches poxe,
And plodding on, must make a calfe an oxe)
Hath made a Lawyer; which was alas of late
But scarce a Poët, jollier of this state,
Then are new benefic'd ministers, he throwes
Like nets, or lime-twigs,wheresoever he goes,
His title of Barrister, on every wench,
And wooes in language of the Pleas, and Bench:
A motion, Lady, Speake Coscus; I have beene
In love, ever since tricesimo of the Queene,
Continuall claimes I have made, injunctions got
To stay my rivals suit, that hee should not
Proceed, spare mee; In Hillary terme I went,
You said If I Returne next size in Lent,
I should be in remitter of your grace;
In th'interim my letters should take place
[Page 331]
Of affidavits: words, words, which would teare
The tender labyrinth of a soft maids eare.
More, more, then ten Sclavonians scolding, more
Then when winds in our ruin'd Abbeyes rore;
When sicke with Poëtrie, and possest with muse
Thou wast, and mad, I hop'd; but men which chuse
Law practise for meere gaine; bold soule repute
Worse then imbrothel'd strumpets prostitute.
Now like an owlelike watchman, hee must walke
His hand still at a bill, now he must talke
Idly, like prisoners, which whole months will sweare
That onely suretiship hath brought them there,
[...] [...]
Like a wedge in a blocke, wring to the barre,
Bearing like Asses, and more shamelesse farre
Then carted wheres, lye, to the grave Judge; for
[...] [...]
As these things do in him; by these he thrives.
Shortly (as the sea) hee will compasse all the land;
Form Scots, to Wight; from Mount, to Dover strand,
And spying heires melting with luxurie,
Satan will not joy at their sinnes, as hee.
For as a thrifty wench scrapes kitchingstuffe,
And barrelling the droppings, and the snuffe,
Of wasting candles, which in thirty yeare
(Reliquely kept) perchance buyes wedding geare;
Peecemeale he gets lands, and spends as much time
Wringing each Acre, as men pulling prime.
[Page 332]
In parchment then, large as his fields, hee drawes
Assurances, bigge, as gloss'd civill lawes,
So huge, that men (in our times forwardnesse)
Are Fathers of the Church for writing lesse.
These hee writes not; nor for these written payes,
Therefore spares no length; as in those first dayes
When Luther was profest, he did desire
Short Pater nosters, saying as a Fryer
Each day his beads, but having left those lawes,
Addes to Christs prayer, the Power and glory clause,
But when he sells or changes land, he'impaires
His writings, and (unwatch'd) leaves out, ses heires
As slily as any Commenter goes by,
Hard words, or sense; or in Divinity
As controverters, in vouch'd Texts, leave out
Shrewd words, which might against them cleare the doubt:
Where are those spred woods which cloth'd hertofore
Those bought lands? not built, nor burnt within dore.
Where's th'old landlords troops, & almes, great hals?
Carthusian fasts, and fulsome Bachanalls
Equally I hate, meanes blesse; in rich mens homes
I bid kill some beasts, but no Hecatombs,
None starve, none surfet so; But (Oh) we allow,
Good workes as good, but out of fashion now,
Like old rich wardrops; but my words none drawes
Within the vast reach of th'huge statute lawes.
[Page 333]

3. Satyre III

KInde pitty chokes my spleene; brave scorn forbids
Those teares to issue which swell my eyelids,
I must not laugh, nor weepe sinnes, and be wise,
Can railing then cure these worne maladies?
Is not our Mistresse faire Religion,
As worthy of all our Soules devotion,
As vertue was in the first blinded age?
Are not heavens joyes as valiant to asswage
Lusts, as earths honour was to them? Alas,
As wee do them in meanes, shall they surpasse
Us in the end, and shall thy fathers spirit
Meete blinde Philosophers in heaven, whose merit
Of strict life may be imputed faith, and heare
Thee, whom hee taught so easie wayes and neare
To follow, damn'd? O if thou dar'st, feare this.
This feare great courage, and high valour is;
Dar'st thou ayd mutinous-Dutch,and dar'st thou lay
Thee in ships woodden Sepulchers, a prey
To leaders rage, to stormes, to shot, to dearth?
Dar'st thou dive seas, and dungeons of the earth?
Hast thou couragious fite to thaw the ice
Of frozen North discoveries, and thrise
Colder then Salamanders? like divine
Children in th'oven, fires of Spaine, and the line;
Whose countries limbecks to our bodies bee,
Canst thou for gaine beare? and must every hee
[Page 334]
Which cryes not, Goddesse, to thy Mistresse, draw,
Or eate thy poysonous words, courage of straw!
O desperate coward, wilt thou seeme bold, and
To thy foes and his (who made thee to stand
Sentinell in his worlds garrison) thus yeeld,
And for forbidden warres, leave th'appointed field?
Know thy foe, the foule devill h'is, whom thou
Strivest to please: for hate, not love, would allow
Thee faine, his whole Realme to be quit; and as
The worlds all parts wither away and passe,
So the worlds selfe, thy other lov'd foe, is
In her decrepit wayne, and thou loving this,
Dost love a withered and worne strumpet; last,
Flesh (it selfe death) and joyes which flesh can taste,
Thou lovest; and thy faire goodly soule, which doth
Give this flesh power to taste joy, thou dost loath;
Seeke true religion. O where? Mirreus
Thinking her unhous'd her, and fled from us,
Seekes her at Rome, there, because hee doth know
That shee was there a thousand yeares agoe,
He loves the ragges so, as wee here obey
The statecloth where the Prince sate yesterday.
Crants to such brave Loves will not be inthrall'd,
But loves her onely, who at Geneva is call'd
Religion, plaine, simple, sullen, yong,
Contemptuous, yet unhansome. As among
Lecherous humors, there is one that judges
No wenches wholsome, but course country drudges:
Graius stayes still at home here, and because
Some Preachers, vile ambitious bauds, and lawes
[Page 335]
Still new like fashions, bids him thinke that shee
Which dwels with us, is onely perfect, hee
Imbraceth her, whom his Godfathers will
Tender to him, being tender, as Wards still
Take such wives as their Guardians offer, or
Pay valewes. Carelesse Phrygius doth abhorre
All, because all cannot be good, as one
Knowing some women whores, dares marry none.
Graccus loves all as one, and thinkes that so
As women do in divers countries goe
In divers habits, yet are still one kinde;
So doth, so is Religion; and this blind-
nesse too much light breeds; but unmoved thou
Of force must one, and forc'd but one allow;
And the right; aske thy father which is shee,
Let him aske his; though truth and falshood bee
Neare twins, yet truth a little elder is;
Be busie to seeke her, beleeve mee this,
Hee's not of none, nor worst, that seekes the best.
To adore, or scorne an image, or protest,
May all be bad; doubt wisely, in strange way
To stand inquiring right, is not to stray;
To sleepe, or runne wrong, is: on a huge hill,
Cragg'd, and steep, Truth stands, and hee that will
Reach her, about must, and about must goe;
And what the hills suddennes resists, winne so;
Yet strive so, that before age, deaths twilight,
Thy Soule rest, for none can worke in that night,
To will, implyes delay, therefore now doe
Hard deeds, the bodies paines; hard knowledge to
[Page 336]
The mindes indeavours reach, and mysteries
Are like the Sunne, dazling, yet plaine to all eyes;
Keepe the truth which thou hast found; men do not stand
In so ill case, that God hath with his hand
Sign'd Kings blanck-charters
to kill whom they hate,
Nor are they Vicars, but hangmen to Fate.
Foole and wretch, wilt thou let thy Soule be tyed
To mans lawes, by which she shall not be tryed
At the last day? Will it then boot thee
To say a Philip, or a Gregory,
A Harry, or a Martin taught thee this?
Is not this excuse for mere contraries,
Equally strong cannot both sides say so?
That thou mayest rightly obey power, her bounds know;
Those past, her nature, & name is chang'd to be,
Then humble to her is idolatrie;
As streames are, Power is, those blest flowers that dwell
At the rough streames calme head, thrive and do well,
But having left their roots, and themselves given
To the streames tyrannous rage, alas are driven
Through mills, & rockes, & woods, and at last, almost
Consum'd in going, in the sea are lost:
So perish Soules, which more chuse mens unjust
Power from God claym'd, then God himselfe to trust.
[Page 400]

4. In memory of Doctor Donne: By Mr R. B.

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 Poësie, (past ravishing of sense,)
He had a magazine, wherein such store
Was laid up, as might hundreds serve of poore.
This is a selection from the original text


gold, meat, night, punishment, religion, sin

Source text

Title: Poems, by J.D. With Elegies On the Authors Death

Author: John Donne

Publisher: M. F.

Publication date: 1633

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 7045 Bibliographic name / number: Keynes, G. Donne (4th ed.), 78. / Physical description: [12], 406, [2] p. Copy from: Harvard University Library Reel position: STC / 881:25

Digital edition

Original author(s): John Donne

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) tp, p.46 (Elegie 2, ll.1-"she is singular"), p.329 (Satyre 2, ll.1-"his labor'd sceanes"), pp.333-4 (Satyre 3, ll.1 - "courage of straw!"), p.400 ("In memory of Doctor Donne", ll.1-"hundreds serve of poore").


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > poetry

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.