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DR. DONNE'S LETTER TO THE DUKE OF
BUCKINGHAM.

MY HONOURED LORD,

ONCE I adventured to say to the Prince his Highness, that I was sure he would receive a book from me, the more graciously, because it was dedicated to your Grace. I proceed justly upon the same confidence that your Grace will accept this, because it is his by the same title. If I had not overcome that reluctation, which I had in myself of representing Devotions and mortifications to a young and active prince, I should not have put them into your presence, who have done so much, and have so much to do in this world, as that it might seem enough to think seriously of that. No man in the body of story is a full precedent to you, nor may any future man promise himself an adequation to his precedent, if he make you his. Kings have discerned the seeds of high virtues in many men, and upon that gold they have put their stamp, their favours upon those persons. But then those persons have laboured under the jealousy of the future heir; and some few have had the love of prince and king, but not of the kingdom, and some of that too, and not of the church. God hath united your Grace so to them all, that as you have received obligations from the king and prince, so you have laid obligations upon the church and state. They above love you out of their judgment, because they have loved you; and we below love you out of our thankfulness, because you have loved us. God's privy seal is the testimony of a good conscience, and his broad seal is the outward blessings of this life. But since his pillar of fire was seconded with a pillar of cloud, and that all his temporal blessings have some partial eclipses, and the purest consciences some remorse ; so, though he have made your way to glory, glory, and brought you in the arms and bosom of his vicegerent, into his own arms and bosom, yet there must come a minute of twilight in a natural death. And as the reading of the actions of great men may assist you for great actions, so for this one necessary descent of dying (which I hope shall be the only step of lowness that ever you shall pass by, and by that late), you may receive some remembrances from the Meditations and Devotions of Your Grace's devoutest servant,

J. DONNE. (From Cabala, 1654, p. 315.)

DR. DONNE'S LETTER TO THE HONOURABLE KNIGHT, SIR ROBERT KARRE.

THOUGH I have left my bed, I have not left my bedside; I sit there still, and as a prisoner discharged sits at the prison door to beg fees, so sit I here to gather crumbs. I have used this leisure to put the meditations had in my sickness into some such order as may minister some holy delight. They arise to so many sheets (perchance twenty), as that without staying for that furniture of an epistle, that my friends importuned me to print them, I importune my friends to receive them printed. That being in hand, through this long trunk, that reaches from St. Paul's to St. James's, I whisper into your ear this question, whether there be any uncomeliness or unseasonableness in presenting matter of devotion or mortification to that prince whom I pray God nothing may ever mortify but holiness. If you allow my purposes in general, I pray cast your eye upon the title and the epistle, and rectify me in them. I submit substance and circumstance to you; and the poor author of both,

Your very humble and very thankful
Servant in Christ Jesus,

J. DONNE. (From Donne's Letters, 1651,p. 249.)

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MOST EXCELLENT PRINCE,

I HAVE had three births; one, natural, when I came into the world; one supernatural, when I entered into the ministry; and now, a preternatural birth, in returning to life, from this sickness. In my second birth, your Highness' royal father vouchsafed me his hand, not only to sustain me in it, but to lead me to it. In this last birth, I myself am born a father: this child of mine, this book, comes into the world, from me, and with me. And therefore, I presume (as I did the father to the father) to present the son to the son; this image of my humiliation, to the lively image of his Majesty, your Highness. It might be enough, that God hath seen my devotions: but examples of good kings are commandments; and Hezekiah writ the meditations of his sickness, after his sickness. Besides, as I have lived to see (not as a witness only, but as a partaker), the happiness of a part of your

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royal father's time, so shall I live (in my way) to see the happiness of the times of your highness too, if this child of mine, inanimated by your gracious acceptation, may so long preserve alive the memory of

Your Highness's humblest and devotedest,

JOHN DONNE.

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