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they are zealously endeavouring to overthrow the entire order of our Anglican church. Night and day do they importune both the people and the nobility, and stir them up to abhorrence of those persons who, on the abolition of popery, are faithfully discharging the duties of the ministry, and they busy themselves in everywhere weakening and diminishing their credit. And that they may effect this with greater ease and plausibility, they bawl out to those harpies who are greedily hankering after plunder and spoil, that the property and revenues of the cathedral churches ought to be diverted to I know not what other uses. Nor will they allow bishops to take any other precedence than as individual pastors in their respective parishes, whose highest authority they wish to be that of governing, together with their presbytery, the rest of the parishioners. And in this way they set up and establish the equality they speak of. Besides this, they will not acknowledge any government in the church. They propose, moreover, that the estates and houses of the bishops should be appropriated to pious uses; but, more blind than moles, they do not perceive that they will soon be swallowed up by the devouring wolves.
There are in this country twenty-three bishopricks, the endowments of some of which are little enough; others have moderate ones, and others more abundant. But all are within the bounds of moderation. None of the bishops interfere in any matters but the ministery of the word and sacraments, except when the law requires them, or at the command of the sovereign. Nor in these things, as far as I am aware, do they deal harshly with the brethren, but temper what is severe with surprising lenity. Our opponents, however, would complain most grievously, were our jurisdiction transferred to the laity, as they call them: they would soon find out that the gold had been exchanged for brass. But how true are the insinuations which they have whispered against us in the ears of the godly, time will shew; and our rejoicing is the testimony of our conscience.' I wish they would acquiesce in your wholesome and prudent counsel, namely, to put up with what cannot be amended without great danger. At first they attacked only things of little consequence; but now they turn every thing, both great and small, up and down, and throw all things into confusion; and would bring the church into very great danger, were not our most pious queen most faithful to her principles, and did
she not dread and restrain the vanity and inconsistency of these frivolous men. But because we do not decline to execute the orders of the government, whenever it commands us to interfere, in bridling in these our tumultuous brethren, on this ground an undue severity, not to say cruelty, is most unjustly laid to our charge. But we have this one comfort, that the religion of Christ is ever accompanied by the cross, which he will, by his Holy Spirit, enable us willingly to bear.
Your son, a youth of excellent promise, has only this fault, that he rarely comes to see me. But I am now obliged to excuse him, because he is residing in our other university-I mean Oxford, which is a great way off. But I hope that he will take leave of me before he goes away. You have acted prudently in so carefully providing for your son, that like Ulysses, he may see the customs and cities of many people, and like the industrious bee, extract piety from all the churches. May God bring him back to be a blessing to his father! May Christ Jesus very long preserve you to us in safety! From the Isle of Ely in England, Feb. 3, 1573, according to the English computation.
Your most loving friend in Christ, Richard Cox, pastor and servant of the church at Ely.
Dr. Donne was one of the most conspicuous of the literary characters of the later Elizabethan and early Stuart periods. He was a many-sided man. His youth was spent as a hardreading recluse; his early married life, after he had become private secretary to a nobleman, was full of vicissitudes, and he finished by being Chaplain-in-Ordinary to James I. In this last capacity he has been described as preaching as an angel from a cloud, but not in a cloud.' Few readers of his poetry will, however, be disposed to accord like praise to the prurient wit, the extravagant metaphor, and the conceited oddity of his verses. His other function was satire, of which, with Joseph Hall and John Marston, the dramatist, he was the founder. Dr. Donne was highly appreciated in his own day, but he is now chiefly known as the subject of one of Isaac Walton's incomparable biographies, and as the writer of satires versified by Alexander Pope.
Dr. Donne to the Marquess of Buckingham.
Sept. 13, 1621.
As I am
My most honoured Lord,-I most humbly beseech ship, to afford this rag of Paper a room amongst your It is your evidence, not for a Manner, but for a man. a Priest, it is my Sacrifice of Prayer to God for your Lordship; and as I am a Priest made able to subsist, and appear in God's Service, by your Lordship, it is a Sacrifice of my self to you. I deliver this Paper as my image; and I assist the Power of any Conjurer with this imprecation upon my self, that as he shall tear this Paper, this Picture of mine, so I may be torn in my fortune, and in my Fame, if ever I have any Corner in my Heart dispossessed of a Zeal to your Lordship's Service. His Majesty hath given me a Royal Key into your Chamber, leave to stand in your presence, and your Lordship hath already such a Fortune, as that you shall not need to be afraid of a Suitor, when I appear there.
So that, I protest to your Lordship, I know not what I want, since I cannot suspect, nor fear myself, for ever doing, or leaving undone, anything by which I might forfeit that Title, of being always
Your Lordships, &c.
The four short specimens which follow are characteristic of Dr. Donne's studied extravagance and quaintness of manner. They are taken from a volume of letters, published in the year 1651, addressed 'to several persons of honour.' The same peculiar turn of phrase and ingenious expression runs through the whole of this unique collection. No one knew better than Dr. Donne how to please his fashionable entourage in prose as well
as in verse.
Dr. Donne to Lady G
Madam,—I am not come out of England, if I remain in the noblest part of it, your mind; yet I confess it is too much diminution to call your mind any part of England, or of this world, since every part even of your body deserves titles of higher dignity. No Prince would be loth to die, that were assured so fair a tomb to preserve his memory; but I have a greater vantage than so;
for since there is a religion in friendship, and a death in absence, to make up an entire frame there must be a heaven too: and there can be no Heaven so proportional to that religion, and that death, as your favour. And I am gladder that it is a heaven, than that it were a Court, or any other high place of this world, because I am likelier to have a room there than here; and better cheap. Madam, my best treasure is time; and my best employment of that is to study good wishes for you, in which I am by continual meditation so learned, that your own good Angel, when it would do you most good, might be content to come and take instructions from
Your humble and affectionate Servant,
Dr. Donne to Sir Henry Goodere.
August 15, 1607.
Sir,-In the history or style of friendship which is best written both in deeds and words, a letter which is of a mixed nature, and hath something of both, is a mixed Parenthesis. It may be left out, yet it contributes, though not to the being yet to the verdure and freshness thereof. Letters have truly the same office as Oaths. As these amongst light and empty men are but fillings and pauses and interjections; but with weightier, they are sad attestations; so are letters to some compliment, and obligation to others. For mine, as I never authorized my servant to lie in my behalf (for it were officious in him, it might be worse in me) so I allow my letters much less that civil dishonesty, both because they go from me more considerately, and because they are permanent; for in them I may speak to you in your Chamber a year hence before I know not whom, and not hear myself.
They shall therefore ever keep the sincerity and intemerateness of the fountain whence they are derived. And as wheresoever these leaves fall, the root is in my heart, so shall they, as that sucks good affections towards you there, have ever true impressions thereof. Thus much information is in very leaves, that they can tell what the tree is, and these can tell you I am a friend and an honest man. Of what general use the fruit should speak, and I have none; and of what particular profit to you, your
application and experimenting should tell you, and you can make none of such a nothing; yet even of barren Sycamores, such as I, there were use, if either any light flashings, or scorching vehemencies, or sudden showers made you need so shadowy an example or remembrancer. But, Sir, your fortune and mind do you this happy injury, that you make all kinds of fruits useless to you. Therefore I have placed my love wisely where I need communicate nothing. All this, tho' perchance you read it not till Michaelmas, was told you at Micham.
Dr. Donne to the worthiest Lady Mrs. B. W
Madame,-I think the letters which I send you single lose themselves by the way for want of a guide, or faint for want of company. Now, that on your part there be no excuse, after three single letters, I send three together, that every one of them may have two witnesses of their delivery. They come also to wait upon another letter from Sir Edward Herbert, of whose recovery from a fever you may apprehend a perfecter contentment than we, because you had none of the former sorrow. I am an heretic if it be sound,doctrine that pleasure tastes best after sorrow. For my part I can love health well enough though I be never sick; and I never needed my Mistress' frowns and disfavours to make her favours acceptable to me. In States, it is a weakness to stand upon a defensive war, and safer not to be invaded than to have overcome; so in our soul's health, an innocence is better than the heartiest repentance. And in the pleasures of this life it is better that the variety of the pleasures give us the taste and appetite to it, than a sour and sad interruption quicken our stomach; for then we live by Physic. I wish therefore all your happinesses such as this entire and without flaw or spot of discontentment; and such is the love and service of
Your humblest and affectionatest servant,
Strand: St. Peter's Day, at 4.