Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

f

“For my purpose of proceeding in the profession of the law, so far as to a title, you may be pleased to correct that imagination where you find it. I ever thought the study of it my best entertainment and pastime, but I have no ambition nor design upon the style. “Of my Anniversaries, the fault which I acknowledge in myself is to have descended to print anything in verse, which, though it have excuse, even in our times, by example of men, which one would think should as little have done it, as I; yet I confess I wonder how I declined to it, and do not pardon myself. But for the other part of the imputation of having said so much, my defence is, that my purpose was to say as well as I could; for since I never saw the gentlewoman, I cannot be understood to have bound myself to have spoken just truth; but I would not be thought to have gone about to praise anybody in rhyme, except I took such a person, as might be capable of all that I could say. If any of those ladies think that Mistress Drury was not so, let that lady make herself fit for all those praises in the book, and it shall be hers. - “Nothing is farther from colour or ground of truth, than that which you write of Sir Robert Drury's going to mass. No man of our nation hath been more forward to apply himself to the church of the Religion where he hath come, nor to relieve their wants, where that demonstration hath been needful. “I know not yet whether Sir John Brooke's purpose of being very shortly here, be not a just reason to make me forbear writing to him. I am sure that I would fainest do that in writing or abstaining which should be most acceptable to him. “It were in vain to put into this letter any relation of the magnificence which have been here at publication of these marriages; for at this time there come into England so many Frenchmen, as I am sure you shall hear all at least. If they speak not of above eight hundred horse well caparisoned, you may believe it; and you may believe that no court in Christendom had been able to have appeared so brave in that kind. But if they tell you of any other stuff than copper, or any other exercise of arms than running at the quintain and the ring, you may be bold to say pardonnez-moi.

“Sir, this messenger makes so much haste that I cry you mercy for spending any time of this letter, in other employment than thanking you for yours, and promising you more before my remove from hence. I pray venture no letter to me by any other way than Mr. John Bruer, at the Queen's Arms, a mercer in Cheapside, who is always like to know where we are. And make me by loving me still, worthy to be

“Your friend and servant,

“J. Don NE.” [Paris, April 14, 1612.]

“To my honoured friend G. G., Esquire."
[GeoRGE GERRARD.]

“SIR,-Neither your letters nor silence needs excuse; your friendship is to me an abundant possession, though you remember me but twice in a year: he that could have two harvests in that time might justly value his land at a high rate; but, sir, as we do not only then thank our land when we gather the fruit, but acknowledge that all the year she doth many motherly offices in preparing it; so is not friendship then only to be esteemed when she is delivered of a letter, or any other real office, but in her continual propenseness and inclination to do it.

“This hath made me easy in pardoning my long silences, and in promising myself your forgiveness for not answering your letter sooner. For my purpose of proceeding in the profession of the law so far as to a title, you may be pleased to correct that imagination wheresoever you find it. I ever thought the study of it my best entertainment and pastime, but I have no ambition nor design upon the style.

“Of my Anniversaries, the É. that I acknowledge in myself is to have descended to print anything in verse, which though it have excuse even in our times by men who profess and practice much gravity; yet I confess I wonder how I declined to it, and do not pardon myself: but for the other part of the imputation of having said too much, my defence is that my purpose was to say as well as I could; for since I never saw the gentlewoman, I cannot be understood to have bound myself to have spoken just truths, but I would not be thought to have gone about to praise her or any other in rhyme; except I took such a person as might be capable of all that I could say.

* Letters of 1651.

“If any of those ladies think that Mistress Drury was not so, let that lady make herself fit for all those praises in the book, and they shall be hers. Sir, this messenger makes so much haste that I cry you mercy for spending any time of this letter in other employment than thanking you for yours. I hope before Christmas to see England, and kiss your hand, which shall ever (if it disdain not that office) hold all the keys of the liberty and affection, and all the faculties of

“Your most affectionate servant,

“J. D. “Paris, the 14 of April, here, 1612.”

The coincidence of many expressions in the two foregoing letters will strike every reader. I see no reason to doubt that they are mutilated copies of the same letter. In connection with what Donne here says to Gerrard with regard to his studying the law, it may be of interest to quote, from R. B.'s Life of Bishop Morton, 1669, the following statement, which belongs to those early months of 1612 :— “And long after, the said Mr. Donne, having grappled with many extremities at home, he passed over into France, where he gave himself to study of the laws. And from Amiens (as I remember) he wrote a letter to his always true friend Dean Morton, wherein he requested his advice whether the taking of the degree of a doctor in that profession of the laws, it might be conducible and advantageous unto him to practise at home in the Arches, London.” " * “Life of Dr. Tho. Morton, Bishop of Duresme,” by R[ichard] B(addiley],

1669; pp. 3-5. In the official “Life of Morton,” by John Barwick, D.D., 1660, the name of Donne does not once occur.

[subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »