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Yet their great works, though they can never die,
Because they show not how th' Almighty's grace,
But what their humble modesty would hide,
Wotton, — a nobler soul was never bred —
Through his degrees of honor and of arts,
Through all th’ employments of his wit and spirit,
Nay, through disgrace, which oft the worthiest have, Thro' all state-tempests, thro’ each wind and wave, And laid him in an honorable grave.
And yours, and the whole world's beloved Donne,
And being then an object of much ruth,
By the same clew, after his useful swing,
And though by God's most powerful grace alone
And know, that having crucified vanities
The meek and learned Hooker too, almost
And Herbert; — he, whose education, Manners, and parts, by high applauses blown, Was deeply tainted with Ambition,
And fitted for a court, made that his aim ;
Where, with a soul composed of harmonies,
All this you tell us, with so good success,
And now ! when many worthier would be proud
Where to commend what you have choicely writ,
Yet this, and much more, is most justly due,
But, my dear friend, *t is so, that you and I,
In which estate I ask no more of Fame,
And if your many merits shall have bred
CHARLES COTTON. JAN. 17, 1672.
COPY OF A LETTER
MR. IZ A A K W ALTON,
Doctor KING, LoRD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER.
HoNEST IzAAK, Though a familiarity of more than forty years' continuance, and the constant experience of your love, even in the worst of the late sad times, be sufficient to endear our friendship; yet, I must confess my affection much improved, not only by evidences of private respect to many that know and love you, but by your new demonstration of a public spirit, testified in a diligent, true, and useful collection of so many material passages as you have now afforded me in the Life of venerable Mr. Hooker; of which, since desired by such a friend as’ yourself, I shall not deny to give the testimony of what I know concerning him and his learned books; but shall first here take a fair occasion to tell you, that you have been happy in choosing to write the Lives of three such persons, as posterity hath just cause to honor; which they will do the more for the true relation of them by
your happy pen; of all which I shall give you my
unfeigned censure. I shall begin with my most dear and incomparable friend, Dr. Donne, late Dean of St. Paul's Church, who not only trusted me as his executor, but, three days before his death, delivered into my hands those excellent Sermons of his, now made public; professing before Dr. Winniff, Dr. Monford, and, I think, yourself then present at his bed-side, that it was by my restless importunity, that he had prepared them for the press; together with which (as his best legacy) he gave me all his sermon-notes, and his other papers, containing an extract of near fifteen hundred authors. How these were got out of my hands, you, who were the messenger for them, and how lost both to me and yourself, is not now seasonable to complain. But, since they did miscarry, I am glad that the general demonstration of his worth was so fairly preserved, and represented to the world by your pen in the history of his life; indeed so well, that beside others, the best critic of our later time (Mr. John Hales of Eaton College) affirmed to me, he had not seen a life written with more advantage to the subject, or more reputation to the writer, than that of Dr. Donne's.