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As confessors, and for whose sinful sake
Schoolmen new tenements in hell must make;
Whose strange sins canonists could hardly tell
In which Commandment's large receit they dwell.

But these punish themselves. The insolence
Of Coscus, only, breeds my just offence,
Whom time (which rots all, and makes botches

pox, And plodding on, must make a calf an ox) Hath made a lawyer; which (alas) of late ; But scarce a poet: jollier of this state, Than are new-beneficed ministers, he throws, Like nets or lime-twigs, wheresoe'er he goes His title of barrister on every wench, And wooes in language of the Pleas and Bench.**

Words, words which would tear The tender labyrinth of a maid’s soft ear :


Ver. 38. Irishmen out-swear ;] The original says,

out-swear the Letanie,” improved by the Imitator into a just stroke of satire. Dr. Donne's is a low allusion to a licentious quibble used at that time by the enemies of the English Liturgy: who, disliking the frequent invocations in the Letanie, called them the taking God's name in dain, which is the scripture periphrasis for swearing.

Warburton.' Ver. 43. Of whose strange crimes] Such as Sanchez de Matrimonio has minutely enumerated and described. Such Canonists deserved this animadversion. In Pascal's fine Provincial Letters are also some strange and striking examples.

Warton. Ver. 44. In what Commandment's large contents they dwell.] The original is more humorous :

“ In which Commandment's large receit they dwell." As if the Ten Commandments were so wide, as to stand ready to


Wicked as pages, who in early years
Act sins which Prisca's confessor scarce hears. 40
Even those I pardon, for whose sinful sake
Schoolmen new tenements in Hell must make ;
Of whose strange crimes no canonist can tell
In what Commandment's large contents they

dwell. One, one man only breeds my just offence; 45 Whom crimes gave wealth, and wealth gave

impudence : Time, that at last matures a clap to pox, Whose gentle progress makes a calf an ox, And brings all natural events to pass, Hath made him an attorney of an ass.

50 No young divine, new benefic'd, can be More pert, more proud, more positive than he. What further could I wish the fop to do, But turn a wit and scribble verses too; Pierce the soft labyrinth of a lady's ear

55 With rhymes of this per cent. and that per year? Or court a wife, spread out his wily parts, Like nets, or lime twigs, for rich widows' hearts ;



receive every thing within them, that either the law of nature, or the Gospels, enjoins. A just ridicule on those practical commentators, as they are called, who include all moral and religious duties within the Decalogue. Whereas their true original sense is much more confined; being a short summary of moral duty fitted for a single people, upon a particular occasion, and to serve tem

Warburton. Ver. 48. makes a calf an ox,] An unaccountable blunder in our author. As if an ox was in his natural state,


porary ends.

More, more than ten Sclavonians scolding, more
Than when winds in our ruin'd abbyes roar.
Then sick with poetry, and possest with Muse
Thou wast, and mad I hoped; but men which chuse
Law practice for mere gain; bold soul repute
Worse than imbrothel'd strumpets prostitute.
Now like an owl-like watchman he must walk,
His hand still at a bill; now he must talk
Idly, like prisoners, which whole months will swear,
That only suretyship hath brought them there,
And to every suitor lye in every thing,
Like a king's favourite-or like a king.
Like a wedge in a block, wring to the barre,
Bearing like asses, and more shameless farre
Than carted whores, lie to the grave judge; for
Bastardy abounds not in the king's titles, nor
Simony and sodomy in church-men's lives,
As these things do in him; by these he thrives.


Ver. 61. Language, which Boreas-] The original has here a very fine stroke of satire :

“ Than when winds in our ruin'd abbyes roar." The frauds with which that work (so necessary for the welfare both of religion and the state) was begun; the rapine with which it was carried on; and the dissoluteness in which the plunder arising from it was wasted, had scandalized all sober men ; and disposed some, even of the best Protestants, to wish, that some part of that immense wealth, arising from the suppression of the monasteries, had been reserved for charity, hospitality, and even for the service of religion.

Warburton. Ver. 74. For not in chariots Peter] Pope might have applied the words of Horace to this eternal Peter, with as much propriety as he did to his friend Bolingbroke:

Prima dicte mihi, summa dicende camænâ !

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Call himself barrister to every wench,
And woo in language of the Pleas and Bench ? 60
Language, which Boreas might to Auster hold,
More rough than forty Germans when they scold.

Cursed be the wretch, so venal and so vain :
Paltry and proud, as drabs in Drury-lane.
'Tis such a bounty as was never known,

If Peter deigns to help you to your own:
What thanks, what praise, if Peter but supplies!
And what a solemn face, if he denies ! ..
Grave, as when prisoners shake the head and swear
'Twas only suretyship that brought them there. 70
His office keeps your parchment fates entire,
He starves with cold to save them from the fire;

you he walks the streets through rain or dust,
For not in chariots Peter puts his trust;
For you he sweats and labours at the laws, 75
Takes God to witness he affects your cause,
And lies to every Lord, in every thing,
Like a king's favourite-or like a king.
These are the talents that adorn them all,
From wicked Waters even to godly ** 80
Not more of simony beneath black gowns, ,
Not more of bastardy in heirs to crowns.
In shillings and in pence at first they deal ;
And steal so little, few perceive they steal ;


Ver. 78. Like a king's favourite] A line from the original, as also line 60; which shews that Donne, if he had properly attended to it, could have written harmoniously.

Warton. VOL. VI.


Shortly (as the sea) he'll compass all the land
From Scots to Wight, from Mount to Dover strand.
And spying heirs melting with luxury,
Satan will not joy at their sins as he:
For (as a thrifty wench scrapes kitchen-stuffe,

And barrelling the droppings, and the snuffe
Of wasting candles, which in thirty year,
Reliquely kept, perchance buys wedding cheer)
Piecemeal he gets lands, and spends as much time
Wringing each acre, as maids pulling prime.
In parchment then, large as the fields, he draws
Assurances, big as gloss'd civil laws,
So huge that men (in our times' forwardness)
Are Fathers of the Church for writing less.
These he 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 fryar



Ver. 105. So Luther, &c.] Our Poet, by judiciously transposing this fine similitude, has given new lustre to his author's thought. The Lawyer (says Dr. Donne) enlarges his legal instruments to the bigness of gloss'd civil laws, when it is to convey property to himself, and to secure his own ill-got wealth. But let the same lawyer convey property to you, and he then omits even the necessary words ; and becomes as concise and loose as the hasty postils of a modern divine. So Luther, while a monk, and by his institution obliged to say Mass, and pray in person for others, thought even his Pater-noster too long. But when he set up for a governor in the church, and his business was to direct others how to pray for the success of his new model; he then lengthened the Pater-noster by a new clause. This representation of the first part of his conduct was to ridicule his want of devotion; as the other, where he tells us, that the ad


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