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The sacred tree 'midst the fair orchard grew

The Phoenix Truth did on it rest,

And built his perfum'd nest,

That right Porphyrian tree which did true logic shew.
Each leaf did learned notions give,

And th' apples were demonstrative:

So clear their colour and divine,

The very shade they cast did other lights outshine.

On Anacreon continuing a lover in his old age:
Love was with thy life entwin'd,
Close as heat with fire is join'd;

A powerful brand prescrib'd the date
Of thine, like Meleager's fate.
Th' antiperistasis of age

More enflam'd thy amorous rage.

In the following verses we have an allusion to a Rabbinical opinion concerning Manna:

Variety I ask not: give me one

To live perpetually upon.

The person Love does to us fit,

Like manna, has the taste of all in it.

Thus Donne shews his medicinal knowledge in some en comiastic verses:

In every thing there naturally grows

A Balsamum to keep it fresh and new,

If 'twere not injur'd by extrinsic blows;
Your youth and beauty are this balm in you.
of learning and religion,

But you,
And virtue and such ingredients, have made
A mithridate, whose operation

Keeps off, or cures what can be done or said.

Though the following lines of Donne, on the last night of the year, have something in them too scholastic, they are not inelegant:

This twilight of two years, not past nor next,

Some emblem is of me, or I of this,

Who, meteor-like, of stuff and form perplext,
Whose what and where in disputation is,
If I should call me any thing, should miss.
I sum the years and me, and find me not

Debtor to th' old, nor creditor to th' new.
That cannot say, my thanks I have forgot,
Nor trust I this with hopes; and yet scarce true
This bravery is, since these times shew'd me you.


Yet more abstruse and profound is Donne's reflection upon Man as a Microcosm:

If men be worlds, there is in every one
Something to answer in some proportion

All the world's riches: and in good men, this
Virtue, our form's form, and our soul's soul, is.

Of thoughts so far-fetched, as to be not only unexpected, but unnatural, all their books are full.

To a Lady, who wrote poesies for rings.
They, who above do various circles find,

Say, like a ring, th' equator Heaven does bind.

When Heaven shall be adorn'd by thee,

(Which then more Heav'n than 'tis will be)
'Tis thou must write the poesy there,

For it wanteth one as yet,

Then the sun pass through't twice a year,

The sun, which is esteem'd the god of wit.


The difficulties which have been raised about identity in philosophy, are by Cowley with still more perplexity applied to Love:

Five years ago (says story) I lov'd you,

For which you call me most inconstant now;
Pardon me, Madam, you mistake the man;
For I am not the same that I was then;
No flesh is now the same 'twas then in me,
And that my mind is chang'd yourself may see.
The same thoughts to retain still, and intents,

Were more inconstant far: for accidents

Must of all things most strangely inconstant prove,

If from one subject they t' another move;

My members then the father members were,

From whence these take their birth which now are here.

If then this body love what th' other did,

'Twere incest, which by nature is forbid.

The love of different women is, in geographical poetry, compared to travels through different countries:

Hast thou not found each woman's breast
(The land where thou hast travelled)
Either by savages possest,

Or wild, and uninhabited?

What joy could'st take, or what repose.
In countries so unciviliz'd as those?

Lust, the scorching dog-star, here
Rages with immoderate heat;

Whilst Pride, the rugged northern bear,
In others makes the cold too great.
And where these are temperate known,

The soil's all barren sand, or rocky stone.


A Lover, burnt up by his affection, is compared to Egypt:

The fate of Egypt I sustain,

And never feel the dew of rain
From clouds which in the head appear;
But all my too much moisture owe
To overflowings of the heart below.


The Lover supposes his Lady acquainted with the ancient laws of augury and rites of sacrifice:

And yet this death of mine, I fear,
Will ominous to her appear:

When sound in every other part,

Her sacrifice is found without an heart.

For the last tempest of my death

Shall sigh out that too, with my breath.

That the chaos was harmonized, has been recited of old; but whence the different sounds arose remained for a modern to discover:

Th' ungovern'd parts no correspondence knew;
An artless war from thwarting motions grew;
Till they to number and fixt rules were brought.
Water and air he for the Tenor chose,

Earth made the Bass; the Treble, flame arose.


The tears of lovers are always of great poetical account; but Donne has extended them into worlds. If the lines are not easily understood, they may be read again.

On a round ball

A workman, that hath copies by, can lay

An Europe, Afric, and an Asia,

And quickly make that which was nothing all.
So doth each tear,

Which thee doth wear,

A globe, yea world, by that impression grow,

Till thy tears mixt with mine do overflow

This world, by waters sent from thee my heaven dissolved so. Johnson's Lives. I.


On reading the following lines, the reader may perhaps cry out-Confusion worse confounded:

Here lies a she sun, and a he moon here,
She gives the best light to his sphere,
Or each is both, and all, and so
They unto one another nothing owe.


Who but Donne would have thought that a good man is a


Though God be our true glass through which we see

All, since the being of all things is he;

Yet are the trunks, which do to us derive
Things in proportion fit, by perspective

Deeds of good men; for by their living here,

Virtues, indeed remote, seem to be near.

Who would imagine it possible that in a very few lines so many remote ideas could be brought together?

Since 'tis my doom, Love's undershrieve,

Why this reprieve❞

Why doth my she advowson fly


To sell thyself dost thou intend
By candle's end,

And hold the contrast thus in doubt,
Life's taper out?

Think but how soon the market fails,

Your sex lives faster than the males,

And if to measure age's span,

The sober Julian were th' account of man,

Whilst you live by the fleet Gregorian.


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All arm'd in brass, the richest dress of war,
(A dismal glorious sight!) he shone afar.
The sun himself started with sudden fright,
To see his beams return so dismal bright.

An universal consternation:

His bloody eyes he hurls round, his sharp paws
Tear up the ground: then runs he wild about,
Lashing his angry tail, and roaring out.


Beasts creep into their dens, and tremble there;
Trees, though no wind is stirring, shake with fear;
Silence and horror fill the place around;

Echo itself dares scarce repeat the sound.

Their fictions were often violent and unnatural.

Of his Mistress bathing.

The fish around her crowded, as they do

To the false light that treacherous fishers shew,
And all with as much ease might taken be,

As she at first took me :

For ne'er did light so clear

Among the waves appear,

Though every night the sun himself set there.

The poetical Effect of a Lover's name upon Glass.

My name engrav'd herein

Doth contribute my firmness to this glass;
Which, ever since that charm, hath been
As hard as that which grav'd it was.



Their conceits were sentiments slight and trifling.

On an inconstant Woman.

He enjoys the calmy sunshine now,
And no breath stirring hears,

In the clear heaven of thy brow

No smallest cloud appears.

He sees thee gentle, fair, and gay,

And trusts the faithless April of thy May.



Upon a Paper written with the Juice of Lemon, and read by the Fire.

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