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impression of having been a man of general virtue. It is not only that he added piety to amorousness. This might be regarded as flirting with religion. Did not he himself write, in explaining why he mixed pious and light songs : "He that in publishing any work hath a desire to content all palates must cater for them accordingly"? Even if the spiritual depth of his graver songs has been exaggerated, however, they are clearly the expression of a charming and tender spirit:

Never weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore,

Never tired pilgrim's limbs affected slumber more,

Than my wearied sprite now longs to fly out of my troubled breast.
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest.

What has the "sweet master Campion " who wrote these lines to do with poisoned tarts and jellies? They are not ecstatic enough to have been written by a murderer.


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IZAAK WALTON in his short life of Donne has painted a figure of almost seraphic beauty. When Donne was but a boy, he declares, it was said that the age had brought forth another Pico della Mirandola. As a young man in his twenties, he was a prince among lovers, who by his secret marriage with his patron's niece-" for love," says Walton, "is a flattering mischief "-purchased at first only the ruin of his hopes and a term in prison. Finally, we have the later Donne in the pulpit of St. Paul's represented, in a beautiful adaptation of one of his own images, as always preaching to himself, like an angel from a cloud, though in none; carrying some, as St. Paul was, to Heaven in holy raptures, and enticing others by a sacred art and courtship to amend their lives." The picture is all of noble charm. Walton speaks in one place of "his winning behaviourwhich, when it would entice, had a strange kind of elegant irresistible art." There are no harsh phrases even in the references to those irregularities of Donne's youth, by which he had wasted the fortune of £3,000-equal, I believe, to more than £30,000 of our money-bequeathed to him by his father, the ironmonger. "Mr. Donne's estate," writes Walton gently, referring to his penury at the time of his marriage, “ was the greatest part spent in many and chargeable travels, books, and dear-bought experience." It is true that he quotes Donne's own confession of the irregularities of his early life. But he counts them of no significance. He also utters a sober reproof of Donne's secret marriage as "the remarkable error of his life." But how little he condemned it in his heart is clear when he goes on to tell us that God blessed Donne and his wife "with so mutual and cordial affections, as in the midst of their sufferings made their bread of sorrow taste more pleasantly than the ban

quets of dull and low-spirited people." It was not for Walton to go in search of small blemishes in him whom he regarded as the wonder of the world-him whose grave mournful friends "strewed . . . with an abundance of curious and costly flowers," as Alexander the Great strewed the grave of "the famous Achilles." In that grave there was buried for Walton a whole age magnificent with wit, passion, adventure, piety and beauty. More than that, the burial of Donne was for him the burial of an inimitable Christian. He mourns over "that body, which once was a Temple of the Holy Ghost, and is now become a small quantity of Christian dust," and, as he mourns, he breaks off with the fervent prophecy, "But I shall see it reanimated." That is his valediction. If Donne is esteemed three hundred years after his death less as a great Christian than as a great pagan, this is because we now look for him in his writings rather than in his biography, in his poetry rather than in his prose, and in his Songs and Sonnets and Elegies rather than in his Divine Poems. We find, in some of these, abundant evidence of the existence of a dark angel at odds with the good angel of Walton's raptures. Donne suffered in his youth all the temptations of Faust. His thirst was not for salvation but for experience-experience of the intellect and experience of sensation. He has left it on record in one of his letters that he was a victim at one period of "the worst voluptuousness, an hydroptic, immoderate desire of human learning and languages." Faust in his cell can hardly have been a more insatiate student than Donne. "In the most unsettled days of his youth," Walton tells us, "his bed was not able to detain him beyond the hour of four in the morning; and it was no common business that drew him out of his chamber till past ten; all which time was employed in study; though he took great liberty after it." His thoroughness of study may be judged from the fact that "he left the resultance of 1,400 authors, most of them abridged and analyzed with his own hand." But we need not go beyond his poems for proof of the wilderness of learning that he had made his own. He was versed in

medicine and the law as well as in theology. He subdued astronomy, physiology, and geography to the needs of poetry. Nine Muses were not enough for him, even though they included Urania. He called in to their aid Galen and Copernicus. He did not go to the hills and the springs for his images, but to the laboratory and the library, and in the library the books that he consulted to the greatest effect were the works of men of science and learning, not of the great poets with whom London may almost be said to have been peopled during his lifetime. I do not think his verse or correspondence contains a single reference to Shakespeare, whose contemporary he was, having been born nine years later. The only great Elizabethan poet whom he seems to have regarded with interest and even friendship was Ben Jonson. Jonson's Catholicism may have been a link between them. But, more important than that, Jonson was, like Donne himself, an inflamed pedant. For each of them learning was the necessary robe of genius. Jonson, it is true, was a pedant of the classics, Donne of the speculative sciences; but both of them alike ate to a surfeit of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. It was, I think, because Donne was to so great a degree a pagan of the Renaissance, loving the proud things of the intellect more than the treasures of the humble, that he found it easy to abandon the Catholicism of his family for Protestantism. He undoubtedly became in later life a convinced and passionate Christian of the Protestant faith, but at the time when he first changed his religion he had none of the fanaticism of the pious convert. He wrote in an early satire as a man whom the intellect had liberated from dogma-worship. Nor did he ever lose this rationalist tolerance. "You know," he once wrote to a friend, "I have never imprisoned the word religion. . They" (the churches) "are all virtual beams of one sun." Few converts in those days of the wars of religion wrote with such wise reason of the creeds as did Donne in the lines :

To adore or scorn an image, or protest,
May all be bad; doubt wisely; in strange way
To stand inquiring right, is not to stray;

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To sleep or run wrong is. On a huge hill,
Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will
Reach her, about must and about must go;

And what the hill's suddenness resists win so.

This surely was the heresy of an inquisitive mind, not the mood of a theologian. It betrays a tolerance springing from ardent doubt, not from ardent faith.

It is all in keeping with one's impression of the young Donne as a man setting out bravely in his cockle-shell on the oceans of knowledge and experience. He travels, though he knows not why he travels. He loves, though he knows not why he loves. He must escape from that "hydroptic, immoderate" thirst of experience by yielding to it. One fancies that it was in this spirit that he joined the expedition of Essex to Cadiz in 1596 and afterwards sailed to the Azores. Or partly in this spirit, for he himself leads one to think that his love-affairs may have had something to do with it. In the second of those prematurely realistic descriptions of storm and calm relating to the Azores voyage, he


Whether a rotten state, and hope of gain,
Or to disuse me from the queasy pain
Of being belov'd, and loving, or the thirst
Of honour, or fair death, out pusht me first.

In these lines we get a glimpse of the Donne that has attracted most interest in recent years-the Donne who experienced more variously than any other poet of his time "the queasy pain of being beloved and loving." Donne was curious of adventures of many kinds, but in nothing more than in love. As a youth he gives the impression of having been an Odysseus of love, a man of many wiles and many travels. He was a virile neurotic, comparable in some points to Baudelaire, who was a sensualist of the mind even more than of the body. His sensibilities were different as well as less of a piece, but he had something of Baudelaire's taste for hideous and shocking aspects of lust. One is not surprised to find among his poems that "heroical epistle of Sappho to Philaenis," in which he makes himself the casuist

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