John Donne (15721631). The Poems of John Donne. 1896.
Notes to Poems hitherto Uncollected
THERE is no reason to suppose that all the poems written during Donnes long life have been gathered together. One copy at least is recorded in his own letters of which I have found no trace, namely some French Verses, mentioned in a letter of 1612, to Sir Henry Wotton (Alford, vi. 361). Doubtless others will turn up from time to time out of the multitude of commonplace books extant in public and private collections. Such, however, must not be too readily received as authentic, since the compilers of these commonplace books frequently ascribe their extracts to the wrong author. There are two or three people who might be easily confused with Donne, owing to the similarity of their names to his. One is his son, also a Doctor John Donne, but a D.C.L. not a D.D. Another is John Done, the author of Polydoron, or a Miscellany of Moral, Philosophical and Theological Sentences (1631), and of an Ancient History of the Septuagint (1633). He appears to have been a schoolmaster (Notes and Queries, Sixth Series, vi. 47, 95), and also an alchemist, judging from a long letter of his on the science in Bodl. Ashm. MS. 1415, f. 19 (b). I doubt whether he is the person referred to in Sir James Whitelocks Liber Famelicus (Camden Soc. p. 16). Whitelocke, recording the death of his wife, on 28th February, 1606, says, There preached at her funeral Doctor John Done, the parson, that had been my acquaintance when he was of Christ Church, Oxford. Now there is no John Donne of Ch. Ch. in the University Registers. There is however a John Dove of Ch. Ch. who became a preacher of some distinction (Registers, ed. Clerk, ii. 1. 137; 2. 102; 3. 117), and I expect that he is the parson alluded to by Whitelocke. Done and Doue are practically indistinguishable in MSS. There is a letter to Walsingham, signed John Done, and written from Dieppe on April 11th, 1586 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Eliz. and James I. Addl. 15801625). This can hardly be by John Donne, who was only 13 in 1586. Of the eleven additional poems which I have printed in this Appendix, it is only the first six that I put much faith in as genuine work of Donnes.
These are all from Addl. MS. 25,707. This is a folio commonplace book of the seventeenth century. It contains poems written in it by three or four hands, the latest of whom has made a list of those collected by his predecessors, and added some of a later date. Besides a number of Donnes, most of them initialled, there are others by Francis Beaumont, Sir John Beaumont, Lord Digby, Sir Henry Goodyere, Sir William Skipwith, Richard Corbet, Henry King, etc. This appears to be the MS. described by Nicholls in the account given of Sir William Skipwith in his Hist. of Leicestershire (iii. 367). It was then in the possession of Lord Harborough. Nichols thinks that it was once a commonplace book of Sir. W. Skipwith, who died 3 May, 1610. The four poems given here are all in one or other of the earlier hands and initialled. There is a fifth, which I have not reprinted. It is no part of an editors duty to expurgate his authors text, but neither is he called upon to rake up forgotten indecencies from the muck-heap of time. The poem in question is on f. 60 (b) of the MS., and begins
Why should not pilgrims to thy body come,
And miracles be wrought at thy poor tomb.
There are also, in another part of the book (f. 164), some Latin verses, signed J. D. In Obitum Mri Philippi Washinton. I cannot say whether these are Donnes. They begin
This poem evidently refers to the poetical controversy about love between William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and Sir Benjamin Rudyard, contained in their Poems (1660). See the note to the lines called Love and Reason in Appendix A. Besides the poems contained in this volume, many others are ascribed to Lord Pembroke in various MSS. He was the nephew of Sir Philip Sidney, a kinsman of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, and possibly the W. H. of Shakespeares Sonnets.
On Sir Henry Goodyere, see the note to Donnes verse letter to him (vol. ii. p. 10). This poem seems to have been written by the friends to their wives on some absence. Donne was at Polesworth in the spring of 1613. (See note to Good Friday, vol. i. p. 172.) The following lines are from Bodl. Mal. MS. 14, f. 28. They are headed On the interlinearie poem begot twixt S[ir] H. Goo. and Dr. Donne.
Here two rich ravishd spirits kiss and twine,
Advanced and wedlockd in each others line.
Gooderes rare match with only him was blessd,
Who has outdonne and quite undonne the rest.
l. 25. Ancor, a stream in the Forest of Arden, close to Polesworth. l. 28. St. Ediths nuns. Before the Reformation, there was a Benedictine convent at Polesworth, founded by the Saxon Saint Edith (Dugdales Warwickshire).
These Macaronic verses immediately follow in Coryats Crudities the lines reprinted in the 1650 Poems (vol. ii. p. 68). The third set comes at a different place in the book, and the name is differently spelt, but I do not doubt that this also is by Donne. His name is variously spelt Donne, Done, Donn, Dunn, etc.; it is Done in Jonsons Conversations with Drummond.
From Ashm. MS. 36, f. 124. The lines are headed, On ffriendship. Dr. Donne. They are also found unsigned in Brit. Mus. Addl. MS. 10,309, f. 110, in Sloane MS. 1446, f. 88 (b), and in T. C. Dublin MS. G. 2. 21, f. 303. They are printed in Pembroke and Ruddiers Poems (1660), but without any distinguishing initial. J. A. Manning, in his Memoirs of Rudyard, claims them as his, but gives no other authority than that of the 1660 volume. The text there given is inferior to the MS. one. They may be Donnes.
The first of three poems grouped together as Doctor Donn Verses on Ashm. MS. 38, f. 62. It also occurs unsigned in Sloane MS. 1792, f. 132, and is printed anonymously with the title here given to it, in Wit Restored (1658). The second poem of the group is certainly not Donnes. It is Ben Jonsons, Doing a filthy pleasure is and short, a translation from the Brevis facere est et foeda voluptas of Petronius Arbiter. Jonson definitely claims the authorship of this, which is printed among his poems, in the Conversations with Drummond.
From Ashm. MS. 38, f. 152, where it is signed D. Donn. I have not found the whole poem elsewhere, except in a very different anonymous version in Wits Recreations (1640), but the last two lines occur separately in at least three other places, and in two they are ascribed to Donne. In Ashm. MS. 47, f. 36, they are headed Dr. Dunn to a Gentlewoman, and in Sloane MS. 542, f. 12, Dr. Donn to a Lady that gave him the lie. In a collection of MS. Epigrams bound up with the Brit. Mus. copy of Shakespeares Lucrece (1624) and other pamphlets (C. 39. a. 37), they are anonymous. Probably they are by Doctor Donne, but was it the D.D. or the D.C.L.?
(4) Lines headed Dr. Dons Elegy on the Death of King James.
Who now shall grudge to die, or not desire
To weep himself away, quench his own fire.
This is found in Addl. MS. 19,268, f. 30. It might conceivably be Donnes, by no means at his best; but I can hardly believe that so important a literary production, as an Elegy on the King by Dr. Donne, Dean of S. Pauls, would have been, could have reached us only through the medium of one obscure commonplace book.
This is found, so headed, in Addl. MS. 30,982, f. 13, and in Sloane MS. 1792, f. 45. In Addl. MS. 13,998, f. 68, it is signed Jo. Dun. It is printed without any sign of authorship in Wit Restored (1658). It is a mere trifle, and I do not for a moment suppose it is the elder Donnes.
(7) Lines headed, Jo Feltons epitaph made by Dr. Donn.
Here uninterrd suspends (though not to save
Surviving friends th expenses of a grave.
This is found, with the above heading, in Ashm. MS. 38, f. 20. It is anonymous in half-a-dozen Brit. Mus. and other MSS., and in Addl. MS. 15,226, f. 28, is accompanied by a poem Super eundem et contra by H. Ch[olmeley] which begins
Here uninterrd suspends, doubtless to save
Hopeful and friendless, th expenses of a grave.
This is a fine poem, but I do not see how it can be Donnes. Buckingham was killed by Felton on Aug. 23, 1628. The Dean was not likely, at that date, to write in a pronounced anti-court vein. The verses were printed from Sloane MS. 826, f. 177, by F. W. Fairholt in Poems and Songs relating to the Duke of Buckingham (Percy Society Publications, vol. xxix.).
These are ascribed to Donne in Rawl. D. MS. 859, f. 158. At the end is written the message which Donne sent to his wife when he lost his secretaryship in 1601. It was John Donne, Anne Donne, Undonne. I have not a complete copy of the poem before me, but its opening lines are identical with those of a verse which appears both in Wastalls Microbiblon (1620), and in Quarles Argalus and Parthenia. See H. Kings Poems, ed. Hannah (p. cxviii).
This was communicated to Notes and Queries (Fifth Series, v. 243) by A. R. B., who adds the following note, which is endorsed on the MS.: This curious poem, never before printed, was written by the famous Doctor Donne, in the year 1630, and sent to Rome to William, Lord Craven, who served with so much credit under Gustavus Adolphus. It was entrusted to me with the curious State papers of the said Lord Craven, by Fulwar, Lord Craven, in the year 1762.
The MS. reached A. R. B. through an uncle, the Rev. Thomas Lawrence, formerly chaplain to Lord Craven. The letter is 114 lines long, and contains a sketch of the sights and associations of Rome. I have not printed it because, in 1630, Donne was an infirm divine, and had long done with secular poetry. Very likely it is by his son, who dedicated the 1650 Poems to this same Lord Craven.