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    Satire 4

    by John Donne
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    Well; I may now receive, and die; My sinne
    Indeed is great, but I have beene in
    A Purgatorie, such as fear'd hell is
    A recreation to,'and scant map of this.
    My minde, neither with prides itch, nor yet hath been
    Poyson'd with love to see, or to bee seene,
    I had no suit there, nor new suite to shew,
    Yet went to Court; But as Glaze which did goe
    To'a Masse in jest, catch'd, was faine to disburse
    The hundred markes, which is the Statutes curse,
    Before he scapt, So'it pleas'd my destinie
    (Guilty'of my sin of going,) to thinke me
    As prone to'all ill, and of good as forget-
    full, as proud, as lustfull, and as much in debt,
    As vaine, as witlesse, and as false as they
    Which dwell at Court, for once going that way.
    Therefore I suffer'd this; Towards me did runne
    A thing more strange, then on Niles slime, the Sunne
    E'r bred; or all which into Noahs Arke came;
    A thing, which would have pos'd Adam to name;
    Stranger then seaven Antiquaries studies,
    Then Africks Monsters, Guianaes rarities.
    Stranger then strangers; One, who for a Dane,
    In the Danes Massacre had sure beene slaine,
    If he had liv'd then; And without helpe dies,
    When next the Prentises 'gainst Strangers rise.
    One, whom the watch at noone lets scarce goe by,
    One, to'whom th'examining Justice sure would cry,
    'Sir, by your priesthood tell me what you are.'
    His cloths were strange, though coarse; and black, though bare;
    Sleevelesse his jerkin was, and it had beene
    Velvet, but 'twas now (so much ground was seene)
    Become Tufftaffatie; and our children shall
    See it plaine Rashe awhile, then nought at all.
    This thing hath travail'd, and saith, speakes all tongues,
    And only know'th what to all States belongs;
    Made of th'Accents, and best phrase of all these,
    He speakes one language; If strange meats displease,
    Art can deceive, or hunger force my tast,
    But Pedants motley tongue, souldiers bumbast,
    Mountebankes drugtongue, nor the termes of law
    Are strong enough preparatives, to draw
    Me to beare this: yet I must be content
    With his tongue, in his tongue, call'd complement:
    In which he can win widdowes, and pay scores,
    Make men speake treason, cosen subtlest whores,
    Out-flatter favorites, or outlie either
    Jovius, or Surius, or both together.
    He names mee,'and comes to mee; I whisper, 'God!
    How have I sinn'd, that thy wraths furious rod,
    This fellow chuseth me?' He saith, 'Sir,
    I love your judgement; Whom doe you prefer,
    For the best linguist?' And I seelily
    Said, that I thought Calepines Dictionarie;
    'Nay, but of men, most sweet Sir?' Beza then,
    Some Jesuites, and two reverend men
    Of our two Academies, I nam'd; There
    He stopt mee,'and said, 'Nay, your Apostles were
    Good pretty linguists, and so Panurge was;
    Yet a poore gentleman, all these may passe
    By travaile.' Then, as if he would have sold
    His tongue, he prais'd it, and such wonders told
    That I was faine to say, 'If you'had liv'd, Sir,
    Time enough to have beene Interpreter
    To Babells bricklayers, sure the Tower had stood.'
    He adds, 'If of court life you knew the good,
    You would leave lonenesse.' I said, 'Not alone
    My lonenesse is. But Spartanes fashion,
    To teach by painting drunkards, doth not tast
    Now; Aretines pictures have made few chast;
    No more can Princes courts, though there be few
    Better pictures of vice, teach me vertue.'
    He, like to'a high stretcht lute string squeakt, 'O Sir,
    'Tis sweet to talke of Kings.' 'At Westminster,'
    Said I, 'The man that keepes the Abbey tombes,
    And for his price doth with who ever comes,
    Of all our Harries, and our Edwards talke,
    From King to King and all their kin can walke:
    Your eares shall heare nought, but Kings; your eyes meet
    Kings only; The way to it, is Kingstreet.'
    He smack'd, and cry'd, 'He's base, Mechanique, coarse,
    So'are all your Englishmen in their discourse.
    Are not your Frenchmen neate?' 'Mine? as you see,
    I'have but one Frenchman, looke, hee followes mee.'
    'Certes they'are neatly cloth'd; I,'of this minde am,
    Your only wearing is your Grogaram.'
    'Not so Sir, I have more.' Under this pitch
    He would not flie; I chaff'd him; But as Itch
    Scratch'd into smart, and as blunt iron ground
    Into an edge, hurts worse: So, I (foole) found,
    Crossing hurt mee; To fit my sullennesse,
    He to another key, his stile doth addresse,
    And askes, 'What newes?' I tell him of new playes.
    He takes my hand, and as a Still, which staies
    A Sembriefe, 'twixt each drop, he nigardly,
    As loth to'enrich mee, so tells many'a lie.
    More then ten Hollensheads, or Halls, or Stowes,
    Of triviall houshold trash he knowes; He knowes
    When the Queene frown'd, or smil'd, and he knowes what
    A subtle States-man may gather of that;
    He knowes who loves; whom; and who by poyson
    Hasts to an Offices reversion;
    He knowes who'hath sold his land, and now doth beg
    A licence, old iron, bootes, shooes, and egge-
    shels to transport; Shortly boyes shall not play
    At span-counter, or blow-point, but they pay
    Toll to some Courtier;'And wiser then all us,
    He knowes what Ladie is not painted; Thus
    He with home-meats tries me; I belch, spue, spit,
    Looke pale, and sickly, like a Patient; Yet
    He thrusts me more; And as if he'undertooke
    To say Gallo-Belgicus without booke
    Speakes of all States, and deeds, that have been since
    The Spaniards came, to the losse of Amyens.
    Like a bigge wife, at sight of loathed meat,
    Readie to travaile: So I sigh, and sweat
    To heare this Makeron talke: In vaine; for yet,
    Either my humour, or his owne to fit,
    He like a priviledg'd spie, whom nothing can
    Discredit, Libells now 'gainst each great man.
    He names a price for every office paid;
    He saith, our warres thrive ill, because delai'd;
    That offices are entail'd, and that there are
    Perpetuities of them, lasting as farre
    As the last day; And that great officers,
    Doe with the Pirates share, and Dunkirkers.
    Who wasts in meat, in clothes, in horse, he notes;
    Who loves Whores, who boyes, and who goats.
    I more amas'd then Circes prisoners, when
    They felt themselves turne beasts, felt my selfe then
    Becomming Traytor, and mee thought I saw
    One of our Giant Statutes ope his jaw
    To sucke me in; for hearing him, I found
    That as burnt venom'd Leachers doe grow sound
    By giving others their soares, I might growe
    Guilty, and he free: Therefore I did shew
    All signes of loathing; But since I am in,
    I must pay mine, and my forefathers sinne
    To the last farthing; Therefore to my power
    Toughly'and stubbornly'I beare this crosse; But the'houre
    Of mercy now was come; He tries to bring
    Me to pay'a fine to scape his torturing,
    And saies, 'Sir, can you spare me?' I said, 'Willingly.'
    'Nay, Sir, can you spare me'a crown?' Thankfully I
    Gave it, as Ransome; But as fidlers, still,
    Though they be paid to be gone, yet needs will
    Thrust one more jigge upon you: so did hee
    With his long complementall thankes vexe me.
    But he is gone, thankes to his needy want,
    And the prerogative of my Crowne: Scant
    His thankes were ended, when I, (which did see
    All the court fill'd with more strange things then hee)
    Ran from thence with such or more hast, then one
    Who feares more actions, doth make from prison.
    At home in wholesome solitarinesse
    My precious soule began, the wretchednesse
    Of suiters at court to mourne, and a trance
    Like his, who dreamt he saw hell, did advance
    It selfe on mee; Such men as he saw there,
    I saw at court, and worse, and more; Low feare
    Becomes the guiltie, not th'accuser; Then,
    Shall I, nones slave, of high borne, or rais'd men
    Feare frownes? And, my Mistresse Truth, betray thee
    To th'huffing braggart, puft Nobility?
    No, no, Thou which since yesterday hast beene
    Almost about the whole world, hast thou seene,
    O Sunne, in all thy journey, Vanitie,
    Such as swells the bladder of our court? I
    Thinke he which made your waxen garden, and
    Transported it from Italy to stand
    With us, at London, flouts our Presence, for
    Just such gay painted things, which no sappe, nor
    Tast have in them, ours are; And naturall
    Some of the stocks are, their fruits, bastard all.
    'Tis ten a clock and past; All whom the Mues,
    Baloune, Tennis, Dyet, or the stewes,
    Had all the morning held, now the second
    Time made ready, that day, in flocks, are found
    In the Presence, and I, (God pardon mee.)
    As fresh, and sweet their Apparrells be, as bee
    The fields they sold to buy them;'For a King
    Those hose are,'cry the flatterers; And bring
    Them next weeke to the Theatre to sell;
    Wants reach all states; Me seemes they doe as well
    At stage, as court; All are players; who e'r lookes
    (For themselves dare not goe) o'r Cheapside books,
    Shall finde their wardrops Inventory. Now,
    The Ladies come; As Pirats, which doe know
    That there came weak ships fraught with Cutchannel,
    The men board them; and praise, as they thinke, well,
    Their beauties; they the mens wits; Both are bought.
    Why good wits ne'r weare scarlet gownes, I thought
    This cause, These men, mens wits for speeches buy,
    And women buy all reds which scarlets die.
    He call'd her beauty limetwigs, her haire net;
    She feares her drugs ill laid, her haire loose set.
    Would not Heraclitus laugh to see Macrine,
    From hat, to shooe, himselfe at doore refine,
    As if the Presence were a Moschite,'and lift
    His skirts and hose, and call his clothes to shrift,
    Making them confesse not only mortall
    Great staines and holes in them; but veniall
    Feathers and dust, wherewith they fornicate;
    And then by Durers rules survay the state
    Of his each limbe, and with strings the odds tries
    Of his neck to his legge, and wast to thighes.
    So in immaculate clothes, and Symetrie
    Perfect as circles, with such nicetie
    As a young Preacher at his first time goes
    To preach, he enters, and a Lady which owes
    Him not so much as good will, he arrests,
    And unto her protests protests protests
    So much as at Rome would serve to have throwne
    Ten Cardinalls into th'Inquisition;
    And whisperd 'by Jesu',so'often,that A
    Pursevant would have ravish'd him away
    For saying of our Ladies psalter; But 'tis fit
    That they each other plague, they merit it.
    But here comes Glorius that will plague them both,
    Who, in the other extreme, only doth
    Call a rough carelessnesse, good fashion;
    Whose cloak his spurres teare; whom he spits on
    He cares not; His ill words doe no harme
    To him; he rusheth in, as if 'Arme, arme,'
    He meant to crie; And though his face be'as ill
    As theirs which in old hangings whip Christ, yet still
    He strives to looke worse, he keepes all in awe;
    Jeasts like a licenc'd foole, commands like law.
    Tyr'd, now I leave this place, and but pleas'd so
    As men which from gaoles to'execution goe,
    Goe through the great chamber (why is it hung
    With the seaven deadly sinnes?); Being among
    Those Askaparts, men big enough to throw
    Charing Crosse for a barre, men that doe know
    No token of worth, but 'Queenes man', and fine
    Living, barrells of beefe, flaggons of wine;
    I shooke like a spyed Spie. Preachers which are
    Seas of Wit and Arts, you can, then dare,
    Drowne the sinnes of this place, for, for mee
    Which am but a scarce brooke, it enough shall bee
    To wash the staines away; Though I yet
    With Macchabees modestie, the knowne merit
    Of my worke lessen: yet some wise man shall,
    I hope, esteeme my writs Canonicall.
    If you're writing a Satire 4 essay and need some advice, post your John Donne essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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