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to begge the other : he that offendes, being forst, is more excusable than the wilfull faultie; though both be guilty, there is difference in the guilt. To observe custome, and avoide as I may, cavill, opposing your favors against my feare, Ile shew reason for my present writing, and after proceed to sue for pardon. About three moneths since died M. Robert Greene, leaving many papers in sundry Booke sellers hands, among other his Groatsworth of wit, in which a letter written to divers play-makers, is offensively by one or two of them taken; and because on the dead they cannot be avenged, they wilfully forge in their conceites a living Author: and after tossing it two and fro, no remedy, but it must light on me. How I have all the time of my conversing in printing hindred the bitter inveying against schollers, it hath been very well knowne; and how in that I dealt, I can sufficiently proove. With neither of them that take offence was I acquainted, and with one of them I care not if I never be: The other, whome at that time I did not so much spare, as since I wish I had, for that as I have moderated the heate of living writers, and might have usde my owne discretion (especially in such a case) the Author beeing dead, that I did not, I am as sory as if the originall fault had beene my fault, because my selfe have seene his demeanor no lesse civill, than be exelent in the qualitie he professes : Besides, divers of worship have reported his uprightnes of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his facetious grace in writting, that aprooves his Art. For the first, whose learning I reverence, and at the perusing of Greenes Booke, stroke out what then in conscience I thought he in some displeasure writ; or had it beene true, yet to publish it, was intollerable; him I would wish to use me no worse than I deserve. I had onely in the copy this share: it was il written, as sometimes Greenes hand was none of the best; licensd it must be, ere it could bee printed, which could never be if it might not be read. To be briefe, I writ it over; and as neare as I could, followed the copy; onely in that letter I put something out, but in the whole booke not a worde in; for I protest it was all Greenes, not mine nor Maister Nashes, as some unjustly have affirmed. Neither was he the writer of an Epistle to the second part of Gerileon, though by the workemans error T. N. were set to the end : that I confesse to be mine, and repent it not.

Thus Gentlemen, having noted the private causes that made me nominate my selfe in print; being aswell to purge Maister Nashe of that he did not, as to justifie what I did, and withall to confirme what M. Greene did : I beseech yee accept the publike cause, which is both the desire of your delight, and common benefite : for though the toye bee shadowed under the Title of Kind-hearts Dreame, it discovers the false hearts of divers that wake to commit mischiefe. Had not the former reasons been, it had come forth without a father: and then shuld I have had no cause to feare offending, or reason to sue for favor. Now am I in doubt of the one, though I hope of the other; which if I obtaine, you shall bind me hereafter to bee silent, till I can present yee with something more acceptable.




[John DONNE, English clergyman and poet, son of a rich London merchant from an old Welsh Catholic family, was born in 1573; studied at Oxford from eleven to fourteen, at Cambridge later, but could not graduate on account of his religion. Studying for the bar at seventeen, he investigated points of faith and turned Protestant. He wrote nearly all his poems before coming of age. He traveled abroad 1694–1597, returned and became secretary to Lord Keeper Egerton (Lord Ellesmere), afterward lord chancellor ; but on the discovery of his secret marriage with Egerton's niece, the Lord Keeper discharged and imprisoned him, and he had to recover his wife by a suit at law. After various wanderings and random employments he wrote “The Pseudo-martyr," against the Catholics; and James I., admiring it, advised him to take orders, and after sending him on an embassy to his daughter, the Queen of Bohemia, made him dean of St. Paul's and vicar of St. Dunstan's. He died in 1631.]


As VIRTUOUS men pass mildly away,

And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,

“The breath goes now," and some say, “No”;

So let us melt and make no noise,

No tear floods nor sigh tempests move, 'Twere profanation of our joys,

To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears;

Men reckon what it did and meant;

But trepidation of the spheres,

Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lover's love

(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit Absence, because it doth remove

Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so far refined

That ourselves know not what it is, Inter-assurèd of the mind,

Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls, therefore, which are one,

Though I must go, endure not yet A breach, but an expansion,

Like gold to airy thinness beat.


I have done one braver thing

Than all the Worthies did;
And yet a braver thence doth spring,

Which is, to keep that hid.

It were but madness now t'impart

The skill of specular stone, When he, which can have learned the art

To cut it, can find none.

So, if I now should utter this,

Others (because no more
Such stuff to work upon there is)

Would love but as before:

But he who loveliness within

Hath found, all outward loathes; For he who color loves, and skin,

Loves but their oldest clothes. If, as I have, you also do

Virtue [attired] in woman see, And dare love that, and say so too,

And forget the He and She;

And if this love, though placed so,

From profane men you hide,

Which will no faith on this bestow,

Or, if they do, deride;

Then you

have done a braver thing
Then all the Worthies did,
And a braver thence will spring,

Which is, to keep that hid.


Be then thine own home, and in thyself dwell;
Inn anywhere; continuance maketh Hell.
And seeing the snail, which everywhere doth roam,
Carrying his own house still, is still at home:
Follow (for he's easy paced) this snail,
Be thine own palace, or the world's thy jail.
But in the world's sea do not like cork sleep
Upon the water's face, nor in the deep
Sink like a lead without a line : but as
Fishes glide, leaving no print where they pass,
Nor making sound, so closely thy course go;
Let men dispute whether thou breathe or no:
Only in this be no Galenist. To make
Court's hot ambitions wholesome, do not take
A dram of country's dullness; do not add
Correctives, but as chymics purge the bad.


Before I sigh my last gasp, let me breathe,
Great Love, some legacies; here I bequeath
Mine eyes to Argus, if mine eyes can see,
If they be blind, then, Love, I give them thee;
My tongue to Fame; to ambassadors mine ears;

To women, or the sea, my tears;
Thou, Love, hast taught me heretofore
By making me serve her who had twenty more,
That I should give to none, but such as had too much before.

My constancy I to the planets give,
My truth to them who at the court do live;
Mine ingenuity and openness
To Jesuits; to buffoons my pensiveness;
My silence to any, who abroad hath been;

My money to a Capuchin.
Thou, Love, taught'st me, by appointing me

To love there, where no love received can be, Only to give to such as have an incapacity.

My faith I give to Roman Catholics ;
All my good works unto the schismatics
Of Amsterdam; my best civility
And courtship, to an university;
My modesty I give to shoulders bare;

My patience let gamesters share.
Thou, Love, taught'st me, by making me
Love her that holds my love disparity,
Only to give to those that count my gifts indignity.

I give my reputation to those
Which were my friends; my industry to foes;
To schoolmen I bequeath my doubtfulness;
My sickness to physicians, or excess;
To Nature, all that I in rhyme have writ;

And to my company my wit;
Thou, Love, by making me adore
Her, who begot this love in me before,
Taught'st me to make, as though I gave, when I did but restore,

To him for whom the passing bell next tolls
I give my physic books; my written rolls
Of moral counsels I to Bedlam give;
My brazen medals, unto them which live
In want of bread; to them which pass among

All foreigners, my English tongue,
Thou, Love, by making me love one
Who thinks her friendship a fit portion
For younger lovers, dost my gifts thus disproportion.

Therefore I'll give no more; but I'll undo
The world by dying; because love dies too.
Then all your beauties will be no more worth
Than gold in mines, where none doth draw it forth ;
And all your graces no more use shall have

Than a sun dial on a grave.
Thou, Love, taught'st me, by making me
Love her, who doth neglect both me and thee,
To invent and practice this one way to annihilate all three.

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