The Third Satire Of Dr. John Donne
Compassion checks my spleen, yet Scorn denies
The tears a passage thro' my swelling eyes;
To laugh or weep at sins, might idly show,
Unheedful passion, or unfruitful woe.
Satyr! arise, and try thy sharper ways,
If ever Satyr cur'd an old disease.
Is not Religion (Heav'n-descended dame)
As worthy all our soul's devoutest flame,
As Moral Virtue in her early sway,
When the best Heathens saw by doubtful day?
Are not the joys, the promis'd joys above,
As great and strong to vanquish earthly love,
As earthly glory, fame, respect and show,
As all rewards their virtue found below?
Alas! Religion proper means prepares,
These means are ours, and must its End be theirs?
And shall thy Father's spirit meet the sight
Of Heathen Sages cloath'd in heavenly light,
Whose Merit of strict life, severely suited
To Reason's dictates, may be faith imputed?
Whilst thou, to whom he taught the nearer road,
Art ever banish'd from the bless'd abode.
Oh! if thy temper such a fear can find,
This fear were valour of the noblest kind.
Dar'st thou provoke, when rebel souls aspire,
Thy Maker's Vengeance, and thy Monarch's Ire?
Or live entomb'd in ships, thy leader's prey,
Spoil of the war, the famine, or the sea?
In search of pearl, in depth of ocean breathe,
Or live, exil'd the sun, in mines beneath?
Or, where in tempests icy mountains roll,
Attempt a passage by the Northern pole?
Or dar'st thou parch within the fires of Spain,
Or burn beneath the line, for Indian gain?
Or for some Idol of thy Fancy draw,
Some loose-gown'd dame; O courage made of straw!
Thus, desp'rate Coward! would'st thou bold appear,
Yet when thy God has plac'd thee Centry here,
To thy own foes, to his, ignobly yield,
And leave, for wars forbid, the appointed field?
Know thy own foes; th' Apostate Angel, he
You strive to please, the foremost of the Three;
He makes the pleasures of his realm the bait,
But can he give for Love, that acts in Hate?
The World's thy second Love, thy second Foe,
The World, whose beauties perish as they blow,
They fly, she fades herself, and at the best
You grasp a wither'd strumpet to your breast.
The Flesh is next, which in fruition wasts,
High flush'd with all the sensual joys it tasts,
While men the fair, the goodly Soul destroy,
From whence the flesh has pow'r to tast a joy.
Seek thou Religion, primitively sound—
Well, gentle friend, but where may she be found?
By Faith Implicite blind Ignaro led,
Thinks the bright Seraph from his Country fled,
And seeks her seat at Rome, because we know
She there was seen a thousand years ago;
And loves her Relick rags, as men obey
The foot-cloth where the Prince sat yesterday.
These pageant Forms are whining Obed's scorn,
Who seeks Religion at Geneva born,
A sullen thing, whose coarsness suits the crowd,
Tho' young, unhandsome; tho' unhandsome, proud:
Thus, with the wanton, some perversely judge
All girls unhealthy but the Country drudge.
No foreign schemes make easy Cæpio roam,
The man contented takes his Church at home;
Nay should some Preachers, servile bawds of gain,
Shou'd some new Laws, which like new-fashions reign,
Command his faith to count Salvation ty'd
To visit his, and visit none beside,
He grants Salvation centers in his own,
And grants it centers but in his alone:
From youth to age he grasps the proffer'd dame,
And they confer his Faith, who give his Name:
So from the Guardian's hands, the Wards who live
Enthral'd to Guardians, take the wives they give.
From all professions careless Airy flies,
For, all professions can't be good, he cries,
And here a fault, and there another views,
And lives unfix'd for want to heart to chuse:
So men, who know what some loose girls have done,
For fear of marrying such, will marry none.
The Charms of all, obsequious Courtly strike;
On each he doats, on each attends alike;
And thinks, as diff'rent countrys deck the dame,
The dresses altering, and the sex the same;
So fares Religion, chang'd in outward show,
But 'tis Religion still, where'er we go:
This blindness springs from an excess of light,
And men embrace the wrong to chuse the right.
But thou of force must one Religion own,
And only one, and that the Right alone.
To find that Right one, ask thy Reverend Sire;
Let him of his, and him of his enquire;
Tho' Truth and Falshood seem as twins ally'd,
There's Eldership on Truth's delightful side,
Her seek with heed—who seeks the soundest First
Is not of No Religion, nor the worst.
T' adore, or scorn an Image, or protest,
May all be bad: doubt wisely for the best;
'Twere wrong to sleep, or headlong run astray;
It is not wandring, to inquire the way.
On a large mountain, at the Basis wide,
Steep to the top, and craggy at the side,
Sits sacred Truth enthron'd; and he, who means
To reach the summit, mounts with weary pains,
Winds round and round, and every turn essays
Where sudden breaks resist the shorter ways.
Yet labour so, that, e're faint age arrive,
Thy searching soul possess her Rest alive;
To work by twilight were to work too late,
And Age is twilight to the night of fate.
To will implyes delay, therefore now do:
Hard deeds, the bodie's pain; hard knowledge too
The mind's indeavours reach; and mysteries
Are like the Sun dazling, yet plain to all eyes.
Keep the truth thou hast found; men do not stand
In so ill case, that God hath with his hand
Sign'd Kings blank-charters to kill whom they hate,
Nor are they Vicars, but hangmen to Fate.
Fool and wretch, wilt thou let thy soul be tyed
To mans laws, by which she shall not be tryed
At the last day? Or will it then boot thee
To say a Philip or a Gregory,
A Harry or a Martin taught me this?
Is not this excuse for meer contraries,
Equally strong, cannot both sides say so?
That thou mayest rightly obey power, her bounds know;
Those past, her nature, and name are chang'd; to be
Then humble to her is Idolatry.
As streams are, Power is; those blest flowers that dwell
At the rough streams calm head, thrive and do well,
But having left their roots, and themselves given
To the streams tyrannous rage, alas, are driven
Through Mills, Rocks, and Woods, and at last, almost
Consum'd in going, in the sea are lost:
So perish Souls, which more chuse mens unjust
Power, from God claim'd, then God himself to trust.
To will alone, is but to mean delay;
To work at present is the use of day:
For man's employ much thought and deed remain,
High Thoughts the Soul, hard deeds the body strain:
And Myst'ries ask believing, which to View
Like the fair Sun, are plain, but dazling too.
Be Truth, so found, with sacred heed possest,
Not Kings have pow'r to tear it from thy breast,
By no blank Charters harm they where they hate,
Nor are they Vicars, but the hands of Fate.
Ah! fool and wretch, who let'st thy soul be ty'd
To human Laws! Or must it so be try'd?
Or will it boot thee, at the latest day,
When Judgment sits, and Justice asks thy plea,
That Philip that, or Greg'ry taught thee this,
Or John or Martin? All may teach amiss:
For, every contrary in each Extream
This holds alike, and each may plead the same.
Wou'dst thou to Pow'r a proper duty shew?
'Tis thy first task the bounds of pow'r to know;
The bounds once past, it holds the name no more,
Its nature alters, which it own'd before,
Nor were submission humbleness exprest,
But all a low Idolatry at best.
Pow'r, from above subordinately spread,
Streams like a fountain from th' eternal head;
There, calm and pure the living waters flow,
But roar a Torrent or a Flood below;
Each flow'r, ordain'd the Margins to adorn,
Each native Beauty, from its roots is torn,
And left on Deserts, Rocks and Sands, or tost
All the long travel, and in Ocean lost:
So fares the soul, which more that Pow'r reveres
Man claims from God, than what in God inheres.
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