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Satire III Analysis



Author: Poetry of John Donne Type: Poetry Views: 745

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Kind pity chokes my spleen; brave scorn forbids

Those tears to issue which swell my eyelids;

I must not laugh, nor weep sins and be wise;

Can railing, then, cure these worn maladies?

Is not our mistress, fair Religion,

As worthy of all our souls' devotion

As virtue was in the first blinded age?

Are not heaven's joys as valiant to assuage

Lusts, as earth's honour was to them? Alas,

As we do them in means, shall they surpass

Us in the end? and shall thy father's spirit

Meet blind philosophers in heaven, whose merit

Of strict life may be imputed faith, and hear

Thee, whom he taught so easy ways and near

To follow, damn'd? Oh, if thou dar'st, fear this;

This fear great courage and high valour is.

Dar'st thou aid mutinous Dutch, and dar'st thou lay

Thee in ships' wooden sepulchres, a prey

To leaders' rage, to storms, to shot, to dearth?

Dar'st thou dive seas, and dungeons of the earth?

Hast thou courageous fire to thaw the ice

Of frozen North discoveries? and thrice

Colder than salamanders, like divine

Children in th' oven, fires of Spain and the Line,

Whose countries limbecs to our bodies be,

Canst thou for gain bear? and must every he

Which cries not, "Goddess," to thy mistress, draw

Or eat thy poisonous words? Courage of straw!

O desperate coward, wilt thou seem bold, and

To thy foes and his, who made thee to stand

Sentinel in his world's garrison, thus yield,

And for forbidden wars leave th' appointed field?

Know thy foes: the foul devil, whom thou

Strivest to please, for hate, not love, would allow

Thee fain his whole realm to be quit; and as

The world's all parts wither away and pass,

So the world's self, thy other lov'd foe, is

In her decrepit wane, and thou loving this,

Dost love a wither'd and worn strumpet; last,

Flesh (itself's death) and joys which flesh can taste,

Thou lovest, and thy fair goodly soul, which doth

Give this flesh power to taste joy, thou dost loathe.

Seek true religion. O where? Mirreus,

Thinking her unhous'd here, and fled from us,

Seeks her at Rome; there, because he doth know

That she was there a thousand years ago,

He loves her rags so, as we here obey

The statecloth where the prince sate yesterday.

Crantz to such brave loves will not be enthrall'd,

But loves her only, who at Geneva is call'd

Religion, plain, simple, sullen, young,

Contemptuous, yet unhandsome; as among

Lecherous humours, there is one that judges

No wenches wholesome, but coarse country drudges.

Graius stays still at home here, and because

Some preachers, vile ambitious bawds, and laws,

Still new like fashions, bid him think that she

Which dwells with us is only perfect, he

Embraceth her whom his godfathers will

Tender to him, being tender, as wards still

Take such wives as their guardians offer, or

Pay values. Careless Phrygius doth abhor

All, because all cannot be good, as one

Knowing some women whores, dares marry none.

Graccus loves all as one, and thinks that so

As women do in divers countries go

In divers habits, yet are still one kind,

So doth, so is Religion; and this blind-

ness too much light breeds; but unmoved, thou

Of force must one, and forc'd, but one allow,

And the right; ask thy father which is she,

Let him ask his; though truth and falsehood be

Near twins, yet truth a little elder is;

Be busy to seek her; believe me this,

He's not of none, nor worst, that seeks the best.

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;

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.

Yet strive so that before age, death's twilight,

Thy soul rest, for none can work in that night.

To will implies delay, therefore now do;

Hard deeds, the body's pains; hard knowledge too

The mind's endeavours reach, and mysteries

Are like the sun, dazzling, yet plain to all eyes.

Keep the truth which 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 tied

To man's laws, by which she shall not be tried

At the last day? Oh, will it then boot thee

To say a Philip, or a Gregory,

A Harry, or a Martin, taught thee this?

Is not this excuse for mere contraries

Equally strong? Cannot both sides say so?

That thou mayest rightly obey power, her bounds know;

Those past, her nature and name is chang'd; to be

Then humble to her is idolatry.

As streams are, power is; those blest flowers that dwell

At the rough stream's calm head, thrive and do well,

But having left their roots, and themselves given

To the stream's tyrannous rage, alas, are driven

Through mills, and rocks, and woods, and at last, almost

Consum'd in going, in the sea are lost.

So perish souls, which more choose men's unjust

Power from God claim'd, than God himself to trust.










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