W. Milgate (ed.), John Donne: The Satires, Epigrams and Verse Letters
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus1Away thou fondling motley humorist,
- Editor’s Note2Leave mee, and in this standing woodden chest,
- 3Consorted with these few bookes, let me lye
- 4In prison, and here be coffin'd, when I dye;
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus5Here are Gods conduits, grave Divines; and here
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus6Natures Secretary, the Philosopher;
- Editor’s Note7And jolly Statesmen, which teach how to tie
- Editor’s Note8The sinewes of a cities mistique bodie;
- Editor’s Note9Here gathering Chroniclers, and by them stand
- Editor’s Note10Giddie fantastique Poëts of each land.
- 11Shall I leave all this constant company,
- Editor’s Note12And follow headlong, wild uncertaine thee?
- Editor’s Note13First sweare by thy best love in earnest
- 14(If thou which lov'st all, canst love any best)
- Editor’s Note15Thou wilt not leave mee in the middle street,
- Critical Apparatus16Though some more spruce companion thou dost meet,
- 17Not though a Captaine do come in thy way
- Editor’s Note18Bright parcell gilt, with forty dead mens pay,
- Critical Apparatus19Nor though a briske perfum'd piert Courtier
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus20Deigne with a nod, thy courtesie to answer,
- 21Nor come a velvet Justice with a long
- Editor’s Note22Great traine of blew coats, twelve, or fourteen strong,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus23Wilt thou grin or fawne on him, or prepare
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus24A speech to court his beautious sonne and heire.
- Critical Apparatus25For better or worse take mee, or leave mee:
- pg 4Editor’s Note26To take, and leave mee is adultery.
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus27Oh monstrous, superstitious puritan,
- Editor’s Note28Of refin'd manners, yet ceremoniall man,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus29That when thou meet'st one, with enquiring eyes
- Editor’s Note30Dost search, and like a needy broker prize
- Editor’s Note31The silke, and gold he weares, and to that rate
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus32So high or low, dost raise thy formall hat:
- Editor’s Note33That wilt consort none, untill thou have knowne
- 34What lands hee hath in hope, or of his owne,
- 35As though all thy companions should make thee
- Editor’s Note36Jointures, and marry thy deare company.
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus37Why should'st thou (that dost not onely approve,
- Editor’s Note38But in ranke itchie lust, desire, and love
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus39The nakednesse and barenesse to enjoy,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus40Of thy plumpe muddy whore, or prostitute boy)
- Critical Apparatus41Hate vertue, though shee be naked, and bare?
- Editor’s Note42At birth, and death, our bodies naked are;
- Editor’s Note43And till our Soules be unapparrelled
- 44Of bodies, they from blisse are banished.
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus45Mans first blest state was naked, when by sinne
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus46Hee lost that, yet hee'was cloath'd but in beasts skin,
- Critical Apparatus47And in this course attire, which I now weare,
- 48With God, and with the Muses I conferre.
- 49 But since thou like a contrite penitent,
- Critical Apparatus50Charitably warn'd of thy sinnes, dost repent
- 51These vanities, and giddinesses, loe
- Critical Apparatus52I shut my chamber doore, and 'Come, lets goe.'
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus53But sooner may a cheape whore, that hath beene
- 54Worne by as many severall men in sinne,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus55As are black feathers, or musk-colour hose,
- Critical Apparatus56Name her childs right true father, 'mongst all those:
- pg 5Editor’s Note57Sooner may one guesse, who shall beare away
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus58Th'Infant of London, Heire to'an India:
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus59And sooner may a gulling weather-Spie
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus60By drawing forth heavens Scheame tell certainly
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus61What fashion'd hats, or ruffes, or suits next yeare
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus62Our subtile-witted antique youths will weare;
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus63Then thou, when thou depart'st from mee, canst show
- Critical Apparatus64Whither, why, when, or with whom thou wouldst go.
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus65But how shall I be pardon'd my offence
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus66That thus have sinn'd against my conscience?
- Editor’s Note67 Now we are in the street; He first of all
- 68Improvidently proud, creepes to the wall,
- Critical Apparatus69And so imprison'd, and hem'd in by mee
- Critical Apparatus70Sells for a little state his libertie;
- 71Yet though he cannot skip forth now to greet
- 72Every fine silken painted foole we meet,
- Critical Apparatus73He them to him with amorous smiles allures,
- Editor’s Note74And grins, smacks, shrugs, and such an itch endures,
- 75As prentises, or schoole-boyes which doe know
- 76Of some gay sport abroad, yet dare not goe.
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus77And as fidlers stop low'st, at highest sound,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus78So to the most brave, stoops hee nigh'st the ground.
- 79But to a grave man, he doth move no more
- Editor’s Note80Then the wise politique horse would heretofore,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus81Or thou O Elephant or Ape wilt doe,
- 82When any names the King of Spaine to you.
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus83Now leaps he upright, joggs me,'and cryes, 'Do'you see
- Critical Apparatus84Yonder well favour'd youth?' 'Which?' 'Oh, 'tis hee
- 85That dances so divinely.' 'Oh,' said I,
- pg 686'Stand still, must you dance here for company?'
- 87Hee droopt, wee went, till one (which did excell
- Editor’s Note88Th'Indians, in drinking his Tobacco well)
- Critical Apparatus89Met us; they talk'd; I whisper'd, 'Let us goe,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus90'T may be you smell him not, truely I doe.'
- 91He heares not mee, but, on the other side
- Critical Apparatus92A many-colour'd Peacock having spide,
- 93Leaves him and mee; I for my lost sheep stay;
- Critical Apparatus94He followes, overtakes, goes on the way,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus95Saying, 'Him whom I last left, all repute
- Editor’s Note96For his device, in hansoming a sute,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus97To judge of lace, pinke, panes, print, cut, and plight,
- Editor’s Note98Of all the Court, to have the best conceit.'
- Editor’s Note99'Our dull Comedians want hm, let him goe;
- Editor’s Note100But Oh, God strengthen thee, why stoop'st thou so?'
- Critical Apparatus101'Why? he hath travail'd.' 'Long?' 'No, but to me'
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus102(Which understand none,) 'he doth seeme to be
- Critical Apparatus103Perfect French, and Italian.' I reply'd,
- Critical Apparatus104'So is the Poxe.' He answer'd not, but spy'd
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus105More men of sort, of parts, and qualities;
- Editor’s Note106At last his Love he in a windowe spies,
- Editor’s Note107And like light dew exhal'd, he flings from mee
- Critical Apparatus108Violently ravish'd to his lechery.
- Editor’s Note109Many were there, he could command no more;
- 110He quarrell'd, fought, bled; and turn'd out of dore
- 111 Directly came to mee hanging the head,
- Editor’s Note112 And constantly a while must keepe his bed.
Satyre I. MSS.: C 57, L 74, and TCD; H 49 and W; O'F and Q.
1 fondling] changeling H 49, W, O'F, Q
l. 1. fondling: a 'fond' or foolish person. This is the reading of Donne's final version (and of S, a contaminated manuscript); the earlier reading, 'changeling' (one given to change, a fickle or inconstant person, O.E.D., sense 1), was presumably rejected because its meaning is already contained in 'humorist' and 'motley'.
motley: varying in character or mood, changeable.
humorist: a person subject to 'humours' or fancies, a fantastical or whimsical person, a faddist (O.E.D., sense 1); 'a fribble' (Chambers).
l. 2. this standing woodden chest. Between 1587 and 1613 the Benchers of Lincoln's Inn rebuilt the greater part of the chambers (see The Black Books, ii, 1898, xiv– xvi, 90). Each chamber was divided into two, and each half-chamber seems to have consisted of a bedroom and a study divided off by wainscot partitions; two members of the Society occupied each chamber (op. cit., p. 65). Donne was admitted to Lincoln's Inn on 6 May 1592, and, according to Walton (Lives, p. 29), Christopher Brooke was his chamber-fellow. Donne seems to have been sensitive to the effects of closed spaces, and such a room might well appear to him like a chest 'standing' (i.e. on end).
chest: frequently spelt 'chist' (e.g. in Lut and O'F), and, as the word was then pronounced, a good rhyme here. 'Chest' often meant 'coffin'; hence 'coffin'd', l. 4.
Marvell found this passage suggestive; see Fleckno, ll. 9–14 (Poems and Letters, ed. H. M. Margoliouth, i. 83).
5 conduits, … Divines; ] conduits; … Divines, 1633
l. 5. Gods conduits: channels conveying God's Word.
6 Philosopher;] Philosopher. 1633
l. 6. Natures Secretary, the Philosopher: Aristotle, to the Schoolmen always 'the Philosopher'. John of Salisbury, in his Metalogicon, has a chapter (iv. 7) explaining why Aristotle pre-eminently deserves the title (Migne, P.L. cxcix. 920). Suidas first called him 'Secretary of Nature', i.e. one acquainted with the secrets of nature; see O.E.D., 'secretary', I. d. The rhythm seems to be:
l. 7. jolly Statesmen. 'Jolly' (O.E.D. II. 6) means overweeningly self-confident, full of presumptuous pride, defiantly bold, arrogant, overbearing; so Nashe: 'Is thys the jollie fellow that shooke kingdoms?' (Works, i. 116). The reading of 1635, Lut, O'F, S 962, 'wily', is an emendation, or a misreading of 'ioly'.
l. 8. The sinewes of a cities mistique bodie. The 'natural' body of a city is its physical existence as houses, streets, etc. Its 'mistique', or spiritual, body is its existence as a community of persons, the 'body politic'. The comparison of the 'body politic' to the human body is a commonplace, as is the metaphorical use of 'sinew' as 'the main strength, or chief support' of a society; cf. 'chivalrie is the fundation and sinewes of a commonweale' (Fleming's continuation of Holinshed, 1587, iii. 1343b), and 'Familiaritie and conference,/That were the sinewes of societies' (Nashe, Works, iii. 271).
The rhyme of 'tie' with 'bodie'—of a tenth accented syllable with an unaccented eleventh—is an example of what C. S. Lewis called 'Simpsonian' rhyme: see P. Simpson, 'The Rhyming of Stressed with Unstressed Syllables SATIRE I in Elizabethan Verse' (M.L.R. xxxviii, 1943). There is another example in 'The Storm', ll. 55–56.
l. 9. gathering Chroniclers: chroniclers who merely gather information, much of it 'triviall houshold trash'; cf. 'Satire IV', ll. 97–98.
l. 10. Giddie fantastique Poëts of each land. The poets come last. Cf. Bacon's division of learning, by which history is referred to memory, poetry to the imagination or fancy, and philosophy to reason. Bacon dismisses poetry with the words 'It is not good to stay too long in the theatre', as he passes to 'the judicial place or palace of the mind', reason (Advancement of Learning, 11. iv. 1–5).
Speculation as to which poets stood on Donne's shelves is fruitless. He was certainly well read in Latin and Italian poetry, and in a letter to Buckingham in 1623, when the latter was in Spain, he says of his library 'I can turn mine eye towards no shelf, in any profession from the mistress of my youth, Poetry, to the wife of mine age, Divinity, but that I meet more authors of that nation than of any other' (Gosse, ii. 176).
l. 12. headlong, wild. The punctuation of 1633 (with a comma after 'headlong') correctly, I think, indicates that 'headlong' is an adverb. It is not impossible to take 'headlong' as an adjective (O.E.D. B. 4), meaning 'madly impetuous', and describing the 'humorist' ('thee'); but this meaning seems already to be contained in 'wild uncertaine'.
l. 13. This line lacks a syllable, unless the 'r' in 'earnest' is syllabic, and the word a trisyllable. The most reliable manuscripts of all types agree with 1633. In JC (D 17), however, the line is 'mended' by writing 'sweare to mee by', and Lut, O'F sophisticate it to read 'sweare heare by' (changed in 1635 to 'sweare by thy best love, here');evidently some contemporary readers found the line metrically deficient.
l. 15. in the middle street. A Latinism, in media via.
16 dost]do W,Q
l. 18. Bright parcell gilt, with forty dead mens pay. Some 'dead pays' (that is, pay for men whose names were kept on the muster roll, though dead) were allowed to a captain of a company as a recognized perquisite. Matthew Sutcliffe writes (in The Practice, Proceedings, and Laws of Arms, 1593, p. 320) of the abuse of forging muster rolls, and wonders 'that those that should reforme it, in some places doe suffer captaines to have certeine dead payes, which is a meanes to mainteine it, and cover it'. Forty 'dead pays' would, of course, be grossly excessive. Grierson cites a letter to Sir John Norreyes (Acts of the Privy Council, 1592, p. 279) stating that there are '15 deade paies allowed ordynarily in every bande, which is paide allwaies and taken by the captaines'. References are frequent, and the swindle was too profitable to be quickly stamped out; there is a space of almost a century between the first example s.v. 'dead pay' in the O.E.D. (1565) and the last (1663).
parcell gilt: 'partly gilded'. Dekker fills out the picture of this captain: 'Captayns, some in guilt armor (unbattred,) some in buffe Jerkins, plated o're with massy silver lace, (rayzd out of the ashes of dead pay,) …' (News from Hell, 1606, sig. E1v).
19 Nor Σ: Not 1633, C 57, Q, Gr
20 courtesie] Conrtsies O'F, Q
answer,] answer. 1633
l. 20. The spelling 'Courtsies' in O'F suggests that the line is properly syllabic:
l. 22. blew coats: servants. Blue coats were the livery of lower retainers; see O.E.D., 'blue', II. 5. c, and 'blue coat', 2. To appear in the streets with twelve or fourteen in one's retinue, probably in double file, would show extravagance and ostentation.
23 Wilt] Shalt H 49, W, O'F, Q
l. 23. Wilt. Since this reading occurs in all manuscripts containing the final version, and only there, it seems to be an alteration of Donne's own (from 'Shalt'), and matches 'wilt' in l. 15.
24 court] Court 1633
heire.] heire? 1633
l. 24. The 'humorist', impressed by the judge's splendour, will think of cultivating his son and heir as a way into high society, or as a source of wealth (since the heir is possibly 'melting with luxurie', 'Satire II', l. 79), or as a potential ward: for any of these reasons, the heir would seem beauteous.
25 or worse] and worse H 49, W
l. 26. The comma after 'take' in 1633 (and in several manuscripts) brings out the sense: 'to take me, and after that to leave me'.
27 monstrous] monster H 49, W
l. 27. monstrous. The 'monster' of some manuscripts is the older form of the adjective (O.E.D. B, 1). It may have stood in at least one of Donne's own copies,
superstitious: punctilious, over-scrupulous (O.E.D. 3).
puritan: one who is, or affects to be, or is accounted extremely strict, precise, or scrupulous in religion or morals (O.E.D. 2).
l. 28. ceremoniall: addicted to ceremony or ritual, precise in observance of forms of politeness (O.E.D., adj. 2; the first example given is from Fulke, 1579: 'a ceremoniall and superstitious man').
The humorist is a 'monstrous' Puritan in his excessive scrupulosity over refined manners, and yet even more in being a 'ceremoniall man', since ceremonies were abhorrent to Puritans.
This line has eleven syllables; the light second syllable of 'manners', coming before a marked medial pause, is treated as if it were an extra light syllable at the end of a line:
For other examples cf. 'Satire II', l. 43; 'Satire IV', ll. 22, 65, 185, 210; 'Satire V', ll. 39, 40, 59; 'The Progress of the Soul', ll. 150, 371, 374; 'Mercurius Gallo-Belgicus', l. 5; 'To Mr T. W.' ('All haile sweet Poët'), ll. 1, 16; 'To Mr I. L.' (p. 67), l. 6; 'To Sir Henry Wotton' ('Sir, more then kisses'), l. 20; 'To the Countess of Bedford' ('T'have written then'), l. 59.
29 eyes] eyes; 1633 uncorrected
ll. 29–34. Cf. Juvenal, Sat. iii. 140–2 (noted by Alden):
- De moribus ultima fiet
- Quaestio: quot pascit servos? quot possidet agri
- Jugera? quam multa, magnaque paropside coenat?
l. 30. broker: pawnbroker or second-hand clothes dealer.
l. 31. silke, and gold. These are an emblem, in the literature of the time, of extravagance and ostentation in dress. For at least two centuries the Crown had attempted to limit by statute the wearing of cloth of gold (one kind of which consisted of gold thread woven with silk), crimson cloth, velvet, etc. See Linthicum, p. 144.
32 raise] vaile W, O'F, Q
hat] hate 1633 uncorrected
l. 32. raise. Although this word is easily confused with 'vaile' in secretary hand, and the reading of the intermediate version of the satire (W, D, H 49) is doubtful, 'raise' seems to have been Donne's final choice. The two words were equally current. See O.E.D., 'vail', l. 2; and cf. Skialetheia, Sat. I: 'Vayleth his cap to each one he doth meet'. The metaphor here is from 'vailing' or lowering the topsails in submission, or in courtesy, to another vessel. For the adjustment of this courtesy to the wealth or rank of the person greeted, compare Massinger's Emperor of the East (1632), 1. ii. 187–92, where the 'master of the habit and maners' says:
- I have in a table
- With curious punctualitie set downe
- To a haires breadth, how low a new stamp'd courtier
- May vaile to a country Gentleman, and by
- Gradation, to his marchant, mercer, draper,
- His linnen man, and taylor.
formall: rigorously observant of forms, precise, ceremonious (O.E.D. A. 8). The epithet is transferred.
l. 33. consort: accompany (O.E.D. I, citing, e.g., Heywood, Four Prentices of London, 1615, sig. G3r: 'Wilt thou consort me, beare me company').
have. A subjunctive, changed in all Group III manuscripts to 'hast'; the scribes have mistaken the construction for a false concord.
l. 36. Jointures. A jointure, 'strictly speaking, signifies a joint estate, limited to both husband and wife' (O.E.D. 4), though often extended to mean the sole estate of a wife. Donne's usage is strict, as befitted a student of Lincoln's Inn.
37–40 thou (that … boy) ] thou that … boy 1633
ll. 37–40. The brackets are not in 1633, which is too lightly punctuated; they have warrant in Q and other manuscripts with the same version, and are in the editions 1650–69.
l. 38. ranke: 'lustful, licentious' (O.E.D., sense 13; alo sense 14, gross, loathesome).
itchie: from 'itch', an uneasy or restless desire or hankering.
39 barenesse H 49, W, O'F, Q: barrennesse 1633, C 57, L 74, TCD
l. 39. harenesse. The manuscripts containing the final version, and 1633, spell 'barrennes(s)(e)' (similarly O, P, S, S 96, S 962). The two words were not identical in sound, but 'bare' could be spelt 'barre', and the error was easy for a superficial reader to make. 'Nakednesse and barenesse' corresponds to 'naked, and bare' in l. 41.
40 Of] of 1633 uncorrected
l. 40. muddy: morally impure, 'dirty' (O.E.D. 7); with some reference, perhaps, to her complexion.
41 bare?] bare: 1633: bare, 1633 uncorrected
l. 42. 'Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither' (Job i. 21).
l. 43. unapparrelled: undressed, from the verb 'unapparrell', used in 'Obsequies to the Lord Harrington', l. 12.
For the metaphor, cf. 'to lay up the garments of your soules, your bodies, in the wardrobe the grave till you call for them, and put them on again, in the resurrection' (Sermons, vi. 87).
45 blest] best O'F, Q
l. 45. Mans first blest state was naked. See Gen. ii. 25. Nearly all the Group III manuscripts read 'best', which seems to be an error; 'blest' includes 'best', catches up 'blisse' from the preceding line, and properly suggests exactly what was 'lost' by sin.
46 hee'was] hee was 1633
l. 46. 'Unto Adam also, and to his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them' (Gen. iii. 21). In the state of innocence man was naked. When he lost that he was still clothed only in the skins of beasts. Hence all we need, or are entitled to wear, is 'course attire'.
47 I now] now I W, O'F, Q
weare,] wetre 1633
50 warn'd] warm'd 1633 uncorrected
52 'Come, lets goe.'] come, lets goe, 1633
53 that Σ: who 1633, O'F, Gr
ll. 53–62. The passage suggested to Alden the similar incidental irony of the illustrations in Juvenal, Sat. x. 219 ff.:
- Quorum si nomina quaeras,
- Promptius expediam quot amaverit Oppia moechos,
- Quot Themison aegros autumno occiderit uno,
- Quot Basilius socios, quot circumscripserit Hirrus
- Pupillos …
55 musk-colour] muske-colourd O'F, Q
l. 55. black feathers. These appear to have been fashionable among gallants around 1593. Cf. Sir John Davies's Epigrams, 'Meditation of a Gull' (No. 47):
- But he doth seriously bethinke him whether
- Of the guld people he bee more esteem'd,
- For his long cloake, or his great blacke feather,
- By which each gull is now a gallant deem'd.
and 'Ad Musam' (No. 48):
- Besides this muse of mine, and the blacke fether
- Grew both together fresh in estimation,
- And both growne stale were cast away togither:
- What fame is this that scarse lasts out a fashion?
musk-colour. 'Musk', apparently a dark shade of brown, does not appear in Royal Wardrobe accounts until the Stuart period (Linthicum, p. 14).
56 right true father, 'mongst] true father amongst O'F, Q
l. 57. beare away: as a prize; 'win' as ward, or as wife.
58 Th'] The 1633
Infant] infant 1633: Infanta O'F, Q, Gr
to'an] to an 1633
India:] India, 1633
l. 58. Th'Infant of London, Heire to'an India. The first version apparently read 'Infanta' (as in Q, D 16, A 25, Lut, O'F). The reference is not primarily to any particular person; the word means 'the wealthiest heiress (still a minor, and probably a ward) you can think of among the families of the merchant princes of the City'. Thus Chamberlain writes (7 July 1608) jocularly of Lord Norris's daughter as 'the Infanta Norreys' (Letters, i. 258).
'Infant' (or 'Infante') can mean either a princess or prince of Spain, and it is possible that Donne himself changed the specific feminine form of the first version ('Infanta') t make the satiric effect more general by including male heirs (cf. l. 24 above), who could be profitable as wards.
Grierson is probably right in seeing a secondary reference to the claim of the Infanta of Spain to the throne of England. A Bull of Sixtus V (1588) confirmed the deposition of Elizabeth and named Philip II of Spain King of England; in Roman Catholic circles the Infanta was recognized as the heir to the English crown.
For 'India' as signifying 'vast wealth' cf., for example, Middleton, Anything for a Quiet Life, IV. ii. 70–71 (Works, v. 312): 'Why, what ship has brought an India home to him, that he's so bountiful?'
59 weather-Spie] weather Spie 1633 uncorrected
l. 59. gulling: cheating, deceptive.
weather-Spie: weather prophet.
60 Scheame H 49, W, O'F, Q: Scheames L 74: Sceanes 1633, C 57, TCD
l. 60. heavens Scheame. A 'scheme' (O.E.D. 2) was a diagram showing the relative positions, either real or apparent, of the heavenly bodies. The astrologer divided the scheme of the heavens into twelve 'mansions', and from the relative positions of the heavenly bodies in each mansion, from the signs of the Zodiac and the 'aspects' of the planets, he arrived at his predictions. The spellings 'scheame' and (in L 74) 'Scheames' suggest the process by which the error 'Sceanes' (in 1633, C 57, Lec, TCD) was brought about. Cf. the Elegy, 'The Bracelet', ll. 59–61.
61 fashion'd] fashioned 1633
l. 61. suits. A 'suit' was a matching ensemble of doublet, hose, coat, jerkin, mandilion or cloak (Linthicum, p. 212).
62 subtile-witted H 49: subtile wittied 1633, C 57, L 74, TCD; supple-witted W, O'F, Q
l. 62. subtile-witted antique youths. The reading 'supple-witted' (W and nearly all Group III manuscripts) may possibly have stood in Donne's first version, 'supple' meaning 'compliant'.
The 'antic youths' (that is 'fantastics', such as Lucio in Measure for Measure) are ironically credited with discriminating and penetrating intellects in their pursuit of fashions.
63 depart'st from mee] departst from hence W: departest from hence H 49: departest hence O'F, Q
canst TCD, W, O'F, Q: can 1633, Σ
l. 63. depart'st from mee. The reading of 1633 and manuscripts containing the same version is superior to the readings of the two earlier versions of the line, because both satirist and 'humorist' are departing 'hence' or 'from hence'—i.e. from the poet's chamber into the street; 'from mee' is dramatically more appropriate, more exact, and less harsh.
canst. The reading of 1633, 'can', is smoother, but it is not grammatical. The possibility of error in transcribing 'canst show' is considerable, and the error is made independently in manuscripts of all groups,
64 when] where Q
65 my] mine O'F, Q
66 conscience?] conscience. 1633
l. 66. conscience. A trisyllable.
ll. 67–70. The 'humorist' furtively ('creepes') takes the place of honour, the wall side, given in politeness to one's superior. The Grolier editors quote Nashe's gibe at Gabriel Harvey, that he 'would make no bones to take the wall of Sir Philip Sidney and another honourable Knight (his companion) about Court yet attending' (Works, iii. 76). The outside position was the more hazardous, involving the risks of mire underfoot and of refuse thrown from the windows above. Care for his clothes as well as for his dignity ('state') prompted the humorist's sidling to the wall. But he acted 'improvidently' since his freedom of movement in catching the eye of courtiers, etc., was impeded.
69 imprison'd] imprisoned 1633
70 his MSS.: high 1633
libertie;] libertie, 1633
73 them MSS.: then 1633
l. 74. smacks: sc. his lips, as a sign of relish or anticipation.
77 low'st] lowest 1633
l. 77. And as fidlers, etc. Cf. Gynecia's lines upon a lute in Arcadia, iit (Sidney's Poems, ed. W. A. Ringler, 1962, p. 81): 'And lowest stops doo yeeld the hyest sounde'.
78 stoops H 49, W, O'F, Q: stoopt 1633, C 57, L 74, TCD
nigh'st the] nighest H 49, W, Q
l. 78. brave: finely dressed, resplendent.
stoops. Sequence of tenses requires the 'dramatic present'. Final's' and final 't' are easily confused, and 'stoopt' seems to be a primitive error in the text of the final version.
l. 80. the wise politique borse. The bay gelding 'Morocco', owned by the horsetrainer Banks. Nearly all the many allusions to Banks and his horse were collected by S. H. Atkins, N. and Q., 21 July 1934. The horse could indicate the number of coins in a purse, add up a throw of dice, dance, and so on; and 'By a sign given him, he would beck for the King of Scots and for Queen Elizabeth, and when ye spoke of the King of Spain, would both bite and strike at you…' (quoted by Atkins from Patrick Anderson's manuscript history of Scotland, 1596). The earliest clear reference to Morocco that can be dated occurs in Nashe's The Unfortunate Traveller, published in 1594, but finished (according to a note at the end) on 27 June I593: 'Wiser was our Brother Bankes of these latter daies, who made his jugling horse a Cut' (Works, ii. 230; see also iii. 21). Banks's performances were no doubt affected by the periods of severe plague 1592–4; hence Nashe's phrase, 'of these latter daies', and Donne's 'heretofore'.
politique: sagacious, diplomatic.
81–82 From MSS.: omit 1633
ll. 81–82. The wise politique editor of 1633 omitted these two lines, perhaps fearing that they would give offence, by recalling the King's journey to Spain in 1623 as a prospective suitor of the Infanta. The lines were added in 1635, probably from O'F (which similarly reads 'ô').
l. 81. Elephant or Ape. The performing elephant is mentioned in Davies's epigram 'In Dacum' (written in or before 1594; see introductory note above) and in Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, IV. vi. 60–61. Joseph Hall writes (Virgidemiarum, iv. ii. 93–95) of 'some tricke / Of strange Moroccoes dumbe Arithmeticke, / Or the young Elephant'. Basse says (in?1646, Poetical Works, ed. R. Warwick Bond, 1893, p. 336) that 'in our youths we saw the Elephant', and Sir Thomas Browne had seen an elephant 'not many years past', this being 'not the first that hath been seen in England' (Vulgar Errors, iii. 1). Donne is the only writer to refer to this response by the elephant to the name of the King of Spain.
The ape was also well known. In the Induction of Jonson's Bartholomew Fair (1614) we read of 'a Jugler with a wel-educated Ape to come over the chaine, for the King of England, and backe againe for the Prince, and sit still on his arse for the Pope, and the King of Spaine!' (Works, vi. 13). For an earlier reference, see Nashe, Works, iii. 37.
83 joggs] Joggs 1633
me, and] me, and 1633
Do'you] Do you 1633
l. 83. joggs: nudges.
84 favour'a] favoured 1633
youth?] yo'uth; 1633 uncorrected
Oh] yea W, Q
l. 88. in drinking his Tobacco. The manuscript JC is now in the George Arents Tobacco Collection (New York Public Library) on the strength of this passage—a latter-day tribute to Donne's quickness of social observation. While the tobacco plant was referred to (O.E.D.) as early as 1577, there are only two references definitely earlier than Donne's here to tobacco prepared for smoking (1588, 1589). 'Drink' is the usual word.
89 Met us;] Met us, 1633
whisper'd, 'Let] whispered, let 1633
90 'T may] May H 49, W, O'F, Q
l. 90. 'T may. The change from 'May', though trivial, may be authentic, since only manuscripts with the final version (and Dob) agree with 1633.
92 colour'd] coloured 1633
94 on] in W, Q
95 Him] him 1633
all Σ: s'all 1633, C 57, L 74
l. 95. all repute. The curious reading 's'all repute' is shared by 1633, C 57, Lec, and L 74. It is perhaps due to an early scribe's having mistaken 'all repute' for a parenthetical phrase, 'everybody says', and having added 'so' to make this clear.
repute: esteem, value.
l. 96. device: faculty of devising, inventiveness, ingenuity.
hansoming. From the verb to 'handsome' (O.E.D.), meaning to make handsome, or becoming, to beautify or adorn.
97 print, cut, and plight] Cutt, Print, or Plight H 49, W, O'F, Q
l. 97. pinke. A 'pink' was a hole or eyelet punched or cut in a garment for decorative purposes. Cf. Jonson, Cynthia's Revels, v. iv. 298: 'Is this pinke of equall proportion to this cut?' See Linthicum, pp. 153–4.
panes. These were strips of cloth joined to make one cloth, sometimes with lace or other trimming material inserted in the seams; or strips of the same cloth distinguished by colour or separated by lines of trimming; or strips made by slashing a garment lengthwise to expose fine lining or an undergarment: used often in sleeves and breeches. See Linthicum, pp. 172, 205.
print. Applied to the exact crimping, goffering, or set of the 'plaits' or pleats of the neck-ruffs then worn; used also of other pleated garments. 'To maintain a "spruce ruff" or one "starched in print" the wearer must carry his head straight and avoid damp' (Linthicum, p. 160).
cut: either 'fashionable shape' (O.E.D. III. 16) or, more probably, 'slash, incision into the edge of a garment for ornament' (O.E.D. IV. 19), as in Muh Ado, 111. iv. 19: 'Cloth o' gold, and cuts, and lac'd with silver'.
plight: pleat, either of ruffs, or of other garments, such as French breeches, which were 'made in panes, i.e. strips, or in pleats which parted slightly, showing a rich lining' (Linthicum, p. 205).
l. 98. to have the best conceit: to have the best notion or judgement. Such an expert would have been invaluable in advising on 'suits' and styles in those days of various and swiftly changing fashions. Cf. Chapman, All Fools, V. ii (the opening speech):
- A thing whose soul is specially employ'd
- In knowing where best gloves, best stockings, waistcoats
- Curiously wrought, are sold; sacks milliners' shops
- For all new tires and fashions, and can tell ye
- What new devices of all sorts there are …
- and for these womanly parts
- He is esteem'd a witty gentleman.
l. 99. Our dull Comedians want him. The sartorial expert would be a godsend to actors. Cf. 'Satire IV', ll. 180–5, where courtiers sell their cast-off Court clothes to the Theatre.
101 'Why? he hath travail'd.' 'Long?' 'No] Why, he hath travailed long? no 1633
102 (Which … none,)] Which … none, 1633; see note
l. 102. (Which understand none,). I follow Grierson in bracketing these words, since they seem to have no point unless they are a sarcastic interpolation, sotto voce, by the satirist: 'To you, who understand neither French nor Italian (languages and fashions), he appears perfectly French and Italian—but to no-one who is really acquainted with these languages and fashions.' Every satirist and epigrammatist of the period inveighs against the aping of continental fashions by Englishmen, especially by returned travellers. Compare Portia on her English suitor, Merchant of Venice, 1. ii, 65–68: 'How oddly he is suited! I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour everywhere.' The clothing of Donne's 'traveller' was probably the only evidence of his acquaintance—if any—with France and Italy. Cf. 'An Affected Traveller', in The Overburian Characters, ed. W. J.Paylor, 1936, p. 11: 'His attire speakes French or Italian, and his gate cryes Behold mee.'
103 reply'd] replyed 1633
104 answer'd] answered 1633
105 and] of Q
l. 105. of sort, of parts: of rank and talents.
ll. 106–7. Guilpin imitates (Skialetheia, Sat. V, sig. D7V):
- There in that window mistres minkes doth stand,
- And to some copesimate beckneth her hand,
- In is he gone, Saint Venus be his speede.
l. 107. flings: dashes, rushes away. He evaporates like dew drawn off swiftly by the bright sun (his mistress).
ll. 107–10. Compare the character, 'A Humorist', in H(enry) P(arrot)'s Cures for the Itch, 1626 (B3V): 'Hee's of that quaint society and behaviour, as not enduring to stay long in company, leaves you abruptly, without taking leave: he finds not halfe so soone the cause of quarrell, as thereto proves occasioned without a cause.'
108 lechery. MSS.: liberty; 1633
l. 109. he could command no more. His mistress was entertaining other lovers, and he was no longer in 'sole command'.
l. 112. constantly a while. A parting shot: the 'humorist' or 'inconstant' is at last constant in something (if only for a while).