John Donne

Helen Peters (ed.), John Donne: Paradoxes and Problems

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pg 46 problem xvii

Editor’s Note Why doth Johannes Salisburiensis writing de Nugis Curialium handle the Providence and Omnipotency of God?

  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus1Though the Stoicks charge theyr Adversaryes who putt
  • 2free will, and make us all wicked, (since nothing, naturally,
  • Critical Apparatus3desyres that which is ill,) to make our life a madness, And
  • Critical Apparatus4They charge the Stoicks who putting providence and
  • Critical Apparatus5necessity, doe yet admitt Lawes and rewards, paynes and
  • Critical Apparatus6endevours, that they make all but a jest and a toye: yet I
  • 7thinke this Churchman did not so, because hee thought hee
  • Critical Apparatus8knewe how both these might consist together. Because
  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus9beeing of the family of Thomas of Becket (who was a greate
  • Editor’s Note10Courtier), As hee put hunting and gaming and wantonnesse
  • Critical Apparatus11for the toyes of a Lay-Courtier: hee ment such meditations
  • Critical Apparatus12as those for the toyes of Clergy Courtiers, for the
  • Editor’s Note13worthyest Mistery may bee annihilated, as the heavyest mettall
  • Critical Apparatus14may bee beate so thinne that you may blowe it away. But
  • 15those times admitted no Jesting agaynst the church, And
  • 16for the other Courtiers: hee could not taxe nor accuse
  • 17them, that in theyr sportfull life they overreached to
  • Critical Apparatus18those too high contemplations, for they never thinke on
  • Critical Apparatus19them. Nor could hee reproche them by this, that all which
  • Critical Apparatus20they doe are toyes, for they are wicked seriously. Eyther
  • Critical Apparatus21pg 47therefore hee ment to insinuate and convey his doctrine
  • Critical Apparatus22by disguising it amongst toyes, of which (in things
  • 23inclineable to good) hee thought them onely capable. Or else
  • 24hee put a tricke of logike, which is reason, (and they are
  • Editor’s Note25men of passion) upon them, That by drawing them into a
  • 26doubting and disputing of some particular Attributes of
  • 27God, they might, before they were aware, implicitely
  • 28confesse that there was one.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
Title: Salisburiensis Dob, S 962: Salisburiens: Ash 826: Sarisburiensis O'F
1 putt] … downe O'F (b.c.): … off S 962 (b.c.)
3 desyres Σ‎: denyes O'F
make] … all Ash 826
4 charge] change Ash 826
putting] … downe and O'F (b.c.)
5 paynes] and … Ash 826
6 endevours, ed.: endevours) O'F: indeavour
Ash 826
8 these Σ‎: those O'F
together. ed.: together, O'F
9 of Becket] Beckett Dob, S 962
11 for] of Ash 826
12 as] of O'F (b.c.)
Courtiers, ed.: Courtiers O'F
14 that] omit Ash 826
18 too Σ‎: omit O'F
19 reproche them] reproach Dob, S 962
all Σ‎: all things O'F
20 wicked seriously Ash 826: seriously wicked O'F: wickedly serious Dob, S 962
Critical Apparatus
1 putt] … downe O'F (b.c.): … off S 962 (b.c.)
Editor’s Note
ll. 1–6. the Stoicks charge … paynes and endevours. Cf. Bk. ii, ch. 21 01 Policraticus, 'Unde Stoicus, omnia necessaria credit, timens evacuari posse sciententiam immutabilem. E contra Epicurus eorum quae eveniunt nichil providentiae ratione dispositum, ne forte necessitatem mutabilibus rebus inducat, opinatur. Pari ergo errore desipiunt, cum alter casui alter necessitati universa subiciat' (E. M. S.), (Hence the Stoic believes that all things are unavoidable for fear of bringing to naught immutable knowledge. On the contrary, Epicurus thinks that there are no events which are the result of the regulation of providence for fear of imposing necessity upon things subject to change. They are both equally mistaken since the one subjects the universe to chance and the other to necessity), trans. J. B. Pike, Frivolities of Courtiers and Footprints of Philosophers (Minneapolis, Minn., 1938), 105.
Editor’s Note
ll. 1, 4. putty putting. 'Put' = to state assert affirm, declare as a fact, OED III. 30b, obs. The scribe of O'F, misunderstanding the meaning of putt, first wrote putt downe and putting downe. He later corrected his error by crossing out the downe's. Similarly, the scribe of S 962 first wrote put off.
Critical Apparatus
3 desyres Σ‎: denyes O'F
make] … all Ash 826
Critical Apparatus
4 charge] change Ash 826
putting] … downe and O'F (b.c.)
Critical Apparatus
5 paynes] and … Ash 826
Critical Apparatus
6 endevours, ed.: endevours) O'F: indeavour
Ash 826
Critical Apparatus
8 these Σ‎: those O'F
together. ed.: together, O'F
Critical Apparatus
9 of Becket] Beckett Dob, S 962
Editor’s Note
l. 9. of the family of Thomas of Becket. John was a friend of Becket's and suffered a seven-year exile from England on his account. He dedicated Policraticus to Becket who was then Chancellor.
Editor’s Note
ll. 10–11. hee put hunting … Lay-Courtier. Love of hunting amongst the courtiers is noted in other of Donne's works, notably 'The Sunne Rising'. l. 7, 'Goe tell Court-huntsmen, that the King will ride' and 'Loves Exchange'. ll.3–4:
  • At Court your fellowes every day,
  • Give th'art of Riming, Huntsmanship, and Play.
John of Salisbury attacked courtiers for their love of hunting, gambling, and music in Book I of Policraticus.
Critical Apparatus
11 for] of Ash 826
Critical Apparatus
12 as] of O'F (b.c.)
Courtiers, ed.: Courtiers O'F
Editor’s Note
ll. 13–14. heavyest mettall … blowe it away. The idea turns up frequently in Donne's work. Cf. 'A Valediction: forbidding Mourning'. l. 24, 'Like gold to ayery thinnesse beate'. also Sermons, vii. 403, viii. 119–20 and Biathanatos, Pt. 3, Dist. I, Sect. I, 155.
Critical Apparatus
14 that] omit Ash 826
Critical Apparatus
18 too Σ‎: omit O'F
Critical Apparatus
19 reproche them] reproach Dob, S 962
all Σ‎: all things O'F
Critical Apparatus
20 wicked seriously Ash 826: seriously wicked O'F: wickedly serious Dob, S 962
Critical Apparatus
21 therefore] then Ash 826
his] this Ash 826
Critical Apparatus
22 amongst] among Dob: with Ash 826
Editor’s Note
ll. 25–8. That by drawing them … there was one. A possible reference to Polycraticus, Bk. ii, ch. 29. Cf. Lawn, 68:
By the time of John of Salisbury, if not before, the passion for disputing had begun to get out of hand, and a wrong use of dialectic was beginning to invade all fields of study, both the theological and secular. In physica this led to the opposing camps of the theorizing physici and the practitioners, so scathingly denounced by John in the Polycraticus. The other tendency, then, in this field, was for the younger and more irresponsible men to indulge in vain and empty speculations which led nowhere and were often, indeed, in opposition to the Faith.
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