1662 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Donne

Thomas Fuller, in History of the Worthies of England (1662) 2:221.



JOHN DONNE was born in this city [London], of wealthy parentage extracted out of Wales, one of an excellent wit, large travail, and choice experience. After many vicissitudes in his youth, his reduced age was honoured with the Doctorship of Divinity and Deanery of Saint Pauls.

Should I endeavour to deliver his exact character I (who willingly would not doe any wrong) should do a fourfold injury.

1. To his worthy memory, whose merit my pen is unable to express.
2. To my self, in undertaking what I am not sufficient to perform.
3. To the Reader, first in raising, then in frustrating his expectation.
4. To my deservedly honoured Master Isaak Walton, by whom his life is so learnedly written.

It is enough for me to observe he died in March 31. Anno Domini 1631. and lieth buried in Saint Pauls under an ingenious and choice monument, neither so costly as to occasion envy, nor so common as to cause contempt.