1675 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Donne

Edward Phillips, in Theatrum Poetarum (1675) 2:106-07.



John Donne, a Student in his younger years in Lincoln's Inne, whither he betook himself from the University of Oxford; but instead of poring upon tedious Reports, Judgments and Statute Books, he accomplisht himself with the politer kind of Learning, moderately enjoy'd the pleasures of the Town, and frequented good Company, to which the sharpness of his Wit, and gayety of Fancy, render'd him not a little graceful; in which state of life he compos'd his more brisk and Youthful Poems, which are rather commended for the heighth of Fancy and acuteness of conceit, then for the smoothness of the Verse. At last by King James his command, or rather earnest persuasion, setting himself to the study of Theology, and entring into Holy Orders, he was first made Preacher of Lincoln's Inne, afterwards advanc't to be Dean of Pauls: and as of an Eminent Poet he became a much more Eminent Preacher, so he rather improved then relinquisht his Poetical Fancy; only converting it from human and worldly to Divine and Heavenly subjects.