1633 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Donne

Richard Corbet, "On Dr. Donn" Donne, Poems (1633) 378.



Hee that would write an Epitaph for thee,
And do it well, must first beginne to be
Such as thou wert; for, none can truly know
Thy worth, thy life, but he that hath liv'd so;
He must have wit to spare and to hurle downe:
Enough, to keepe the gallants of the towne.
He must have learning plenty; both the Lawes,
Civill, and Common, to judge any cause;
Divinity great store, above the rest;
Not of the last Edition, but the best.
Hee must have language, travaile, all the Arts;
Judgement to use, or else he wants thy parts.
He must have friends the highest, able to do;
Such as Maecenas, and Augustus too.
He must have such a sicknesse, such a death;
Or else his vaine descriptions come beneath;
Who then shall write an Epitaph for thee,
He must be dead first, let'it alone for mee.