Right. Hands in pockets.
Maclaren-Ross is trying to touch us one last time. Something about needing a gravestone.
There’s an address for donations and details of the fundraiser at the Sohemians’ site. I keep meaning to make it to one of their events; I should manage this one.
Black Spring have been doing the good work to get him back in print over the last couple of years.
More scrounging: we’re trying to buy this for the nation. You might say that England already has one totally awesome representation of Donne:
It’s Donne in his funeral shroud! How can we possibly need another? But look:
It is also really cool in an entirely different way!
Greer argues that a bit more coherently over here.
God I love Donne. Poem time!
Let’s take a chunk of ‘The First Anniversary’. It’s written on the anniversary of the death of his patron’s daughter: it represents her as the force and virtue that held a decaying world together. It’s a very peculiar poem to say the least: it’s grotesque, hyperbolic and tangled; dazzling and despairing at once. We’re at line 201; find the rest of it here.
So did the world from the first houre decay,
That euening was beginning of the day,
And now the Springs and Sommers which we see,
Like sonnes of women after fifty bee.
And new Philosophy cals all in doubt,
The Element of fire is quite put out;
The Sunne is lost, and th’earth, and no mans wit
Can well direct him where to looke for it.
And freely men confesse that this world’s spent,
When in the Planets, and the Firmament
They seeke so many new; they see that this
Is crumbled out againe to his Atomis.
‘Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone;
All iust supply, and all Relation:
Prince, Subiect, Father, Sonne, are things forgot,
[F]or euery man alone thinkes he hath got
To be a Phoenix, and that then can be
None of that kinde, of which he is, but he.
This is the worlds condition now, and now
She that should all parts to reunion bow,
She that had all Magnetique force alone,
To draw, and fasten sundred parts in one;
She whom wise nature had in[u]ented then
When she obseru’d that euery sort of men
Did in their voyage in this worlds Sea stray,
And needed a new compasse for their way;
Shee that was best, and first originall
Of all faire copies and the generall
Steward to Fate; shee whose rich eyes, and brest:
Guilt the West-Indies, and perfum’d the East;
Whose hauing breath’d in this world, did bestow
Spice on those Isles, and bad them still smell so,
And that rich Indie which doth gold interre,
Is but as single money, coyn’d from her:
She to whom this world must it selfe refer,
As Suburbs, or the Microcosme of her,
Shee, shee is dead; shee’s dead: when thou knowest this,
Thou knowst how lame a cripple this world is.