To Sir Henry Wotton [Here's no more news, than virtue: I may as well...]
Donne, John. The Satires, Epigrams and Verse Letters of John Donne. Edited by W. Milgate. London: Oxford University Press, 1967: 73-74.
1Here's no more news, than virtue: I may as well
2Tell you Calais, or Saint Michael's tales, as tell
3That vice doth here habitually dwell.
4Yet, as to get stomachs, we walk up and down,
5And toil to sweeten rest, so, may God frown,
6If, but to loathe both, I haunt court or town.
7For here no one's from th' extremity
8Of vice by any other reason free,
9But that the next to him, still, is worse than he.
10In this world's warfare, they whom rugged Fate,
11(God's commissary) doth so throughly hate,
12As in the court's squadron to marshal their state:
13if they stand arm'd with silly honesty,
14With wishes, prayers, and neat integrity,
15Like Indians 'gainst Spanish hosts they be.
16Suspicious boldness to this place belongs,
17And to have as many ears as all have tongues;
18Tender to know, tough to acknowledge wrongs.
19Believe me sir, in my youth's giddiest days,
20When to be like the court was a play's praise,
21Plays were not so like courts, as courts like plays.
22Then let us at these mimic antics jest,
23Whose deepest projects and egregious gests
24Are but dull morals of a game at chests.
25But now 'tis incongruity to smile,
26Therefore I end; and bid farewell a while,
27At court; though from court, were the better style.
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh