Helen Gardner (ed.), John Donne: The Elegies and The Songs and Sonnets
- Editor’s Note1Natures lay Ideot, I taught thee to love,
- Editor’s Note2And in that sophistrie, Oh, thou dost prove
- 3Too subtile: Foole, thou didst not understand
- 4The mystique language of the eye nor hand:
- 5Nor couldst thou judge the difference of the aire
- Critical Apparatus6Of sighes, and say, this lies, this sounds despaire:
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus7Nor by the'eyes water call a maladie
- 8Desperately hot, or changing feaverously.
- Editor’s Note9I had not taught thee then, the Alphabet
- 10Of flowers, how they devisefully being set
- 11And bound up, might with speechlesse secrecie
- Critical Apparatus12Deliver arrands mutely,'and mutually.
- Editor’s Note13Remember since all thy words us'd to bee
- Critical Apparatus14To every suitor; I, 'if my friends agree;
- Editor’s Note15Since, household charmes, thy husbands name to teach,
- 16Were all the love trickes, that thy wit could reach;
- 17And since, an houres discourse could scarce have made
- 18One answer in thee, and hat ill arraid
- 19In broken proverbs, and torne sentences.
- 20Thou art not by so many duties his,
- Editor’s Note21That from the worlds Common having sever'd thee,
- Editor’s Note22Inlaid thee, neither to be seene, nor see,
- Critical Apparatus23As mine: which have with amorous delicacies
- Editor’s Note24Refin'd thee'into a blis-full paradise.
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus25Thy graces and good words my creatures bee;
- 26I planted knowledge and lifes tree in thee,
- 27Which Oh, shall strangers taste? Must I alas
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus28Frame and enamell Plate, and drinke in Glasse?
- Editor’s Note29Chafe waxe for others seales? breake a colts force
- 30And leave him then, beeing made a ready horse?
[Tutelage] (Elegy VII Gr). S 96 omits. Title supplied; see note
l. 1. Natures lay Ideot: ignorant simpleton by nature.
l. 2. sophistrie: probably in the obsolete sense of 'trickery or craft'.
6 despaire:] despaire. 1633
7 call] know Dob, O'F (b.c.): cast S
l. 7. by the'eyes water call a maladie. The usual method of diagnosing a disease was by 'casting the patient's water'; the mistress was taught to diagnose the seriousness of a passion by examining her suitors' tears. Cf. 'Twickenham Garden', ll. 19–22.
ll. 9–10. the Alphabet | Of flowers: the rudiments of the language of flowers. Grierson quotes from Weekly, Romance of Words, 1912, p. 134: 'Posy, in both its senses, is a contraction of poesy, the flowers of a nosegay expressing by their arrangement a sentiment like that engraved on a ring.'
12 mutely,'and] mutely,and 1633
l. 13. Remember since: remember the time when. See The Winter's Tale, v. i. 219, for the same idiom.
14 I, 'if] I, if 1633
agree;] agree. 1633
l. 15. household charmes, thy husbands name to teach. Burton tells how young maids only desire:
… if it may be done by art, to see their husbands picture in a glass, they'l give any thing to know when they shall be married, how many husbands they shall have, by Cromnyomantia, a kind of Divination with onions laid on the Altar on Christmas Eve, or by fasting on S. Annes Eve or night, to know who shall be their first husband …(Anatomy, part 3, sect. 2, memb. 4, subs. 1).
- That from the worlds Common having sever'd thee,
- Inlaid thee,
O.E.D, cites this as the only example of 'Inlay' meaning to 'lay in, or as in, a place of concealment or preservation'. The preceding metaphor is of enclosing land that had been common and sequestering it for private use. The usual sense of 'inlay' is 'set or embed in another substance'; and A.V. uses 'enclosed' for 'set in' and 'enclosings' for 'settings' in speaking of jewels (Exod. xxxix. 6 and 13 and xxviii. 20). I suggest that Donne passes from the idea of enclosing land to that of 'enclosing' or 'inlaying' a jewel.
l. 22. neither to be seene, nor see. Donne adapts a famous line from Ovid, Ars Amatoria, i. 99. Ladies at the playhouse:
Spectatum veniunt, veniunt spectentur ut ipsae.
23 which Σ: who 1633, C 57, Cy, P, S, Gr
l. 24. paradise: pleasure garden, such as 'the Lord God planted'. Her 'graces and good words' are his creation, like the animals of Eden.
25 words] workes C 57, H 49, TCC, Dob
bee;] bee, 1633
l. 25. words. 'Works' would appear to have arisen independently in Group I,, TCC, and Dob, owing to the influence of 'graces'. The editor of 1633 presumably corrected his Group I manuscript by recourse to his Group II manuscript which read with TCD.
'Good words' takes us back to l. 13. Taught by him she can now both flatter and praise.
28 Glasse?] glasse. 1633
l. 28. Frame and enamell Plate, and drinke in Glasse: fashion and adorn with enamel vessels of gold and silver and drink myself out of glass. Cf. Falstaff's retort to the Hostess's lament that she 'must be fain to pawn' her plate: 'Glasses, glasses, is the only drinking' (2 Hen. IV, II. i. 136–9).