John Donne

Helen Gardner (ed.), John Donne: The Divine Poems (Second Edition)

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4. Temple

  • 1With his kinde mother who partakes thy woe,
  • Critical Apparatus2Joseph turne backe; see where your child doth sit,
  • Editor’s Note3Blowing, yea blowing out those sparks of wit,
  • Critical Apparatus4Which himselfe on those Doctors did bestow;
  • Editor’s Note5The Word but lately could not speake, and loe
  • 6It sodenly speakes wonders, whence comes it,
  • 7That all which was, and all which should be writ,
  • 8A shallow seeming child, should deeply know?
  • Editor’s Note9His Godhead was not soule to his manhood,
  • Critical Apparatus10Nor had time mellow'd him to this ripenesse,
  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus11But as for one which hath a long taske, 'tis good,
  • 12With the Sunne to beginne his businesse,
  • 13He in his ages morning thus began
  • 14By miracles exceeding power of man.

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
2 your] thy Dob, O'F
Editor’s Note
l. 3. Blowing, yea blowing out. The Child Jesus by 'both hearing them and asking them questions' stimulated and baffled the sparks of reason in the Doctors. For 'asking them questions' earlier versions from Tindale to Geneva have 'posyng them'. O.E.D. cites Donne ('Satire IV, l. 20) as its earliest example of 'pose' in the sense of 'puzzle' or 'non-plus', which seems the meaning intended by 'blowing out' the 'sparks of wit'.
Critical Apparatus
4 those H 49, TCD, Dob, O'F,W: the 1633, C 57 Gr
Editor’s Note
l. 5. The Word but lately could not speake. Donne refers this famous quibble 'Verbum Infans' to St. Bernard; see Sermons, vi. 184.
Editor’s Note
l. 9. His Godhead was not soule to bis manhood. That Christ had no human soul was an early heresy which is explicitly rejected in the Quicunque Vult: 'Our Lord Jesus Christ … is Perfect God and perfect man: of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.'
Critical Apparatus
10 mellow'd] mellowed 1633
Critical Apparatus
11 for one] one Dob: some one O'F: to'one W
a long taske] long taskes TCD, Dob, O'F, W
'tis ('Tis 1633)] thinkes it Dob: thinks O'F, W
Editor’s Note
l. 11. But as for one which hath a long taske, 'tis good. I have retained the reading of 1633, supported by Group I, although the line is clumsy, and it is contrary to Donne's normal practice to have an extra unelidable syllable. Group II supports Group I, except that TCD, N read 'hath long taskes'; TCC, A 18 read 'hath long task'. The reading of TCC, A 18 suggests that the agreement of TCD, N with Group III and W is only coincidence, 'long taskes' in TCD, N having arisen from a correction of an error in the archetype—the omission of the article—which TCC, A 18 has reproduced.
'Long taskes' (Group III, W) may well have stood in Donne's first version, if he had in mind 'I must work the works of him that sent me' (John ix. 4); but it is so ugly followed by 'thinks', or even by ''tis' that he may well have preferred an uneven line to one so 'clogged and impeded by clusters of consonants'. There has obviously been revision in the line, but the earlier reading is in doubt. B reads 'But as one that hath long tasks thinks good', which is a syllable short. S, S 96, W insert 'to' before 'one', which gives no sense. Dob achieves a possible if limping line: 'but as one wch hath long taskes thinkes it good'. Lut, O'F read 'But as some one …', which gives good sense and metre. Although this may be only an ingenious improvement of B's line, it may be the true early reading. The curious 'to' in S, S 96, W could have arisen from a misreading of 'sõ', the suspension mark being taken as the crossbar of a 't'
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