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John Donne

Helen Peters (ed.), John Donne: Paradoxes and Problems

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Critical ApparatusCritical Apparatus problem xix

Why did the Devill reserve Jesuits for these latter times?

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Critical Apparatus
Title: for] to Ash 826: till 1633+
latter Σ‎: later O'F
times] dayes 1633+
Critical Apparatus
1 knowe] … that Dob, 1633+
Editor’s Note
ll. 1–2. denye the Devills possessions. Cf. Tor he did not onely deny all visions, and apparitions … And was hardly drawne to beleeve any possessings; but when three Divels did meet him on the way'. Ignatius His Conclave, 73. The possibility of diabolic possession was also questioned in the late sixteenth century in tracts such as S. H[arsnet]; A Discovery of the Fraudulent Practises of John Darrel, 1599, and A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures, 1603. See Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971), 489–90, and Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft, ed. Brinsley Nicholson, 1886, 430.
Critical Apparatus
2 possessions] possessings Ash 826: possessing 1633+
provided Σ‎: proceede O'F
Editor’s Note
l. 3. disputation of Schoolemen. This concept appears to have been popular with Donne. Cf. 'A Feaver'. ll. 13–14:
  • O wrangling schooles, that search what fire
  •   Shall burne this world
and 'To the Countesse of Bedford' ('You have refin'd mee … '), ll. 41–2:
  • And shunne th'entangling laborinths of Schooles,
  • And make it wit, to thinke the wiser fooles.
Editor’s Note
l. 4. why the Devill could not make Lyce in Egipt. The turning of the dust into lice was the third Plague, following the changing of the waters of Egypt into blood, and the bringing forth of frogs from the rivers. Whereas the Egyptian magicians had been able to duplicate the first two Plagues, they were unable to produce lice. The various reasons for their failure put forth by writers such as Lyranus, Thostatus, Rupertus, Caietanus, Augustine, Pererius, Pellican, and Ferus were summarized in Andrew Willet, Hexapla in Exodum (1608), 100–1. Cf. 'God changed the form of Dust into another form, which the Divell could never do'. Essays in Divinity, 83.
Editor’s Note
ll. 4–5. whether those things … might bee true. The possible genuineness of the works of Satan as performed by the magicians was the subject of a long debate which was summarized in Willet, 74–6.
Critical Apparatus
5 which] omit S 962, 1633+
Critical Apparatus
6 those Σ‎: all … O'F
Editor’s Note
ll. 6–7. true and reall plague … those Ten. The Ten Plagues were sent by God to force Pharaoh to allow the children of Israel to leave Egypt. The devil's plague is 'true and reall. Perhaps Donne means by this that the presence of the Jesuits will be permanent.
Editor’s Note
ll. 7–8. greatnesse of his Kingdome … disunion cannot shake. This is difficult. Cf. 'If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?' Luke 11:18. However, according to Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971), 470, the seventeenth-century belief accorded enormous powers to the devil.
Critical Apparatus
8 disunion] diuision 1633+
these] them Ash 826: vs … 1633+
Editor’s Note
ll. 9–11. our times … another for it. Cf. Ignatius His Conclave, 69:
  • if this kingdome have got any thing by the discovery of the West Indies, al
  • that must be attributed to our Order [Jesuits] … we when wee tooke away
  • their old Idolatrie, had recompenced them with a new one of ours.
Editor’s Note
ll. 11–13. peradventure … other names. A possible reference to the equivocation of the Jesuits. Cf. Ignatius His Conclave, 27:
  • As for those sonnes of Ignatius … how justly & properly may they be
  • called Equivocal men? … they have brought into the world a new art of
  • Equivocation.
Critical Apparatus
12 this 1000] these thousand Dob, 1633+
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