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Grimes, he gave that striking clock, which he had long worn in his pocket; to his dear friend and executor, Dr. King, (late Bishop of Chichester) that model of gold of the synod of Dort, with which the States presented him at his last being at the Hague; and the two pictures of Padre Paolo and Fulgentio, men of his acquaintance when he travelled Italy, and of great note in that nation for their remarkable learning.- To his ancient friend Dr. Brook, (that married him) Master of Trinity College, in Cambridge, he gave the picture of the blessed Virgin and Joseph. - To Dr. Winniff (who succeeded him in the deanery) he gave a picture, called the “Skeleton." - To the succeeding Dean, who was not then known, he gave many necessaries of worth, and useful for his house; and also several pictures and ornaments for the chapel, with a desire that they might be registered, and remain as a legacy to his successors. To the Earls of Dorset and Carlisle he gave several pictures; and so he did to many other friends; legacies, given rather to express his affection, than to make any addition to their estates. But unto the poor he was full of charity, and unto many others, who by his constant and long-continued bounty might entitle themselves to be his alms-people: for all these he made provision, and so largely, as, having then six children living, might to some appear more than proportionable to his estate. I forbear to mention any more, lest the reader may think I trespass upon his patience; but I will beg his favour, to present him with the beginning and end of his will.
In the name of the blessed and glorious Trinity, Amen. I, John Donne, by the mercy of Christ Jesus, and by the calling of the Church of England, Priest, being at this time in good health and perfect under
standing, (praised be God therefore) do hereby make my last Will and Testament, in manner and form following :
First, I give my gracious God an entire sacrifice of body and soul, with my most humble thanks for that assurance which his blessed Spirit imprints in me now of the salvation of the one and the resurrection of the other; and for that constant and cheerful resolution, which the same Spirit hath established in me, to live and die in the religion now professed in the Church of England. In expectation of that resurrection, I desire my body may be buried (in the most private manner that may be) in that place of St. Paul's Church, London, that the now residentiaries have at my request designed for that purpose, &c.----- And this is my last Will and Testament, made in the fear of God, (whose mercy I humbly beg, and constantly rely upon in Jesus Christ) and in perfect love and charity with all the world: (whose pardon I ask, from the lowest of my servants, to the highest of my superiors) written all with my own hand, and my name subscribed to every page, of which there are five in number.
Sealed December 13, 1630.
Nor was this blessed sacrifice of charity expressed only at his death, but in his life also, by a cheerful and frequent visitation of any friend whose mind was dejected, or his fortune nécessitous; he was inquisitive after the wants of prisoners, and redeemed many from prison, that lay for their fees or small debts; he was a continual giver to poor scholars, both of this and foreign nations. Besides what he gave with his own hand, he usually sent a servant, or a discreet and trusty friend, to distribute his charity to all the prisons in London, at all the festival times of the year, especially at the birth and resurrection of our Saviour. He gave an hundred pounds
at one time to an old friend, whom he had known live plentifully, and by a too liberal heart and carelessness became decayed in his estate; and when the receiving of it was denied by the gentleman saying “ He wanted not;"—for the reader may note, that as there be some spirits so generous as to labour to conceal and endure a sad poverty, rather than expose themselves to those blushes that attend the confession of it; so there be others, to whom nature and grace have afforded such sweet and compassionate souls, as to pity and prevent the distresses of mankind; which I have mentioned because of Dr. Donne's reply, whose answer was ; 6. I know you want not what will sustain nature; for a little will do that: but my desire is, that you, who in the days of your plenty have cheered and raised the hearts of so many of your dejected friends, would now receive this from me, and use it as a cordial for the cheering of your own;" and
upon these terms it was received. He was an happy reconciler of many differences in the families of his friends and kindred, (which he never undertook faintly; for such undertakings have usually faint effects) and they had such a faith in his judgment and impartiality, that he never advised them to any thing in vain. He was even to her death a most dutiful son to his mother, careful to provide for her supportation, of which she had been destitute, but that God raised him up to prevent her necessities; who having sucked in the religion of the Roman Church with her mother's milk, spent her estate in foreign countries, to enjoy a liberty in it, and died in his house, but three months before him.
And to the end it may appear how just a steward he was of his Lord and Master's revenue, I have thought fit to let the reader know, that after his entrance into his deanery, as he numbered his years, he (at the foot of a private account, to which God and his angels were only witnesses with him) com
puted first his revenue, then what was given to the poor, and other pious uses, and, lastly, what rested for him and his; and having done that, he then blessed each year's poor remainder with a thankful prayer; which, for that they discover a more than common devotion, the reader shall partake some of them in his own words :
6 So all is that remains this
“ Deo Opt. Max. benigno
Largitori, a me, et ab iis
“ So that this year God hath blessed me and mine with
Multiplicatæ sunt super
Da, Domine, ut quæ ex immensa
In fine horum sex annorum manet
"Quid habeo quod non accepi a Domino ?
Largitur etiam ut quæ largitus est
But I return from my long digression. We left the author sick in Essex, where he was forced
to spend much of that winter by reason of his disability to remove from that place; and having never for almost twenty years omitted his personal attendance on his Majesty in that month in which he was to attend and preach to him, nor having ever been left out of the roll and number of Lent Preachers, and there being then (in Jan. 1630,) a report brought to London, or raised there, that Dr. Donne was dead; that report gave him occasion to write the following letter to a dear friend :
“Sir, this advantage you and my other friends have by my frequent fevers, that I am so much the oftener at the gates of heaven; and this advantage by the solitude and close imprisonment that they reduce me to after, that I am so much the oftener
my prayers, in which I shall never leave out your happiness; and I doubt not, among his other blessings, God will add some one to you
my prayers. A man would almost be content to die, if there were no other benefit in death, to hear of so much sorrow, and so much good testimony from good men, as I (God be blessed for it) did upon the report of my death: yet I perceive it went not through all; for one writ to me that some (and he said of my friends) conceived I was not so ill as I pretended, but withdrew myself to live at ease, discharged of preaching: It is an unfriendly, and, God knows, an ill-grounded interpretation; for I have always been sorrier when I could not preach than any could be that could not hear me. It hath been my desire, and God may be pleased to grant it, that I might die in the pulpit; if not that, yet that I might take my death in the pulpit; that is, die the sooner by occasion of those labours. Sir, I hope to see you presently after Candlemas: about which time will fall my Lent sermon at court, except my Lord Chamberlain believe me to be dead, and so leave me out of the roll: but as