Monday, July 29, 2013
John Donne (1572-1631), Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation VIII
Still when we return to that Meditation, that Man is a World, we find new discoveries. Let him be a world, and him self will be the land, and misery the sea. His misery (for misery is his, his own; of the happinesses of this world hee is but Tenant, but of misery the Free-holder; of happines he is but the farmer, but the usufructuary, but of misery, the Lord, the proprietary) his misery, as the sea, swells above all the hilles, and reaches to the remotest parts of this earth, Man; who of himselfe is but dust, and coagulated and kneaded into earth, by teares; his matter is earth, his forme, misery.
Id., Meditation XIII
Wee say, that the world is made of sea, and land, as though they were equal; but we know that ther is more sea in the Western, than in the Eastern Hemisphere: We say that the Firmament is full of starres, as though it were equally full; but we know, that there are more stars under the Northerne, than under the Southern Pole. We say, the Elements of man are misery, and happinesse, as though he had an equal proportion of both, and the dayes of man vicissitudinary, as though he had as many good daies, as ill, and that he liv'd under a perpetuall Equinoctial night, and day equall, good and ill fortune in the same measure. But it is far from that; hee drinkes misery, and he tastes happinesse; he mowes misery, and he gleanes happinesse; he journies in misery, he does but walke in happinesse; and which is worst his misery is positive, and dogmaticall, his happinesse is but disputable and problematicall; All men call Misery, Misery, but Happinesse changes the name, by the taste of man.