Saturday, August 24, 2019
On a Huge Hill
He's not of none, nor worst, that seeks the best.The notes in Robin Robbins, ed., The Complete Poems of John Donne (Harlow: Pearson, 2010), pp. 393-395, are excellent (In strange way = On an unfamiliar road, suddenness = steepness, etc.).
T'adore or scorn an image, or protest,
May all be bad; doubt wisely. In strange way,
To stand enquiring right is not to stray.
To sleep, or run wrong, is. On a huge hill,
Craggèd and steep, Truth stands, and he that will
Reach her, about must, and about must go,
And what the hill's suddenness resists, win so.
I wonder if "of none" (line 75) could be influenced by the Latin genitive of worth—J.B. Hofmann and Anton Szantyr, Lateinische Syntax und Stilistik (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1965), pp. 72-73 (§ 57).