TO THE E[ARL] OF D[ONCASTER] :
WITH SIX HOLY
by John Donne
SEE, sir, how, as the sun's hot masculine flame
Begets strange creatures on Nile's dirty slime,
In me your fatherly yet lusty rhyme
—For these songs are their fruits—have wrought the same.
But though th' engend'ring force from which they came
Be strong enough, and Nature doth admit
Seven to be born at once ; I send as yet
But six ; they say the seventh hath still some maim.
I choose your judgment, which the same degree
Doth with her sister, your invention, hold,
As fire these drossy rhymes to purify,
Or as elixir, to change them to gold.
You are that alchemist, which always had
Wit, whose one spark could make good things of bad.
Donne, John. Poems of John Donne. vol I.
E. K. Chambers, ed.
London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1896. 151.