John Donne
Socios sibi jungier instat.
The Phisician desires to have
others joyned with him.

THERE is more feare, therefore more cause. If the Phisician desire help, the burden grows great: There is a growth of the Disease then; But there must bee an Autumne to; But whether an Autumne of the disease or mee, it is not my part to choose: but if it bee of mee, it is of both; My disease cannot survive mee, I may overlive it.  Howsoever, his desiring of others, argues his candor, and his ingenuitie; if the danger be great, he justifies his proceedings, and he disguises nothing, that calls in witnesses; And if the danger bee not great, hee is not ambitious, that is so readie to divide the thankes, and the honour of that work, which he begun alone, with others.  It diminishes not the dignitie of a Monarch, that hee derive part of his care upon others; God hath not made many Suns, but he hath made many bodies, that receive, and give light.  The Romanes began with one King; they came to two Consuls; they returned in extremities, to one Dictator: whether in one, or many, the Soveraigntie is the same, in all States, and the danger is not the more, and the providence is the more, where there are more Phisicians; as the State is the happier, where businesses are carried by more counsels, than can bee in one breast, how large soever.  Diseases themselves hold Consultations, and conspire how they may multiply, and joyn with one another, and exalt one anothers force, so; and shal we not call Phisicians, to consultations? Death is in an olde mans dore, he appeares, and tels him so, and death is at a young mans backe, and saies nothing; Age is a sicknesse, and Youth is an ambush; and we need so many Phisicians, as may make up a Watch, and spie every inconvenience.  There is scarce any thing, that hath not killed some body; a haire, a feather hath done it; Nay, that which is our best Antidote against it, hath donn it; the best Cordiall hath bene deadly poyson; Men have dyed of Joy, and allmost forbidden their friends to weepe for them, when they have seen them dye laughing.  Even that Tiran Dyonisius (I thinke the same, that suffered so much after) who could not die of that sorrow, of that high fal, from a King to a wretched private man, dyed of so poore a Joy, as to be declard by the people at a Theater, that hee was a good Poet.  We say often that a Man may live of a litle; but, alas, of how much lesse may a Man dye! And therfore the more assistants, the better; who comes to a day of hearing, in a cause of any importance, with one Advocate? In our Funerals, we our selves have no interest; there wee cannot advise, we cannot direct: And though some Nations, (the Egiptians in particular) built themselves better tombs, than houses because they were to dwell longer in them; yet, amongst our selves, the greatest Man of Stile, whom we have had, The Conqueror, was left, as soone as his soule left him, not only without persons to assist at his grave, but without a grave.  Who will keepe us then, we know not; As long as we can, let us admit as much helpe as wee can; Another, and another Phisician, is not another, and another Indication, and Symptom of death, but another, and another Assistant, and Proctor of life: Nor doe they so much feed the imagination with apprehension of danger, as the understanding with comfort; Let not one bring Learning, another Diligence, another Religion, but every one bring all, and, as many Ingredients enter into a Receit, so may many men make the Receit.  But why doe I exercise my Meditation so long upon this, of having plentifull helpe in time of need? Is not my Meditation rather to be enclined another way, to condole, and commiserate their distresse who have none? How many are sicker (perchance) than I, and laid on their wofull straw at home (if that corner be a home) and have no more hope of helpe, though they die, than of preferment, though they live? Nor doe no more expect to see a Phisician then, than to bee an Officer after; of wkome, the first that takes knowledge, is the Sexten that buries them; who buries them in oblivion too? For they doe but fill up the number of the dead in the Bill, but we shall never heare their Names, till wee reade them in the Booke of life, with our owne.  How many are sicker (perchance) than I, and thrown into Hospitals, where, (as a fish left upon the Sand, must stay the tide) they must stay the Phisicians houre of visiting, and then can bee but visited? How many are sicker (perchaunce) than all we, and have not this Hospitall to cover them, not this straw, to lie in, to die in, but have their Grave-stone under them, and breathe out then soules in the eares, and in the eies of passengers, harder than their bed, the flint of the street? That taste of no part of our Phisick, but a sparing dyet; to whom ordinary porridge would bee Julip enough, the refuse of our servants, Bezar enough, and the off-scouring of our Kitchen tables, Cordiall enough.  O my soule, when thou art not enough awake, to blesse thy God enough for his plentifull mercy, in affoording thee many Helpers, remember how many lacke them, and helpe them to them, or to those other things, which they lacke as much as them. 

Source :
Donne, John.  The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of John Donne.
Charles M. Coffin, Ed. New York: Modern Library, 1952. 422-424.
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