John Donne
Et Rex ipse suum mittit.
The King sends his
owne Phisician.

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. In this world, that is Mankinde, the highest ground, the eminentest hils, are Kings; and have they line, and lead enough to fadome this sea, and say, My misery is but this deepe? Scarce any misery equal to sicknesse; and they are subject to that equally, with their lowest subject. A glasse is not the lesse brittle, because a Kings face is represented in it; nor a King the lesse brittle, because God is represented in him. They have Phisicians continually about them, and therfore sicknesses, or the worst of sicknesses, continuall feare of it. Are they gods? He that calld them so, cannot flatter. They are Gods, but sicke gods; and God is presented to us under many human affections, as far as infirmities; God is called Angry, and Sorry, and Weary, and Heavy; but never a sicke God: for then hee might die like men, as our gods do. The worst that they could say in reproch, and scorne of the gods of the Heathen, was, that perchance they were asleepe; but Gods that are so sicke, as that they cannot sleepe, are in an infirmer condition. A God, and need a Phisician? A Jupiter and need an Æsculapius? that must have Rheubarbe to purge his choller, lest he be too angry, and Agarick to purge his flegme, lest he be too drowsie; that as Tertullian saies of the Ægyptian gods, plants and herbes, That God was beholden to Man, for growing in his Garden, so wee must say of these gods, Their eternity, (an eternity of three score and ten yeares) is in the Apothecaryes shop, and not in the Metaphoricall Deity. But their Deitye is better expressed in their humility, than in their heighth; when abounding and overflowing, as God, in means of doing good, they descend, as God, to a communication of their abundances with men, according to their necessities, then they are Gods. No man is well, that understands not, that values not his being well; that hath not a cheerefulnesse, and a joy in it; and whosoever hath this Joy, hath a desire to communicate, to propagate that, which occasions his happinesse, and his Joy, to others; for every man loves witnesses of his happinesse; and the best witnesses, are experimentall witnesses; they who have tasted of that in themselves, which makes us happie: It consummates therefore, it perfits the happinesse of Kings, to confer, to transfer, honor, and riches, and (as they can) health, upon those that need them. 

Source :
Donne, John.  The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of John Donne.
Charles M. Coffin, Ed. New York: Modern Library, 1952. 425-426.
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