Richard Corbet (1582 - 1635 / England)
An Epitaph on Doctor Donne, Dean of St. Paul's
He that would write an epitaph for thee,
And do it well, must first begin to be
Such as thou wert; for none can truly know
Thy worth, thy life, but he that hath lived so.
He must have wit to spare, and to hurl down;
Enough to keep the gallants of the town.
He must have learning plenty; both the laws,
Civil and common, to judge any cause;
Divinity, great store above the rest,
Not of the last edition, but the best.
He must have language, travel, all the arts,
Judgment to use, or else he want thy parts.
He must have friends the highest, able to do,
Such as Maecenas, and Augustus too.
He must have such a sickness, such a death,
Or else his vain descriptions come beneath.
Who then shall write an epitaph for thee,
He must be dead first! Let it alone, for me.
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