Essays in Criticism, April 1998 v48 n2 p129(15)

The 'well wrought urne' as competitive trope. Sullivan, Ceri.

Abstract: John Donne's sonnets sometimes use language to overcome their subjects. His funerary poems present the poet as unusually naive and explore the common themes of physical burial rites, yet they abstractly protest threats from time, death, or envy. The poets who elegized Donne mourned the gap that would bring a regrettable return to the cliched Golden Age style of poetry.

Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1998 Oxford University Press

Hadst thou beene shallower, and not writ so high,

Or left some new way for our pennes, or eye,

To shed a funerall teare, perchance thy Tombe

Had not beene speechlesse, or our Muses dumbe.(1)

Jasper Mayne's blunt rebuke in his elegy on Donne is the final move in a competition to out-trope his subject. It is part of a strategy initiated by Donne against Golden Age sonnets, which is reversed by his elegists when they deal with his verse in their turn. The double paradox -- that Donne's successors deliberately immortalize their inabilities as elegists, when they purport to celebrate Donne's achievement -- has been frequently noted. O. B. Hardison briefly touches on the possibility that `the poet himself is both subject and object of the funeral elegy'.(2) Hardison's statement is suggestive when considering how Donne and his elegists exploit a particular conceit taken from late sixteenth century sonnet sequences: the idea that the sonneteer's poetry contains and thereby memorializes his beloved. When the figure is taken literally by a sardonic Donne, in certain mock-elegies on himself in Songs and Sonnets, it results in a competition between himself and his elegists for the position of ultimate irony, as the latter hastily disavow their ability to build him a permanent memorial. A lively, imperious, and self-immured Donne replaces the sonneteer's monumentalized object of desire, and is displaced in his turn by his own elegists. The same topos -- `this poem contains my love' -- is squeezed into different shapes by these two generations of poets, turning the lament of the elegy into a sophisticated comedy when the topos is taken literally.

It is a critical commonplace to say that sonnet sequences treat their mistresses with an adoration which can be read as aggressive. Since Sidney dealt with `such writings as come under the banner of unresistable love' -- caught up in `swelling phrases, which hang together like a man which once told mee the winde was at North West, and by South, because he would be sure to name windes enowe' -- there has been a suspicion that the mistress was merely the occasion for the art.(3) In Amoretti, for instance, Spenser boasts that `this verse vowd to eternity, / shall be thereof immortall moniment: / and tell her prayse to all posterity', urging the mistress to

let baser things devise

to dy in dust, but you shall live by fame:

my verse your vertues rare shall eternize,

and in the hevens wryte your glorious name.(4)

The brag is echoed in Shakespeare's `So long as men can breath or eyes can see, / So long lives this, and this gives life to thee'; or `Yet doe thy worse, ould Time dispight thy wrong, / My love shall in my verse ever live young'; or

When you intombed in mens eyes shall lye,

Your mounument shall be my gentle verse,

Which eyes not yet created shall ore-read,

or, most famously,

Not marble, nor the guilded monument,

Of Princes shall out-live this powrefull rime,

But you shall shine more bright in these contents

Then unswept stone, besmeerd with sluttish time.(5)

Samuel Daniel questions `Why should I strive to make her live for ever, / That never deignes to give me joy to live', but later in Delia concludes triumphantly that

These are the Arkes, the Trophies I erect,

That fortifie thy name against old age;

And these thy sacred vertues must protect

Against the darke, and Time's consuming rage.(6)

Henry Constable likewise insists that `my verse still lives, to witnes thee divine'.(7) The conceit adapts the conclusions to Ovid's Metamorphoses and Horace's Odes, which celebrate the works as monuments to their poets' abilities, poems that will live through the countless chain of years.(8) Ostensibly these sonneteers are promising to make the beloved's beauty and virtue live for ever; in fact the position of the beloved as even posthumous subject of the poem is threatened. A sure future of decay is thrust upon them, as she or he is assured that the poem will live longer than she or he will, thus eternizing both the author's talent, and his opinion of that talent.

With the beloved, the author, and his critical appraisal of his own art jostling for attention, the fourteen lines can become overdetermined. The obsessive tone is matched by the sealed form of the sonnet, the `you and I' which excludes others from its address, allowing the reader to overhear, not participate. Both lover and beloved take the position of subject of the poem. Spenser's desire to `record the memory / of my loves conquest', for instance, gives both participants the victory. His `love' here is simultaneously the woman who conquers his heart, his own feeling for her, and the poetry born of this feeling which is to initiate and memorialize the capture of the cruel fair's heart, although the `endless monument' provided by the `Epithalamion' which concludes the Amoretti in 1595 provides an ironic conclusion to that struggle for attention.(9) Shakespeare reverses the topos of praising the beloved as the Muse who gives life to the poem. In some of his sonnets it is the effect the writer has on the reader which causes the beloved to inspire: `You still shall live (such vertue hath my Pen) / Where breath most breaths, even in the mouths of men', he assures the beloved.(10)

In Songs and Sonnets' variants of Donne's characteristic `When I am dead' opening occur in poems such as `The Apparition', `The Dissolution', `A Valediction: of the Booke', `A Valediction: of my Name in the Window', `The Legacie', `The Expiration', and `The Will'. Most of these poems provide Donne with the opportunity to join in with sonneteers who tease the pose struck by the Petrarchan lover, deliberately dying for the love of an unresponsive woman. In particular, Donne's use of the predictable pun on dying and orgasm -- the `Love mee, that I may die the gentler way' of `The Prohibition' -- purports to agree that the lover's position is desperate. In certain poems Donne specifically uses the earlier sonneteers' trope of the poem as a speaking monument of loss. The wit lies in treating the trope literally. In `The Canonization', `The Funerall', `The Dampe', `The Paradox', and `The Relique' he assumes an artless tone, blandly inviting the reader into his grave, stage-managing his own death, providing her with souvenir relics, and opening one eye to check her response.(11) `The Paradox' murmurs

Once I lov'd and dyed; and am now become

Mine Epitaph and Tombe.

Here dead men speake their last, and so do I;

Love-slaine, loe, here I lye,

while `The Canonization' reassures the beloved that the process of memorialization has already begun:

if no peece of Chronicle wee prove,

We'll build in sonnets pretty roomes;

As well a well wrought urne becomes

The greatest ashes, as halfe-acre tombes.(12)

The lovers' `legend' -- here punning on myth, inscription, and hagiography, and picking up the contemporary use of `monument' as both tombstone and written record evident, say, in Foxe's Actes and Monuments -- is reduced in status from master narrative to highly personal box, the grave of the stanza. By taking the conceit of the earlier sonnets at their words, Donne reverses their nuances in his `urne'.

Whatever else they disagree on, John Carey and Thomas Docherty both view these funeral poems as signs that Donne is coping with his distress over centrifugal forces in his life: anxiety about his lapse from the faith he'd been brought up in, or an engagement with death and dissolution which expressed his failed public career.(13) These critics group the poems with others which concentrate on personal negation, such as `A Nocturnall upon S. Lucies Day'. Following this lead, Bettie Doebler argues that the poems provide a ritual which preserves Donne's unstable identity, moving him `most deeply into the resolution of societas, the communion of saints'.(14) For Joshua Scodel, Donne `mocks and exploits the cult of saints in his fantasy concerning his and his beloved's power over future generations' in these poems.(15) In Robert Watson's formulation, the sonnets control the anxiety of the Calvinist threat of annihilation.(16) Such analyses follow O. B. Hardison's view of the elegy as an occasional poem dealing `with contemporary events and living (or recently living) figures ... demonstrating the existence of virtue in the society in which the reader actually lived'.(17) Yet, as Dennis Kay has pointed out, `the funeral elegy was [also] a medium for interrogating and comprehending principles of composition -- a training in understanding the components of art and the disciplines of the craft'.(18)

One could therefore argue for a more formal, less psychoanalytic or didactic reading of these five funerary poems; one which gives a brisk, cheerful tone to the group. Donne's reliquary poems do not manage some existential anxiety by reusing the sonnet's containment of the dead beloved; they exploit the absurdities of self-reflection in the conceit as a form of poetic competition.

In taking the formal features of the convention literally, Donne represents himself as a naive writer. Far from the beloved being `intombed in mens eyes', the promise of Shakespeare's sonnet 81, Donne physically holds `your Picture in my heart', one which can be anatomized and handled.(19) The chaste self-containment celebrated by earlier sonnets, in both the confined form and the figure of the cruel mistress, crumbles into promiscuous particles of dust when Donne's grave `is broke up againe / Some second ghest to entertaine'.(20) This anticipates Thomas Browne's dry comment on urn burial that

all Urnes contained not single Ashes; Without confused

burnings they affectionately compounded their bones;

passionately endeavouring to continue their living


Sepulchres should provide a permanent, idealized map of the dead person and his position in society, transforming decaying human flesh into a stable, material representation which closes the process of grief. In Donne's poems, however, such urns are cracked open. `My friends curiositie / Will have me cut up to survay each part', he says in `The Dampe', showing a gleeful attitude to extra-liminality. The very symbol of closure in `The Relique', `A bracelet of bright haire about the bone', becomes a more `subtile' symbol of dubious love (`What ere shee meant by `it') in `The Funerall'.

Where the reader is introduced into Donne's poems, the tight hermeneutic circle of preceding sonnets -- the lover speaking obsessively to his beloved -- is also broken. The vestigial presence of the silent woman in the sonnet sequences completely vanishes from Donne's fantasies of being removed and reinstated; thirty lines in `The Relique', celebrating the ability of his verse to allow the beloved to live for ever, end with a crisp occupatio: `now alas, / All measure, and all language, I should passe, / Should I tell what a miracle shee was'.(22) `A Nocturnall upon S. Lucies Day', where Donne is `rebegot / Of absence, darknesse, death; things which are not', ostentatiously rubs out the poet in favour of the Lady.(23) Officiously speaking (as `Epitaph') from a subject position which he declares impossible, Donne deliberately exaggerates the topos of the poem-urn with comic and competitive malice. His inverted gradatio of self-effacement runs down from the poet as less than man, or beast, or plant, or stone, or shadow, to None. The sun is down? So is Donne. Winter is upon them? Donne's frozen soul proves it. An abyss of nothingness opens? Donne is the quintessence of absence, the grave of nothing -- or so the intrusively absent author insists, as he purports to be mourning a lost love. Karen Campbell notes a similar irony of epitaphs: a genre which claims to preserve its subject for ever but which, by its presence, guarantees the absence of its object.(24)

No longer simply in the position of overhearing the sonneteer's pleas to his beloved, the reader becomes the important addressee. In `The Canonization' the reader must `approve / Us canoniz'd for Love' and `invoke' us; `A Valediction: of the Booke' insists that the future reader will `Study our manuscripts ... / Thence write our Annals, and in them will bee / To all whom loves subliming fire invades, / Rule and example found'; in `The Relique', `All women shall adore us, and some men' in an `age by this paper taught / What miracles wee harmlesse lovers wrought'. After reading the poem lovers will come `with christall vyals' to `Twicknam Garden', to gaze on the petrified poet (posing here as funerary statuary). By using the future anterior tense, however, and addressing the reader over the beloved's head, Donne breaks both the stasis in time (a moment of obsessive pouring out of feeling), and the monologic enclosure of `you and I' which the sonnet claimed as its sovereign preserve against the beloved being forgotten. His poems briskly enact the social use of funereal ritual to efface the memory of the dead person, putting forward his own grief to be assuaged, rather than concentrating on the woman. The tart tone of the end of `The Funerall' depends on a sudden single-line recognition that there could have been another addressee, the woman herself: `since you would save none of mee, I bury some of you'.(25)

Donne's use of physical burial rites is in deliberate contrast to the abstractions of the sonnet's sextons, as they fight Time, or Death, or Envy. A personal demise is the concealed threat of the earlier sonnets. Donne's deaths bring the threat into the open, using the rituals of death -- shrouding, coffining, exhumation -- laid down to preserve as well as efface the dead person's identity.(26) Donne sees the corpse, a biological entity, as highly social: it will not lie die down decently but insists on conversing with its future mourners. Nor is the grave the end of the corpse's social life. In `The Apparition' his ghost competes with the woman's lovers, while in `A Valediction: of my Name in the Window' he bewails the experience of being overlooked by his lover, gazing though the pane at her next conquest. It is useful to compare Donne's rehearsal of the dramatic scene envisaged by the Book of Common Prayer, that `we shall not all sleep but shall be made incorruptible, in the twinkling of an eye', with Vaughan and Herbert's development of the biblical injunction to remember that man is dust.(27) They stretch the image of `boxing-up' disparate grains of the dead self to include the containers of space and time: Vaughan in `Buriall', where `thus crumm'd' the world itself is God's `boxe', and Herbert in `Church-monuments', where `flesh is but the glasse, which holds the dust / That measures all our time; which also shall / Be crumbled into dust'.(28) Such pious subtleties do not interest Donne here. To see his corpse acting so cheerily as its own undertaker is almost as disconcerting as it must have been to watch Dr. Donne prepare for his own death by delivering `Deaths Duell', praying that he might die in the pulpit, and posing for his memorial stone. In the poem as in the life the macabre wit lies in taking a hackneyed conceit literally.

Overdetermination in the sonnet turns in Donne's grave to physical overcrowding. The space is packed with relics of the poet to be interpreted by the reader according to the instructions left. In `The Relique' the `bracelet of bright haire about the bone', the poet, and the poem itself become relics to be venerated in the future. Browne ironically comments on

vain ashes, which in the oblivion of names, persons,

times, and sexes, have found unto themselves a fruitlesse

continuation, and only arise unto late posterity, as

Emblemes of mortall vanities; Antidotes against pride,

vainglory, and madding vices.(29)

Such dignified signifying positions are not given to Donne's textual remains. They are presented as efficacious in practical terms, not just reminders of what love once was. The reader is enjoined to pray to the saints they were part of (Donne's recusant vocabulary at this point multiplying the implications of taking an idealizing conceit literally). In `A Valediction: of the Booke's the beloved is urged to read the couple's letters again, and write an annal which will keep learning safe, teach divines wisdom, lawyers law, statesmen politics, spheres music, and angels verse. `Our manuscripts, those Myriades / Of letters, which have past twixt thee and mee' will provide `Rule and example'.(30)

The impure, unclosed features of death in Donne's urn poems are represented in the hybridity of their forms, which call on other sub-genres. The form of the ars moriendi, with its concentration on the `last words', provides a model for Donne, although its intention is to terrify the reader into repentance and not, as in Donne, to compete in irony. Donne's performance moves away from the dying person's exemplary self-control at death, to speech from beyond the grave. The result is to remove the consolation of closure which the form of the elegy purports to give; it is reassuring only when its subject is decorously dead. Epitaphs certainly give lasting (and, as Puttenham sourly reminds us, pithy) summaries of the dead person's life, but are there for judgement by and on -- not engagement with -- the passers-by.(31) Dialogues between the body and the soul exhibit the same claustrophobia and eager anticipation of death as do Donne's funeral poems, and valedictions to the poet's own book (with their paternal fantasies of how it will earn its way in the world) seem closest to Donne's celebrations of the `reverend pitcher' which contains the art of the poet.

Donne's exploitation of the nuances of the Golden Age conceit left his elegists with a problem. How could such poets as Henry King, Thomas Browne, Thomas Carew, or Jasper Mayne make a fitting urn for the unique art of Donne without destroying his claim to originality?

T'have had too much merit, is not safe;

For, such excesses finde no Epitaph.

At common graves we have Poetique eyes

Can melt themselves in easie Elegies ...

But at Thine, Poeme, or inscription

(Rich soule of wit, and language) we have none.

Thus the grieving Henry King retreats hastily from the duty of producing an `Elegiacke Knell':

I doe not like the office. Nor is't fit

Thou, who did'st lend our Age such summes of wit,

Should'st now re-borrow from her bankrupt Mine,

That Ore to Bury Thee, which once was Thine.(32)

These elegies should contain Donne, but his previous work is an estoppel on the elegists from producing them. In dealing with an excessive talent what terms could be created for it? Donne's own verse could provide a decorous monument, but not the elegists' bankrupt language, as Edward Hyde urges, in the awkward pose of grave-robber:

There may perchance some busie gathering friend

Steale from thy owne workes, and that, varied, lend,

Which thou bestow'st on others, to thy Hearse,

And so thou shalt live still in thine owne verse.(33)

Richard Corbett provides an even more desperate solution. The poet who would write Donne's elegy must acquire wit, legal training, divinity, language, travel, the arts, rich patrons, but also remember that death perfects: `Who then shall write an Epitaph for thee, / He must be dead first, let it alone for mee'.(34) This is an exercise in occupatio: of the fifteen elegies printed in the 1633 and 1635 editions of Donne's poems, twelve not only admit they cannot speak of Donne as he deserves but declare emphatically that they are not prepared to touch the job (very reasonably, given Corbett's specified qualification). At most a `reverend silence' about Donne is considered decorous by Henry King, Endymion Porter, and Thomas Carew.

The situation creates a hermeneutic loop, to which the elegists' principal solution is a laconic declaration that they will `commit we ... Thee to Thy selfe'. Even this, however, has already been anticipated by such poems as `The Relique':

since at such times, miracles are sought,

I would that age were by this paper taught

What miracles wee harmless lovers wrought'.(35)

The two sorts of relic -- Donne's body and his poems -- are elided in Henry Valentine's fear that `Succeeding ages would Idolatrize, / And as his Numbers, so his Reliques prize'.(36) This poses a further difficulty: if Donne's poems are his relics, which ones does he want to be remembered by? The lewd ones? An editor must be very careful here, as Thomas Browne points out; how will Donne's `Loose raptures' get on with those `that doe confine / Tuning, unto the Duller line, / And sing not, but in Sanctified Prose ?'(37)

The result of his death, agree the elegists gloomily, will be the return of the hackneyed Golden Age style - a more serious charge, it appears, than the commonplace lament that the Muses died with the object. Writers, fears Thomas Carew,

will repeale the goodly exil'd traine

Of gods and goddesses, which thy just raigne

Were banish'd nobler Poems, now, with these

The silenc'd tales o'th' Metamorphoses

Shall stuffe their lines, and swell the windy Page.(38)

Ironically, it is the originality with which Donne nuanced the Golden Age Ovidian conceit of the self-memoralizing poem which stops the elegists from preventing the return of that style.

Such tactical manoeuvres by Donne's elegists have not gone unnoted. For A. E. B. Coldiron their `qualified praise, defensive lament, and iconic, unconvincing consolation' are a result of the `self-obviating conventions of critical elegy' as much as `any unconscious psychological forces' of competition.(39) Sidney Gottleib, suggesting that the elegists are positioned to defend Donne's reputation against Puritan deprecation, points out that Henry Valentine's elegy uses Donne's phrases to ensure that Donne produces his own memorial.(40) Joshua Scodel argues that Carew deals with the problem by foregrounding the paradox of his poem: since Donne's strength was his originality then claiming to imitate him in this is an impossibility.(41) Yet none of the critics dealing with elegies on Donne seems prepared to acknowledge their tone of exasperation with Donne, their baffled realization that both practically in sermons, tomb, and letters) and poetically Donne has preempted their moment to shine in his praise. The specific ploy used by the elegists to overcome the impasse which Donne left them in is to take him at his own word. The originality of this device is evident when the elegies on Donne are compared with two notable volumes of mourning verse which came out in 1638, for Ben Jonson and Edward King. Of Justa Edouardo King's thirty-five elegies only nine suggest that the Muses are in mourning; the most extravagant elegy, by his brother Henry, only goes so far as to say that `his flight is past my reach, and I / May wrong his worth with too much pietie'.(42) Perhaps expecting a twenty-five year old to build his own monument in verse is asking too much, but Jonsonus Virbius, or, The Memorie of Ben: Johnson Revived by the Friends of the Muses is also singularly free of the occupatio which marks the elegies on Donne. Of the thirty-three authors mourning Jonson, many agree with Dudley Digges that

who would image out thy worth, great Ben,

Should first be, what he praises ...

The onely way that's left now, is to looke

Into thy Papers, to reade o're thy Booke

... we doe not steale, but onely fit

Thee to thy selfe.(43)

Jasper Mayne, William Cartwright, Robert Meade, Richard West, and Ralph Brideoake are the only ones to take that line of thought further, by admitting their inability to write an elegy which could ever encompass Jonson. The first poem of the volume, by Lucius Carey, introduces a shepherd Hylas who laments the death of Jonson by sighing that

none so fit appeares

To raise his Tombe, as who are left his Heires:

Yet for this Cause no labour need be spent,

Writing his Workes, he built his Monument.

Fellow shepherd Melybeus is not impressed by such sloth:

So Johnson dead, no Pen should plead excuse:

For Elegies, howle all who cannot sing,

For Tombes bring Turfe, who cannot Marble bring.

Hylas can only yield to the bracing rebuke, and get writing.(44) The overtly craven keynote of the elegies to Donne was something that their subject forced them into.

The urn conceit has been repeatedly flexed, in the earlier position that the poem is a celebration of art which can contain the beloved, in the poem dealing with a real grave and full funerary ritual to mourn Donne himself, and again in the elegists' denial that their broken language could contain Donne's originality, so Donne and poetry must die. Elegies like Jasper Mayne's, which chide Donne that `now wee dare not write, but must conceale / Thy Epitaph, lest we be thought to steale', are full of resentment.(45) Yet it is this resentment, prompting the poets' avowals of incompetence, which actually composes the elegies. Adopting Donne's technique of proving his own originality by taking a conceit literally, the elegists' solution to the problem of the urn-poem was to put an elegant spin on competitive troping, by taking Donne himself at his own words.


(1) Jasper Mayne, `On Dr Donnes Death', in John Donne, The Epithalamions Anniversaries and Epicedes, ed. and intro. W. Milgate, (Oxford, 1978), hereafter Epithalamions, p. 93.

(2) O. B. Hardison, The Enduring Monument, A Study of the Idea of Praise in Renaissance Literary Theory and Practice, (1962; Westport, 1973), p. 114.

(3) Philip Sidney, An Apology for Poetry, in Elizabethan Critical Essays, ed. and intro. G. G. Smith, (1904), 2 vols. Vol. 1, p. 201.

(4) Edmund Spenser, sonnets 69, 75 from Amoretti, in The Shorter Poems of Edmund Spenser, ed. W. A. Oram et al, (New Haven, 1989).

(5) William Shakespeare, Sonnets, ed. Stephen Booth, (New Haven, 1977), sonnets 18, 19, 81, 55.

(6) M. Evans, ed., rev. R. J. Booth, Elizabethan Sonnets, (1977; 1994), pp. 64, 78.

(7) Evans, p. 154. See also Daniel's sonnets 33, 39, 50, and Constable's sonnet 8.

(8) The Arthur Golding Translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, 1567, ed. and intro. J. E Nims, (1965), XV. 984-995; Horace. The Odes and Epodes, trans. C. E. Bennett, (1914, rev. 1927), III. xxx.

(9) Spenser, sonnet 69.

(10) Shakespeare, sonnet 81.

(11) John Donne, The Elegies and the Songs and Sonnets, ed. Helen Gardner, (Oxford, 1965), hereafter Elegies, pp. 73, 90, 89.

(12) Donne, `The Paradox', `The Canonization', Elegies, pp. 38, 74.

(13) John Carey, John Donne: Life, Mind and Art, (1981), pp. 42-6; Thomas Docherty, John Donne, Undone, (1986), pp. 173-7.

(14) Bettie A. Doebler, `Rooted Sorrow'. Dying in Early Modern England, (1994), p. 191.

(15) Joshua Scodel, The English Poetic Epitaph, (Ithaca, 1991), p. 123.

(16) Robert Watson, The Rest is Silence. Death as Annihilation in the English Renaissance, (Berkeley, 1994), ch. 5.

(17) Hardison, p. 108.

(18) Dennis Kay, Melodious Tears. The English Funeral Elegy from Spenser to Milton, (Oxford, 1990), p. 6.

(19) See also Shakespeare, sonnets 18, 55; Donne, `The Dampe', Elegies, p. 49.

(20) Donne, `The Relique', Elegies, p. 89.

(21) Donne, `The Dampe', Elegies, p. 49; Sir Thomas Browne, Hydriotaphia. Urne-Buriall Or, A Brief Discourse of the Sepulchrall Urnes Lately Found in Norfolk, The Works of Sir Thomas Browne, ed. G. Keynes, (1964), 4 vols. Vol. 1, p. 151.

(22) Donne, `The Relique', Elegies, p. 90.

(23) Donne, `A Nocturnall upon S. Lucies Day', Elegies, p. 85.

(24) Karen Campbell, `Poetry as Epitaph', Journal of Popular Culture 14.4, (1981), pp. 651-668.

(25) Donne, `The Funerall', Elegies, p. 91.

(26) On the social aspect of death, see M. Bloch and J. Parry, Death and the Regeneration of Life, (Cambridge, 1982), pp. 4-7; S. C. Humphreys, `Death and Time', in Mortality and Immortality. The Anthronology and Archaeology of Death, ed. S. C. Humphreys and H. King, (1981), pp. 261-283.

(27) Book of Common Prayer, `At the Burial of the Dead', quoting 1 Cor. 15.20.

(28) Henry Vaughan, The Works, ed. L. C. Martin, (Oxford, 1957), p. 428; George Herbert, The Works, ed. F. E. Hutchinson, (Oxford, 1941), p. 65.

(29) Browne, Hydriotanhia, p. 165.

(30) Donne, `A Valediction: of the Booke', Elegies, pp. 67-9.

(31) George Puttenham, The Arte Of English Poesie, in Smith, Essays, Vol. 2, pp. 58-9. The unwary reader can even be incorporated into this form of monument:

Marble piles let no man rayse

To her name, for after dayes

Some kind woman, born as shee,

Reading this like Niobe

Shall turne marble, and become

Both her Mourner and her tombe,

`Poems from a Seventeenth-Century Manuscript with the Hand of Robert Herrick', ed. N. Farmer, Texas Quarterly 16, (1973), p. 107.

(32) Henry King, `To the Memorie of my Ever Desired Friend Dr Donne', in Donne, Epithalamions, pp. 81-2.

(33) Edward Hyde, `On the death of Dr Donne', in Donne, Epithalamions, p. 83.

(34) Dr C. B. of O. [Richard Corbett], `On Doctor Donne', in Donne, Epithalamions, p. 84.

(35) King, 82; Donne, `The Relique', Elegies, p.90.

(36) Henry Valentine, `An Elegie upon the Incomparable Dr Donne', in Donne, Epithalamions, p. 85.

(37) Thomas Browne, `To the deceased Author', in Donne, Epithalamions, p. 82.

(38) Thomas Carew, `An Elegie upon the Death of the Deane of Pauls', in Donne, Epithalamions, p. 90.

(39) A. E. B. Coldiron, `"Poets be silent": Self-Silencing Conventions and Rhetorical Context in the 1633 Critical Elegies on Donne', John Donne Journal 12, (1993), pp. 101, 109.

(40) Sidney Gottleib, `"Elegies Upon the Author": Defining, Defending, and Surviving Donne', John Donne Journal 2, (1983), pp. 23-38.

(41) Scodel, Epitaph, p. 130.

(42) Justa Eduoardo King, (Cambridge, 1638), F2 v.

(43) Dudley Digges, `An Elegie on Ben. Johnson', in Ben Jonson, ed. C. H. Herford, P. and E. Simpson, (Oxford, 1952), 11 vols. Vol. 11, p. 444.

(44) Falkland [Lucius Carey], `An Eglogue on the Death of Ben. Johnson', in Ben Jonson, Vol. 11, pp. 435-6.

(45) Mayne, p. 94.