Dr. DONNE'S Last Will and Testament.

July 21. 1657.

Video meliora proboque.
A dieu mon Droit.
Dieu est mon Droit.

IN the Name of God, Amen. I John Donne, by the Mercy of Christ Jesus, being, at this time, in good and perfect understanding, do hereby make My last Will and Testament in manner and form following: First, I give my good and gracious God an Intire Sacrifice of Body and Soul with my most humble Thanks, for that his Blessed Spirit imprints in me now an assured­ness of Salvation of one, and the Resurrection of the other; and for that constant and Cheerful Resolution which the same Spirit Established in me, to live and dye in the same Religion Establish­ed in England by the known Law. In Expectation of the Resurrection, I desire that my Body may be buried in the most private manner that may be in the Church-yard of the Parish where I now live, without the Ceremony of Calling any Officers. And I desire to be carried to my Grave by the ordinary Bearers of the Dead, without troubling any of my Friends, or letting them know of my Death by any means, but by being put into the Earth. And I desire my Executor to interpret my meaning in this Request, by my Word, and not by his own Discre­tion; who peradventure for fashion sake, and apprehending we shall never meet, may think to order things Better for my Credit. (God be thanked) I have not lived by Jugling, therefore I desire to dye and be buried without any: And not having (as I hope) been burdensome to my Friends in my Life, I would not load their shoulders being Dead. I desire and appoint the Right Honourable Jerome Earl of Portland to be my Executor, hoping that for all his Cares of me, and Kindnesses to me, he will undertake to see this my Will punctually performed; Especially concerning my Burial. To the Most Excellent, Good, Kind, Vertuous, Honorable Lady Portland, I give all the Rest that I have in this Will unbequeathed: And I do not this foolishly (as may at the first sight appear) because My Lord is My Executor; but because I know it will please the Gaiety of her Humour, which ought to be preserv'd for all their sakes that have the honour and happiness to be known unto her. To the Right Honourable The Lord Newport, I bequeath the Picture of St. Anthony, in a round Frame. To my very good friend Mr. John Harvy, the Picture of the Samaritan, by whose kindness I have been often refreshed. To my good friend Mr. Chr. Gise, Sir Thomas Moor's Head, which upon my Conscience I think was not more Ingenious then his own. And I write this rather as a Commemoration then a Legacy, for I have alwaies made a difference between Kindnesses and Courtesies. To Mr. George Pitt, I give the Picture of my Dutch Fair, which is full of Business, but where there is alwaies room for a Kindness. And I brag of the fa­vours I received from him, because they came not by Chance. To my Cousin Henry Stafford, Son to my kind friend Mr. William Stafford, I give all my Printed Books, which although they are of no great value, yet they may seem pro­portionable to his youth, and may serve as a Memorial to encline him to be as indulgent to poor Scholars as his Father and Grand-father have been before him. And by this means I give not only a Legacy, but entayle it upon other men that deserve their kindness. To my honourable Friend Sir Allen Broderick I give my Cedar Table, to add a fragour to his Excellent Writing. To my kind Friend Mr. Tho. Killigrew, I give all my Doves, that something may descend upon a Courtier that is an Emblem of Kindness and Truth. To my Servant Mary Web, if she be with me at the time of my death, I give all my Linnen that belongs to my personal use, and Forty Shillings above her Wages, if it does not ap­pear that she hath occasioned my death; which I have often liv'd in fear of, but being alone could never help, al­though I have often complained of my sad Condition to my nearest Relations, 'twas not fit to trouble others. To Mr. Isaac Walton, I give all my Writings under my Father's hand, which may be of some use to his Son, if he makes him a Scholar. To the Reverend Bishop of Chicchster, I return that Cabinet that was my Fathers, now in my Dining-Room, and all those Papers which are of Authors Analysed by my Father; many of which he hath already received with his Common-Place-Book, which I desire may pass to Mr. Walton's Son, as being more likely to have use for such a help, when his age shall require it. These four sides of this small Paper being written by my own hand, I hope will be a sufficient Testimony that this is my last Will. And such Trivial things were not fit for a greater Ceremony than my own Hand and Seal, for I have lived alwaies without all other Witnesses but my own Conscience, and I hope I have honest­ly discharged that. I have in a Paper annexed something at this present; and may do some things hereafter, which I presume my most honourable good Lord of Portland will see performed.

  • Witnesses
    • Marleburgh.
    • Will. Glascocke.

When I made this Will, I was alone; afterwards I desired my good Friends the Earl of Marleburgh, and Mr. Glascocke to Witness it. Which was in Novemb. the 2d 1661.

‘Non curo quid de me Judicet haeres.’Hor.

Printed, February 23. 1662.

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