John Donne: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 2

By A. J. Smith; Catherine Phillips | Go to book overview

85.

William Macdonald Sinclair

1909

The Venerable W.M. Sinclair (1850-1917), Archdeacon of London, wrote books on religious subjects and church architecture and gave lectures to the Royal Society of Literature on the religious poetry of Tennyson and of Donne. His lecture on Donne, read to the Society on 26 January 1910, he had previously published as a general appreciation of the 'poet and preacher' (Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, 29:2 (1909), 179-202).

[Much of Sinclair's account of Donne is strung together from standard sources, drawing on Walton and Gosse for Donne's life and career, and Carew and Saintsbury for Donne's literary genius. But he does undertake to demonstrate the harsh injustice of Hallam's dismissal of Donne. 1

Sinclair's way of countering the familiar detractions of Donne is to quote copiously from Donne's poems, with commendatory linking comments. He gives stanza 1 of 'The Good Morrow', remarking that it is Very characteristic of Donne's originality'. The Song, 'Go, and Catch a Falling Star', given entire, 'shows him in his lightest mood'. Stanza 4 of 'The Canonisation' is one of 'several charming verses' in this poem. Lines 15-28 of 'Love's Growth' make up 'two exquisite stanzas'. Stanzas 1-3 and 7 of 'The Bait' contain 'a pretty conceit'. Lines 1-8 of 'The Primrose' present a 'picture from Nature' which 'could hardly be surpassed'; and the first stanza of the Epithalamion 'Hail Bishop Valentine' is likewise 'full of vivid observations of Nature'. Holy Sonnet 1, 'Thou Hast Made Me', given entire, is 'one of a great number [of sonnets] of remarkable beauty'. Stanza 23 of 'A Litany' affords a taste of this 'noble poem'. Two passages from The Second Anniversary (lines 33-44 and 65-81) present 'a fine example of one of his finest poems'. Lines 1-24 of Satire 1 exemplify the vigour of Donne's Satires.

Sinclair follows up these quotations with a series of brief snippets to show that 'Noble lines stud every page'. He gives lines 31 and 66-7 of the Metempsychosis; lines 85-6 of The Second Anniversary; lines 1-2 of 'Love's Deity', and lines 19-20 of 'The Dream'.

-303-

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John Donne: The Critical Heritage - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • General Editor's Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Note on the Text xiv
  • Introduction xv
  • 1. - Henry Morley 1
  • 3. - William Minto 3
  • 5. - Alice King 15
  • 9. - Edmund Gosse 24
  • 11. - George Edward Bateman Saintsbury 26
  • 13. - Margaret Woods 31
  • 15. - W.F. Collier 50
  • 17. - Gamaliel Bradford 52
  • 21. - Sir Edmund Kerchever Chambers 70
  • 25. - George Edward Bateman Saintsbury 89
  • 29. - Thomas Bird Mosher 102
  • 31. - Augustus Jessopp 105
  • 32. - Anon., Academy 108
  • 35. - Henry Augustin Beers 115
  • 44. - Francis Thompson 180
  • 46. - Anon., Academy 184
  • 48. - Anon., Nation 187
  • 52. - Anon., Quarterly Review 206
  • 59. - Rudolf Richter 221
  • 69. - Charles Eliot Norton 249
  • 73. - Martin Grove Brumbaugh 254
  • 74. - Charles Crawford 255
  • 76. - Herbert John Clifford Grierson 259
  • 79. - Alfred Horatio Upham 272
  • 83. - Janet Spens 295
  • 84. - Phoebe Anne Beale Sheavyn 302
  • 85. - William Macdonald Sinclair 303
  • 89. - Herbert John Clifford Grierson 317
  • 93. - Evelyn Mary Simpson (Née Spearing) 352
  • 94. - Anon., Nation 353
  • 95. - Felix E. Schelling 356
  • 97. - Rupert Brooke 359
  • 100. - Ernest Percival Rhys 370
  • 102. - Sir Sidney Colvin 390
  • 106. - David Macleane 395
  • 107. - Ezra Pound 396
  • 118. - Logan Pearsall Smith 410
  • 126. - Louise Imogen Guiney 432
  • 128. - Herbert John Clifford Grierson 437
  • 132. - Stuart Petre Brodie Mais 451
  • 134. - Elbert Nevius Sebring Thompson 453
  • 137. - William Butler Yeats 457
  • 138. - Robert Seymour Bridges 458
  • Appendix A. 463
  • Appendix B. 467
  • Appendix C: 474
  • Index 475
  • The Critical Heritage Series 502
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