Donne & the Drurys

Donne & the Drurys

Donne & the Drurys

Donne & the Drurys

Excerpt

In consenting to the publication of the two Anniversaries, 'wherein, by occasion of the untimely death of Mistris Elizabeth Drury', Donne set forth first 'the frailty and decay of this world' and then went on to contemplate the soul's 'exaltation in the next', the poet himself publicized his relations with the Drury family as he did those with no other friend or patron. Izaak Walton, too, in writing Donne's life, paid due acknowledgement to Sir Robert Drury, and in his 1670 edition added the famous account of Donne's vision of his wife with a dead child in her arms, which was said to have occurred at Paris while Donne was travelling with Sir Robert. Since Walton's day, however, not much has come to light concerning Sir Robert and Lady Drury or Donne's connection with them; indeed, they have remained rather vague and nebulous figures, since such other facts about them as were available elsewhere seem for the most part to have been overlooked.

This little book owes its inception to the discovery that a certain number of the papers of Sir Robert and Lady Drury had been preserved among the muniments of the Bacon family, from which Lady Drury sprang. This material has been supplemented wherever possible from other available sources, so that the account of the Drurys is as full as it could be made. Inevitablv, new light is-thrown on Donne at various points: explicitly, through his direct connection with a number of the newly discovered documents, and implicitly, through information about the activities of the Drurys while he was closely associated with them. The book, however, considers Donne only in so far as he was in touch with the Drurys; no attempt has been made to tell the full story of his life even during the years of his friendship with them. The aim of the book is humbler; its main purpose is to present the most interesting of the new documents either in full, when they seem to deserve it, or in discreet selection and summary. The sources, both printed and manuscript, have been listed in full in an appendix. The attempt has been made to dispense with the usual . . .

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