Phoebe Sheavyn wrote her D. Litt. dissertation for the University of London on 'Economic Aspects of the Life of the Professional Writer under Elizabeth and James I'. Five chapters of this formed The Literary Profession in the Elizabethan Age, in which she argued that Elizabethan poets were obliged by the lack of a natural patron for their work to attract patronage by artificial means-'Hence extravagance in eulogy; hence servile humility in the writer' (The Literary Profession in the Elizabethan Age, 1909, pp. 22-3 and 195).
[Sheavyn takes Donne's memorial eulogies of Elizabeth Drury for prime specimens of forced endeavours, which show us]
to what lengths of exaggerated praise a man of genius could be carried in his desire to earn the good will of a possible patron…. Transfigured though they are by imaginative power they yet betray unmistakeable signs of the effort to bid high. The verses reached their mark, and Donne became for many years the intimate friend and dependant of the wealthy Sir Robert Drury.
[Donne's verses, like those of Spenser's Daphnaida, lack 'a sense of reality and sincerity' such as we recognize in Chaucer's lament for his patron's wife Blanche. Donne's work also exemplifies the 'decline in the literary taste of authors' which followed the decline of manners in the court of James I.]
Donne's writing, though full of genius, shows a reckless disregard of beauty and good taste.