[...] He lived, at first, a rackety, rock star life. Born a Catholic, he saw his brother perish in prison, and an uncle hanged, drawn and quartered for his religion. He sailed on the 1596 naval expedition against Cádiz. He knocked around London in his show-off hat and frilly shirt, went to the theatre, wrote exquisite poetry and fell in love, a lot. The Newbattle portrait may well be an elaborate chat-up routine, a love letter in paint: Donne strikes the pose of the melancholy lover, and in the corner is written the inscription illumine tenebr(as) nostras domina: oh lady, illuminate our darkness. History does not relate who the lady was, or whether she succumbed.In a scandal that would sit easily in the 21st century, Donne eloped with the teenage Anne More, the niece of his powerful patron. Her outraged father had the poet imprisoned. With bleak wit Donne wrote: “John Donne, Anne Donne, Undone.” Their marriage produced 12 children and some of the most delightful love poetry in any language: To His Mistress Going to Bed, The Flea and A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning. When Anne died, at the age of 33, Donne was heart-broken: “She whom I lov’d hath paid her last debt . . .” He is thought never to have written another love poem. By then, he had been adopted into the Establishment: he renounced Catholicism, become MP for Brackley, took holy orders and ended up as Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. [...]
This entry was posted by eeksypeeksy
on Friday, May 05, 2006 at 9:46 AM.
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Isn't that translation "Our Lady" as in the Virgin Mary, rather than "Oh Lady?"
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