The Lotus Eaters

Ulysses to Penelope

In a far distant land they dwell,
     Who love the shadow more than light,
     More than the sun the moon,
     Cool evening more than noon,
Pale silver more than gold that glitters bright,
     A dark cloud overhangs their land
          Like a mighty hand,
     Never moving from above it ;
     A cool shade and moist and dim,
     With a twilight purple rim,
          And they love it.
     And sometimes it giveth rain,
       But soon it ceaseth as before,
     And earth drieth up again,—
       Then the dews rise more and more,
       Till it filleth, dropping o’er ;
     But no forked lightnings flit,
     And no thunders roll in it.
     Through the land a river flows,
     With a sleepy sound it goes :
       Such a drowsy noise, in sooth,
          Those who will not listen hear not :
          But, if one is wakeful, fear not—
     It shall lull him to repose,
       Bringing back the dreams of youth.
     Hemlock groweth, poppy bloweth,
     In the fields where no man moweth :
     And the vine is full of wine
     And are full of milk the kine,
     And the hares are all secure,
     And the birds are wild no more,
     And the forest-trees wax old,
     And winds stir, or hot or cold,—
     And yet no man taketh care,
     All things resting everywhere.

Christina Georgina Rossetti
7 October 1847

On the Study of Theology

Why Doe Young Lay-Men So Much Studie Divinity?

Is it because others tending busily Churches preferment neglect studie? Or had the Church of Rome shut up all our wayes till the Lutherans broke down their uttermost stubborned dores, and the Calvinists picked their inwardest and subtlest lockes? Surely the Divell cannot bee such a Foole to hope that hee shall make this study contemptible, by making it common. Nor that as the Dwellers by the river Origus are said (by drawing infinite ditches to sprinckle their barren Countrey) to have exhausted and intercepted their maine channell, and so lost their more profitable course to the Sea; so wee, by providing every ones selfe, divinity enough for his owne use, should neglect our Teachers and Fathers. Hee cannot hope for better heresies than he hath had, nor was his Kingdome ever so much advanced by debating Religion (though with some aspersions of Error) as by a Dull and stupid security, in which many grosse things are swallowed. Possible out of such an Ambition as we have now, to speake plainely and fellow-like with Lords and Kings, wee thinke also to acquaint our selves with Gods secrets: Or perchance when wee study it by mingling humane respects, It is not Divinity.

John Donne
Probleme 5 from Juvenilia: Or Certaine Paradoxes, And Problemes, 1633

Some hopefully helpful notes:
preferment: appointment to a salaried position
stubborned: hard; difficult to move
…Origus…: Perhaps Oricus, a city in Greece? This is a cautionary tale of unknown origin (to me, at least, and Google doesn’t help), though it’s vaguely familiar: a city situated on a river with barren fields digs so many canals for irrigation (ostensibly to improve the agricultural yield and thereby the city’s economic situation) that the river downstream is no longer navigable and the city loses its more profitable sea trade.
divinity: theology