With a Cloven Tongue: Hebrew Double Readings and Donne’s “The Lamentations of Jeremy, for the Most Part According to Tremellius”

07 Sep 2017

“It must always...seem odd,” writes nineteenth-century critic George Saintsbury, “that such a poet as Donne should have taken the trouble to tag the Lamentations of Jeremiah into verse, which is sometimes much more lamentable in form than even in matter.” Saintsbury’s critique of Donne’s The Lamentations of Jeremy, for the Most Part According to Tremellius is kinder than many other assessments: K.W. Gransden describes the poem as “for the most part unreadable,” while Frank Kermode bestows upon it only a single, damning sentence, “the Lamentations of Jeremy are not very interesting.”