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And the just pleasure lost, which is so deem'd
bevel?; By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown;
Unless this general evil they maintain,-
6 - I am that I am ;] So, in King Richard III. :
" lam myself alone." STEEVENS. 7- bevel ;] i. e. crooked; a term used only, I believe, by masons and joiners. Steevens. 8 — within my BRAIN Full CHARACTER'D with lasting MemORY,] So, in Hamlet :
" from the table of my memory
“ Within the book and volume of my brain.” Again, in the same play:
“And these few precepts in thy memory
“ Look thou character."
“— I do conjure thee,
“ Are visibly character'd and engravid ." Malone.
" Are vis
Till each to raz’d oblivion yield his part
To keep an adjunct to remember thee,
This I do vow, and this shall ever be,
“ — Remember thee?
“ In this distracted globe." STEEVENS.
That poor retention could not so much hold,] That poor retention is the table-book given to him by his friend, incapable of retaining, or rather of containing, so much as the tablet of the brain. MALONE.
No, it was builded far from accident;
showers. To this I witness call the fools of time, Which die for goodness, who have liv'd for crime 4.
? But all alone stands hugely politick,] This line brings to mind Dr. Akenside's noble description of the Pantheon :
“ Mark how the dread Pantheon stands,
“ How simply, how severely great!" STEEVENS. 3 That it nor GROWS with heat, nor drowns with showers.] Though a building may be drown'd, i. e. deluged by rain, it can hardly grow under the influence of heat. I would read glows.
Steevens. Our poet frequently starts from one idea to another. Though he had compared his affection to a building, he seems to have deserted that thought; and here, perhaps, meant to allude to the progress of vegetation, and the accidents that retard it. So, in the 15th Sonnet :
“When I perceive, that every thing that grows,
MALONE. 4 – the fools of time,
Which die for goodness, who have liv'd for crime.] Perhaps this is a stroke at some of Fox's Martyrs. STEEVENS.
s With my EXTERN the OUTWARD honouring,] Thus, in Othello : :
Or lay'd great bases for eternity,
Hence, thou suborn'd informer! a true soul,
CXXVI. O thou, my lovely boy”, who in thy power Dost hold Time's fickle glass, his sickle, hour; Who hast by waning grown, and therein show'st Thy lovers withering, as thy sweet sélf grow'st; If nature, sovereign mistress over wrack, As thou goest onwards, still will pluck thee back, She keeps thee to this purpose, that her skill May time disgrace, and wretched minutes kill. Yet fear her, O thou minion of her pleasure ; She may detain, but not still keep her treasure: Her audit, though delay'd, answer'd must be, And her quietus 8 is to render thee.
" When my outward action doth demonstrate
“ In compliment extern ,” STEEVENS. 6 Which is not mix'D WITH SECONDS,] I am just informed by an old lady, that seconds is a provincial term for the second kind of flour, which is collected after the smaller bran is sifted. That our author's oblation was pure, unmixed with baser matter, is all that he meant to say. STEEVENS.
7 O thou, my lovely boy,] This Sonnet differs from all the others in the present collection, not being written in alternate rhymes. MALONE.
8 And her QUIETUS-] So, in Hamlet :
CXXVII. In the old age black was not counted fair, Or if it were, it bore not beauty's name; But now is black beauty's successive heir, And beauty slander'd with a bastard shame: For since each hand hath put on nature's power, Fairing the foul with art's false-borrow'd face, Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy hour, But is profan'd, if not lives in disgrace. Therefore my mistress' eyes are raven black, Her eyes so suited ; and they mourners seem At such, who, not born fair, no beauty lack, Slandering creation with a false esteem':
“ – might his quietus make
“ With a bare bodkin." See note on that passage, Act III. Sc. I. This sonnet consists only of twelve lines. Steevens.
9 In the old age, &c.] The reader will find almost all that is said here on the subject of complexion, is repeated in Love's Labour's Lost :
“ O, who can give an oath? where is a book ?
" That I may swear, beauty doth beauty lack, « If that she learn not of her eye to look ?
" No face is fair that is not full so black.
“O, if in black my lady's brow be deck'd,
“ It mourns, that painting and usurping hair
“In the old age,” &c. All the remaining Sonnets are addressed to a female. MALONE. !- and they mourners seem At such, who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Slandering creation with a false esteem :] They seem to mourn that those who are not born fair, are yet possessed of an artificial beauty, by which they pass for what they are not, and thus dishonour nature by their imperfect imitation and false pretensions. MALONE.