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So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love's rito,
And in mine own love's strength seem to

O'ercharged with burthen of mine own love's

O let my books be then the eloquence
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast;
Who plead for love, and look for recompence,
More than that tongue that more hath more

O learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine


My heart doth plead, that thou in him dost

(A closet never pierced with crystal eyes)
But the defendant doth that plea deny,
And says in him thy fair appearance lies.
To 'cide this title is impannelled
A quest of thoughts, all tenants to the heart;
And by their verdict is determined
The clear eye's moiety, and the dear heart's

As thus : mine eye's due is thine outward

part, And my heart's right thine inward love of


Between the 23rd and 25th Sonnets, which we have just given-remarkable as they are for the most exquisite simplicity of thought and diction-occurs the following conceit :Mine eye hath play'd the painter, and hath

Thy beauty's form in table of my heart;
My body is the frame wherein 't is held,
And perspective it is best painter's art.
For through the painter must you see his

To find where your true image pictured lies,
Which in my bosom's shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine

Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have

done; Vine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine

Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,
And each doth good turns now unto the

When that mine eye is famish'd for a look,
Or heart in love with sighs himself doth

With my love's picture then my eye doth

And to the painted banquet bids my heart:
Another time mine eye is my heart's guest,
And in his thoughts of love doth share a

So, either by thy picture or my love,
Thyself away art present still with me;
For thou not farther than my thoughts canst

And I am still with them, and they with


for me

Or if they sleep, thy picture in my sight
Awakes my heart to hearts and eye's


Are windows to my breast, where through the


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Delights to pecp, to gaze therein on thee; The 77th Sonnet interrupts the continuity Yet cyes this cunning want to grace their of a poem which we shall presently give, in art,

which the writer refers, with some appearThey draw but what they see, know not ance of jealousy, to an “alien pen." There the heart.-24.

can be no doubt that this Sonnet is comBut, separated by a long interval, we find pletely isolated. It is clearly intended to

accompany the present of a note-book :two variations of the air, entirely out of place where they occur. Can we doubt that Thy glass will show thee how thy beautics these three form one little poem of them

wear, selves ?

Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste;

The vacant leaves thy mind's imprint will Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war,

bear, How to divide the conquest of thy sight; And of this book this learning mayst thou Mine eye my heart thy picture's sight would

taste. bar,

The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show, My heart mine eye the freedom of that right. Of mouthed graves will give thee memory;

Thou by thy dial's shady stealth mayst know Why write I still all one, ever the same, Time's thievish progress to eternity.

And keep invention in a noted weed, Look, what thy memory cannot contain, That every word doth almost tell my name, Commit to these waste blanks, and thou shalt Showing their birth, and where they did find

proceed? Those children nurs’d, deliver'd from thy O know, sweet love, I always write of you, brain,

And you and love are still my argument; To take a new acquaintance of thy mind. So all my best is dressing old words new, These offices, so oft as thou wilt look,

Spending again what is already spent: Shall profit thee, and much enrich thy For, as the sun is daily new and old, book.–77.

So is my love still telling what is told.—76. The 76th to the 87th Sonnets (omitting

So oft have I invok'd thee for my muse, the 77th and 81st) have been held to refer

And found such fair assistance in my verse, to a particular event in the poetical career

As every alien pen hath got my use, of Shakspere. He expresses something like

And under thee their poesy disperse. jealousy of a rival poet-a "better spirit."

Thine eyes, that taught the dumb on high to By some, Spenser is supposed to be alluded

sing, to; by others, Daniel. But we do not accept

And heavy ignorance aloft to fly, these stanzas as a proof that William Herbert

Have added feathers to the learned's wing, is the person always addressed in these Son

And given grace a double majesty. nets, for the alleged reason that Daniel was Yet be most proud of that which I compile, patronised by the Pembroke family, and Whose influence is thine, and born of thee : that, in 1601, he dedicated a book to William In others' works thou dost but mend the Herbert, to which Shakspere is held to allude style, in the 82nd Sonnet, by the expression

And arts with thy sweet graces graced be; “ dedicated words." This is Mr. Boaden's But thou art all my art, and dost advance theory. One of the Sonnets, supposed also

As high as learning my rude ignorance. to refer to William Herbert as a man right

-78. fair," was published in 1599, when the young Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid, nobleman was only nineteen years of age. My verse alone had all thy gentle grace; But in the stanzas which relate to some

But now my gracious numbers are decay'd, poetical rivalry, real or imaginary, the per- And my sick muse doth give another place. son addressed has

I grant, sweet love, thy lovely argument “added feathers to the learned's wing,

Deserves the travail of a worthier pen; And given grace a double majesty.”

Yet what of thee thy poet doth invent,

He robs thee of, and pays it thee again. He is

He lends thee virtue, and he stole that word "as fair in knowledge as in hue."

From thy behaviour; beauty doth he give, The praises of the “ lovely boy,” be he Wil

And found it in thy cheek; he can afford liam Herbert or not, are always confined to

No praise to thee but what in thee doth ltve.

Then thank him not for that which he doth his personal appearance and his good nature.

say, There is a quiet tone about the following

Since what he owes thee thou thyself dost which separates them from the Sonnets addressed to that “unknown youth ;” and yet

pay.—79. they may be as unreal as we believe most of those to be :

0, how I faint when I of you do write,

Knowing a better spirit doth use your name, Why is my verse so barren of new pride? And in the praise thereof spends all his might, So far from variation or quick change?

To make me tongue-tied, speaking of your Why, with the time, do I not glance aside

fame! To new-found methods and to compounds But since your worth (wide, as the ocean is,) strange?

The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,

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I grant thou wert not married to my muse,
And therefore mayst without attaint o'erlook
The dedicated words which writers use
Of their fair subject, blessing every book.
Thou art as fair in knowledge as in hue,
Finding thy worth a limit past my praise ;
And therefore art enforced to seek anew
Some fresher stamp of the time-bettering days.
And do so, love; yet when they have devis'd
What strained touches rhetoric can lend,
Thou truly fair wert truly sympathiz'd
In true plain words, by thy true-telling

friend; And their gross painting might be better

us'd Where cheeks need blood; in thee it is


Lean penury within that pen doth dwell,
That to his subject lends not some small glory;
But he that writes of you, if he can tell
That you are you, so dignifies his story,
Let him but copy what in you is writ,
Not making worse what nature made so clear,
And such a counterpart shall fame his wit,
Making his style admired everywhere.

You to your beauteous blessings add a curse,
Being fond on praise, which makes your

praises worse.-84. My tongue-tied muse in manners holds her

still, While comments of your praise, richly com

pil'd, Reserve their character with golden quill, And precious phrase by all the muses fil'd. I think good thoughts, while others write good

words, And, like unletter'd clerk, still cry “ Amen" To every hymn that able spirit affords, In polish'd form of well-refined pen. Hearing you prais'd, I say, “'T is so, 't is

true," And to the most of praise add something

more; But that is in my thought, whose love to you, Though words come hindmost, holds his rank

before. Then others for the breath of words respect, Me for my dumb thoughts speaking in


I never saw that you did painting need,
And therefore to your fair no painting set.
I found, or thought I found, you did exceed

The barren tender of a poet's debt :
And therefore have I slept in your report,
That you yourself, being extant, well might

show How far a modern quill doth come too short, Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth

grow. This silence for my sin you did impute, Which shall be most my glory, being dumb; For I impair not beauty being mute, When others would give life, and bring a

tomb. There lives more life in one of your fair

Was it the proud full sail of his great verse, Bound for the prize of all-too-precious you, That did my ripe thoughts in my brain in

hearse, Making their tomb the womb wherein they

grew ? Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead ? No, neither he, nor his compeers by night Giving him aid, my verse astonished. He, nor that affable familiar ghost Which nightly gulls him with intelligence, As victors, of my silence cannot boast; I was not sick of any fear from thence.

But, when your countenance fild up his line, Then lack'd I matter : that enfeebled mine.

-86. Farewell ! thou art too dear for my possess

ing, And like enough thou know'st thy estimate :


Than both your poets can in praise devise.


Who is it that says most? which can say more Than this rich praise,—that you alone are

you? In whose confine immured is the store Which should example where your equal grew.

The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gav'st, thy own worth then not

Or me, to whom thou gav'st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgment mak.

Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth

flatter, In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.


Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend ?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end ?
Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross ;
Within be fed, without be rich no more ;
So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on

And, death once dead, there's no more

dying then.--146.

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We cannot trace the connexion of the

III. 121st Sonnet with what precedes and what follows it. It may stand alone—a somewhat We have thus, with a labour which we fear impatient expression of contempt for the may be disproportionate to the results, seopinion of the world, which too often galls parated those parts of this series of poems those most who, in the consciousness of right, which appeared to be manifestly complete in ought to be best prepared to be indifferent themselves, or not essentially connected with to it:

what has been supposed to be the “leading 'T is better to be vile, than vile esteemid,

idea ” which prevails throughout the collecWhen not to be receives reproach of being,

tion. It has been said, with great eloquence, And the just pleasure lost, which is so deem'd

“It is true that, in the poetry as well as in Not by our feeling, but by others' seeing.

the fictions of early ages, we find a more For why should others' false adulterate eyes

ardent tone of affection in the language of Give salutation to my sportive blood ?

friendship than has since been usual ; and Or on my frailties why are frailer spies, yet no instance has been adduced of such Which in their wills count bad what I think rapturous devotedness, such an idolatry of good ?

admiring love, as the greatest being whom No.—I am that I am; and they that level nature ever produced in the human form At my abuses, reckon up their own :

pours forth to some unknown youth in the I may be straight though they themselves be majority of these Sonnets.”

The same

accomplished critic further speaks of the By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be strangeness of “Shakspere's humiliation in shown,

addressing him (the youth) as a being beUnless this general evil they maintain,

fore whose feet he crouched, whose frown he All men are bad, and in their badness feared, whose injuries, and those of the most reign.—121.

insulting kind—the seduction of the mistress

to whom we have alluded-he felt and beLastly, of the Sonnets entirely independent wailed without resenting.” We should agree of the other portions of the series, the fol

with Mr. Hallam, if these circumstances were lowing, already mentioned, furnishes one of the many proofs which we have endeavoured manifest

, that, notwithstanding the frequent

beauties of these Sonnets, the pleasure of to produce that the original arrangement their perusal would be much diminished. was in many respects an arbitrary one :

But we believe that these impressions have Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth, been, in a great degree, produced by regardFool'd by those rebel powers that thee array, * Hallam, 'Literature of Europe,' vol. iii. p. 502.






Black eyes

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ing the original arrangement as the natural have therefore left us no regret that he had and proper one—as one suggested by the written them. If we are to regard a few of dependence of one part upon another, in a these as real disclosures, with reference to a poem essentially continuous. Mr. Hallam, “dark-haired lady whom the poet loved, but with these impressions, adds, somewhat over whose relations to him there is thrown strongly, “it is impossible not to wish a veil of mystery, allowing us to see little that Shakspere had never written them.” | except the feeling of the parties that their Let us, however, analyze what we have love was guilt,”—

—we are to consider, what is presented to the reader in a different order so justly added by the writer from whom we than that of the original edition :

quote, that “much that is most unpleasing in the circumstances connected with those magnificent lyrics is removed by the air of

despondency and remorse which breathes Will


through those which come most closely on 3 the facts.”*

But it must not be forgotten The virginal


that, in an age when the Italian models False compare


of poetry were so diligently cultivated, Tyranny


imaginary loves and imaginary jealousies Slavery


were freely admitted into verses which apColdness.


peared to address themselves to the reader I hate not you.


in the personal character of the poet. The little love-god (not reprinted) 2

Regarding a poem, whether a sonnet or an Love and hatred


epic, essentially as a work of art, the artist Infidelity


was not careful to separate his own identity Injury


from the sentiments and situations which A friend's faults


he delineated—any more than the pastoral Forgiveness


poets of the next century were solicitous to 43

tell their readers that their Corydons and Phyllises were not absolutely themselves

and their mistresses. The 'Amoretti' of Sonnets

. Spenser, for example, consisting of eightyConfiding friendship


eight Sonnets, is also a puzzle to all those Humility


who regard such productions as necessarily Absence.


autobiographical. These poems were pubEstrangement


lished in 1596 ; in several passages a date A second absence


is somewhat distinctly marked, for there are Fidelity.


lines which refer to the completion of the Dedications


first six Books of the 'Fairy Queen,' and to The picture


Spenser's appointment to the laureatshipThe note-book


“the badge which I do bear.” And yet they Rivalry


are full of the complaints of an unrequited Reputation


love, and of a disdainful mistress, at a period The soul.


when Spenser was married, and settled with 61

his family in Ireland. Chalmers is here again

ready with his solution of the difficulty. We have thus as many as 104 Sonnets which, They were addressed, as well as Shakspere's if they had been differently arranged upon Sonnets, to Queen Elizabeth. We believe their original publication, might have been that, taken as works of art, having a certain read with undiminished pleasure, as far as degree of continuity, the Sonnets of Spenser, regards the strangeness of their author's of Daniel, of Drayton, of Shakspere, although humiliation before one unknown youth; and * Edinburgh Review,' vol. Ixxi. p. 466.


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