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Hang on such thorns and play as wantonly They contrast remarkably with the tone of When summer's breath their masked buds the 32nd Sonnet,discloses :
“ These poor rude lines of thy deceased lover." But, for their virtue only is their show, They live unwoo'd, and unrespected fade;
Meres has a passage :
As Ovid saith of his Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so; worksOf their sweet deaths are sweetest odours
'Jamque opus exegi quod nec Jovis ira, nec made:
ignis, And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetusWhen that shall fade, by verse distils your tas;' truth.-54.
and as Horace saith of his, Not marble, not the gilded monuments
Exegi monumentum ære perenniu Of of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme; so say I severally of Sir Philip Sidney's, But you shall shine more bright in these con- Spenser's, Daniel's, Drayton's, Shakespeare's, tents
and Warner's works." What Ovid and Than unswept stone, besmeard with sluttish Horace said is imitated in the 55th Sonnet. time.
But we greatly doubt if what Meres would When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
have said of Shakspere he would have said And broils root out the work of masonry,
of himself, except in some assumed character, Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall
to which we have not the key. Ben Jonson, burn The living record of your memory.
to whom a boastful spirit has with some 'Gainst death and all oblivious enmity
justice been objected, never said anything Shall you pace forth ; your praise shall still so strong of his own writings; and he wrote
with too much reliance, in this and other Even in the eyes of all posterity
particulars, upon classical examples. But That wear this world out to the ending doom.
was not a writer of Sonnets, which, So till the judgment that yourself arise, pitched in an artificial key, made this boastYou live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes. ful tone a constituent part of the whole per
--55. formance. The man, who never once speaks
of his own merits in his dramas, the greatest Wherever we meet with these magnificent promises of the immortality which the poet's productions of the human intellect
, when he verses are to bestow, we find them associated put on the imaginary character in which a
poet with that personage, the representative at
is weaving a fiction out of his supposed once of “ Adonis” and of “ Helen,” who pre- form himself to the practice of other masters
personal relations, did not hesitate to consents himself to us as the unreal coinage of
of the art. Shakspere here adopted the tone the fancy. In many of the lines which we
which Spenser, Daniel, and Drayton had have given in the second division of this inquiry, the reader will have noticed the adopted. The parallel appears to us very affecting modesty, the humility without remarkable ; and we must beg the indulgence
of our readers while we present them a few abasement, of the great poet comparing himself with others. Here Shakspere indeed passages from each of these writers.
And first of Spenser.
His 27th Sonnet speaks. For example, take the whole of the 32nd Sonnet. We should scarcely imagine,
will furnish an adequate notion of the if the poem were continuous, as Mr. Brown general tone of his ‘Amoretti,' and of the
self-exaltation which appears to belong to believes, that the last stanza of the second
this species of poem :portion of it in his classification would conclude with these lines :
"Fair Proud ! now tell me, why should faiz be
Sith all world's glory is but dross unclean, Not marble, not the gilded monuments
And in the shade of death itself shall shroud, Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme." However now thereof ye little ween!
That goodly idol, now so gay beseen,
Delia, these eyes, that so admire thine,
Have seen those walls which proud ambition
rear'd That many now much worship and admire ! To check the world; how they entomb'd have Ne any then shall after it inquire,
lien Ne any mention shall thereof remain,
Within themselves, and on them ploughs have But what this verse, that never shall expire,
ear'd. Shall to you purchase with her thankless pain! Yet never found that barbarous hand attain'd
Fair! be no longer proud of that shall perish, The spoil of fame deserv'd by virtuous men; But that, which shall you make immortal, Whose glorious actions luckily had gain'd cherish."
The eternal annals of a happy pen.
And therefore grieve not if thy beauties die; And the 69th Sonnet is still more like the
Though time do spoil thee of the fairest veil model upon which Shakspere formed his That ever yet cover d mortality; 55th:
And must enstar the needle and the rail.
That grace which doth more than enwoman “ The famous warriors of the antique world
Lives in my lines, and must eternal be."
, the extravagance of his admiration or his
sweetness of Daniel, is not behind either in Adorn'd with honour, love, and chastity ? Even this verse, vow'd to eternity,
confidence in his own power. The 6th and
That now in coaches trouble every street,
And queens hereafter shall be glad to live Where, when as Death shall all the world Upon the alms of thy superfluous praise ; subdue,
Virgins and matrons, reading these my rhymes, Our love shall live, and later life renew.”
Shall be so much delighted with thy story,
That they shall grieve they liv'd not in these Of Daniel's Sonnets, the 41st and 42nd times, furnish examples of the same tone, though
To have seen thee, their sex's only glory:
So thou shalt fly above the vulgar throng, somewhat more subdued than in Shakspere
Still to survive in my immortal song.”
" Whilst thus my pen strives to eternize thee, Bewray unto the world how fair thou art;
Age rules my lines with wrinkles in my face, Or that my wits have show'd the best they
Where, in the map of all my misery,
Is modell’d out the world of my disgrace: could. (The chastest flame that ever warmed heart!)
Whilst, in despite of tyrannizing rhymes,
Medea-like, I make thee young again,
Proudly thou scorn'st my world out-wearing ful warble;
rhymes, How many live, the glory of whose name
And murther’st virtue with thy coy disdain; Shall rest in ice, when thine is grav'd in
And though in youth my youth untimely marble !
To keep thee from oblivion and the grave,
Ensuing ages yet my rhymes shall cherish,
Where I entomb'd my better part shall save; deem'd
And though this earthly body fade and die,
My name shall mount upon eternity."
We now proceed to what appears another
nets, addressed to the same ohject as the
first nineteen stanzas were addressed to, and devoted to the same admiration of his personal beauty. The leading idea is now that of the spoils of Time, to be repaired only by the immortality of verse :
Not that the summer is less pleasant now Than when her mournful hymns did hush
the night, But that wild music burthens every bough, And sweets grown common lose their dear
delight. Therefore, like her, I sometime hold my
tongue, Because I would not dull you with my song.
Where art thou, Muse, that thou forgett'st so
long To speak of that which gives thee all thy
might? Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song, Darkening thy power, to lend base subjects
light? Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem In gentle numbers time so idly spent; Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem, And gives thy pen both skill and argument. Rise, restive Muse, my love's sweet face sur
vey, If Time have any wrinkle graven there ; If any, be a satire to decay, And make Time's spoils despised everywhere.
Give my love fame, faster than Time wastes
Alack ! what poverty my Muse brings forth,
can sit, Your own glass shows you when you look
So thou prevent'st his scythe and crooked
O truant Muse, what shall be thy amends,
Then do thy office, Muse; I teach thee how
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
cold Have from the forest shook three summers
pride; Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn
turn'd, In process of the seasons have I seen, Three April perfumes in three hot Junes
burn'd, Since first I saw you fresh which yet are green. Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial hand, Steal from his figure, and no pace perceiv'd; So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth
stand, Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceiv'd. For fear of which, hear this, thou age un
bred, Ere you were born, was beauty's summer
My love is strengthen'd, though more weak
in seeming; I love not less, though less the show appear; That love is merchandis'd whose rich esteem
ing The owner's tongue doth publish everywhere. Our love was new, and then but in the spring, When I was wont to greet it with my lays; As Philomel in summer's front doth sing, And stops his pipe in growth of riper days :
Let not my love be call'd idolatry,
Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,
Nothing, sweet boy; but yet, like prayers
Finding the first conceit of love there bred,
When in the chronicle of wasted time
If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguild, I see descriptions of the fairest wights, And beauty making beautiful old rhyme,
Which labouring for invention bear amiss In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights,
The second burthen of a former child ! Then in the blazon of sweet beauty's best,
0, that record could, with a backward look,
E'en of five hundred courses of the sun,
Show me your image in some antique book, Even such a beauty as you master now.
Since mind at first in character was done! So all their praises are but prophecies
That I might see what the old world could Of this our time, all you prefiguring ;
say And, for they look'd but with divining eyes,
To this composed wonder of your frame; They had not skill enough your worth to
Whether we are mended, or whe'r better they,
Or whether revolution be the same. sing; For we, which now behold these present
0! sure I am, the wits of former days days,
To subjects worse have given admiring Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to
Like as the waves make towards the pebbled
shore, Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul So do our minutes hasten to their end; Of the wide world dreaming on things to
Each changing place with that which goes come,
before, Can yet the lease of my true love control,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend. Suppos'd as forfeit to a confin'd doom.
Nativity, once in the main of light, The mortal moon hath her eclipse endur'd,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd, And the sad augurs mock their own presage ; Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight, Incertainties now crown themselves assurd,
And Time, that gave, doth now his gift conAnd peace proclaims olives of endless age.
found. Now with the drops of this most balmy time Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth, My love looks fresh, and Death to me sub- And delves the parallels in beauty's brow; scribes,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth, Since spite of him I 'll live in this poor rhyme,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow. While he insults o'er dull and speechless And yet, to times in hope, my verse shall tribes.
stand, And thou in this shalt find thy monument,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand. When tyrants' crests and tombs of brass
-60. are spent.--107.
Of these eleven stanzas nine are consecutive What's in the brain that ink may character,
in the original, being numbered 100 to 108. Which hath not figur'd to thee my true spirit? | The other two, the 59th and 60th, are What 's new to speak, what now to register, certainly isolated in the first arrangement; That may express my love, or thy dear merit? | but the idea of the 108th glides into the
Presume not on thy heart when mine is
slain; Thou gav 'st me thine, not to give back
59th, and closes appropriately with the 60th. But there is a short poem which stands completely alone in the original edition, the 126th ; and it is remarkable for being of a different metrical character, wanting the distinguishing feature of the Sonnet in its number of lines. Its general tendency, however, connects it with those which we have just given
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 self
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 is to render thee.—126.
Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye,
'T is thee (myself) that for myself I praise, Painting my age with beauty of thy days.
Against my love shall be, as I am now,
o'erworn; When hours have drain'd his blood, and fill'd
his brow With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful
There is an enemy as potent as Time, who cuts down the pride of youth as the flower of the field. That enemy is Death; and the poet most skilfully presents the images of mortality to his "lovely boy" in connexion with the decay of the elder friend. In this portion of the poem there is a touching simplicity, which, however, is intermingled with passages which, denoting that the Poet is still speaking in character, take the stanzas, in some degree, out of the range of the
Hath travelld on to age's steepy night;
life. His beauty shall in these black lines be
seen, And they shall live, and he in them, still
My glass shall not persuade me I am old,
When I have seen by Time's fell hand defac'd,