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This thought is as a death, which cannot

choose But weep to have that which it fears to


Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor bound

less sea,

Thus is his cheek the map of days outworn,
When beauty liv'd and died as flowers do now,
Before these bastard signs of fair were borne,
Or durst inhabit on a living brow:
Before the golden tresses of the dead,
The right of sepulchres, were shorn away,
To live a second life on second head,
Ere beauty's dead fleece made another gay:
In him those holy antique hours are seen,
Without all ornament, itself, and true,
Making no summer of another’s green,
Robbing no old to dress his beauty new;

And him as for a map doth Nature store,
To show false Art what beauty was of yore.


Those parts of thee that the world's eye doth

view Want nothing that the thought of hearts can

mend : All tongues (the voice of souls) give thee

that due, Uttering bare truth, even so as foes commend, Thine outward thus with outward praise is

crown'd; But those same tongues that give thee so

thine own,

But sad mortality o'ersways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower ?
0, how shall summer's honey breath hold out
Against the wreckful siege of battering days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?
O fearful meditation ! where, alack !
Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot

In other accents do this praise confound,
By seeing farther than the eye hath shown.
They look into the beauty of thy mind,
And that, in guess, they measure by thy deeds;
Then (churls) their thoughts, although their

eyes were kind, To thy fair flower add the rank smell of

weeds : But why thy odour matcheth not thy show, The solve is this,--that thou dost common


That thou art blam'd shall not be thy defect,
For slander's mark was ever yet the fair;
The ornament of beauty is suspect,
A crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air.
So thou be good, slander doth but approve
Thy worth the greater, being woo'd of time:
For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love,
And thou present'st a pure unstained prime.
Thou hast pass’d by the ambush of young days,
Either not assail'd, or victor being charg'd;
Yet this thy praise cannot be so thy praise,
To tie up envy, evermore enlarg'd :

If some suspect of ill mask'd not thy show,
Then thou alone kingdoms of hearts

Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid ?

O none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,-
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac'd,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac'd,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly (doctor-like) controlling skill,
And simple truth miscalled simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tir'd with all these, from these would I be

Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.--66.
Ah! wherefore with infection should he live,
And with his presence grace impiety,
That sin by him advantage should achieve,
And lace itself with his society?
Why should false painting imitate his cheek,
And steal dead seeing of his living hue?
Why should poor beauty indirectly seek
Roses of shadow, since his rose is true?
Why should he live now Nature bankrupt is,
Beggar'd of blood to blush through lively veins?
For she hath no exchequer now but his,
And, proud of many, lives upon his gains.
0, him she stores, to show what wealth

she had,
In days long since, before these last so


shouldst owe.—70.

look upon

this verse,

No longer mourn for me when I am dead

But be contented: when that fell arrest Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell

Without all bail shall carry me away, Give warning to the world that I am fled My life hath in this line some interest, From this vile world, with vilest worms to Which for memorial still with thee shall stay. dwell :

When thou reviewest this, thou dost review Nay, if you read this line, remember not The very part was consecrate to thee. The hand that writ it; for I love you so,

The earth can have but earth, which is his due; That I in your sweet thoughts would be for- My spirit is thine, the better part of me: got,

So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life, If thinking on me then should make you The prey of worms, my body being dead; woe,

The coward conquest of a wretch's knife, 0, if (I say) you

Too base of thee to be remembered. When I perhaps compounded am with clay, The worth of that, is that which it contains, Do not so much as my poor name rehearse; And that is this, and this with thee reBut let your love even with my life decay :

mains.-74. Lest the wise world should look into your moan,

Or I shall live your epitaph to make, And mock you with me after I am gone.

Or you survive when I in earth am rotten; -71. From hence your memory death cannot take,

Although in me each part will be forgotten. 0, lest the world should task you to recite

Your name from hence immortal life shall have, What merit liv'd in me, that you should love

Though I, once gone, to all the world must die: After my death,--dear love, forget me quite,

The earth can yield me but a common grave, For you in me can nothing worthy prove;

When you entombed in men's eyes shall lie. Unless you would devise some virtuous lie,

Your monument shall be my gentle verse, To do more for me than mine own desert,

Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read; And hang more praise upon deceased I

And tongues to be, your being shall rehearse, Than niggard truth would willingly impart:

When all the breathers of this world are dead; 0, lest your true love may seem false in this,

You still shall live (such virtue hath my pen) That you for love speak well of me untrue,

Where breath most breathes, even in the My name be buried where my body is,

mouths of men.-81. And live no more to shame nor me nor you. For I am sham'd by that which I bring

Thirteen of these stanzas, the 62nd to the forth,

74th, follow in their original order. The And so should you, to love things nothing

first of the fifteen, the 22nd Sonnet, stands worth.—72.

quite alone, although its idea is continued That time of year thou mayst in me behold in the 62nd. The last of the series, the 8lst, When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang not only stands alone, but actually cuts off Upon those boughs which shake against the the undoubted connexion between the 80th cold,

and the 82nd Sonnets. The 71st to the 74th Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds

Sonnets seem bursting from a heart oppressed sang.

with a sense of its own unworthiness, and In me thou seest the twilight of such day

surrendered to some overwhelming misery. As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away,

There is a line in the 74th which points at

suicide. Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.

We cling to the belief that the In me thou seest the glowing of such fire

sentiments here expressed are essentially That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

dramatic. In the 32nd Sonnet, where we As the death-bed whereon it must expire,

recognise the man Shakspere speaking in his Consum'd with that which it was ourish'd by.

own modest and cheerful spirit, death is to This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love come across his “well-contented day.” more strong

The opinion which we have endeavoured To love that well which thou must leave to sustain of the probable admixture of the ere long.—73.

artificial and the real in the Sonnets, arising

from their supposed original fragmentary | in a poem, or poems, of fifty stanzas, written state, necessarily leads to the belief that upon a plan by which it is obviously presome are accurate illustrations of the poet's sented as a work of fiction, in which the poet situation and feelings. It is collected from displays his art in a style accordant with the these Sonnets, for example, that his pro- existing fashion and the example of other fession as a player was disagreeable to him; poets. The theme is the personal beauty of and this complaint is found amongst those a wonderful youth, and the strong affection portions which we have separated from the of a poet. Beauty is to be perpetuated series of verses which appear to us to be by marriage, and to be immortalized in the written in an artificial character; it might poet's verses. Beauty is gradually to fade be addressed to any one of his family, or before Time, but is to be still immortalized. some honoured friend, such as Lord South- Beauty is to yield to Death, as the poet himampton :

self yields, but its memory is to endure in

“eternal lines.” Separating from this some“O, for my sake do you with Fortune chide, The guilty goddess my harmful deeds,

what monotonous theme those portions of a That did not better for my life provide

hundred and fifty-four Sonnets which do not Than public means, which public manners appear essentially to belong to it, we separate, breeds.

as we believe, more or less, what has a perThence comes it that my name receives a brand,

sonal interest in these compositions from And almost thence my nature is subdued what is meant to be dramatic-the real from To what it works in, like the dyer's hand." the fictitious. Our theory, we well know,

is liable to many objections; but it is based But if from his professional occupation his

upon the unquestionable fact that these one nature was felt by him to be subdued to. hundred and fifty-four Sonnets cannot be rewhat it worked in,-if thence his name re

ceived as a continuous poem upon any other ceived a brand,—if vulgar scandal sometimes principle than that the author had written assailed him,-he had high thoughts to con

them continuously. If there are some parts sole him, such as were never before imparted which are acknowledged interpolations, may to mortal. This was probably written in some

there not be other parts that are open to the period of dejection, when his heart was ill at

same belief?

If there are parts entirely difease, and he looked upon the world with a

ferent in their tone from the bulk of these slight tinge of indifference, if not of dislike. Sonnets, may we not consider that one porEvery man of high genius has felt something tion was meant to be artificial and another of this. It was reserved for the highest to real,—that the poet sometimes spoke in an throw it off,“ like dewdrops from the lion's

assumed character, sometimes in a natural mane.” But the profound self-abasement

one? This theory we know could not hold if and despondency of the 74th Sonnet, ex

the poet had himself arranged the sequence quisite as the diction is, appear to us unreal, of these verses; but as it is manifest that two as a representation of the mental state of stanzas have been introduced from a poem William Shakspere ; written, as it most pro- printed ten years earlier,—that others are bably was, at a period of his life when he acknowledged to be out of order, and others revels and luxuriates (in the comedies which positively dragged in without the slightest belong to the close of the sixteenth century)

connexion,-may we not carry the separain the spirit of enjoyment, gushing from a

tion still further, and, believing that the heart full of love for his species, at peace “ begetter"—the getter-up-of these Sonnets with itself and with all the world.

had levied contributions upon all Shakspere's We have thus, if we have not been led

"private friends,"- -assume that he was inaway by imaginary associations, connected different to any arrangement which might the verses addressed to

make each portion of the poem tell its own “ the world's fresh ornament,

history? There is one decided advantage in i And only herald to the gaudy spring,” the separation which we have proposed—the


idea with which the series opens, and which | dulgence of his passions.

The poet says, is carried, here and there, in the original, “ thou might'st through the first hundred and twenty-six

“chide thy beauty and thy straying youth, Sonnets, does not now over-ride the whole of Who lead thee in their riot even there the series. The separate parts may be read

Where thou art forc'd to break a two-fold

truth." with more pleasure when they are relieved from this strained and exaggerated associa- Again, in the 95th stanza we have these tion.

lines :-
“How sweet and lovely dost thou make the

shame, There are three points connected with Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose, the opinion we have formed with regard to

Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name !" the entire series of Sonnets, which we must And, briefly notice before we leave the subject. “0, what a mansion have those vices got,

The first is, the inconsistencies which ob- Which for their habitation chose out thee !" viously present themselves in adopting the theory that the series of Sonnets-or at least Here are not only secret “vices,” but “shame," the first hundred and twenty-six Sonnets- defacing the character. “Tongues ” make

“lascivious comments are addressed to one person. It is not our

on the story of his intention to discuss the question to whom days. Is it to this person that in the 69th they were addressed, which question depends Sonnet we have these lines addressed ?upon the adoption of the theory that they “Those parts of thee that the world's eye doth are addressed to one. Drake's opinion that

view they were addressed to Lord Southampton

Want nothing that the thought of hearts can

mend." rests upon the belief that Shakspere looked up to some friend to whom they point, “with Is it to this person that the 70th Sonnet reverence and homage.” The later theory, is devoted, in which are these remarkable that William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, words ?was their object, is supported by the facts, “ Thou present'st a pure unstained prime, derived from Clarendon and others, that he

Thou hast pass'd by the ambush of young a man of noble and gallant character,


Either not assaild, or victor being charg'd." though always of a licentious life.” W. H. is held to be William Herbert; and Mr. Hallam These lines, be it remembered, occur between says, “Proofs of the low moral character of the first reproof for licentiousness in the 41st 'W. H.' are continual.” We venture to think stanza, and the repetition of the blame in that the term "continual” is somewhat loosely the 95th. Surely, if the poem is to be taken applied. The one “sensual fault,” of which as continu and as addressed to one perthe poet complains, is obscurely hinted at in son, such contradictions would make us bethe 33rd, 34th, 35th, 40tb, 41st, and 42nd lieve that the whole is based on unreality, stanzas; and the general faults of his friend's and that the poet was satisfied to utter the character, from which the injury proceeded, wildest inconsistencies, merely to produce are summed up in the 94th, 95th, and 96th. verses of exquisite beauty, but of "true We shall search in vain throughout the hun- no-meaning.” dred and fifty-four Sonnets for any similar The second point to which we would briefly indications of the “ low moral character” | request attention is the supposed date of the of the person addressed. But the supposed series of Sonnets. The date must, it is evicontinuity of the poem implies arrangement, dent, be settled in some measure according to and therefore consistency, in the author. the presiding belief in the person to whom In the 41st stanza the one friend, ac- they are held to be addressed. Mr. Hallam, cording to this theory, is reproached for who thinks the hypothesis of William Herthe treachery which is involved in the in-bert sufficiently proved to demand our assent,

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says, “ Pembroke succeeded to his father in That Sonnet, we have here to repeat, was 1601: I incline to think that the Sonnets published in The Passionate Pilgrim' when were written about that time, some probably the poet was thirty-five. But let us endeavour earlier, some later.” Pembroke was born in to find one more gleam of light amidst this 1580. Now, in the earlier Sonnets, according obscurity. In one of the Sonnets in which the to the hypothesis, he might be called “beau- poet upbraids his friend with his licentiousteous and lovely youth," or sweet boy;" ness, the 94th, we have these lines :but Southampton could not be so addressed

“ The summer's flower is to the summer sweet, unless the earlier Sonnets were written even

Though to itself it only live and die; before the dedication of the Venus and But if that flower with base infection mect, Adonis' to him, in 1593, for Southampton

The basest weed outbraves his dignity: was born in 1573. Further, it is said that,

For sweetest things turn sourest by their

deeds; whilst the person addressed was one who Lilies that fester smell far worse than stood “on the top of happy hours,” the poet weeds." who addressed him was

The thought is here quite perfect, and the Beated and chopp'd with tann'd antiquity,"

image of the last line is continued from the as in the 62nd Sonnet;

11th and 12th, ending in a natural climax. “With Time's injurious hand crush'd and o'er

But we have precisely the same line as the worn,"

last in a play of Shakspere's age—one, in

deed, which has been attributed to himself, as in the 63rd; and approaching the termina

• The Reign of King Edward III. Let us tion of his career, as so exquisitely described

transcribe the passage where it occurs, in in the 73rd :

the scene where Warwick exhorts his daugh“ That time of year thou mayst in me behold

ter to resist the dangerous addresses of the When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the

King :cold,

“ That sin doth ten times aggravate itself Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds

That is committed in a holy place : sang.

An evil deed done by authority In me thou seest the twilight of such day

Is sin and subornation : Deck an ape
As after sunset fadeth in the west,

In tissue, and the beauty of the robe
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.

Adds but the greater scorn unto the beast.

A spacious field of reasons could I urge In me thou seest the glowing of such fire

Between his glory, daughter, and thy shame: That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

That, poison shows worst in a golden cup; As the death-bed whereon it must expire,

Dark night seems darker by the lightning Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by. This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love

Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds ; more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere

And every glory that inclines to sin,

The shame is treble by the opposite." long." Most distinctly in this particular portion We doubt, exceedingly, whether the author of the Sonnets the extreme youth of the per- of the 94th Sonnet, where the image of the son addressed is steadily kept in view. But festering lilies is a portion of the thought some are written earlier, some later; time is which has preceded it, would have transgoing on. In the 104th Sonnet the poet says planted it from the play, where it stands that three winters, three springs, and three alone as an apophthegm. It seems more summers have passed

probable that the author of the play would Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green." have borrowed a line from one of the “sugared

sonnets amongst private friends.” The exBut, carrying on the principle of continuity, treme fastidiousness required in the composiwe find that in the 138th Sonnet the poet's tion of the Sonnet, according to the poetical days are past the best;" and he adds

notions of that day, would not have warranted “And wherefore say not I that I am old?" the adaptation of a line from a drama "sundry



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