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to justify his usury, compares his gold and silver to Laban's ewes and rams, which Jacob caused to breed parti-coloured lambs:—
ANTONIO. Was this inserted to make interest good,
The medieval theologians argued against requiring interest on money, on the ground that "all money is sterile by nature," an absurdity of Aristotle. "The Greek word for interest (róкoç, from TíкTw, I beget) was probably connected with this delusion." "In England money - lending was first formally permitted under Henry VIII." Lecky, Hist. of Rationalism in Europe, chap. vi. note.
13. Self-will'd. Delius conjectures, "self-kill'd."
VII. After imagery drawn from summer and winter, Shakspere finds new imagery in morning and evening. 3. Each under eye. Compare The Winter's Tale, Act iv. sc. 2, 1. 40, I have eyes under my service."
5. Steep-up heavenly. Mr. W. J. Craig suggests that Shakspere may have written "steep up-heavenly."
7, 8. Compare Romeo and Juliet, Act 1. sc. 1, 11. 125, 126:
Madam, an hour before the worshipp'd sun
Peer'd forth the golden window of the east.
10. He reeleth from the day. Compare Romeo and Juliet, Act II. sc. 3, 1. 3 :—
Flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
Chapman writes in The Shadow of Night: Hymnus in Cynthiam:
Time's motion being like the reeling sun's.
11, 12. Compare Timon of Athens, Act I. sc. 2, 1. 150:Men shut their doors against a setting sun.
13. Thyself outgoing in thy noon, passing beyond your zenith.
VIII. In the Additional MS. 15,226, British Museum, is a copy, written in James I.'s reign, of this Sonnet.
1. Thou, whom to hear is music, why, etc. Compare Jessica in The Merchant of Venice, Act v. sc. 1, 1. 69, “ am never merry when I hear sweet music."
8. Bear. Staunton proposes share.
13, 14. Perhaps there is an allusion to the old proverbial expression that one is no number. Compare Sonnet CXXXVI., "Among a number one is reckon'd none;" and Romeo and Juliet, Act I. sc. 2, 11. 31, 32:
Of many mine being one
May stand in number, though in reckoning none.
The conceit in the last two lines of the sonnet seems to be that since many make but one, one will prove also less than itself, that is, will prove none.
IX. The thought of married happiness in VIII.—husband, child, and mother united in joy-suggests its opposite, the grief of a weeping widow. "Thou single
of VIII. 14, is carried on in "consum'st
thyself in single life" of IX. 2.
4. Makeless, companionless.
Th' Elfe, therewith astound,
Upstarted lightly from his looser Make.
Spenser, Faerie Queene, Bk. I. c. vii. st. 7.
12. User. Sewell has us'rer.
X. The "murderous shame" of IX. 14 reappears in the "For shame!" and "murderous hate " of x. Shakspere denies that his friend loves any one; he carries on the thought in the opening of x., and this leads up to his friend's love of Shakspere, which is first mentioned in this sonnet.
7, 8. Seeking to bring to ruin that house (i.e., family) which it ought to be your chief care to repair. These lines confirm the conjecture that the father of Shakspere's friend was dead. See Sonnet XIII. 9-14. 3 King Henry VI., Act v. sc. 1, ll. 83, 84:
I will not ruinate my father's house,
Who gave his blood to lime the stones together;
and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act v. sc. 4, 11. 7–11:—
O thou that dost inhabit in my breast,
Repair me with thy presence, Silvia.
9. O change, etc. O be willing to marry and beget
children, that I may cease to think you a being devoid of love.
XI. The first five lines enlarge on the thought (x. 14) of beauty living" in thine;" showing how the beauty of a child may be called thine.
2. Departest, leavest. "Ere I depart his house," King Lear, Act III. sc. 5, 1. 1.
4. Convertest, dost alter, or turn away. Compare Sonnet XIV. 12::
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert.
7. The times, the generations of men.
9. Store, "i.e., to be preserved for use."-MALONE. "Increase of men, fertility, population." - SCHMIDT. Compare Othello, Act IV. sc. 3, 11. 84-86 :
DES. I do not think there is any such woman.
EMIL. Yes, a dozen; and as many to the vantage as would store the world they played for.
11. To whom she gave much, she gave more. Sewell, Malone, Staunton, Delius, read "gave thee more."
14. Nor let that copy die. Here “ copy" means the original from which the impression is taken. In Twelfth Night, Act I. sc. 5, 1. 261, it means the transcript impression taken from an original:
Lady, you are the cruell'st she alive,
If you will lead these graces to the grave
See also Macbeth, Act III. sc. 2, 1. 38.
XII. This sonnet seems to be a gathering into one of V., VI., VII. Lines 1, 2, like VII., speak of the decay and loss of the brightness and beauty of the day; lines 3-8, like V., VII., of the loss of the sweets and beauties of the year.
3. Violet past prime. Compare Hamlet, Act I. sc. 3, 1. 7, “A violet in the youth of primy nature."
4. Sable curls all silver'd. The Quarto, 1609, reads "or silver'd." An anonymous critic suggests "o'er-silver'd with white." Compare Hamlet, Act 1. sc. 2, 1. 242 (Horatio, of the ghost's beard) :
It was as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silver'd.
8. Compare A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II. sc. 1,
The green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard.
9. Question make, consider.
XIII. Shakspere imagines his friend in XII. 14 borne away by Time. It is only while he lives here that he is his own, XIII. 1, 2. Note "you" instead of "thee," and the address "my love" for the first time.
1. Yourself. This seems to mean your own. So in the Argument of Daniel's "Letter of Octavia," Antony could not “dispose of himself, being not himself," i.e., not his own, but Cleopatra's.
5. So Daniel, Delia, XLVII. :
in beauty's lease expired appears The date of age, the calends of our death.