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Yet I my heart with silence secretly

Will teach to speak, and my just cause to plead ;
And eke my eies, with meek humility,

Love-learned letters to her eyes to read.

Compare also Sonnet XCIII.; Love's Labour's Lost, iv. 2, 113; Midsummer Night's Dream, II. 2, 121; Winter's Tale, Iv. 4, 172; Romeo and Juliet, I. 3, 86.

12. More than, etc., more than that tongue (the tongue of another person than Shakspere) which hath more fully expressed more ardours of love, or more of your perfections.

XXIV. Suggested by the thought, XXII. 6, of Shakspere's heart being lodged in his friend's breast, and by the conceit of XXIII. 14. There eyes are able to hear through love's fine wit; here eyes do other singular things, play the painter.

1. Stell'd, fixed: steeld, Quarto. Compare Lucrece, 1444:

To find a face where all distress is stell'd.

2. Table, that on which a picture is painted. Compare All's Well that Ends Well, Act I. sc. 1, ll. 104-106:

To sit and draw

His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls,

In our heart's table.

4. Perspective. Schmidt explains perspective here in the same sense in which he supposes it is used in King Richard II., Act II. sc. 2, 1. 18, a glass cut in such a manner as to produce an optical deception when looked through. "Perspective" certainly meant a cunning

picture, which seen directly seemed in confusion, and seen obliquely became an intelligible composition. But here does it not simply mean that a painter's highest art is to produce the illusion of distance, one thing seeming to lie behind another? You must look through the painter (my eye or myself) to see your picture, the product of his skill, which lies within him (in my heart).

The stage conceits in this sonnet are paralleled in Constable: Diana (1594), Sonnet 5 (p. 4, ed. Hazlitt) :—

Thine eye, the glasse where I behold my heart,

Mine eye, the window through the which thine eye
May see my heart, and there thyselfe espy

In bloody colours how thou painted art.

Compare also Watson's The Teares of Fancie (1593), Sonnets 45, 46 (Thomas Watson, Poems, ed. Arber, p. 201):

My Mistres seeing her faire counterfet
So sweetlie framed in my bleeding brest

But it so fast was fixed to my heart, etc.

Compare Love's Labour's Lost, Act v. sc. 1, 1. 848:

Behold the window of my heart, mine eye.

5. Prof. Stengel changes you and your in 11. 4, 5, to thou, thy. But may not you and your be used indefinitely, not with reference to the person addressed, but to what is of common application, as in "Your marriage comes by destiny," All's Well that Ends Well, I. iii. 66.

XXV. In this sonnet Shakspere makes his first complaint against Fortune, against his low condition. He is about to undertake a journey on some needful business of his own, and rejoices to think that at least in one place he has a fixed abode, in his friend's heart.

Then happy I, that love and am beloved,

Where I may not remove nor be removed.

Thoughts of the cruelty of Fortune reappear and become predominant in XXIX.-XXXI.

Prof. Hales ("From Stratford to London," Cornhill Magazine, January, 1877) suggests that the journeys spoken of in the Sonnets may have been to Shakspere's Stratford home.

4. Unlook'd for. Staunton proposes "Unhonour'd." 5. Great princes' favourites, etc. Compare Much Ado about Nothing, Act III. sc. 1, ll. 8–10:—

Honeysuckles, ripen'd by the sun,

Forbid the sun to enter, like favourites
Made proud by princes.

Prof. Hales thinks that Essex or Raleigh may have furnished the suggestion of the simile.

6. The marigold. Compare Constable, Diana, Sonnet 9:

The marigold abroad his leaves doth spread

Because the sun's and her power are the same;

and Lucrece, 1. 397.

There are three plants which claim to be the old Marigold: 1. The marsh marigold; this does not open

and close its flowers with the sun. 2. The corn marigold; there is no proof that this was called marigold in Shakspere's day. 3. The garden marigold, or Ruddes (calendula officinalis); it turns its flowers to the sun, and follows his guidance in their opening and shutting. The old name is goldes; it was the Heliotrope, Solsequium, or Turnesol of our forefathers. (Condensed from "Marigold," in Ellacombe's Plant Lore and Garden Craft of Shakespeare.)

9. Famoused for fight. The Quarto reads for worth. The emendation is due to Theobald, who "likewise proposed if worth was retained to read razed forth."— MALONE. Capell suggested for might.

XXVI. In xxv. Shakspere is in disfavour with his stars, and unwillingly-as I suppose-about to undertake some needful journey. He now sends this written embassage to his friend (perhaps it is the Envoy to the preceding group of sonnets), and dares to anticipate a time when the "star that guides his moving," now unfavourable, may point on him graciously with fair aspect (1. 10).


Drake writes (Shakspeare and his Times, vol. ii. p. 63):Perhaps one of the most striking proofs of this position [that the Sonnets are addressed to the Earl of Southampton] is the hitherto unnoticed fact that the language of the Dedication to the Rape of Lucrece and that of part of the twenty-sixth sonnet are almost precisely the same. The Dedication runs thus:-The love I dedicate to your Lordship is without end. . . . The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored

lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have is yours, what I have to do is yours; being part of all I have devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duty would show greater." C. [Capell?] had previously noted the parallel.

1, 2. Compare Macbeth, Act III. sc. 1, ll. 15-18:

Let your highness

Command upon me; to the which my duties

Are with a most indissoluble tie

For ever knit.

8. Bestow it, lodge it. As in The Tempest, Act. v. 1. 299:

Hence, and bestow your luggage where you found it.

Shakspere says, I hope some happy idea of yours will convey my duty—even naked as it is-into your soul's thought.


12. Thy sweet respect, regard, consideration. Quarto reads their for thy, an error which occurs several times.

13, 14. The rhyme has an echo of Daniel's Delia, X. (1594):

Once let her know! sh'hath done enough to prove me,
And let her pity, if she cannot love me.

XXVII. Written on a journey, which removes Shakspere farther and farther from his friend.

1. "We can see that it was not without knowledge Shakspere made Autolycus sing:

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