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Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood ;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,
And burn the long-livd phenix in her blood :
Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleets,
And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
To the wide world, and all her fading sweets ;
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
0! carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen;
Him in thy course untainted do allow,
For beauty's pattern to succeeding men.
Yet, do thy worst, old Time : despite thy wrong, My love shall in my verse ever live young.
XX. A woman's face, with nature's own hand painted, Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion; A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted With shifting change, as is false women's fashion : An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling, Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth; A man in hue, all hues in his controlling?, Which steals men's eyes, and women's souls amazeth; And for a woman wert thou first created ; Till nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting, And by addition me of thee defeated, By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure, Mine be thy love, and thy love's use their treasure.
So is it not with me, as with that muse
Stirr'd by a painted beauty to his verse,
Who heaven itself for ornament doth use,
And every fair with his fair doth rehearse ;
Making a couplement of proud compare,
With sun and moon, with earth and sea's rich gems,
With April's first-born flowers, and all things rare
That heaven's air in this huge rondure hems.
0! let me, true in love, but truly write,
And then, believe me, my love is as fair
As any mother's child, though not so bright
As those gold candles fix'd in heaven's air :
Let them say more that like of hear-say well ;
I will not praise, that purpose not to sell.
My glass shall not persuade me I am old,
So long as youth and thou are of one date ;
But when in thee time's furrows I behold,
Then look I death my days should expiate;
For all that beauty that doth cover thee,
Is but the seemly raiment of my heart,
Which in thy breast doth live, as thine in me.
How can I, then, be elder than thou art ?
0! therefore, love, be of thyself so wary,
As I, not for myself, but for thee will,
Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary
As tender nurse her babe from faring ill.
Presume not on thy heart, when mine is slain ;
Thou gav'st me thine, not to give back again.
XXIII. As an unperfect actor on the stage, Who with his fear is put besides his part, Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage, Whose strength's abundance weakens his own heart;
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love's rite,
And in mine own love's strength seem to decay,
O’er-charg'd with burden of mine own love's might.
0! 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 express’d.
0! learn to read what silent love hath writ:
| To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit. I
Mine eye hath play'd the painter, and hath steel'd
Thy beauty's form in table of my heart":
My body is the frame wherein 'tis held,
And perspective it is best painter's art;
For through the painter must you see his skill,
To find where your true image pictur'd lies ;
Which in my bosom's shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes.
Now, see what good turns eyes for eyes have done :
Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine for me
Are windows to my breast, where-through the sun
Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee;
Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art, !
They draw but what they see, know not the heart. /
Let those who are in favour with their stars
Of public honour and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlook'd for joy in that I honour most.
Great princes' favourites their fair leaves spread,
But as the marigold at the sun's eye ;
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.
+ - in Table of my heart ;] The word “table” was frequently used for picture ; but it seems properly to have meant the material upon which a picture was painted, and, perhaps, called a “table" because, at an early date, it was ordinarily of wood. This passage is quoted on p. 456 of this Vol. with reference to the meaning of the word “steld,” there employed.
The painful warrior, famoused for fight”,
After a thousand victories once foild,
Is from the book of honour razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toil'd :
Then, happy I, that love and am beloved,
Where I may not remove, nor be removed.
Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage
Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit,
To thee I send this written embassage,
To witness duty, not to show my wit :
Duty so great, which wit so poor as mine
May make seem bare, in wanting words to show it,
But that I hope some good conceit of thine
In thy soul's thought, all naked, will bestow it;
Till whatsoever star that guides my moving,
Points on me graciously with fair aspect,
And puts apparel on my tattered loving,
To show me worthy of thy sweet respect :
Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee ;
Till then, not show my head where thou may’st prove me.
Weary with toil I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired ;
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body's work's expired :
For then my thoughts (from far where I abide)
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see :
Save that my soul's imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new.
Lo! thus by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.
5 — famoused for Figut,] “Fight” was substituted by Theobald for worth, which does not suit the rhyme.
• Presents thy shadow-] The quarto reads corruptly, "their shadow."
How can I, then, return in happy plight,
That am debarr’d the benefit of rest?
When day's oppression is not eas'd by night,
But day by night, and night by day, oppress’d?
And each, though enemies to either's reign,
Do in consent shake hands to torture me;
The one by toil, the other to complain
How far I toil, still farther off from thee.
I tell the day, to please him thou art bright,
And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven:
So flatter I the swart-complexion’d night,
When sparkling stars twire not, thou gild'st the even?:
But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer,
And night doth nightly make grief's length seem
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least ;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate :
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings,
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.