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This I do vow, and this shall ever be,
To this I witness call the fools of time,
Hence, thou suborn'd informer ! a true soul,
If nature, sovereign mistress over wrack,
CXXVII. In the old age black was not counted fair, Or if it were, it bore not beauty's name ; But now is black beauty's successive heir, And beauty slander'd with a bastard shame; For since each hand hath put on nature's power, Fairing the foul with art's false borrow'd face, Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower, But is profan'd, if not lives in disgrace. Therefore, my mistress' eyes are raven black, Her eyes so suited; and they mourners seem At such, who, not born fair, no beauty lack, Slandering creation with a false esteem :
Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe, That every tongue says, beauty should look so.
CXXVIII. How oft, when thou, my music, music playest, Upon that blessed wood, whose motion sounds With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently swayest The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
1- and wretched MINUTES kill.] Nynuit in the original edition, as the word is generally there spelt.
3 And her quietus is to render thee.] At the end of this poem (for sonnet it is not, either in the number of lines, in the distribution of the rhymes, or in any other characteristic belonging to that description of poem) are marks of inclu. sion in the old copy, as if to indicate the absence of two lines : but the piece seems complete in itself without addition, and probably the author only intended it to consist of six couplets.
3 Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy Bower,] So the original, not “holy hour," as Malone and all modern editors after him have printed it. “Holy bower" is much more intelligible than “ holy hour,” taking a bower,” of course, in the sense of dwelling-place.
Do I envy those jacks“, that nimble leap
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
All this the world well knows, yet none knows well
+ Do I envy those JACKS,] The “jacks” were the keys of the virginal, on which Shakespeare supposes his mistress playing. The verb “to envy" was at that date most frequently pronounced with the accent on the last syllable.
5 O’er whom the fingers walk-] In the old copy, “thy” is misprinted their, the error most common in the quarto, 1609.
6 – and prov'd, a very woe ;] This is Malone's amendment of the old copy, which reads “and proud and very woe.” “ Prov'd” was probably written in the manuscript with u instead of c, and the compositor misread a for the contraction for and. It seems impossible to make sense of the passage without the proposed alteration.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
In nothing art thou black, save in thy deeds,
7 Knowing thy heart TORMENTS me with disdain,] This line is misprinted thus in the quarto, 1609 :
“ Knowing thy heart torment me with disdain.” It is, in fact, parenthetical ; and the meaning of the passage is, that the eyes of his mistress, knowing that her heart torments him with disdain, have put on black: the ordinary reading is little better than nonsense :
“ Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,
Have put on black,” &c. I owe this judicious emendation to an intelligent correspondent who signs himself J. O'Connell.
Have put on black, and loving mourners be,
Then will I swear, beauty herself is black,
Beshrew that heart, that makes my heart to groan
So, now I have confess'd that he is thine,