ePub 版
[ocr errors]

From you have I been absent in the spring, held all to refer, except when they specially When proud-pied April, dress'd in all his trim, address a dark-haired lady of questionable Hath put a spirit of youth in everything, character, would not have been greatly That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with pleased to have been complimented on the him.

sweetness of his breath, or the whiteness of Yet not the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell his hand. The Sonnets which are Of different flowers in odour and in hue,

questionably addressed to a male, although Could make me any summer's story tell, Or from their proud lap pluck them "where they employ the term “beauty” in a way

which we cannot easily comprehend in our they grew:

own days, have always reference to manly Nor did I wonder at the lilies white,

beauty. The comparisons in the above Sonnets Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose; They were but sweet, but figures of delight,

as clearly relate to female beauty. They Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.

are precisely the same as Spenser uses in Yet seem'd it winter still, and, you away,

one of his Amoretti,—the 64th ; which thus As with your shadow I with these did concludes :play.-98.

“Such fragrant flowers do give most odorous The forward violet thus did I chide :


But her sweet odour did them all excel." Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,

It appears to us that in both the poems on If not from my love's breath? The purple | Absence, in the stanzas which anticipate pride

neglect and coldness, and in others which Which on thy soft check for complexion

we have given and are about to gire, we dwells,

must not be too ready to connect their images In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dyed. with the person who is addressed in the first The lily I condemned for thy hand,

seventeen Sonnets; or be always prepared to And buds of marjoram had stolen thy hair:

“ seize a clue which innumerable passages The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,

give us," according to Mr. Hallam, " and One blushing shame, another white despair; A third, nor red nor white, had stolen of both, suppose that they allude to a youth of And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath;

high rank as well as personal beauty and But for his theft, in pride of all his growth


.'"* The chief characteristic A vengeful canker eat him up to death. of those passages which clearly apply to that More flowers I noted, yet I none could see,

“unknown youth" is, as it appears to us, But sweet or colour it had stolen from extravagance of admiration conveyed in very thee.-99.

hyperbolical language. Much that we hare But this poem is quite unconnected with quoted offers no example of the justness of what precedes it. It is placed where it is, ductions :-“There is a weakness and folly

Mr. IIallamos complaint against these proupon no principle of continuity. Are we,

in all excessive and misplaced affection, then, to infer that the friend whose “shame'

which is not redeemed by the touches of is “like a canker in the budding rose” is

nobler sentiments that abound in this long the person who is immediately afterwards

series of Sonnets.” It would be difficult, we addressed as one from whom erery flower hath stolen “sweet or colour ?" If we read think, to find more forcible thoughts expressed these three stanzas without any impression of

in more simple, and therefore touching lantheir connexion with something that has

guage, than in the following continuous

They comprise all the Sonnets gone before, we shall irresistibly feel that

numbered from 109 to 125, with the exception they are addressed to a female. They point of 118, 119, 120, 121, three of which we have at repeated absences; and why may they not then be addressed to the poet's first love? already printed as belonging to another The Earl of Southampton, or the Earl of subject than the poet's constancy of affection; Pembroke, to whom the series of Sonnets are

* Literature of Europe,' vol. iii. p. 503.


and one of which we shall give as an isolated fragment :

0, never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence scem'd my flame to qualify!
As easy might I from myself depart,
As from my soul which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love: if I have ranged,
Like him that travels, I return again ;
Just to the time, not with the time ex-

changed, -
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reign'd
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stain'd,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;

For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my


Your love and pity doth the impression fill
Which vulgar scandal stamp'd upon my brow;
For what care I who calls me well or ill,
So you o'er-green my bad, my good allow?
You are my all-the-world, and I must strive
To know my shames and praises from your

tongue; None else to me, nor I to none alive, That my steeld sense or changes, right or

wrong In so profound abysm I throw all care Of other's voices, that my adder's sense To critic and to flatterer stopped are. Mark how with my neglect I do dispense :

You are so strongly in my purpose bred, That all the world besides methinks are


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Alas, 't is true, I have gone here and there,
And made myself a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is

most dear,
Made old offences of affections new.
Most truc it is that I have look'd on truth
Askance and strangely; but, by all above,
These blenches gave my heart another youth,
And worse essays proved thee my best of love.
Now all is done, save what shall have no end:
Mine appetite I never more will grind
On newer proof, to try an older friend,
A God in love, to whom I am confined.
Then give me welcome, next my heaven the

best, Even to thy pure and most most loving


[blocks in formation]

O, for my sake do you with fortune chide,
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,
That did not better for my life provide,
Than public means, which public manners

breeds. Thence comes it that my name receives a

brand, And almost thence my nature is subdued To what it works in, like the dyer's hand : Pity me then, and wish I were renew'd; Whilst, like a willing patient, I will drink Potions of cysell, 'gainst my strong infection; No bitterness that I will bitter think, Nor double penance, to correct correction.

Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye, Even that your pity is enough to cure me.


Drink up the monarch's plague, this flattery,
Or whether shall I say mine cye saith true,
And that your love taught it this alchymy,
To make of monsters and things indigest
Such cherubims as your sweet self resemble,
Creating every bad a perfect best,
As fast as objects to his beams assemble?
O, 't is the first; 't is flattery in my seeing,
And my great mind most kingly drinks it up:
Mine eye well knows what with his gust is

'greeing, And to his palate doth

prepare the

cup: If it be poison’d, 'tis the lesser sin That mine eye loves it, and doth first


[ocr errors]

Those lines that I before have writ, do lie, Even those that said I could not love you

Thy gift, thy tables, are within my brain
Full character'd with lasting memory,
Which shall above that idle rank remain,
Beyond all date, even to eternity:
Or at the least so long as brain and heart
Have faculty by nature to subsist;
Till each to raz'd oblivion yield his part
Of thee, thy record never can be miss'd.
That poor retention could not so much hold,
Nor need I tallies, thy dear love to score;
Therefore to give them from me was I bold,
To trust those tables that receive thee more;

To keep an adjunct to remember thee,
Were to import forgetfulness in me.—199

No! Time, thou shalt not boast that I do

change : Thy pyramids built up with newer might To me are nothing novel, nothing strange; They are but dressings of a former sight. Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire What thou dost foist upon us that is old; And rather make them born to our desire, Than think that we before have heard them

Thy registers and thee I both defy,
Not wondering at the present nor the past;
For thy records and what we see do lie,
Made more or less by thy continual haste:

This I do vow, and this shall ever be,
I will be true, despite thy scythe and


dearer; Yet then my judgment knew no reason why My most full flame should afterwards burn

clcarer. But reckoning time, whose million'd accidents Creep in 'twixt vows, and change decrees of

kings, Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp’st intents, Divert strong minds to the course of altering

things; Alas! why, fearing of time's tyranny, Might I not then say, "Now I love you best," When I was certain o'er incertainty, Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?

Love is a babe; then might I not say so, To give full growth to that which still doth

grow ?-115.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove :
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth 's unknown, although his height

be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and

Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.-116.

Accuse me thus; that I have scanted all
Wherein I should your great deserts rcpay;
Forget upon your dearest love to call,
Whereto all bonds do tie me day by day;
That I have frequent been with unknown

minds, And given to time your own dear-purchased

right; That I have hoisted sail to all the winds Which should transport me farthest from your

sight. Book both my wilfulness and errors down, And, on just proof, surmise accumulate, Bring me within the level of your frown, But shoot not at me in your waken'd hate :

Since my appeal says, I did strive to prove The constancy and virtue of your love.-117.

If my dear love were but the child of state,
It might for fortune's bastard be unfather'd,
As subject to time's love, or to time's hate,
Weeds among weeds, or flowers with flowers

No, it was builded far from accident;
It suffers not in smiling pomp, nor falls
Under the blow of thralled discontent,
Whereto the inviting time our fashion calls:
It fears not policy, that heretic,
Which works on leases of short-number'd

hours, But all alone stands hugely politic, That it nor grows with heat, nor drowns with

showers. To this I witness call the fools of time, Which die for goodness, who have lived for


Were 't aught to me I bore the canopy, With my extern the outward honouring.


Or laid great bases for eternity,

Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage Which prove more short than waste or ruining? Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit, Have I not seen dwellers on orm and favour To thee I send this written embassage, Lose all, and more, by paying too much rent, To witness duty, not to show my wit. For compound sweet foregoing simple savour, Duty so great, which wit so poor as mine Pitiful thrivers, in their gazing spent ?

May make seem bare, in wanting words to No ;-let me be obsequious in thy heart,

show it; And take thou my oblation, poor but free, But that I hope some good conceit of thine Which is not mix'd with seconds, knows no In thy soul's thought, all naked, will beart,

stow it: But mutual render, only me for thee.

Till whatsoever star that guides by moving, Hence, thou suborn'd informer !

a true

Points on me graciously with fair aspect, soul,

And puts apparel on my tatter'd loving, When most impeach'd, stands least in thy To show me worthy of thy sweet respect : control.-125.

Then may I dare to boast how I do love

thee, Dr. Drake, in maintaining that the Son- Till then, not show my head where thou nets, from the 1st to the 126th, were ad- mayst prove me.-26. dressed to Lord Southampton, has alleged,

one of the most striking proofs of this The Sonnet which precedes this has also the position, the fact " that the language of the marked character of the same respectful Dedication to the “Rape of Lucrece,' and affection ; and, like the 26th, in all prothat of the 26th Sonnet, are almost precisely bability accompanied some offering of friendthe same.” If the reader will turn to this ship :Dedication, he will at once see the resem- Let those who are in favour with their stars blance. “ The love I dedicate to your lord- Of public honour and proud titles boast, ship is without end,” shows that, in the Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars, Sonnets as in the works of contemporary

Unlook'd for joy in that I honour most. writers, the perpetually recurring terms of Great princes' favourites their fair leaves love and lover were meant to convey the

spread, most profound respect as well as the

But as the marigold at the sun's eye; strongest affection. In that age friendship

And in themselves their pride lies buried, was not considered as a mere conventional

For at a frown they in their glory die.

The painful warrior famoused for fight, intercourse for social gratification. There

After a thousand victories once foil'd, was depth and strength in it. It partook of

Is from the book of honour razed quite, the spiritual energy which belonged to a

And all the rest forgot for which he toil'd : higher philosophy of the affections than now

Then happy I, that love and am beloved, presides over clubs and dinner-parties. “My

Where I may not remove, nor be removed. friend,” or “my lover,” meant something

-25. more than one who is ordinarily civil, returns our calls, and shakes hands upon great Again, the 23rd Sonnet is precisely of the occasions. Lord Southampton, in a letter of same character. All these appear to introduction to å grave Lord Chancellor, wholly unconnected with the poems which calls Shakspere “my especial friend." To surround them-little gems, perfect in themLord Southampton Shakspere dedicates selves, and wanting no setting to add to “love without end." This 26th Sonnet, we

their beauty:have little doubt, is also a dedication, ac

As an unperfect actor on the stage, companying some new production of the

Who with his fear is put besides his part, mighty dramatist, in accordance with his

Or some fierce thing replete with too much declaration, “ What I have done is yours,

rage, what I have to do is yours, being part in all Whose strength's abundance weakens his own I have devoted yours :"


[ocr errors]

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

O'ercharged with burthen of minc own love's

O 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

O learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine


My heart doth plead, that thou in him dost

(A closet never pierced with crystal eyes,)
But the defendant doth that plea deny,
And says in him thy fair appearance lies.
To 'cide this title is impannelled
A quest of thoughts, all tenants to the beart;
And by their verdict is determined
The clear eye's moiety, and the dear heart's

part :
As thus : mine eye's due is thine outwan

part, And my heart's right thine inwand love of


Between the 23rd and 25th Sonnets, which we have just given-remarkable as they are for the most exquisite simplicity of thought and diction-occurs the following conceit :Mine eye hath play'd the painter, and hath

Thy beauty's form in table of my heart;
My body is the frame wherein 't is held,
And perspective it is best painter's art.
For through the painter must you see his

To find where your true image pictured lies,
Which in my bosom's shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine

Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have

Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,
And each doth good turns now unto the

When that mine eye is famish'd for a look,
Or heart in love with sighs himself doth

With my love's picture then my eye doth

And to the painted banquet bids my heart :
Another time mine eye is my heart's guest,
And in his thoughts of love doth shares

part :
So, either by thy picture or my love,
Thyself away art present still with me;
For thou not farther than my thoughts canst

And I am still with them, and they with

thee ; Or if they sleep, thy picture in my sight Awakes my heart to heart's and eye's



Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine

for me

Are windows to my breast, where-through the


Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee; The 77th Sonnet interrupts the continuity Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their of a poem which we shall presently gire, in art,

which the writer refers, with some appearThey draw but what they see, know not ance of jealousy, to an "alien pen.” There the heart.-24.

can be no doubt that this Sonnet is comiBut, separated by a long interval, we find pletely isolated. It is clearly intended to

accompany the present of a note-book :two variations of the air, entirely out of place where they occur. Can we doubt that Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties these three form one little poem of them

wear, selves ?

Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste;

The vacant leaves thy mind's imprint will Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war,

bear, How to divide the conquest of thy sight; And of this book this learning mayst thou Mine eye my heart thy picture's sight would

taste. bar,

The wrinkles which thy glass will truly shor, My heart mine eye the freedom of that right. Of mouthed graves will give thee memory;

« 上一頁繼續 »