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4. Three summers' pride. So Romeo and Juliet, Act I. sc. 2, 1. 10:
Let two more summers wither in their pride.
10. Steal from his figure, creep from the figure on the dial. So in Sonnet LXXVII., "thy dial's shady stealth.” 13. For fear of which, because I fear which.
CV. To the beauty praised in c., and the truth and beauty in CI., Shakspere now adds a third perfection, kindness; and these three sum up the perfections of his friend.
1, 4. Let not my love, etc. "Because the continual repetition of the same praises seemed like a form of worship."-W. S. WALKER. Compare CVIII. 1–8.
CVI. The last line of Sonnet cv. declares that his friend's perfections were never before possessed by one person. This leads the poet to gaze backward on the famous persons of former ages, men and women, his friend being possessor of the united perfections of both man and woman (as in Sonnets XX. and LIII.).
1. Chronicle. Prof. Hales asks, "What chronicle is he thinking of? The Faerie Queene?"
8. Master, possess, own as a master. So King Henry V., Act II. sc. 4, 1. 137 :—
You'll find a difference
Between the promise of his greener days
9. Compare Constable's Diana :
Miracle of the world I never will deny
That former poets praise the beauty of their days;
12. They had not skill enough. The Quarto has “still enough," on which a meaning may be forced: “Only divining your beauty, they did not as yet possess enough to sing your worth."
CVII. Continues the celebration of his friend, and rejoices in their restored affection. Mr. Massey explains this sonnet as a song of triumph for the death of Elizabeth, and the deliverance of Southampton from the Tower. Elizabeth (Cynthia) is the eclipsed mortal moon of 1. 5. Compare Antony and Cleopatra, Act III. sc. 13, 1. 153:
Alack, our terrene moon (i.e., Cleopatra)
Is now eclipsed.
But an earlier reference to a moon-eclipse (xxxv. 1. 3) has to do with his friend, not with Elizabeth, and in the present sonnet the moon is imagined as having endured her eclipse, and come out none the less bright. I interpret (agreeing with Mr. Simpson, Philosophy of Shakspere's Sonnets, p. 78): "Not my own fears (that my friend's beauty may be on the wane, Sonnet CIV. 9-14) nor the prophetic soul of the world, prophesying in the persons of dead knights and ladies your perfections (Sonnet CVI.), and so prefiguring your death (or, possibly, divining other future perfections higher than yours), can confine my lease
of love to a brief term of years. Darkness and fears are past, the augurs of ill find their predictions falsified, doubts are over, peace has come in place of strife; the love in my heart is fresh and young (see CVIII. 1. 9), and I have conquered Death, for in this verse we both shall find life in the memories of men."
4. Supposed, etc., supposed to be a lease expiring within a limited term.
10. My love looks fresh. I am not sure whether this means "the love in my heart," or " my love," my friend. Compare civ. 1. 8, and CVIII. 1. 9.
Subscribes, submits. As in The Taming of the Shrew, Act 1. sc. 1, 1. 81 :—
Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe.
12. Insults o'er, triumphs over. As in 3 King Henry VI., Act I. sc. 3, 1. 14:—
And so he [the lion] walks insulting o'er his prey.
CVIII. How can "this poor rhyme," which is to give us both unending life (CVII. 10–14), be carried on? Only by saying over again the same old things. But eternal love, in "love's fresh case" (an echo of "my love looks fresh," CVII. 10), knows no age, and finds what is old still fresh and young.
3. What new to register. So Malone and other editors. The Quarto has "What now." Sidney Walker conjectures, "What's now to speak, what now," etc.
5. Nothing sweet boy. Altered in ed. 1640 to "Nothing sweet love.'
9. Love's fresh case, love's new condition and circumstances, the new youth of love spoken of in CVII. 10. But Schmidt explains "case" here as "question of law, cause, question in general;" and Malone says, "By the case of love the poet means his own compositions."
13, 14. Finding the first conception of love, i.e., love as passionate as at first, excited by one whose years and outward form show the effects of age.
CIX. The first ardour of love is now renewed as in the days of our early friendship (CVIII. 13, 14). But what of the interval of absence and estrangement? Shakspere confesses his wanderings, yet declares that he was never wholly false.
2. Qualify, temper, moderate, as in Troilus and Cressida, Act II. sc. 2, 1. 118:
Is your blood
So madly hot that no discourse of reason
Can qualify the same?
4. My soul which in thy breast doth lie. So King Richard III., Act 1. sc. 1, 1. 204:
Even so thy breast encloseth my poor heart.
7. Just to the time, not with the time exchanged, punctual to the time, not altered with the time. So Jessica in her boy's disguise, Merchant of Venice, Act II. sc. 6, 1. 35 :—
I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
Mr. H. C. Hart suggests to me-over-ingeniously I think that Shakspere here alludes to the practice, when travel was more dangerous than at present, of “putting out upon return," when if the traveller did not come home true to the time, he had as it were exchanged for his journey whatever sum he staked, forfeiting both the principal and the large interest to be paid on a punctual return home, and getting in exchange only his travels. Shakspere alludes to this in The Tempest, and Massinger, Devil's Law Case, v. 4:—
you remember the Welsh gentleman
That was travelling to Rome upon returns?
11. Stain'd. Staunton proposes strain'd.
14. My rose. Shakspere returns to the loving name which he has given his friend in Sonnet I.
CX. In CIX. Shakspere has spoken of having wandered from his "home of love;" here he continues the subject, 'Alas, 'tis true I have gone here and there." This sonnet and the next are commonly taken to express distaste for his life as a player.
2. A motley, a wearer of motley, a fool or jester.
3. Gored mine own thoughts, deeply wounded my own thoughts. Troilus and Cressida, Act III. sc. 3, 1. 228, "My fame is shrewdly gored." King Lear, Act v. sc. 3, 1. 320:
Friends of my soul, you twain
Rule in this realm, and the gored state sustain.
4. Made old offences, etc., entered into new friendships and loves, which were transgressions against my old love