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Look, what thy memory cannot contain,
Commit to there waste blanks?, and thou shalt find
Those children nurs’d, deliver'd from thy brain,
To take a new acquaintance of thy mind.

These offices, so soft as thou wilt look,
Shall profit thee, and much enrich thy book.

So oft have I invok'd thee for my muse,
And found fuch fair affiftance in my verse,
As every alien pen hath got my use,
And under thee their poesy disperse.
Thine eyes, that taught the dumb on high to fing
And heavy ignorance aloft to flys,
Have added feathers to the learned's wing *,
And given grace a double majesty.
Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
Whose influence is thine, and born of thee,
In others' works thou doft but mend the stile,
And arts with thy sweet graces graced be;

? Commit to these aafie blacks,-) What meaning does blacks convey here? Let us examine a few of the verses that precede these, and see if from thence we may borrow any instruction :

6 7 hy glass will fbew thee how thy beauties wear,
“ Thy dial, how thy precious minutes waste;
“ The vacant leaves thy mind's imprint will bear,

" And of this book this learning may'st thou taste." Our poet must have written in the place first quoted-walte blanks; i. e. thefe vacant leaves, as he calls them in the other quotation.

THEOBALD. * And heavy ignorance aloft to fly, j So, in Othello : "O besty ignorance! thou praisest the worst, beit.” Does not this line teem to favour a conjecture, proposed by Dr. Johnson, in The Merry Wives of Windsor,-“ ignorance itself is a plummet over me where he would read — "" has a plume o' me?” He has indeed given a different interpretation; but if plume be right, the prefent line might lead one to think that Falstaff meant to say, that even ignorance, however heavy, could foar above him. MALONE. * Have adiled feathers to the learned's wing,] So, in Cymbeline :

your lord, " (The best feather of our qving) —” STEEVENS.


But thou art all my art, and doft advance
As high as learning my rude ignorance.

Whilft I alone did call upon thy aid,
My verse alone had all thy gentle grace;
But now my gracious numbers are decay'd,
And my fick muse doth give another place.
I grant, sweet love, thy lovely argument
Deferves the travail of a worthier pen;
Yet what of thee thy poet doth invent,
He robs thee of, and pays it thee again.
He lends thee virtue, and he stole that word
From thy behaviour'; beauty doth he give,
And found it in thy cheek; he can afford
No praise to thee but what in thee doth live,

Then thank him not for that which he doth say,
Since what he owes thee thou thyself doft pay.

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LXXX. O how I faint when I of


do write, Knowing a better fpirit doth use your name', And in the praise thereof spends all his might, To niake me tongue-ty'd, speaking of your fame ! But since your worth (wide, as the ocean is,) The humble as the proudest fail doth bear',

My • Knowing a better fpirit doth use your name,] Spirit is here, in in many other places, used as a monofyllable Curiofity will naturally endeavour to find out who this better fpirit was, to whom even Shakspeare acknowledges himself inferior. There was certainly no poet in his own time with whom he needed to have fear ed a comparison ; but these Sonnets being probably written when his name was but little known, and at a time when Spenser was in the zenith of his reputation, I imagine he was the person here alluded to. MALONE.

The humble as the proudest fail doth bear,] The fame thought occurs in Troilus and Creffida:

-The fea being smooth,
" How many shallow bauble boats dare fail



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" Upon

My faucy bark, inferior far to his,
On your broad main doth wilfully appear,
Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat,
Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride ;
Or, being wreck'd, I am a worthless boat,
He of tall building, and of goodly pride :

Then if he thrive, and I be cast away,
The worst was this; my love was my decay.

Or I shall live your epitaph to make,
Or you survive when I in earth am rotten;
From hence your memory death cannot take,
Although in me each part will be forgotten.
Your name from hence immortal life shall have,
Though I, once gone, to all the world must die.
The earth can yield me but a common grave,
When you entombed in inen's

entombed in inen's eyes shall lie.
Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
Which eyes not yet created fhall c'er-read;
And tongues to be, your being fall rehearse,
When all the breathers of this world are dead;

You still shall live (such virtue hath my pen,)
Where breath most breathes--even in the months
of men.

I grant thou wert not married to my muse,
And therefore may’it without attaint o'er-look -
The dedicated words which writers use
Of their fair subject, blessing every book.
Thou art as fair in knowledge as in hue,
Finding thy worth a limit paft my praile;

“ Upon her patient breast, making their way

“ With those of nobler bulk ? - Where's then the faucy boat?” Sec notę on Troilus and Creifida, last edit. Vol. IX. p. 28.



And therefore art enforc'd to seek anew
Some fresher stamp of the time-bettering days.
And do so, love; yet when they have devis’d
What strained touches rhetorick can lend,
Thou truly fair wert truly sympathiz'd
In true plain words, by thy true-telling friend ;

And their gross painting might be better us'd
Where cheeks need blood; in thee it is abus'd.

LXXXIII. I never saw that you did painting need, And therefore to your fair no painting set. I found, or thought I found, you did exceed The barren tender of a poet's debt? : And therefore have I slept in your report, That you yourself, being extant, well might show How far a modern quill doth come too short *, Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth This filence for my fin


did impute, Which shall be most my glory, being dumb;


? The barren tender of a poet's debt :) So, the poet in Timon:

-all minds

- tender down “ Their services to lord Timon." Again, in K. John :

" And the like tender of our love we make.” MALONE. 3 And therefore have I slept in your report,] And therefore I have not sounded your praises. Malone. The same phrase occurs in K. Henry VIII:

Heaven will one day open
"" The king's eyes, that so long have Sept upon

" This bold, bad man.” Again, in K. Henry IV. P.1:

- hung their eyelids down,

" Slept in his face." STEEVENS. How far a modern quill doth come too short,] Modern seems to have formerly signified common or trite. So, in As you like it :

" Full of wile laws and modern instances." MALONE. See note on K. John, p. 76. last edit. -Steevens.

what worth in you doth grow.) We might better read :
-that worth in


grow. 1. e, that worth, which &c. MALONE.




For I impair not beauty being mute,
When others would give life, and bring a tombo.

Their lives more life in one of your fair eyes,
Than both your poets can in praise devise.

Who is it that says most? which can say more,
Than this rich praise,—that you alone are you?
In whose confine immured is the store
Which should example where your equal grew.
Lean penury within that pen doth dwell,
That to his subject lends not some small glory;
But he that writes of you, if he can tell
That you are you, so dignifies his story,
Let him but copy what in you is writ,
Not making worse what nature made so clear,
And such a counter-part shall fame his wit,
Making his stile admired every where.

You to your beauteous blessings add a curse, Being fond on praise, which makes your praises worse 7.

LXXXV. My tongue-ty'd muse in manners holds her still, While comments of your praise, richly compild, Reserve their character with golden quill', And precious phrase by all the muses fil’d. I think good thoughts, whilst others write good words, And, like unletter'd clerk, still cry Amen

6 When others would give life, and bring a tomb.) When others endeavour to celebrate your character, while in fact they disgrace it by the meannels of their compositions. MALONE.

i Being fond on praise, which makes your praises cvorse.] i. e. being tond of such panegyrick as debafes what is praiseworthy in you, insiead of exalting it. On in ancient books is often printed for of. It may mean, “ behaving foolishly on receiving praise." STEEVENS.

8 Reserve their character with golden quill,) Reserve has here the sense of preserve. See p. 607. note 3. MALONE.


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