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Till each to raz'd oblivion yield his
To keep an adjunct to remember thee,
This I do vow, and this Thall ever be,
CXXIV. 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 weds, or flowers with flowers ga
ther'd. No, it was builded far from accident; li fuffers not in siniling pomp, nor falls.
:3 That poor retention could not so much hold,) That poor reten. tion is the table-book given to him by his friend, incapable of refaining, or rather of containing, so much as the tablet of the brain.
X X 4
Under the blow of thralled difcontent,
* But all alone stands hugely politick,] This line brings to mind Dr. Akinfide's noble description of the Pantheon :
“ Mark how the dread Pantheon ftands,
“ How fimply, how feverely great!" STEEVENS.
STEEVENS. Though the poet had compared his affection to a building, he seems to have deserted that thought; and here, perhaps, meant to allude to the progress of vegetation, and the accidents that retard it. So, in the 15th Sonnet:
" When I perceive that every thing that grows,
With my extern the outward bonouring,] Thus, in Orbello;
of When my outward action doth demonstrate
Have I not seen dwellers on form and favour
Hence, thou suborn'd informer! a true soul,
CXXVI. O thou, my lovely boy, who in thy power Doft hold time's fickle glass, his fickle, hour; Who haft by waning grown, and therein show'st Thy lovers withering, as thy sweet self grow'st; If nature, fovereign mistress over wrack, As thou goeft onwards, still will pluck thee back, She keeps thee to this purpose, that her skill May time disgrace, and wretched minutes kill. Yet fear her, O thou minion of her pleasure; She may detain, but not still keep her treasure : Her audit, though delay'd, answer'd must be, And her quietus is to render thee.
8 Which is not mix'd wtth seconds,- -] I am just informed by an old lady, that feconds is a provincial term for the second kind of flour, which is collected after the smaller bran is fifted. That our author's oblation was pure, unmixed with baser matter, is all that he meant to say. Steevens.
* O tbou, my lovely boy,-) This Sonnet differs from all the others in the present collection, not being written in alternate shimes. MALONE. , And ber quietus] So, in Hamlet:
might his quietus make “ With a bare bodkin " See note on that passage, edit. 1778. Vol. X. p. 277. This Sonnet confits of only twelve lines. STEEVENS.
'In the old age &c.] The reader will find almost all that is said here on the subject of complexion, is repeated in Love's Labour's Loft :
+66 0, who can give an oath? where is a book :
" That I may swear beauty doth beauty lack, " If that she learn not of her eye to look ?
“ No face is fair that is not full so black.
uo, if in black my lady's brow be deck'd,
is It mourns, that painting and usarping hair
A Sonnet was surely the contrivance of some literary Procruftes. The single thought of which it is to confit, however luxuriant, inuit be cramped within fourteen verses, or, however scanty, mult be spun out into the fame number. On a chain of certain links the existence of this metrical whim deperds; and its reception is secure as soon as the admirers of it have count. ed their expected and statutable proportion of rhimes. The gratification of head or heart, is no object of the writer's ambition. That a few of these trifles deserving a better character may be found, I shall not venture to deny ; for chance co-operatiog with art and genius, will occasionally produce wonders.
Of the Sonnets before us, one hundred and rwenty-fix are in. fcribed (as Mr. Malone obferves) to a friend: the remaining twenty-eight (a small proportion out of so many) are devoted to a mistress. Yet if our author's Ferdinand and Romeo had not expressed themselves in terms more familiar to human underitanding, I believe few readers would have rejoiced in the happiness of the one, or sympathized with the forrows of the other. Perhaps, indeed, quaintness, obfcurity, and tautology, are to be regarded as the conitituent parts of this exotick species of compofition. But, in whatever the excellence of it may confitt, 1 protels I am pne of those who should have wished it to have expired in the country where it was born, had it not fortunately provoked the ridicule of Lope de Vega, which, being faintly imitated by Voiture, was at
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last transfused into English by Mr. Roderick, and exhibited as follows, in the second volume of Dodiley's Collection.
I ne'er was so put to't before :---a sonnet!
“ Why, fourteen verses must be spent upon it : “ 'Tis good, howe'er, to have conquer'd the first stave. " Yet I shall ne'er find rhymes enough by half,
“ Said I, and found myself i' the midst o' the second.
" If twice four verses were bur fairly reckonid,
“ Thus far, with good success, I think I've fcribled,
" And of the twice feven lines have clean got o'er ten. Courage ! another'll finish the first triplet.
" Thanks to thee, Mufe, my work begins to shorten, • There's thirteen lines got through, driblet by driblet. “ 'Tis done. Count how you will, I warr’nt there's
fourteen.” Let those who might conceive this sonnet to be unpoetical, if compared with others by more eminent writers, peruse the next, being the eleventh in the collection of Milton. " A book was writ of late callid Tetrachordon,
“ And woven close, both matter, form and style ;
" Cries the stall-reader, Bless us ! what a word on
“ A little page is this! and some in file
“ End Green. Why is it harder Sirs than Gordon, “ Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Gallasp?
“ Those rugged names to our like mouths grow fleek,
" That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp. " Thy age, like ours, O soul of vir John Cheek,
• Hated not learning worse than toad or alp,