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Even till his fail-yards tremble, bis masts crack,
And his rapt ship runs on her fide so low
That she drinks water, and her keel ploughs air ;
There is no danger to a man that knows
What life and death is,-there's not any law
Exceeds his knowledge; neither is it lawful
That he should stoop to any other law.
Such a master-spirit, pressing forward under strained canvas was Shakspere. If the ship dipped and drank water, she rose again; and at length we behold her within view of her haven sailing under a large, calm wind, not without tokens of stress of weather, but if battered, yet unbroken by the waves'. The last plays of Shakspere, The Tempest, Cymbeline, Winter's Tale, Henry VIII., illuminate the Sonnets and justify the moral genius of their writer.
I thank Professor Atkinson for help given in reading the proof-sheets of my Introdu&ion; Mr. W. J. Craig, for illustrations of obsolete words; Mr. Furnivall, for hints given from time to time in our discussion by letter of the grouping of the Sonnets. Mr. Edmund Gosse and
Dr. Grofart, for the loan of valuable books; Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps, for a note on the date of Lintott's reprint; Mr. Hart, for several ingenious suggestions; Dr. Ingleby, for some guidance in the matter of Shakspere portraiture; and Mr. L. C. Purser, for translations of the Greek epigrams connected with Sonnets CLIII., CLIV.
From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contra&ed to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.
When forty winters shall besiege thy brow
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tatter'd weed, of small worth held:
Then being alk'd where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days,
To say, within thine own deep-funken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer "This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,'
Proving his beauty by fucceffion thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.
Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose unear'd womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry ?
Or who is he fo fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop pofterity ?
Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.
But if thou live, rememb’red not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.