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To every hymn that able spirit affords,
In polith'd form of well-refined pen.
Hearing you prais’d, I say, 'tis fo, 'tis true,
And to the most of praise add something more;
But that is in my thought, whose love to you,
Though words come hind-most, holds his rank before.
Then others for the breath of words respect,
Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.
Was it the proud full fail of his great verse,
Bound for the prize of all-too-precious you,
That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse,
Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew!?
Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write
Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead?
No, neither he, nor his compeers by night
Giving him aid, my verse astonished.
He, nor that affable familiar ghost
Which nightly gulls him with intelligence',
As victors, of my filence cannot boast;
I was not fick of any fear from thence.
But when your countenance fil'd up his line”,
Then lack'd I matter; that enfeebled mine.
9 Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew ?] So, in Romeo and Juliet :
“ The earth that's nature's mother, is her tomb;
“ What is her burying grave that is her womb.' Again, in Pericles:
" For he's their parent and he is their grave."
" The womb of nature, and perhaps her grave."
MALONE. that affable familiar ghost Which nightly gulls him with intelligence,] Alluding perhaps to the celebrated Dr. Dee's pretended intercourse with an angel, and other familiar spirits. STEEVENS.
fil'd up bis line, j i. e. polish'd it. So, in Ben Jonson's Verses on Shakspeare: " In his well-torned and true-filed lines." Steevens.
Farewel! thou art too dear for my poffefling,
And like enough thou know'st thy estimate :
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing ;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thyfelf thou gav'ft, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me, to whom thou gav'st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgment making.
Thus have I had thee, as a dreami doth flatter,
In fleep a king *, but waking, no such matter.
When thou shalt be dispos’d to set me light,
And place my merit in the eye of Scorn,
Upon thy fide against myself I'll fight,
And prove thee virtuous, though thou art forsworn,
With mine own weakness being belt acquainted,
Upon thy part I can set down a story
of faults conceal'd, wherein I am attainted+;
That thou, in losing me, shall win much glory :
And I by this will be a gainer too;
For bending all my loving thoughts on thee,
The injuries that to myself I do,
Doing thee vantage, double-vantage me.
* In sleep a king,-) Thus, in Romeo and Juliet :
I dreamt &c.
“ That I reviv'd and was an emperor." STEEVENS.
3 And place my merit in the eye of Scorn,] Our author has again
personified Scorn in Othello :
“ A fixed figure, for the time of Scorn
“ To point his flow unmoving finger at.” MALONE.
- 1 can set down a story
Of faults conceald, wherein I am attainted ;] So, in
- but yet I could accuse me of such things, that is were better my mother had not borne me.” STIEVENS.
Such is my love, to thee I so belong,
That for thy right myself will bear all wrong.
Say that thou didst forsake me for some fault,
And I will comment upon that offence :
Speak of my lameness, and I straight will halt;
Against thy reasons making no defence.
Thou canst not, love, disgrace me half so ill,
To set a form upon desired change,
As I'll myself disgrace: knowing thy will,
I will acquaintance ftrangles, and look strange;
Be absent from thy walks“; and in my tongue
Thy sweet-beloved name no more shall dwell;
Left I (too much profane) should do it wrong,
And haply of our old acquaintance tell.
For thee, against myself I'll vow debate,
For I must ne'er love him whom thou dost hate.
Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now;
Now while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
And do not drop in for an after-loss :
Ah! do not, when my heart hath scap'd this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquer'd woe * ;
5 I will acquaintance strangle, -) I will put an end to our familiarity. This fingular expression is likewise used by Daniel in his Cleopatra, 1594:
“- Rocks frangle up thy waves,
Stop cataracts thy fall!” MALONE. This uncouth phrase seems to have been a favourite with Shakspeare, who uses it again in Macbeth:
night strangles the travelling lamp." STEEVENS. • Be abfent from thy walks ;] So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream:
5. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman ;
“ Hop in his walks." Malone, * Come in the rearward of a conquer'd woe;] So, in Romeo and Juliet: ” But with a rearward following Tybalt's death &c." Steev.
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purpos’d overthrow.
If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me laft,
When other petty griefs have done their spite,
But in the onset come ; so fhall I taste
At first the very worst of Fortune's might;
And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compar'd with loss of thee,' will not seem so.
Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,
Some in their wealth, fome in their body's force ;
Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill,
Some in their hawks and hounds, fome in their horse;
And every humour hath his adjunct pleasure,
Wherein it finds a joy above the rest;
But these particulars are not my measure,
All these I better in one general best.
Thy love is better than high birth to me,
Richer than wealth, prouder than garments' cost?,
Of more delight than hawks or horses be;
And having thee, of all men's pride I boast.
Wretched in this alone, that thou may'st take
All this away, and me moft wretched make,
But do thy worst to steal thyself away,
For term of life thou art aflured mine;
And life no longer than thy love will stay,
For it depends upon that love of thine.
Then need I not to fear the worst of wrongs,
When in the least of them my life hath end.
1 Richer than wealth, prouder than garments' coft,] So, in Cymbeline :
" Richer than doing nothing for a bauble;
“ Prouder than ruitling in unpaid-for filk." STEEVENS.
I see a better ftate to me belongs
Than that which on thy humour doth depend.
Thou canst not vex me with inconstant mind,
Since that my life on thy revolt doch lie.
what a happy title do I find,
Happy to have thy love, happy to die !
But what's fo blessed-fair that fears do blot ?
Thou may'st be falte, and yet I know it not:
So shall I live, fuppofing thou art true,
Like a deceived husband; so love's face
So fhall I live, Supposing thou art true,
Like a deceived husband; —] Mr. Oldys observes in one of bis manuscripts, that this and the preceding Sonnet“ feem to bave been addressed by Shakspeare to bis beautiful wife on some fufpicion of her infidelity. He must have read our author's poems with but little attention ; otherwise he would have seen that there, as well as all the preceding Sonnets, and many of those that follow, are not addressed to a female. I do not know whether this anti. quarian had any other authority than his misapprehension concerning these lines, for the epithet by which he has described our great poet's wife. He had made very large collections for a lite of our author, and perhaps in the course of bis researches had learned this particular. However this may have been, the other part of his conjecture (that Shakspeare was jealous of her) may perhaps be thought to derive some probability from the following circuinstances. It is observable, that his daughter, and not his wife, is his executor; and in his Will, he bequeaths the latter only an old piece of furniture ; nor did he even think of her till the whole was finished, the clause relating to her being an interlineation. What provision was made for her by settlement, does not appear. It may likewise be remarked, that jealousy is the principal hinge of four of his plays; and in his great performance (Othello) fome of the passages are written with such exquifite feeling, as might lead us to suspect that the author had himlelf been perplexed with doubts, though not perhaps in the extreme.-By the fame mode of reasoning, it may be said, he might be proved to have itabbed his friend, or to have bad a thankless child; because he has so admirably. described the horror consequent on murder, and the effects of fie lial ingratitude, iņ K. Lear, and Macbeth He could indeed affume all Ihapes; and therefore it must be acknowledged that the pre