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To give away yourself, keeps yourself still ' ;
skill. And many maiden gardens, yet unset,] We have the same allusion in our author's Lover's Complaint:
“ And knew the patterns of his foul beguiling,
MALONE. 7 — would bear you living flowers,] The first edition reads, by an apparent error of the press :-' your living flowers.'
Malone. 8 Much liker than your painted COUNTERFEIT:] A counterfeit formerly signified a portrait. So, in Greene's Farewell to Folly, 1617: “ Why do the painters, in figuring forth the counterfeit of Love, draw him blind ?" So, in the Merchant of Venice:
“ What find I here?
“ Fair Portia's counterfeit?” MALONE. 9 So should the LINES of life —] This appears to me obscure. Perhaps the poet wrote—“the lives of life :"i. e. 'children.'
MALONE. The “ lines of life" perhaps are living pictures,' viz. children.
This explanation is very plausible. Shakspeare has again used line with a reference to painting in All's Well That Ends Well : . “And every line and trick of his sweet favour." Malone.
i- my PUPIL pen] This expression may be considered as a slight proof that the poems before us were our author's earliest compositions. STEEVENS. 2 Neither in inward worth, nor outward Fair,] See p. 240, n. 6.
XVII. Who will believe my verse in time to come, If it were fill'd with your most high deserts ? Though yet heaven knows, it is but as a tomb Which hides your life, and shows not half your
But were some child of yours alive that time,
3 To give away yourself, keeps yourself still;] To produce likenesses of yourself, (that is, children,) will be the means of preserving your memory. Malone.
4 Rough winds do shake the darling Buds of May,] . So, in Cymbeline:
“ And like the tyrannous breathing of the north,
“ Shakes all our buds from growing.” Again, in The Taming of the Shrew: “ Confounds thy fame, as whirlwinds shake fair buds.”
MALONE. 5 Sometime too hot the eye of HEAVEN --] That is, the sun. So, in Romeo and Juliet:
“Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye —,” Again, in King Richard II. :
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
XIX. Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws, And make the earth devour her own sweet brood; Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tyger's jaws. And burn the long-liv'd phenix in her blood $ ; Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleet'st, And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed Time, To the wide world, and all her fading sweets; But I forbid thee one most heinous crime: O, carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow, Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen; Him in thy course untainted do allow, For beauty's pattern to succeeding men.
“ — when the searching eye of heaven is hid
“ Behind the globe, and lights the lower world.” Again, in The Rape of Lucrece:
“ The eye of heaven is out.” Malone. 6 –untrimm’d;] i. e. divested of ornament. So, in King John:
“ – a new untrimmed bride.” Steevens. 7 Nor lose possession of that pair thou owest;] Of that beauty thou possessest. Fair was, in our author's time, used as a substantive. See p. 238, and the first line of the present page. To owe in old language is to possess. MALONE.
8 And burn the long-liv'd phenix in heR BLOOD;] So, in Coriolanus :
“Your temples burned in their cement." The meaning of neither phrase is very obvious; however, “ burned in her blood,” may signify burnt alive ;' and " burned in their cement,"_burnt while they were standing.' Steevens.
Yet, do thy worst, old Time: despite thy wrong, My love shall in my verse ever live young.
XX. A woman's face, with nature's own hand painted, Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion ® ; A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted With shifting change, as is false women's fashion ; An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling, Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth'; A man in hue all hues in his controlling', Which steals men's eyes, and women's souls
8 — the MASTER-MISTRESS of my passion ;] It is impossible to read this fulsome panegyrick, addressed to a male object, without an equal mixture of disgust and indignation. We may remark also, that the same phrase employed by Shakspeare to denote the height of encomium, is used by Dryden to express the extreme of reproach :
“ That woman, but more daub'd; or, if a man,
Don Sebastian. Let me be just, however, to our author, who has made a proper use of the term male varlet, in Troilus and Cressida. See that play, Act V. Sc. I. Steevens.
Some part of this indignation might perhaps have been abated, if it had been considered that such addresses to men, however indelicate, were customary in our author's time, and neither imported criminality, nor were esteemed indecorous. See a note on the words—“thy deceased lover," in the 32d Sonnet. To regulate our judgment of Shakspeare's poems by the modes of modern times, is surely as unreasonable as to try his plays by the rules of Aristotle.
Master-mistress does not perhaps mean man-mistress, but sovereign mistress. See Mr. Tyrwhitt's note on the 165th verse of the Canterbury Tales, vol. iv. p. 197. Malone. 9 AN EYE more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
GILDING the object whereupon it gazeth ;] So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor : “ I have writ me here a letter to her; and here another to Page's wife ; who even now gave me good eyes too, examined my parts with most gracious eyeliads ; sometimes . the beam of her view gilded my foot, sometimes my portly belly,"
And for a woman wert thou first created;
sure * ; Mine be thy love, and thy love's use their treasure.
XXI. So is it not with me, as with that muse Stirr'd by a painted beauty to his verse; Who heaven itself for ornament doth use, And every fair with his fair doth rehearse; Making a couplements of proud compare, With sun and moon, with earth and sea's rich gems,
1 A man in hue all hues in his controlling,] This line is thus exhibited in the old copy :
“ A man in hew all Hews in his controlling." Hews was the old mode of spelling hues (colours), and also Hughes, the proper name. See the printer's dedication of these sonnets to W. H. MALONE.
2 Which steals men's eyes,] So, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609 :
“ The eyes of young and old.” MALONE. 3 And for a woman wert thou first created ;
Till nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting, &c.] There is an odd coincidence between these lines and a well-known modern epigram :
" Whilst nature Hervey's clay was blending,
“ A pin dropp'd in, and turn'd the scale." MALONE. 4 But since she PRICK'D thee out, &c.] To prick is to nominate by a puncture or mark. So, in Julius Cæsar :
“These many then shall die, their names are prick’d.” Again, in King Henry IV. Part II. :
“ Shall I prick him, Sir John ?"--I have given a wrong explanation of this phrase elsewhere. Steevens.
5 Making a COUPLEMENT -] That is, an union. So, in Love's