Page images
PDF
EPUB

54.

O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem,
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly
When summer's breath their masked buds discloses:
But for their virtue only is their show,
They live unwood, and unrespected fade;
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:

And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall fade, by verse distils your

truth.

55.

Not marble, not the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But

you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room,
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.

So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.

56.

Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said,
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite,

* Canker-blooms—the flowers of the canker or dog-rose.

b By. The word of the original is altered by Malone to my. certainly not wanted.

The change is

Which but to-day by feeding is allay'd,
To-morrow sharpen'd in his former might:
So, love, be thou; although to-day thou fill
Thy hungry eyes, even till they wink with fulness,
To-morrow see again, and do not kill
The spirit of love with a perpetual dulness.
Let this sad interim like the ocean be
Which parts the shore, where two contracted-new
Come daily to the banks, that, when they see
Return of love, more blest may be the view;

Or call it winter, which, being full of care,
Makes summer's welcome thrice more wish’d,

ore rare.

57.

1

Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of

your

desire ?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour,
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour,
When you have bid your servant once adieu ;
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought,
Save, where you are how happy you make those :

So true a fool is love, that in your will
(Though you do anything) he thinks no ill.

[ocr errors]

58.

That God forbid, that made me first your slave,
I should in thought control your times of pleasure,
Or at your hand the account of hours to crave,
Being your vassal, bound to stay your leisure!
0, let me suffer (being at your beck)
The imprison'd absence of your liberty,
And patience, tame to sufferance, bide each check
Without accusing you of injury.
Be where you list; your charter is so strong,
That

may privilege your time:

you yourself

59.

Main of light. As the main of waters would signify the great body of waters, 80 the main of light signifies the mass or flood of light into which a new-born child

Do what you will, to you it doth belong
Yourself to pardon of self-doing crime.

I am to wait, though waiting so be hell;

Not blame your pleasure, be it ill or well.
If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguild,
Which labouring for invention bear amiss
The second burthen of a former child !
O, that record could with a backward look,
Even of five hundred courses of the sun,
Show me your image in some antique book,
Since mind at first in character was done!
That I might see what the old world could say
To this composed wonder of your frame;
Whether we are mended, or whe’ra better they,
Or whether revolution be the same.

O! sure I am, the wits of former days

To subjects worse have given admiring praise.
Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And Time, that gave, doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow;

· Whe'r-whether.
is launched.
Parallels. We have exactly the same idea in the 2nd Sonnet :-

“ When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field.”

60.

Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.

And yet, to times in hope, my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

61.

Is it thy will thy image should keep open
My heavy eyelids to the weary night?
Dost thou desire my slumbers should be broken,
While shadows, like to thee, do mock my sight?
Is it thy spirit that thou send'st from thee
So far from home, into my deeds to pry;
To find out shames and idle hours in me,
The scope and tenor of thy jealousy?
O no! thy love, though much, is not so great;
It is my love that keeps mine eye awake;
Mine own true love that doth my rest defeat,
To play the watchman ever for thy sake:

For thee watch I, whilst thou dost wake elsewhere,
From me far off, with others all-too-near.

62.

Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye,
And all my soul, and all my every part;
And for this sin there is no remedy,
It is so grounded inward in my heart.
Methinks no face so graciousa is as mine,
No shape so true, no truth of such account,
And for myself mine own worth do define,
As I all other in all worths surmount.
But when my glass shows me myself indeed,
Beated 6 and chopp'd with tann'd antiquity,
Mine own self-love quite contrary I read,
Self so self-loving were iniquity.

* Gracious-beautiful.

Beated. So in the old copy; and it has been followed by Malone. He suggests that the true word may be bated; but he receives beated as the participle of the verb to beat. Vol. XII.

L

"T is thee (myself) that for myself I praise, Painting my age with beauty of thy days.

63.

Against my love shall be, as I am now,
With Time's injurious hand crush'd and o'erworn;
When hours have drain’d his blood, and fillid his brow
With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn
Hath travelld on to age's steepy night;'
And all those beauties, whereof now he 's king,
Are vanishing or vanish'd out of sight,
Stealing away the treasure of his spring;
For such a time do I now fortify
Against confounding age's cruel knife,
That he shall never cut from memory
My sweet love's beauty, though my lover's life.

His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
And they shall live, and he in them, still green.

64.

When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
The rich-proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras'd,
And brass eternal, slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate-
That time will come and take my love away.

This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

[ocr errors]

Steepy night. It has been proposed to read sleepy night; but in the 7th Sonnet we have the same notion of man climbing up the hill of age; and here the idea is also connected with the antithesis of morn and night.

« PreviousContinue »