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In either's aptness, as it best deceives,
To blush at speeches rank, to weep at woes,
Or to turn white and swound at tragic shows:

"That not a heart which in his level came
Could 'scape the hail of his all-hurting aim,
Showing fair nature is both kind and tame;
And, veil'd in them, did win whom he would maim:
Against the thing he sought he would exclaim;
When he most burn'd in heart-wish'd luxury,
He preach'd pure maid and praised cold chastity.
"Thus merely with the garment of a Grace
The naked and concealed fiend he cover'd;
That the unexperient gave the tempter place,
Which, like a cherubin, above them hover'd.
Who, young and simple, would not be so lover'd?
Ay me! I fell, and yet do question make
What I should do again for such a sake.

"O, that infected moisture of his eye,

O, that false fire which in his cheek so glow'd,
O, that forced thunder from his heart did fly,
O, that sad breath his spongy lungs bestow'd,

306 In either's aptness] According as the one or other better serves the situation.

307 speeches rank] licentious speeches.

309 in his level] within his aim, within the range of his fire. Cf. Sonnet

cxvii, 11-12: Bring me within the level of your frown, But shoot not at me.'

314 in heart-wish'd luxury] in passionate lust.

318 unexperient] inexperienced, innocent.

326 spongy] soft and pliable as a sponge.

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O, all that borrow'd motion seeming owed,
Would yet again betray the fore-betray'd,
And new pervert a reconciled maid!”

327 O, all that... seeming owed] O, all that counterfeited emotion which seemed to be his own, i. e., quite genuine. "Owed" has the common significance of "owned."

329 a reconciled maid] a repentant maid, one who has expiated her sin. Cf. Othello, III, iii, 48: "His present reconciliation take.”



This elegy, in which the rhymes are arranged as in Tennyson's In Memoriam, was first printed above the signature "William Shakespeare" in 1601. It forms the fifth of fourteen "Diverse Poeticall Essaies on the . . . Turtle and Phoenix, done by the best and chiefest of our moderne writers." The "turtle" is of course the "turtle dove." These "Diverse Poeticall Essaies" constitute an Appendix to a volume which is mainly filled by a long mystical poem called “Loves Martyr: or Rosalins Complaint, allegorically shadowing the truth of love in the constant fate of the phoenix and turtle . . . now first translated out of the venerable Italian Torquato Cœliano, by Robert Chester." The volume was published in London by Edward Blount in 1601. "Torquato Cœliano" seems a fictitious personage. An Italian poet, Livio Cœliano, wrote nothing which bears any relation to Chester's effort. Of the fourteen poems in the Appendix, the present poem is signed by Shakespeare, two are signed by Ben Jonson, and one each by John Marston and George Chapman. The rest are either anonymous or are pseudonymously signed. All the contributions to the volume seem somewhat incoherent and irresponsible plays of elegiac fancy, which were suggested by the recent obsequies of some unidentified leaders of contemporary society, who in life gave notable proof of mutual affection. Matthew Roydon in his elegy on Sir Philip Sidney, which was appended to Spenser's Astrophel, 1595, similarly represents the eagle, the turtle, the phoenix, and the swan as taking part, with other birds, in his hero's obsequies.

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1-2 Let the bird... Arabian tree] "The sole Arabian tree" is the palm-tree which the poets regard as the home of the fabulous bird called the phoenix. Cf. Tempest, III, iii, 22-24: "in Arabia


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