Imatges de pàgina

Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase;
Without this, folly, age, and cold decay:

If all were minded so, the times should cease,
And threescore years would make the world away.
Let those whom nature hath not made for store 9,
Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish:
Look, whom she best endow'd, she gave thee more;
Which bounteous gift thou should'st in bounty
cherish 1:

She carv'd thee for her seal, and meant thereby,
Thou should'st print more, nor let that copy die 2.


When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silver'd o'er with white 3;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd*,


for store,] i. e. to be preserved for use.



I Look, whom she best endow'd, she gave THEE more;

Which bounteous gift thou should'st in bounty cherish :] On a survey of mankind, you will find that nature, however liberal she may have been to others, has been still more bountiful to you. The old copy reads-she gave the more; which was evidently a misprint. MALone.

2 Thou should'st print more, NOR LET THAT COPY DIE.] So, in Twelfth Night:


Lady, you are the cruellest she alive,

"If you will lead the graces to the grave,

"And leave the world no copy." MALONE.

3 And sable curls, ALL silver'd o'er with white;] The old copy reads:


or silver'd o'er with white."

Or was clearly an error of the press. Mr. Tyrwhitt would read-are silver'd o'er with white. MALONE.

So, in Hamlet:

"His beard was, as I've seen it in his life,

36 A sable silver'd." STEEVENS.

4 When lofty TREES I see barren of leaves,

Which erst from heat did CANOPY the herd,] So, in A Mid

summer-Night's Dream :

And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard 5;
Then of thy beauty do I question make,

That thou among the wastes of time must go, Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake, And die as fast as they see others grow;

And nothing 'gainst time's scythe can make defence,

Save breed, to brave him, when he takes thee



O, that you were yourself! but, love, you are
No longer yours, than you yourself here live:
Against this coming end you should prepare,
And your sweet semblance to some other give7.
So should that beauty which you hold in lease,
Find no determination: then you were


a bank

"Quite over-canopy'd with luscious woodbine." Malone. 5 And SUMMER'S GREEN all girded up in sheaves,

Borne on the bier with white and bristly BEARD ;] So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:


and the green corn

"Hath rotted, ere his youth attain'd a beard."


6 Save breed, to brave him,] Except children, whose youth may set the scythe of Time at defiance, and render thy own death less painful. MALONE.

7 Against this coming end you should prepare,

And your sweet semblance to some other give.] This is a sentiment that Shakspeare is never weary of expressing. We meet with it again in Venus and Adonis :


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By law of nature thou art bound to breed,

"That thine may live, when thou thyself art dead;
"And so in spite of death thou dost survive,

"In that thy likeness still is left alive." MALone.
that BEAUTY which you hold in LEASE,

Find no DETERMINATION:] So Daniel, in one of his Sonnets,


"in beauty's lease expir'd appears


The date of age, the calends of our death."

Yourself again, after yourself's decease,

When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.

Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,
Which husbandry in honour might upholdo,
Against the stormy gusts of winter's day,
And barren rage of death's eternal cold?

O! none but unthrifts:-Dear my love, you

You had a father; let your son say so.



Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck;
And yet methinks I have astronomy;
But not to tell of good, or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality:
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain, and wind;
Or say, with princes if it shall go well,
By oft predict' that I in heaven find:

Again, in Macbeth :

“But in them nature's copy's not eterne." Determination in legal language means end. MALOne. So, in Macbeth:

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9 Which HUSBANDRY in honour might uphold,] Husbandry is generally used by Shakspeare for economical prudence. So, in King Henry V.:

"For our bad neighbours make us early stirrers,
"Which is both healthful and good husbandry."


By OFT predict-] Dr. Sewel reads-By aught predict; but the text is right.-So, in the Birth of Merlin, 1662:

"How much the oft report of this bless'd hermit
"Hath won on my desires!" MALONE.


The old reading may be the true one. By oft predict" may mean- By what is most frequently prognosticated.'


But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive
And (constant stars) in them I read such art,
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself to store thou would'st convert":
Or else of thee this I prognosticate,

Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.

When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment;
That this huge state presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and check'd even by the self-same sky;
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful time debateth with decay
To change your day of youth to sullied night
And, all in war with time, for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.



2 But from thine EYES my knowledge I DERIVE,] So, in Love's Labour's Lost:

"From women's eyes this doctrine I derive." STEEvens. 3 If from thyself TO STORE thou would'st convert :] If thou would'st change thy single state, and beget a numerous progeny. So, before:

"Let those whom nature hath not made for store." Again, in Romeo and Juliet:


O, she is rich in beauty; only poor,

"That when she dies, with beauty dies her store."


4 Where wasteful TIME DEBATETH with DECAY,] So, in All's Well That Ends Well:

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5 To change your day of youth to sullied night;] So, in King Richard III. :

"Hath dimm'd your infant morn to aged night."



But wherefore do not you a mightier way
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time?
And fortify yourself in your decay

With means more blessed than my barren rhyme?
Now stand you on the top of happy hours;
And many maiden gardens, yet unset,



With virtuous wish would bear you living flowers 7,
Much liker than your painted counterfeit
So should the lines of life that life repair,
Which this, Time's pencil, or my pupil pen',
Neither in inward worth, nor outward fair2,
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men.
To give away yourself, keeps yourself still
And you must live, drawn by your own sweet

6 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,
"Heard where his plants in others' orchards grew."


would bear you living flowers,] The first edition reads, by an apparent error of the press :-' your living flowers.'


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:

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"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. ANON.

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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. 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. MALONE.

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