Imatges de pÓgina

Perchance his boast of Lucrece' sovereignty
Suggested this proud issue of a king 2;
For by our ears our hearts oft tainted be:
Perchance that envy of so rich a thing,
Braving compare, disdainfully did sting

His high-pitch'd thoughts, that meaner men should vaunt

That golden hap which their superiors want.

But some untimely thought did instigate
His all-too-timeless speed, if none of those:
His honour, his affairs, his friends, his state,
Neglected all, with swift intent he goes
To quench the coal which in his liver glows 3.
O'rash-false heat, wrapt in repentant cold",
Thy hasty spring still blasts, and ne'er grows old!


SUGGESTED this proud issue of a king;] Suggested, I think, here means tempted, prompted, instigated. So, in K. Richard II.: "What Eve, what serpent, hath suggested thee, "To make a second fall of cursed man?"

Again, in Love's Labour's Lost:

"These heavenly eyes that look into these faults,
Suggested us to make." MALONE.

3- which in his liver GLOws.] Thus the quarto 1594. Some of the modern editions have grows.-The liver was formerly supposed to be the seat of love. MALONE.


wrapt in REPENTANT cold,] The octavo 1600 reads: "wrapt in repentance cold," but it was evidently an errour of the press. The first repentant.


In King Richard II. we have a kindred sentiment: "His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last;



"For violent fires soon burn out themselves." MALONE.

"To quench the coal which in his liver glows.


-wrapt in repentant cold." So, in King John:
"There is no malice in this burning coal;

"The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out,
"And strew'd repentant ashes on his head." STEEVENS.

5 Thy hasty spring still BLASTS, and ne'er grows old!] Like a too early spring, which is frequently checked by blights, and never produces any ripened or wholesome fruit, the irregular forward

When at Collatium this false lord arriv'd,
Well was he welcom'd by the Roman dame,
Within whose face beauty and virtue striv'd
Which of them both should underprop her fame :
When virtue bragg'd, beauty would blush for shame;
When beauty boasted blushes, in despite
Virtue would stain that o'er with silver white".

ness of an unlawful passion never gives any solid or permanent satisfaction. So, in a subsequent stanza:

Unruly blasts wait on the tender spring."
Again, in Hamlet:

"For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,
"Hold it a fashion and a toy of blood;
"A violet in the youth of primy nature,


Forward, not permanent; sweet, not lasting;
"The perfume and suppliance of a minute :
"No more."


Again, in King Richard III. :

"Short summers lightly have a forward spring." Blasts is here a neutral verb; it is used by Sir W. Raleigh in the same manner, in his poem entitled the Farewell:

"Tell age, it daily wasteth;

"Tell honour, how it alters;

Tell beauty, that it blasteth," &c.


In Venus and Adonis we find nearly the same sentiment :
"Love's gentle spring doth alway fresh remain;
"Lust's winter comes ere summer half be done."


6 Virtue would stain that O'ER with silver white.] The original edition exhibits this line thus:

"Virtue would stain that ore with silver white."

Ore might certainly have been intended for o'er, (as it is printed in the text,) the word over, when contracted, having been formerly written ore. But in this way the passage is not reducible to grammar. Virtue would stain that, i. e. blushes, o'er with silver white. The word intended was, perhaps, or, i. e. gold, to which the poet compares the deep colour of a blush,

Thus in Hamlet we find ore used by our author manifestly in the sense of or or gold:

“O'er whom his very madness, like some ore

Among a mineral of metals base,

"Shows itself pure."

The terms of heraldry in the next stanza seem to favour this


But beauty, in that white intituled',

From Venus' doves doth challenge that fair field;
Then virtue claims from beauty beauty's red,
Which virtue gave the golden age to gild

Their silver cheeks, and call'd it then their shield;
Teaching them thus to use it in the fight,-
When shame assail'd, the red should fence the

This heraldry in Lucrece' face was seen,
Argued by beauty's red, and virtue's white.
Of either's colour was the other queen,
Proving from world's minority their right:
Yet their ambition makes them still to fight;
The sovereignty of either being so great,
That oft they interchange each other's seat.

This silent war of lilies and of roses,
Which Tarquin view'd in her fair face's field,

supposition: and the opposition between or and the silver white of virtue is entirely in Shakspeare's manner. So, afterwards: "Which virtue gave the golden age, to gild "Their silver cheeks-." Malone.

Shakspeare delights in opposing the colours of gold and silver to each other. So, in Macbeth:

"His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood."

We meet with a description, allied to the present one, in Much Ado About Nothing:


I have mark'd

"A thousand blushing apparitions

"To start into her face; a thousand innocent shames

"In angel whiteness bear away those blushes." STEEVENS. 7-in that white INTITULED,] I suppose he means, 'that consists in that whiteness, or takes its title from it.' STEEVENS. Our author has the same phrase in his 37th Sonnet: "For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit, "Or any of these all, or all, or more,

"Intitled in their parts, do crowned sit-." Malone. -in her fair face's FIELD,] Field is here equivocally used. The war of lilies and roses requires a field of battle; the heraldry iu the preceding stanza demands another field, i. e. the ground or surface of a shield or escutcheon armorial. STEEVENS.

In their pure ranks his traitor eye encloses 9;
Where, lest between them both it should be kill'd,
The coward captive vanquished doth yield

To those two armies, that would let him go,
Rather than triumph in so false a foe.

Now thinks he that her husband's shallow tongue
(The niggard prodigal that prais'd her so)
In that high task hath done her beauty wrong,
Which far exceeds his barren skill to show:
Therefore that praise which Collatine doth owe',
Enchanted Tarquin answers with surmise,
In silent wonder of still-gazing eyes.

This earthly saint, adored by this devil,
Little suspecteth the false worshipper;

9 This silent WAR of lilies and of roses,

Which Tarquin view'd in her fair face's field,

In THEIR pure RANKS his traitor eye encloses ;] There is here much confusion of metaphor. War is, in the first line, used merely to signify the contest of lilies and roses for superiority; and in the third, as actuating an army which takes Tarquin prisoner, and encloses his eye in the pure ranks of white and red.

Our author has the same expression in Coriolanus:


Our veil'd dames

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"Commit the war of white and damask in

"Their nicely-gauded cheeks, to the wanton spoil
"Of Phoebus' burning kisses."

Again, in Venus and Adonis :

"To note the fighting conflict of her hue,
"How white and red each other did destroy."


So, in The Taming of a Shrew:

"Hast thou beheld a fresher gentlewoman?
"Such war of white and red within her cheeks!"
Again, in Venus and Adonis :

"O, what a war of looks was then between them!"

'Therefore that PRAISE which Collatine doth owE-] Praise here signifies the object of praise, i. e. Lucretia. To owe in old language means to possess. MALONE.

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For unstain'd thoughts do seldom dream on evil;
Birds never lim'd no secret bushes fear":
So guiltless she securely gives good cheer

And reverend welcome to her princely guest,
Whose inward ill no outward harm express'd:


For that he colour'd with his high estate,
Hiding base sin in plaits of majesty 3;
That nothing in him seem'd inordinate,
Save sometime too much wonder of his eye,
Which, having all, all could not satisfy;

But, poorly rich, so wanteth in his store,
That cloy'd with much, he pineth still for more.


But she, that never cop'd with stranger eyes*,
Could pick no meaning from their parling looks 3,
Nor read the subtle-shining secrecies
Writ in the glassy margents of such books";
She touch'd no unknown baits, nor fear'd no hooks;

2 BIRDS never LIM'D no secret BUSHES FEAR:] So, in King Henry VI. Part III. :

“ The bird that hath been limed in a bush,
"With trembling wings misdoubteth every bush."

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3 HIDING base sin in PLAITS OF MAJESTY ;] So, in King Lear; "Robes and furr'd gowns hide all." STEEVENS. So also in the same play, vol. x. p. 28:

"Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides." Boswell. - with stranger eyes,] Stranger is here used as an adjective. So, in King Richard II.:

"And tread the stranger paths of banishment." MALONE. Could pick no meaning from their PARLING LOOKS,] So, Daniel in his Rosamond:

"And what obscur'd in this fair volume lies, "Find written in the margin of his eyes." Again, in Hamlet:

"Ah beauty, Syren, fair enchanting good!

"Sweet silent rhetorick of persuading eyes!" MALONE. Writ in the glassy MARGENTS of such BOOKS ;] So, in Romeo and Juliet:

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