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190. LXXVII.-Apparently the sonnet was written to accompany the present of a manuscript volume from Shakespeare to his friend. As I understand the poem, the writer says three things: 1. Look in your glass and you will see how your beauty fades; 2. Look at your dial and you will realize how time flies; 3. Write your thoughts from time to time in the "vacant leaves" (or "waste blanks") of this volume, and then, reading over what you have written, you will realize the change which has gone on in your own nature and character; you will "take a new acquaintance" of your mind. Thus you will appreciate the double change, outward and inward, that has taken place in yourself.

191. LXXVII. line 4: And of this book THIS LEARNING mayst thou taste.-That is, the learning that time flies. I cannot understand Dowden's idea that the line may be "suggested by the fact that Shakspere is unlearned in comparison with the rival. I cannot bring you learning; but set down your own thoughts, and you will find learning in them." Why "this learning"?

192. LXXVII. line 6: OF MOUTHED GRAVES.-So "mouthed wounds" in I. Henry IV. i. 3. 97.

193. LXXVII. line 10: Commit to these waste BLANKS.— Theobald corrected the Quarto, which had blacks.

194. LXXVIII. line 3: hath GOT MY USE.-That is, caught my tricks of style; or perhaps, imitated my habit of writing poems to you.

195. LXXVIII. line 9: that which I COMPILE.-Compile =compose, write; so Son. lxxxv. 2, and Love's Labour's Lost, v. 2. 52. Compare Hero and Leander, First Sestiad, 128, 129.

And some, their violent passions to assuage, Compile sharp satires. -Bullen's Marlowe, iii. p. 10. The Steel Glass is described on the title-page as "A Satyre Compiled by George Gascoigne Esquiere" (Arber's Reprint, p. 41); and Watson uses the word in the same sense (Watson's poems, Arber's ed. p. 36). Arts in line 12 means learning, scholarship; cf. Taming of the Shrew, i. 1. 2, and arts-man in Love's Labour's Lost, v. 1. 85.

196. LXXX. A continuation practically of Son. Ixxviii. and lxxix.; he is jealous of the rival poet. As to this better spirit," see Introduction, p. 64.

197. LXXX. line 7: My saucy bark, &c.-Compare Troilus and Cressida, i. 3. 34–42.

198. LXXX. line 11: Or, being WRECK'D.-Q. has wrackt.

199. LXXXI. line 12: the BREATHERS of THIS WORLD.— This world must this present age. For breather cf. Antony and Cleopatra, iii. 3. 24.

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209. LXXXIV. line 14: Being FOND ON praise.-There is no need to change to the more usual fond of; cf. Midsummer Night's Dream, ii. 1. 266:

More fond on her than she upon her love. 210. LXXXV. lines 3, 4:

RESERVE THEIR CHARACTER with GOLDEN QUILL, And PRECIOUS phrase by all the Muses FIL'D What reserve their character means I do not know. According to Malone, reserve preserve, which does not help us much. Can the sense be "become immortal"? as though that which is well written can never lose its freshness, must always be of the same value and interest Dowden suggests deserve, i.e. they deserve to be written.

Golden quill occurs in Spenser, Son. lxxxiv. Globe ed. p. 585. Precious may be said with some suggestion of scorn; Love's Labour's Lost is a study of "preciousness" (Euphuism) of style. Filed = polished; worked up with that lima labor which Horace recommends. Compare Love's Labour's Lost, v. i. 11; and the Passionate Pilgrim, 306. Many instances outside Shakespeare might be given; here are some:

Thy fyled wordes

Yat from thy mouth did flow.

-Barnabe Googe's Sonettes, Arber's Reprint, p. 99; Love's Metamorphosis, i. 2: "It is not your faire faces nor your filed speeches" (Fairholt's Lilly, vol. ii. p. 219; and again, vol. i. p. 182); "polished wordes, or fyled speeches" (Stubbes Anatomy, part I. p. 23); welltorned and true-filed lines (Ben Jonson, Verses on Shakespeare).

211. LXXXVI.-For the references in this sonnet see Introduction, p. 64.


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224. XCII. This is an expansion of Son. xci. The emphatic words are humour and inconstant. You may, says Shakespeare, take all from me and so ruin me; but I shall not be at the mercy of your caprices, because the first act of disloyalty on your part will kill me. So long as you are true, so long I live; be false, and I die straightway. The first line, "steal thyself away," echoes the last couplet of the last sonnet:

thou mayst take

All this away.

225. XCII. line 13: But what's so BLESSED-FAIR that fears no blot? This is not unsuggestive of Othello, iii. 3. 138141. In Othello, too, we have (iv. 2. 68) the compound lovely-fair; see, however, note 211 to that play.

226. XCIII. lines 7, 8: In many's looks, &c.-A favourite idea with Shakespeare: cf. Macbeth, i. 4. 11, 12:

There's no art To find the mind's construction in the face;

and i. 7. 83:

False face must hide what the false heart doth know. Contrast Lucrece, 1396:

The face of either cipher'd either's heart.

Euripides had long before said in the Medea, 516-520, that spurious gold all can tell, but on the body of the evil man no stamp is set whereby to know him.

227. XCIII. line 13: EVE's apple.-Q. reads Eaues in italics.

228. XCIV. From those who are cold, self-centred, selfcontained, we expect the highest perfection. They set up a lofty standard and must abide by it. True to their ideal, they win the greater praise; untrue, their fall is the greater (line 14):

Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

229. XCIV. line 8: Others but STEWARDS.-Stewards, and so responsible; not lords and owners, having absolute possession.

230. XCIV. line 10: Though to itself it only LIVE and DIE. -Compare Son. liv. 10, 11:

They live unwoo'd, and unrespected fade;
Die to themselves.

In line 12 Sidney Walker suggested barest, quite needlessly.

231. XCIV. line 14: Lilies that fester, &c. This line occurs in the doubtful play Edward III. ii. 2. (near the end), Tauchnitz ed. p. 24. Myself, I cannot help thinking that Shakespeare had a hand in the composition of Edward III. (first printed in 1596), and the passage in which the line comes is one of the most Shakespearean parts of the play.

Fester rot. The rhyme in the couplet occurred in Son. lxix. lines 10 and 12. Dowden compares with the whole sonnet Twelfth Night, iii. 4. 399-404.

232. XCV.-Sonnet xcv. partially reverses the idea of previous sonnet. You are so fair that frailty in you ceases to be foul. Beauty covers up your sins. Only do not rely too much on your privilege; do not abuse your seeming immunity from blame. Lines 13 and 14 give the warning. The next sonnet continues the subject of his friend's errors.

233. XCV. line 12: And all things TURN TO FAIR that eyes can see. He had previously said:

Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows.

-Sonnet xl. 13. 234. XCVI. line 3: are loved of MORE and LESS. That is, great and small. Dowden compares I. Henry IV. iv. 3. 68:

The more and less came in with cap and knee. 235. XCVI. lines 13, 14: But do not so, &c.-Compare Son. xxxvi. 13, 14.

236. XCVII.-Written after an absence which has made the summer as winter to him. The metaphor is carried on in the next sonnet. Winter in line 1 reminds us of Son. lvi. 13.

237. XCVIII line 7: any SUMMER'S STORY.-Summer's story a gay fiction, as Malone quaintly phrases it. He neatly parallels the passage by Cymbeline, iii. 4. 12-14: If't be summer news, Smile to 't before; if winterly, thou need'st But keep that countenance.

238. XCVIII. line 9: the LILY's white.-So Collier; lillies in Q.

239. XCIX.-Taking up the last verse of last sonnet: As with your shadow I with these did play. This curious type of flower sonnet was a favourite Elizabethan conceit. Compare Constable's Diana (1594 or earlier), First Decade, Son. 9:

My Lady's presence makes the Roses red,
Because to see her lips they blush for shame.
The Lily's leaves, for envy, pale became;
And her white hands in them this envy bred.
The Marigold the leaves abroad doth spread;
Because the sun's and her power is the same.
The Violet of purple colour came,

Dyed in the blood she made my heart to shed.
In brief. All flowers from her their Virtue take;
From her sweet breath, their sweet smells do proceed.
-Arber's English Garner, vol. ii. p. 233-

So again, Spenser, Amoretti, 64, Globe edition of Works, p. 582. The following, too, from a song by Thomas Campion, is worth giving:

There is a garden in her face

Where roses and white lilies grow; A heavenly paradise is that place Wherein all pleasant fruits doth flow. -Bullen's Lyrics (1887), p. 136.

240. XCIX. line 1: The forward VIOLET thus did I chide. -Compare Venus and Adonis, 935, 936:

his health and beauty set Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet.

241. XCIX. line 3: The PURPLE pride.--Purple is used by the poets in the vaguest way. Purpureus simply expressed extreme brightness of colour; so Horace applies it to a swan-purpureis ales oloribus. In Venus and Adonis, line 1, the sun is purple-coloured; and in line 1054 of the same poem Adonis' wound sheds "purple tears.” For "purple tears," indeed, compare III. Henry VI. v. 6 64; and for "purpled hands," King John, ii. 1. 322, and Julius Cæsar, iii. 1. 158. Gray, I suppose, was thinking of the classical use of the epithet when he spoke of "the purple light of love."

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244. c. line 3: Spend'st thou thy FURY.-Fury = inspiration, or poetic enthusiasm. Compare Sir John Davies' Orchestra, 131:

And in my mind such sacred fury move; -Arber's English Garner, v. p. 55; and Love's Labour's Lost, iv. 3. 229:

What zeal, what fury hath inspir'd thee now? and Othello, iii. 4. 72:

In her prophetic fury sew'd the work. The furor poeticus was a favourite burlesque character; see The Returne from Parnassus, Arber's Reprint, p. 18, and Randolph's Conceited Peddler, Hazlitt's ed. vol. i.

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266. CVII. line 10: and death to me SUBSCRIBES.-Subscribes yields, as in Lear, i. 2. 24; and again in iii. 7. 65, a well-known crux.

267. CVII. line 14: When TYRANTS' CRESTS and TOMBS of BRASS. The line has a flavour in it of the regum apices and Horace's monumentum ære perennius. Compare the gilded monuments" in lv. 1.

268. CVIII.-I can say nothing in your praise which I have not said before: yet these things which I have repeated so often can never seem old to me, because love which inspires them is ever fresh, and to true love the object loved must always remain young and beautiful as it was at first. The theme with which he closes the sonnet reminds us of xv. 13, 14:

And, all in war with Time, for love of you, As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

And again, civ. 1-3:

To me, fair friend, you never can be old, &c.

269. CVIII. line 3: what NEW to register.-The Quarto has now. New is pretty certainly right. We gain nothing by Sidney Walker's

What's now to speak, what now to register.

270. CVIII. line 9: in LOVE'S FRESH CASE.-I believe this only means, in the case of love which is ever fresh. Love is the emphatic word: in the case of love time and change do not count. Fresh is added to strengthen the idea of love's abiding vigour.

271. CIX. line 5: if I have RANG'D.-Ranged = gone away or astray; so Tennyson, In Memoriam, canto xxi.: "her little ones have ranged."

272. CIX. line 7: Just to the time, &c.-At the right time and-half-quibblingly-not altered with the time, i.e. by


273. CIX. line 11: be STAIN D.-Staunton needlessly proposed strain'd. For blood passion, in line 10, cf. Midsummer Night's Dream, i. 1. 74.

274. CIX. lines 13, 14:

For nothing this wide universe I call, Save thou, MY ROSE.

That is, you apart, excepted, I count the world nothing. With my rose cf. “beauty's rose" in Son. i. 2. So Othello, v. 2. 13-16.

275. Cx. This and the following sonnet are generally regarded as a reference by Shakespeare to his actor's life. See what is said on the subject in Troilus and Cressida, note 67.

276. CX. line 3: GOR'D mine own thoughts.-Gor'd=done violence to; cf. Troilus and Cressida, iii. 3. 228.

277. cx. line 4: Made old offences of affections new.Dowden says: "Entered into new friendships and loves, which were transgressions against my old love." I do not altogether see how this sense can be got out of the English, though it agrees well with line 11. May it not mean: prostituted my love-a love so new, so unknown to other men, so rare-to the old hackneyed purposes and commonplaces of the stage, made capital out of my emotions, turned my passion to account, sold cheap what is most dear? All this being done in his capacity as actor.

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