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The imagery and the harmony of the first two lines of the sonnet to Time are almost perfect.

TO TIME.

this verse,

“Oh! carve not with thine hours my love's fair brow,

Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen.” The pathos and melody of the ensuing sonnet will be imme. diately acknowledged by every reader of taste and sensibility.

“No longer mourn for me when I am dead,
Then
you

shall hear the sullen surly bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell ;
Nay if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
() if (I say) you

look

upon
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse ;
But let your love e'en with my life decay:
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,

And mock you with me after I am gone.” The next brief extract, in which the poet expresses his willingness to bear all the blame of his forced separation from his friend, is equally touching. There is great force in the line in Italics,

“Knowing thy will,
I will acquaintance strangle, and look strange ;
Be absent from thy walks ; and on my tongue
Thy sweet beloved name no more shall dwell,
Lest I (too much profane) should do it wrong,
And haply of our old acquaintance tell.”

There is a freshness and beauty as of vernal breezes and blue skies in the first half of the following sonnet.

“ From you have I been absent in the spring,

When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.

SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS.

13

Yet nor the lays of bird, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer's story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew :
Nor did I wonder at the lilies white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose :
They were but sweet, sweet figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those ;
Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.”

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The following is a fine burst of poetry, and is characterized by that easy force of style, and exuberance of fancy, and that almost miraculous felicity of diction which seem peculiar to this mighty genius. His descriptions of morning come upon us like the dawn itself.

Full many a glorious morning have I seen

Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy.”

But instead of particularising in this way the various gems in these sonnets, I will now heap a few more together, and let the reader make his own comments on their beauty.

“ Like as the waves make to the pebbled shore,

So do our minutes hasten to their end.”

“ Great princes' favorites their fair leaves spread

But as the marigold at the sun's eye :
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die.”

“ So Aatter I the swart-complerioned night."

Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear,
Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste :
The vacant leaves thy mind's imprint will bear,
And of this book this learning may’st thou taste,
The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show,
Of mouthéd graves will give thee memory ;

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After these specimens, to which I could add a thousand others, Johnson's talk about the rude state of English versification before the time of Waller and Pope is worse than foolish. It was disgraceful in a writer who set himself up as the historian of poetry and poets, to pass over the age of Shakespeare in the way he has done.

I have as yet confined myself to a consideration of their poetical merit, but though I do not propose to enter fully into the question at present, I cannot help subjoining a few passages to support Schlegel's position, that much of the poet's personal history and private feelings is revealed in these condemned and neglected sonnets.

The following lines contain an affecting allusion to his profession as an actor, an acknowledgment of his follies, which he no doubt rightly attributes to the influence of his unfortunate circumstances, and an intimation of profound repentance. Pope has observed that “ Shakespeare was obliged to please the lowest

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replies to this, that we have nothing but Po the subject. Now, if Chalmers had only judg had not turned from Shakespeare's poems wi they were not good enough for Mr. Steeven met with the ensuing passage, which would that Pope was correct in his assertion.

O, for my sake do you with fortune chid
The guilty goddess for my harmful deed
That did not better for my life provide,
Than public means, which public manner
Thence comes it that my name receives
And almost thence my nature is subdue
To what it works in like the dyer's hand.

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It has been erroneously asserted by many peare, that he was not conscious of his might no anticipation of his future fame. There are that are characterised by a glorious egotism The following lines bear unanswerably on the

“Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest i

When in eternal lines to time thou gro
So long as men can breathe, or eyes car
So long lives this, and this gives life to

* A very popular author, distinguished for his kno has done me the honor to read the first edition of thi ing and most obliging private letter, communicates t notice of Steevens :

“ These sonnets have had a singular fate sinc nothing short of an act of Parliament was necessary to and he boldly as impudently rejected them from the Steevens was not deficient in critical judgment, a whenever he had his friend and rival Malone in vie decision may have been only one of the many unf laid to catch his brother commentator. Boswell to only originated in this mischievous Puck, who w innocent into the mire, always screamed in laughter

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