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O, let me suffer (being at your beck) .
I am to wait, though waiting so be hell;
5 And patience, TAME TO SUFFERANCB, bide each check,] So, in King Lear: “A most poor man, made tame to fortune's blows."
MALONE, 6 Do what you will —] The quarto reads :-To what you will.-There can, I think, be do doubt that to was a misprint.
MALONE. 7 Show ME YOUR IMAGE IN SOME ANTIQUE BOOK,
Since mind at first in CHARACTER was done!] Would that I could read a description of you in the earliest manuscript that appeared after the first use of letters. That this is the meaning appears clearly from the next line :
“That I might see what the old world could say." Again : “ - the wits of former days,” &c. We yet use the word character in the same sense. MALONE.
This may allude to the ancient custom of inserting real portraits among the ornaments of illuminated manuscripts, with inscriptions under them. Steevens.
Whether we are mended, or whe'r better they
O! sure I am, the wits of former days
And yet, to times in hope, my verse shall stand 4, Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
8 — or whe'r better they,1 Whe'r for whether. The same abbreviation occurs in Venus and Adonis, and in King John. See vol. xv. p. 231, n. 6. Malone.
9 Nativity once in the main of light,] In the great body of light. So, the main of waters. MALONE.
1- his gift confOUND.) To confound in Shakspeare's age generally meant to destroy. Malone.
2 Time doth transfix the FLOURISH -] The external decoration. So, in The Comedy of Errors : “ Like painted trunks o'er-flourish'd by the devil.”
MALONE. 3 And delves the PARALLELs in beauty's brow ;] Renders what was before even and smooth, rough and uneven. So, in the second Sonnet:
“When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
“ And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field.'
“Nor draw no line there with thine antique pen.' Our author uses the word parallel in the same sense in Othello :
For thee watch I, whilst thou dost wake elsewhere
“ — How am I then a villain,
“ To counsel Cassio to this parallel course?" MALONE. 4 And yet, to times in HOPE, my verse shall sTAND,] So, in King Richard II. :
“ Strong as a tower in hope, I say amen." STEVENS. į It is my love -] See p. 225, n. 8. Malone.
6 Methinks no face so GRACIOUS is as mine,] Gracious was frequently used by our author and his contemporaries in the sense of beautiful. So, in King John:
“There was not such a gracious creature born." MALONE. 7 Beated and chopp'd with tann'd ANTIQUITY,] Thus the old copy. Beated was perhaps a misprint for 'bated. 'Bated is
Mine own self-love quite contrary I read,
'Tis thee (myself) that for myself I praise,
brow With lines and wrinkles; when his youthful morn Hath travellid on to age's steepy night'; And all those beauties, whereof now he's king,
properly overthrown; laid low; abated; from abattre, Fr. Hence (if this be the true reading) it is here used by our author with his usual licence, for disfigured; reduced to a lower or worse state than before. So, in The Merchant of Venice :
“ With 'bated breath and whispering humbleness." Again, in the 63d Sonnet :
“With time's injurious hand crush'd and o'erworn." Beated however, the regular participle from the verb to beat, may be right. We had in a former Sonnet-weather-beaten face. In King Henry V. we find-casted, and in Macbeth-thrusted.
MALONE. I think we should read blasted. So, in King Henry IV. Part I. : “ — every part about you blasted with untiquity."
STEEVENS. 8 With time's injurious hand crush'd and o’erworn ;] The old copy reads chrusht. I suspect that our author wrote frush'd, a word that occurs in Troilus and Cressida :
“I'll frush it, and unlock the rivets all." Again, Holinshed in his Description of Ireland, p. 29: “When they are sore frushl with sickness, or so farre withered with age." To say that a thing is first crush'd, and then over-worn, is little better than to observe of a man, that he was first killed, and then wounded. Steevens.
To frush is to bruise or batter. See Troilus and Cressida, vol. viii. p. 438, n. 3. What then is obtained by the change?
MALONE. 9 - when his youthful morn
Hath travellid on to AGE'S STEEPY NIGHT;] So, in King Richard III. :
“And turn my infant morn to aged night."
Are vanishing or vanish'd out of sight,
His beauty shall in these black lines be seen,
The rich-proud cost of out-worn bury'd age;
I once thought that the poet wrote-sleepy night. But the word travellid shows, I think, that the old copy is right, however incongruous the epithet steepy may appear. So, in the 7th Sonnet:
“Lo, in the orient when the gracious light
“ Resembling strong youth in his middle age-" These lines fully explain what the poet meant by the steepy night of age. The same opposition is found in the 15th Sonnet:
" Then wasteful time debateth with decay
“ To change your day of youth to sullied night.” Were it not for the antithesis which was certainly intended between morn and night, we might read:
“ – to age's steepy height." MALONE. 1- though my lover's life:] See p. 255, n. 8. MALONE. 2 – the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,] So, Mortimer, in King Henry IV. Part I. speaking of the Trent:
- he bears his course, and runs me up “ With like advantage on the other side, “Gelding the opposed continent as much." STEEVENS.