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They look into the beauty of thy mind,
were kind, To thy fair flower add the rank smell of weeds :
But why thy odour matcheth not thy show,
· The solve is this,–] This is the solution. The quarto reads :
“ The solye is this-." I have not found the word now placed in the text, in any author: but have inserted it rather than print what appears to me unintelligible. We meet with a similar sentiment in the 102d Sonnet:
“ sweets grown common lose their dear delight.” The modern editions read :
“The toil is this-," MALONE.' I believe we should read :
“ The sole is this ." i. e. here the only explanation lies; this is all. STEEVENS.
2 The ORNAMENT of beauty is suspect,] Suspicion or slander is a constant attendant on beauty, and adds new lustre to it. Suspect is used as a substantive in King Henry VI. Part II. See vol. xviii. p. 238, n. 7. Again, by Middleton in A Mad World my Masters, a comedy, 1608 : “And poize her words i' the ballance of suspect."
MALONE. 3 Thy worth the greater, BEING woo'D OF TIME ;) The old copy here, as in many other places, reads corruptly-Their worth,
I strongly suspect the latter words of this line also to be corrupt. What idea does worth woo'd of (that is, by] time, present?
For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love",
If some suspect of ill mask'd not thy show,
Perhaps the poet means, that however slandered his friend may be at present, his worth shall be celebrated in all future time.
MALONE. Perhaps we are to disentangle the transposition of the passage, thus : So thou be good, slander, being woo'd of time, doth but approve thy worth the greater,' i. e. if you are virtuous, slander, being the favourite of the age, only stamps the stronger mark of approbation on your merit.
I have already shewn, on the authority of Ben Jonson, that “of time" means, of the then present one. See note on Hamlet, vol. vii. p. 323, n. 6. Steevens.
Might we not read-being wood of time? taking wood for an epithet applied to slander, signifying frantic, doing mischief at random. Shakspeare often uses this old word. So, in Venus and Adonis:
“ Life-poisoning pestilence, and frenzies wood." I am far from being satisfied with this conjecture, but can make no sense of the words as they are printed. C.
4 For Canker vice the sweetest buds doth love,] So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
“- As in the sweetest buds
“ Inhabits in the finest wits of all.” C. Again, ibidem :
- as the most forward bud
MALONE. 3 If some susPECT-] See p. 288, n. 2. Malone. 6 — should'st owe.] That is, should possess. MALONE. VOL. XX.
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot, · If thinking on me then should make you woe®.
O if (I say) you look upon this verse,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
? Than you shall hear the surly sulLEN BELL
Give warning to the world that I am fied-] So, in King Henry IV. Part Il. :
“ — and his tongue
6. Remember'd knolling a departed friend." Malone,
Tu manes ne læde meos: sed parce solutis
Tibullus, lib. i. el. i. Boswell. 9 When I perhaps COMPOUNDED am with clay] Com· pounded is mixed, blended. So, in King Henry IV. Part II.:
“Only compound me seith forgoiten dust." Malone.
And hang more praise upon deceased I,
For I am sham'd by that which I bring forth,
Than niggard truth would willingly impart :]
“ Be kind to my remains ; and 0 defend,
Dryden's Epistle to Congreve. Boswell. 2 When yellow LEAVES, &c.] So, in Macbeth :
“ - my way of life
“ ls fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf." Steevens. 3 Bare ruin'D CHOIRS, where late the sweet birds sang.] The quarto has" Bare rn'w'd quiers," -- from which the reader must extract what meaning he can. The edition of our author's poems in 1640, has-ruin'd. Quires or choirs here means that part of cathedrals where divine service is performed, to which, when uncovered and in ruins,
“A naked subject to the weeping clouds," the poet compares the trees at the end of autumn, stripped of that foliage which at once invited and sheltered the feathered songsters of summer; whom Ford, a contemporary and friend of our author's, with an allusion to the same kind of imagery, calls, in his Lover's Melancholy “the quiristers of the woods.” So, in Cymbeline :
" Then was I as a tree,
" And left me bare to weather." Again, in Timon of Athens :
“ That numberless upon me stuck, as leaves
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
“ Fallen from their boughs, and left me open, bare,
“For ev'ry storm that blows." Malone. This image was probably suggested to Shakspeare by our desolated monasteries. The resemblance between the vaulting of a Gothick isle, and an avenue of trees whose upper branches meet and form an arch over-head, is too striking not to be acknowledged. When the roof of the one is shattered, and the boughs of the other leafless, the comparison becomes yet more solemn and picturesque. STEEVENS.
? Which by and by black night doth take away,] So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :
“ And by and by a cloud takes all away." STEEVENS. 3 — the glowing of such fire,
That on the ASHES of his youth doth lie ;] Mr. Gray perhaps remen,bered these lines :
“ Even in our ashes glow iheir wonted fires.” MALONE.