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From hence your memory death cannot take,
Although in me each part will be forgotten.
Your name from hence immortal life shall have,
Though I, once gone, to all the world must die:
The earth can yield me but a common grave,
When you entombed in men's eyes shall lie.
Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read;
And tongues to be, your being shall rehearse,
When all the breathers of this world are dead?;
You still shall live (such virtue hath my pen,)
Where breath most breathes, -even in the mouths
The des efore mavet married.
I grant thou wert not married to my muse,
And therefore may'st without attaint o'er-look
The dedicated words which writers use
Of their fair subject, blessing every book.
Thou art as fair in knowledge as in hue,
Finding thy worth a limit past my praise ;
And therefore art enforc'd to seek anew
Some fresher stamp of the time-bettering days.
And do so, love ; yet when they have devis'd
What strained touches rhetorick can lend,
Thou truly fair wert truly sympathiz'd
In true plain words, by thy true-telling friend;
And their gross painting might be better us'd
Where cheeks need blood; in thee it is abus'd.
I never saw that you did painting need,
And therefore to your fair no painting set ;
2 When all the breaTHERS OF This world are dead ;] So, in As You Like It: “ I will chide no breather in the world but myself, against whom I know most faults." MALONE.
I found, or thought I found, you did exceed
The barren tender of a poet's debt':
And therefore have I slept in your report“,
That you yourself, being extant, well might show
How far a modern quill doth come too short",
Speaking of worth, what worth in you doth grow 6.
This silence for my sin you did impute,
Which shall be most my glory, being dumb;
For I impair not beauty, being mute,
When others would give life, and bring a tomb?.
There lives more life in one of your fair eyes,
Than both your poets can in praise devise.
Who is it that says most? which can say more,
Than this rich praise—that you alone are you?
In whose confine immured is the store,
Which should example where your equal grew.
3 The barren tender of a poet's debt :] So, the poet in Timon of Athens :
“ - all minds .
- tender down
“ Their services to lord Timon." Again, in King John :
“ And the like tender of our love we make.” Malone. 4 And therefore have I slept in your report,] And therefore I have not sounded your praises. MALONE. The same phrase occurs in King Henry VIII. :
" Heaven will one day open
“ The king's eyes, that so long have slept upon
“ This bold, bad man."
Again, in King Henry IV. Part I. :
- hung their eyelids down, « Slept in his face.” Steevens. s How far a MODERN quill doth come too short,] Modern formerly signified common or trite. See vol. vi. p. 409, n. 4.
MALONE. 6 - What worth in you doth grow.) We might better read :
" that worth in you doth grow.” i. e. that worth, which, &c. Malone.
7 When others would give life, and bring a tomb.] When
Lean penury within that pen doth dwell,
That to his subject lends not some small glory;
But he that writes of you, if he can tell
That you are you, so dignifies his story,
Let him but copy what in you is writ,
Not making worse what nature made so clear,
And such a counter-part shall fame his wit,
Making his style admired every where.
You to your beauteous blessings add a curse,
Being fond on praise, which makes your praises
My tongue-ty'd muse in manners holds her still,
While comments of your praise, richly compil'd,
Reserve their character with golden quillo,
And precious phrase by all the muses fil’d.
I think good thoughts, whilst others write good
And, like unletter'd clerk, still cry Amen
To every hymn that able spirit affords,
In polish'd form of well-refined pen.
Hearing you prais’d, I say, 'tis so, 'tis true,
And to the most of praise add something more;
others endeavour to celebrate your character, while, in fact, they disgrace it by the meanness of their compositions. Malone.
8 Being rond on praise, which makes your praises worse.] i. e. being fond of such panegyrick as debases what is praiseworthy in you, instead of exalting it. On in ancient books is often printed for of. It may mean, “ behaving foolishly on receiving praise.” Steevens.
Fond on was certainly used by Shakspeare for fond of. So, in Twelfth Night:
" my master loves her dearly;
"And I, poor monster, fond as much on him." Again, in Holland's translation of Suetonius, folio, 1606, p. 21 : “He was enamoured also upon queenes." MALONE.
9 Reserve their character with golden quill,] Reserve has here the sense of preserve. See p. 256, n. 9. MALONE.
But that is in my thought, whose love to you, Though words come hindmost, holds his rank
before. Then others for the breath of words respect, Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.
Was it the proud full sail of his great verse,
Bound for the prize of all-too-precious you,
That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inherse,
Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew'?
Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write
Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead ?
No, neither he, nor his compeers by night
Giving him aid, my verse astonished.
He, nor that affable familiar ghost,
Which nightly gulls him with intelligence?;
As victors, of my silence cannot boast;
I was not sick of any fear from thence :
But when your countenance fil'd up his line,
Then lack'd I matter; that enfeebled mine.
Farewell ! thou art too dear for my possessing,
And like enough thou know'st thy estimate:
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing ;
* Making their tomb the womb wherein they grew ?] So, in Romeo and Juliet :
“ The earth, that's nature's mother, is her tomb;
“ What is her burying grave, that is her womb." Again, in Pericles :
“For he's their parent, and he is their grave." So also, Milton:
“ The womb of nature, and perhaps her grave.” MALONE. ? – that affable familiar ghost,
Which nightly gulls hiin with intelligence ;] Alluding perhaps to the celebrated Dr. Dee's pretended intercourse with an angel, and other familiar spirits. Steevens.
3 – Fil'd up his line,] i, e. polish'd it. So, in Ben Jonson's Verses on Shakspeare:
“ In his well-torned and true-filed lines." Steevens.
My bonds in thee are all determinate *.*
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting ?
And for that riches where is my deserving ?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent' back again is swerving.
Thyself thou gav'st, thy own worth then not
Or me, to whom thou gav'st it, else mistaking ;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgment making.
Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a kingo, but waking, no such matter.
When thou shalt be dispos’d to set me light,
And place my merit in the eye of Scorn?,
Upon thy side against myself I'll fight,
And prove thee virtuous, though thou art forsworn.
With mine own weakness being best acquainted,
Upon thy part I can set down a story
Of faults conceal’d, wherein I am attainted ®;
That thou, in losing me, shalt win much glory;
And I by this will be a gainer too;
For bending all my loving thoughts on thee,
The injuries that to myself I do,
Doing thee vantage, double-vantage me.
4 - determinate.] i. e. determined, ended, out of date. The term is used in legal conveyances. Malone.
S — PATENT-] Old copy-pattent. Perhaps we should read, patient. BOSWELL, 6 In sleep a king,] Thus, in Romeo and Juliet:
" I dreamt, &c.
“ That I reviv'd, and was an emperor." Steevens. 7 And place my merit in The EYE OF Scorn,] Our author has again personified Scorn in Othello:
“A fixed figure, for the time of Scorn
“ To point his slow unmoving finger at." Malone. 8 - I can set down a story
Of faults conceald, wherein I am attainted ;] So, in Hamlet: “ — but yet I could accuse me of such things, that it were better my mother had not borne me." Steevens.