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against it, for in A Lover's Complaint he has honour'd it with the title of the “ deep-hrnin'd Sonnet.” MALONE.
I cannot but admit that Mr. Malone, in his answers to Mr. Steevens, though, I think, to use Dr. Johnson's expression, they are conclusive ad hominem, has done but scanty justice to these beautiful compositions ; nor can I agree with him in what he says of the author of the Allegro and Penseruso, even in the guarded phrase, that he generally failed when he attempted rhyme: but I must defend my late friend from the censure he has incurred for saying more of Petrarch than “that he is slow to believe he is without merit.” That he has not spoken more strongly proceeded from one of the most valuable parts of his character; his utter dislike to every thing like affectation or false pretences. He had but a limited acquaintance with Italian literature; and of Petrarch, as he himself tells us, he knew nothing. He need not indeed have disclosed this, for a multitude of books would have furnished us with encomiums upon that poet, which he might ostentatiously have delivered as his own. But it was much more consistent with his love of truth and sincerity to confess that he had never read him, and to abstain from expressions of admiration which could not be genuine. He has rather chosen to refer the reader to the concurring testimony of those best qualified to form an opinion, his own countrymen, for centuries past. I shall not presume to undertake the defence of the Sonnets ; a mode of composition which has been cultivated by every poetical nation in Europe ; but, as the authority of Lope da Vega seems to be produced against it by Mr. Steevens, I may as well remark that there are now lying before me more Sonnets written seriously by that poet, than are to be found in Shakspeare. Boswell.
A LOVER’S COMPLAINT'.
FROM off a hill whose concave womb re-worded” A plaintful story from a sistering vale", My spirits to attend this double voice accorded", And down I lay to list the sad-tun'd tale: Ere long espy'd a fickle maid full pale, Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain, Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.
? This beautiful poem was first printed in 1609, with our author's name, at the end of the quarto edition of his Sonnets. I wonder that it has not attracted the attention of some English painter, the opening being uncommonly picturesque. The figures, however, of the lady and the old man should be standing, not sitting, by the river side ; Shakspea rereclining on a hill.
MALONE. 3 - whose concave womb RE-WORDED_) Repeated; re-echoed. The same verb is found in Hamlet:
“ Bring me to the test,
“And I the matter will re-word.” Malone. s— from a sistERING vale,] This word is again employed in Pericles, 1609:
“That even her heart sisters the natural roses." It is not, I believe, used by any other author. Malone.
4 My SPIRITS to attend this double voice accorded,] The poet meant, I think, that the word spirits should be pronounced as if written sprights. Malone.
s Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.] So, in Julius Cæsar: "
and the state of a man,
“ The nature of an insurrection.” Again, in Hamlet :
" Remember thee?
“ In this distracted globe." Again, in King Lear :