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Alas, 't is true, I have gone here and there,
And made myself a motley a to the view,
Gor'd b mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
Made old offences of affections new.
Most true it is, that I have look'd on truth
Askance and strangely; but, by all above,
These blenches gave my heart another youth,
And worse essays prov'd thee my
best of love.
Now all is done, haved what shall have no end :
Mine appetite I never more will grind
On newer proof, to try an older friend,
A God in love, to whom I am confin'd.
Then give me welcome, next my heaven the best,
Even to thy pure and most most loving breast.
O, for my sake do you with Fortune chide,
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,
That did not better for my life provide,
Than public means, which public manners breeds.
Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,
And almost thence my nature is subdued
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand :
Pity me then, and wish I were renew'd;
Motley. Jaques, in ' As You Like It,' exclaims, “ Invest me in my motley." Motley was the dress of the domestic fool or jester; and thus the buffoon himself came to be called a motley. Jaques, addressing Touchstone, says, “ Will you be married, Motley ?" Gord-wounded. In · Hamlet'we bave
“ I have a voice and precedent of peace
To keep my name ungor'd." © Blenches-deviations.
Have. This is the word of the old copy. The reading of all modern editions is
“ Now all is done, save what shall have no end." Malone says the original reading is unintelligible. His conjectural reading, which Tyrwhitt recommended, appears to us more so.
« Now all is done " clearly applies to the blenches, the worse essays ; but the poet then adds, “ have thou what shall have no end,"--my constant affection, my undivided friendship.
Whilst, like a willing patient, I will drink
Potions of eysell,a 'gainst my strong infection ;
No bitterness that I will bitter think,
Nor double penance, to correct correction.
Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye,
Even that your pity is enough to cure me.
Your love and pity doth the impression fill
Which vulgar scandal stamp'd upon my brow;
For what care I who calls me well or ill,
So you o'ergreen my bad, my good allow ?!
You are my all-the-world, and I must strive
To know my shames and praises from your tongue;
None else to me, nor I to none alive,
That my steel'd sense or changes, right or wrong.
In so profound abysm I throw all care
Of other's voices, that my adder's sense
To critic and to flatterer stopped are.
Mark how with my neglect I do dispense :-
You are so strongly in my purpose bred,
That all the world besides methinks are dead.
Eysell-vinegar. b Allow-approve.
• This passage is obscure, and there is probably some slight misprint. Steevens says, with his usual amenity, “ The meaning of this purblind and obscure stuff seems to be - You are the only person who has the power to change my stubborn resolution, either to what is right, or to what is wrong.' We have little doubt that something like this is the meaning ; but why has not this great conjectural critic, instead of calling out “purblind and obscure stuff,” tried his hand at some slight emendation? He is venturous enough when the text is clear. We might read thus :
steel'd sense so changes right or wrong;" or we might read, as Malone has proposed, “ E’er changes.”
d This line presents in the old copy one of the many examples of how little the context was heeded. We there find
“ That all the world besides me thinks y' are dead." Malone changes this to
“ That all the world besides methinks they are dead.” We adopt Mr. Dyce's better reading.
Since I left
is in my mind;
And that which governs me to go about
Doth part his function, and is partly blind,
Seems seeing, but effectually is out;
For it no form delivers to the heart
Of bird, of flower, or shape, which it doth latch ;*
Of his quick objects hath the mind no part,
Nor his own vision holds what it doth catch;
For if it see the rud'st or gentlest sight,
The most sweet favour, or deformed'st creature,
The mountain or the sea, the day or night,
The crow, or dove, it shapes them to your feature.
Incapable of more, replete with you,
My most true mind thus maketh mine untrue.
Or whether doth my mind, being crown'd with you,
up the monarch's plague, this flattery,
Or whether shall I say mine eye saith true,
And that your love taught it this alchymy,
To make of monsters and things indigest
Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble,
Creating every bad a perfect best,
As fast as objects to his beams assemble?
O, 't is the first; 't is flattery in my seeing,
And my great mind most kingly drinks it up:
well knows what with his gust is 'greeing, And to his palate doth prepare
the If it be poison'd, 't is the lesser sin That mine eye loves it, and doth first begin.
* Latch. The original has lack. Malone substituted latch, which signifies to lay hold of.
e Untrue is here used as a substantive. So in • Measure for Measure'-
• Say what you can, my false outweighs your true.”
Those lines that I before have writ, do lie;
Even those that said I could not love you dearer;
Yet then my judgment knew no reason why
My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.
But reckoning time, whose million’d accidents
Creep in 'twixt vows, and change decrees of kings,
Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp'st intents,
Divert strong minds to the course of altering things;
Alas! why, fearing of Time's tyranny,
Might I not then say, "Now I love you best,”
When I was certain o'er incertainty,
Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?
Love is a babe; then might I not say so,
To give full growth to that which still doth
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove :
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love 's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
Accuse me thus; that I have scanted all
Wherein I should your great deserts repay ;
Forgot upon your dearest love to call,
Whereto all bonds do tie me day by day;
That I have frequent been with unknown minds,
And given to time your own dear-purchas'd right;
That I have hoisted sail to all the winds
Which should transport me farthest from your sight.
Book both my wilfulness and errors down,
And on just proof surmise accumulate,
Bring me within the level of your frown,
But shoot not at me in your waken'd hate :
Since my appeal says, I did strive to prove
The constancy and virtue of your love.
Like as, to make our appetites more keen,
With eager & compounds we our palate urge;
As, to prevent our maladies unseen,
We sicken to shun sickness, when we purge ;
Even so, being full of your ne'er-cloying sweetness,
To bitter sauces did I frame my feeding,
And, sick of welfare, found a kind of meetness
To be diseas'd, ere that there was true needing.
Thus policy in love, to anticipate
The ills that were not, grew to faults assured,
And brought to medicine a healthful state,
Which, rank of goodness, would by ill be cured.
But thence I learn, and find the lesson true,
Drugs poison him that so fell sick of you.
What potions have I drunk of Siren tears,
Distill'd from lim becs foul as hell within,
Applying fears to hopes, and hopes to fears,
Still losing when I saw myself to win!
What wretched errors hath my heart committed,
Whilst it hath thought itself so blessed never !
How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted,'
In the distraction of this madding fever!
Eager-sour; the French aigre.
b Fitted subjected to fits.