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Lest sorrow lend me words, and words express
That I may not be so, nor thou belied,
Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart go wide.—140.
But, love, hate on, for now I know thy mind;
And yet the tyranny is meekly borne by the lover :
Being your slave, what should I do but tend
So true a fool is love, that in your will
(Though you do anything) he thinks no ill.—57.
Be where you list; your charter is so strong,
I am to wait, though waiting so be hell;
Not blame your pleasure, be it ill or well.–58. The Sonnets last given are the 57th and 58th. These are especially noticed by Mr. Brown as evidence that the person to whom he considers the Sonnets are addressed—W. H.--was “a man of rank." He adds, “ Reproach is conveyed more forcibly, and, at the same time, with more kindness, in their strained humility, than it would have been by direct expostulation." The reproach, according to Mr. Brown, is for the “coldness" which the noble youth had evinced towards his friend. The “coldness" is implied in these stanzas, and in that which precedes them :
Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
Or call it winter, which, being full of care,
We believe, on the contrary, that the three Sonnets are aildressed to a female. It appears to us that a line in the 57th is decisive upon this :
“ When you have bid your servant once adieu." The lady was the mistress, the lover the servant, in the gallantry of Shakspere's time. In Beaumont and Fletcher's “Scornful Lady' we have, “ Was I not once your mistress, and you my servant ?" The three stanzas, 56, 57, 58, are completely isolated from what precedes and what follows them; and therefore we have no hesitation in transposing them to this class.
We are about to give a Sonnet which Mr. Brown thinks should be expunged from the poem."
We should regret to lose so pretty and playful a love-verse :
Those lips that Love's own hand did make
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
I hate from hate away she threw,
And sav'd my life, saying-not you.—145. It is, bowever, strangely opposed to the theory of continuity; for it occurs between the Sonnet which first appeared in The Passionate Pilgrim :
“ Two loves I have, of comfort and despair"and the magnificent lines beginning
“Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth." This sublime Sonnet Mr. Brown would also expunge. This is a hard sentence against it for being out of place. We shall endeavour to remove it to fitter company.
We have now very much reduced the number of stanzas which Mr. Brown assigns to the Sixth Poem, entitled by him, “To his Mistress, on her Infidelity.' There are only twenty-six stanzas in this division of Mr. Brown's Six Poems; for he rejects the Sonnets numbered 153 and 154, as belonging “ to nothing but themselves." They belong, indeed, to the same class of poems as constitute the bulk of those printed in • The Passionate Pilgrim.' But, being printed in the collection of 1609, they offer very satisfactory evidence that “the begetter" of the Sonnets had no distinct principle of connexion to work upon. He has printed, as already mentioned, two Sonnets which had previously appeared in The Passionate Pilgrim. But if they were taken out from the larger collection, no one could say that its continuity would be deranged. There are other Sonnets, properly so called, in “ The Passionate Pilgrim,' which, if they were to be added to the larger collection, there would be no difficulty in inserting them, so as to be as continuous as the two which are common to both works. We have no objection to proceed with our analytical classification without including the two Sonnets on the little lovegod;" because, if we were attempting here to present all Shakspere's love-verses which exist in print, not being in the plays, we should have to insert six other poems which are in • The Passionate Pilgrim.'
What, then, have we left of the Sonnets from the 127th to the 152nd which may warrant those twenty-six stanzas being regarded (with two exceptions pointed out by Mr. Brown himself) as a continuous poem, to be entitled, “To his Mistress, on her Infidelity?' We have, indeed, a “ leading idea," and a very distinct one, of some delusion, once cherished by the poet, against the power of which he struggles, and which his better reason finally rejects. But the complaint is not wholly that of the infidelity of a mistress; it is that the love which he bears towards her is incompatible with his sense of duty, and with that tranquillity of mind which belongs to a pure and lawful affection. This “ leading idea” is expressed in ten stanzas, which we print in the order in which they occur. They are more or less strong and direct in their allusions; but, whether the situation which the poet describes be real or imaginary-whether he speak from the depth of his own feelings, or with his wonderful dramatic power—there are no verses in our language more expressive of the torments of a passion based upon unlawfulness. Throes such as these were somewbat uncommon amongst the gallants of the days of Elizabeth :
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Enjoy'd no suoner, but despised straight;
purpose laid to make the taker mad :
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes,
In things right true my heart and eyes have err’d,
And to this false plague are they now transferr’d.–137. When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her, though I know she lies; That she might think me some untutor'd youth, Unlearned in the world's false subtleties. Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young, Although she knows my days are past the best, Sinply I credit her false-speaking tongue; On both sides thus is simple truth suppress’d. But wherefore says she not she is unjust ? And wherefore say not I that I am old ? 0, love's best habit is in seeming trust, And age in love loves not to have years told :
Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
Aud in our faults by lies we flatter'd be.-138.
Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
That she that makes me sin awards me pain. 141.
If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,
By self-example mayst thou be denied: --142.
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
O me! what
eyes hath love put in my head,
O cunning Love! with tears thou keep'st me blind,
0, from what power hast thou this powerful might,