[blocks in formation]

But thou, shrieking harbinger,
Foul pre-currer of the fiend,
Augur of the fever's end,
To this troop come thou not near.
From this session interdict
Every fowl of tyrant wing,
Save the eagle, featherd king:
Keep the obsequy so strict.
Let the priest in surplice white,
That defunctive music can,
Be the death-divining swan,
Lest the requiem lack his right.
And thou, treble-dated crow,
That thy sable gender mak'st
With the breath thou giv’st and tak’st,
’Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.


* There is a curious coincidence in a passage in “ The Tempest :'

“ Now I will believe
That there are unicorns; that in Arabia

There is one tree, the phenix' throne." o Can-knows.

[ocr errors]

Here the anthem doth commence:
Love and constancy is dead;
Phoenix and the turtle fled
In a mutual flame from hence.

So they lov’d, as love in twain
Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none:
Number there in love was slain.

Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
Distance, and no space was seen
'Twixt the turtle and his queen:
But in them it were a wonder.

So between them love did shine,
That the turtle saw his right
Flaming in the phenix' sight:
Either was the other's mine.

Property was thus appallid,
That the self was not the same;
Single nature's double name
Neither two nor one was call’d.
Reason, in itself confounded,
Saw division grow together;
To themselves yet either-neither,
Simple were so well compounded:

That it cried how true a twain Seemeth this concordant one! Love hath reason, reason none, If what parts can so remain. Whereupon it made this threne To the phenix and the dove, Co-supremes and stars of love; As chorus to their tragic scene.

* Threne-funereal song,


Beauty, truth, and rarity,
Grace in all simplicity,
Here enclos'd in cinders lie.

Death is now the phenix' nest;
And the turtle's loyal breast
To eternity doth rest,
Leaving no posterity :-
'T was not their infirmity,
It was married chastity.

may seem, but cannot be:
Beauty brag, but 't is not she;
Truth and beauty buried be.
To this urn let those repair
That are either true or fair;
For these dead birds sigh a prayer.


[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]





' A Lover's Complaint' was first printed with the Sonnets in 1609. It was reprinted in 1640, in that collection called "Shakspere's Poems,' in which the original order of the Sonnets was entirely disregarded, some were omitted, and this poem was thrust in amidst translations from Ovid which had been previously claimed by another writer. Of these we shall have presently to speak. There can be no doubt of the genuineness of ' A Lover's Complaint.' It is distinguished by that condensation of thought and outpouring of imagery which are the characteristics of Shakspere's poems. The effect consequent upon these qualities is, that the language is sometimes obscure, and the metaphors occasionally appear strange and forced. It is very different from any production of Shakspere's contemporaries. As in the case of the Venus and Adonis,' and the . Lucrece,' we feel that the power of the writer is in perfect subjection to his art. He is never carried away by the force of his own conceptions. We mention these attributes merely with reference to the undoubted character of the poem as belonging to the Shaksperian system : we shall have occasion to notice it again.

• The Passionate Pilgrim' was originally published in 1599, by William Jaggard, with the name of Shakspere on the title-page. A reprint, with some additions and alterations of arrangement, appeared in 1612, bearing the following title: "The Passionate Pilgrime, or certaine amorous Sonnets, betweene Venus and Adonis, newly corrected and augmented. By W. Shakespeare. The third Edition. Whereunto is newly added two Love-Epistles, the first from Paris to Hellen, and Hellen's Answere backe again to Paris. Printed by W. Jaggard, 1612. The second edition was, in all probability, a mere reprint of the first edition ; but in the third edition there are, as the title-page implies, important alterations. There is one alteration which is not expressed in the title-page. A distinction is established in the character of the poems by classifying six of them under a second title-page,

Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Musick.' This distinction we have preserved. There can be no doubt, we apprehend, that the newly added two Love-Epistles, the first from Paris to Hellen, and Hellen's Answere backe again to Paris,' were not written by Shakspere. There is the best evidence that they were written by Thomas Heywood. In 1609 that writer published a folio volume of considerable pretension, entitled “Troia Britanica, or Great Britaine’s Troy. In this volume appear the two translations from Ovid which William Jaggard published as Shakspere's in 1612. Heywood in that year published a treatise, entitled 'An Apology for Actors;' to which is prefixed an epistle to his bookseller, Nicholas Okes. The letter is a curious morsel in literary history


“ To my approved good friend, Mr. Nicholas Okes. “ The infinite faults escaped in my book of “ Britain's Troy,' by the negligence of the printer, as the misquotations, mistaking of syllables, misplacing half-lines, coining of strange and never-heard-of words: these being without number, when I would have taken a particular account of the errata, the printer answered me, he would not publish his own disworkmanship, but rather let his own fault lie upon the neck of the author : and being fearful that others of his quality had been of the same nature and condition, and finding you, on the contrary, so careful and industrious, 80 serious and laborious, to do the author all the rights of the press, I could not choose but gratulate your honest endeavours with this short remembrance. Here, likewise, I must necessarily insert a manifest injury done me in that work, by taking the two Epistles of Paris to Helen, and Helen to Paris, and printing them in a less volume, under the name of another, which may put the world in opinion I might steal them from him, and he, to do himself right, hath since published them in his own name: but as I must acknowledge my lines not worthy his patronage under whom he hath published them, so the author I know much offended with M. Jag. gard that (altogether unknown to him) presumed to make so bold with his name. These, and the like dishonesties, I know you to be clear of; and I could wish but to be the happy author of so worthy a work as I could willingly commit to your care and workmanship.


“ Yours ever,

“ Thomas HEYwood." Jaggard, upon the publication of this, appears to have been compelled to do some sort of justice to Heywood, however imperfect. He cancelled the titlepage of the edition of "The Passionate Pilgrim' of 1612, removing the name of Shakspere, and printing the collection without any author's name. Malone had a copy of the book with both title-pages. This transaction naturally throws great discredit on the honesty of the publisher ; and might lead us to suspect that Heywood's was not the only case in which Shakspere was “much offended with M. Jaggard, that (altogether unknown to him) presumed to make so bold with his name.” There are other pieces in “The Passionate Pilgrim' that have been attributed on reasonable grounds to other authors than Shakspere. It may be well, therefore, that we should run through the whole collection, offering a few brief observations on the authenticity of these poems.

The first two Sonnets in Jaggard's edition of The Passionate Pilgrim' are those which, with some alterations, appear as the 138th and the 144th in the collection of Sonnets published in 1609. The variations of those Sonnets, as they appeared in * The Passionate Pilgrim,' are given in our foot-notes at pages 180 and 181. The third Sonnet in the collection (the first in our reprint) is found in . Love's Labour 's Lost.' The fourth is one of the four Sonnets on the subject of Venus and Adonis. In Malone's first edition of these poems (1780) be followed the order of the original, as we now do; but in his posthumous edition, by Boswell, that order is changed, and the four Sonnets on the subject of Venus and Adonis are placed together, the first in the series. Malone's opinion, which he did not subsequently alter, was, that “several of the Sonuets in this collection seem to bave been essays of the author when he first conceived the notion of writing a poem on the subject of Venus and Ador and before the scheme of his work was completely adjusted." Boswell justly says that some doubt is thrown upon Malone's conjecture by the circumstance that one of these four Sonnets, with some variations, is found in a volume of poems published before “The Passionate Pilgrim,' namely, .Fidessa

« VorigeDoorgaan »