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The tender spring upon thy tempting lip
Fair flowers that are not gather'd in their prime,
Were I hard-favour'd, foul, or wrinkled-old,
Thou canst not see one wrinkle in my brow; Mine eyes are grey", and bright, and quick in
quarto 1593, and 16mo. of 1596. The double negative is frequently employed by our old English writers, and is often found in the translation of the Bible. The edition of 1600 reads“ – nor know they what they mean;" and this, as well as various other alterations made in our author's plays in the printed editions as they passed through the press, shews that in Shakspeare's time the correctors of the press (that is, the stewards or managers of the printing house, where his plays and poems were printed,) who revised the sheets of the various editions as they were reprinted, altered the text at random according to their notion of propriety and grammar. Malone
I harsh in voice.] Our poet on all occasions expresses his admiration of the fascinating powers of a sweet female voice, and his dislike of the opposite defect. Thus in King Lear :
" — Her voice was ever soft,
“Gentle and low, an excellent thing in woman." Malone. 2 — and lacking juice,] Thus the quarto 1593 and 1596. The edition of 1600 has-joice. The word juice, as Dr. Farmer informs me, is so pronounced in the midland counties.
3 Mine eyes are GREY,] What we now call blue eyes, were in Shakspeare's time called grey eyes, and were considered as eminently beautiful. See a note on Romeo and Juliet, vol. vi. p. 100. Malone.
My beauty as the spring doth yearly grow,
Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear,
Love is a spirit all compact of fire,
Witness this primrose bank whereon I lie;
sky, From morn to night, even where I list to sport me:
Is love so light, sweet boy, and may it be
Is thine own heart to thine own face affected ?
4 Or, like a nymph, with long dishevell’d hair,
Dance on the sands, and yet no footing seen;] So, in The Tempest:
“And ye, that on the sands with printless feet
“Do chase the ebbing Neptune-" Malone. 3 Love is a spirit all COMPACT of fire,
Not gross to sink, but light, and will aspire.] So, in The Comedy of Errors : “Let Love, being light, be drowned, if she sink.” Compact is, made up, composed. See vol. v. p. 309, n. 6.
Torches are made to light, jewels to wear,
Upon the earth's increase ® why should'st thou feed,
And so, in spite of death, thou dost survive,
By this, the love-sick queen began to sweat,
6 Things GROWING TO Themselves are growth's abuse :) Alluding to twinn'd cherries, apples, peaches, &c. which accidentally grow into each other. Thus our author says, King Henry VIII. and Francis I. embraced“ as they grew together."
STEETENS. Shakspeare, I think, meant to say no more than this; “ that those things which grow only to [or for] themselves," without producing any fruit, or benefiting mankind, do not answer the purpose for which they were intended. Thus, in a subsequent passage :
“ So in thyself thyself art made away." Again, in our author's 95th Sonnet:
“ The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
“ Though to itself it only live and die." Again, more appositely in the present poem :
“ Poor fiower! quoth she, this was thy father's guise, -
“ And so 'tis thine-.” Malone. ? Thou wast begot - So the quarto 1593. The copy of 1600 and the later editions read less correctly—“ Thou wert."
MALONE. 8 Upon the earth's INCREASE -] i. e. upon the produce of the earth. Malone.
And Titan, tired in the mid-day heat,
Wishing Adonis had his team to guide,
So he were like him, and by Venus' side.
Souring his cheeks ', cries, Fie, no more of love;
The sun doth burn my face; I must remove.
I'll make a shadow for thee of my hairs;
If they burn too, I'll quench them with my tears. The sun that shines from heaven, shines but warm”, And lo, I lie between that sun and thee;
9 And Titan—with burning eye, &c.] So, in King Henry V.:
" like a lackey, from the rise to set,
“Sweats in the eye of Phoebus.” Malone. « Titan tired," is "Titan attired.' Boswell. Souring his cheeks,] So, in Coriolanus :
" Some news is come,
“ That turns their countenances." Again, in Timon of Athens :
“ Has friendship such a faint and milky heart,
“ It turns in less than two nights ? ” Malone. 2-YOUNG, and so UNKIND?] So, in K. Lear, Act I. Sc. I. :
“So young, and so untender ?” Steevens. 3 What bare excuses mak'st thou - Things easily seen through and refuted. So, in K. Henry IV. Part I. vol. xvi. p. 217:
“Never did bare and rotten policy
MALONE. - I'll sigh celestial BREATH,] So, in Coriolanus :
Never man “ Sigh'd truer breath." Malone. s The sun that shines from heaven, shines but warm,] The
The heat I have from thence doth little harm,
And were I not immortal, life were done,
Art thou obdurate, flinty, hard as steel,
O, had thy mother borne so hard a mind ?,
What am I, that thou should'st contemn me this o? Or what great danger dwells upon my suit ?
sun affords only a natural and genial heat: “it warms, but it does not burn. “ Thou sun,” exclaims Timon, Act V. Sc. II. “ that comfort'st, burn!" Malone. So, in King Lear :
“- her eyes are fierce, but thine
“Do comfort, and not burn." W. 6- life were done,] i. e, espended, consumed. So, in Timon of Athens : “ Now Lord Timon's happy hours are done and past.”
MALONE. 7 O, had thy mother borne sO HARD a mind.] So, in All's Well That Ends Well:
“ but you are cold and stern ;
“ When vour sweet self was got.” Thus the quarto 1593. In the copy of 1596, bad is inserted instead of hard. The context shews that the latter was the poet's word. Malone.
8 — Unkind.] That is, unnatural. Kind and nature were formerly synonymous. MALONE.
9 What am I, that thou should'st contemn me this?] “ That thou should'st contemn me this," means, “that thou should'st contemptously refuse this favour that I ask.”
The original copy, as well as that of 1596, both read as I have printed the text; and I have not the least suspicion of its being erroneous. MALONE.
I suppose, without regard to the exactness of the rhyme, we