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The earth can have but earth, which is his due :
My spirit is thine, the better part of me:
So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life,
The prey of worms, my body being dead;
The coward conquest of a wretch's knife,
Too base of thee to be remembered.

The worth of that, is that which it contains,
And that is this, and this with thee remains".

LXXV. So are you to my thoughts, as food to life, Or as sweet-season'd showers are to the ground; And for the peace of you I hold such strife 6 As 'twixt a miser and his wealth is found; Now proud as an enjoyer, and anon Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure; Now counting best to be with you alone, Then better'd that the world may see my pleasure: Some time all full with feasting on your sight, And by and by clean starved for a look? ; Possessing or pursuing no delight, Save what is had or must from you be took.

s — and this with thee Remains.] So, in Antony and Cleopatra :

" And I hence Reeting, here remain with thee." o And for the peace of you I hold such strife -] The context seems to require that we should rather read :

“ – for the price of you"-or-" for the sake of you." The conflicting passions described by the poet were not produced by a regard to the ease or quiet of his friend, but by the high value he set on his esteem : yet as there seems to have been an opposition intended between peace and strife, I do not suspect any corruption in the text. Malone.

1 - CLEAN STARVED for a look ;] That is, wholly starved. So, in Julius Cæsar:

Clean from the purpose of the things themselves.”


So, in The Comedy of Errors :

“ While I at home starve for a merry look.


Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,
Or gluttoning on all, or all away S.

Why is my verse so barren of new pride ?
So far from variation or quick change ?
Why, with the time, do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange ?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed ,
That every word doth almost tell my name';
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:

For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.

LXXVII. Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear, Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste; The vacant leaves ? thy mind's imprint will bear, And of this book this learning may'st thou taste'.

8 Or gluitoning on all, or all away,] That is, either feeding on various dishes, or having nothing on my board, -all being away. MALONE.

Perhaps, or all away, may signify, or away with all ! i. e. 1 either devour like a glutton what is within my reach, or command all provisions to be removed out of my sight. Steevens.

9 - in a noted weed,] i. e. in a dress by which it is always known, as those persons are who always wear the same colours.

Steevens. | That every word doth almost tell my name ;] The quarto has : fel my name. Malone,

3 Thy vacant leaves -] Perhaps Shakspeare wrote- These vacant leaves. So afterwards : “ Commit to these waste blanks."

MALONE. 3 And of ruus book this learning may'st thou taste.] This,

The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show,
Of mouthed graves 4 will give thee memory;
Thou by thy dial's shady stealth may'st know
Time's thievish progress 'to eternity.
Look, what thy memory cannot contain,
Commit to these waste blanks ®, and thou shalt find
Those children nurs'd, deliver'd from thy brain,
To take a new acquaintance of thy mind.

their, and thy, are so aften confounded in these Sonnets, that it is only by attending to the context that we can discover which was the author's word. In the present instance, instead of this book, should we not read thy book ? So, in the last line of this Sonnet :

“ These offices, so oft as thou wilt look,
“Shall profit thee, and much enrich thy book."

MALONE. Probably this Sonnet was designed to accompany a present of a book consisting of blank paper. Were such the case, the old reading this book) may stand. Lord Orrery sent a birth-day gift of the same kind to Swift, together with a copy of verses of the same tendency. Steevens.

This conjecture appears to me extremely probable. We learn from the 122d Sonnet that Shakspeare received a table-book from his friend.

In his age it was customary for all ranks of people to make presents on the first day of the new year. Even Queen Elizabeth condescended to receive new-year's gifts from the lords and ladies of her court. Malone.

4 Of MOUTHED graves — ] That is, of all-devouring graves. Thus, in King Richard III. :

“- in the swallowing gulph

“Of dark forgetfulness and deep oblivion." Again, in Venus and Adonis :

“ What is thy body but a swallowing grave ?Malone. s Time's thievish PROGRESS —] So, in All's Well That Ends Well :

“Or four and twenty times the pilot's glass

“ Hath told the thievish minutes how they pass." Milton in one of his Sonnets has imitated our author : “ How soon hath time, that subtle thief of youth," &c.

MALONE. 6 – to these waste BLANKS,] The old copy has-waste blacks. The emendation was proposed by Mr. Theobald. It is fully supported by a preceding line : The vacant leaves, &c.


These offices, so oft as thou wilt look,
Shall profit thee, and much enrich thy book.

So oft have I invok'd thee for my muse,
And found such fair assistance in my verse,
As every alien pen hath got my use,
And under thee their poesy disperse.
Thine eyes, that taught the dumb, on high to sing,
And heavy ignorance aloft to fly?,
Have added feathers to the learned's wings,
And given grace a double majesty.
Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
Whose influence is thine, and born of thee:
In others' works thou dost but mend the style,
And arts with thy sweet graces graced be;

But thou art all my art, and dost advance
As high as learning my rude ignorance.

Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid,
My verse alone had all thy gentle grace;
But now my gracious numbers are decay'd,
And my sick muse doth give another place.
I grant, sweet love, thy lovely argument
Deserves the travail of a worthier pen;
Yet what of thee thy poet doth invent,
He robs thee of, and pays it thee again.
He lends thee virtue, and he stole that word
From thy behaviour; beauty doth he give,
And found it in thy cheek; he can afford
No praise to thee but what in thee doth live.

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7 And heavy IGNORANCE aloft to Alv,] So, in Othello: “O heavy ignorance ! thou praisest the worst, best.” MALONE.

8 Have added FEATHERS to the learned's WING,] So, in Cymbeline:

" your lord,
“ (The best feather of our wing)—." STEEVENS-

Then thank him not for that which he doth say, Since what he owes thee thou thyself dost pay.

O, how I faint when I of you do write,
Knowing a better spirit doth use your name,
And in the praise thereof spends all his might,
To make me tongue-ty'd, speaking of your fame!
But since your worth (wide, as the ocean is,)
The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,
My saucy bark, inferior far to his,
On your broad main doth wilfully appear.
Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat,
Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride;
Or, being wreck’d, I am a worthless boat,
He of tall building, and of goodly pride:

Then if he thrive, and I be cast away,
The worst was this ;-my love was my decay.

Or I shall live your epitaph to make,
Or you survive when I in earth am rotten;

9 Knowing a betTER SPIRIT doth use your name,] Spirit is here, as in many other places, used as a monosyllable. Curiosity will naturally endeavour to find out who this better spirit was, to whom even Shakspeare acknowledges himself inferior. There was certainly no poet in his own time with whom he needed to have feared a comparison ; but these Sonnets being probably written when his name was but little known, and at a time when Spenser was in the zenith of his reputation, I imagine he was the person here alluded to. MALONE.

i The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,] The same thought occurs in Troilus and Cressida :

" The sea being smooth, “ How many shallow bauble boats dare sail “Upon her patient breast, making their way “ With those of nobler bulk ?-Where's then the saucy boat ? "


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