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10. state itself confounded to decay: i.e. not merely gained by another element, but wholly disappearing.

13. The grammar is a little loose'; it is not enough to say that the antecedent to which' is “ thought,' for it is not the thought that is driven to weep, but the poet who is driven to weep by the thought.

4 Sonnet No. LXV.

1. Since brass, nor stane, etc. : ' Since there is neither brass, nor stone,' etc.

3. hold a plea : 'plead. The usual meaning of the phrase is to try an action.

10. Time's best jewel : the poet's mistress, whom Time will one day gather to the chest where he stores his spoils.

12. spoil of beauty : Malone's emendation for the Quarto (1609) reading spoil or beauty.'

13. none, unless, etc. : his lady's 'reign will not be over when she is dead, but only when she is forgotten, and that she will not be so long as her poet's verses are read.




CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE (1564–1593), himself tragic figure, is best known by his four great tragedies : Tamburlaine, Dr. Faustus, The Jew of Malta, and Edward II, on the last of which Shakespeare drew for his Richard II. Marlowe, known in his life as revolutionary atheist, was killed in a drunken brawl at Deptford. He is ranked by Swinburne and J. A. Symonds among the great poets of the world.

This poem-or rather the first three stanzas and the fifth-appeared first in The Passionate Pilgrim, a short collection of poems published in 1599 with Shakespeare's name on the title-page, though the majority of the pieces were certainly not by him. It appeared again the following year—with the addition of stanzas 4 and 7-in a collection called England's Helicon, and was there attributed to Christopher Marlowe. The sixth stanza is not found before the second edition of Isaak Walton's Compleat Angler (1655), where the poem is given in

full as here printed. There are many variations in the other versions.

Passionate : 'in love,' which state is sometimes called • the tender passion.'

8. madrigals : here used loosely for songs.' A madrigal is strictly a five- or six-part song written according to elaborate rules.

11. kirtle : petticoat.'


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This ' madrigal '--for which term see note to No. 5, 1. 8 above—is from the Passionate Pilgrim (1599). It can only doubtfully be assigned to Shakespeare.

1. Crabbéd : 'cross-grained, churlish.' The primary reference was to the crooked or wayward gait of the crustacean, and the contradictory, perverse and fractious disposition which this expressed. --N.E.D.

3. pleasance : enjoyment.' 7. brave : "fair to see,' generally referring to clothes. 19. hie thee : 'hasten.' 20. stay'st : 'delayest.'

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Sung by Amiens in As You Like It, 11. v. With many other of Shakespeare's songs it was set to music by Dr. Arne (1710–1778).

3. turn : "adapt.' This is the Folio reading, needlessly altered by many editors to “tune.' Palgrave had tune' in his first edition, but gave the true reading in his second.


Sung by two Pages, 'both in a tune, like two gipsies on a horse,' in As You Like It, v. iii. The second line and the last three of the first stanza recur in all the following stanzas. The well-known music to this song was written by Thomas Morley, who died in 1604 about five years after the production of the play. It will be found in Chappell's Popular Music of tñe Olden Time and Boosey's Songs of England.

2. With a hey and a ho, etc. : this is one of the meaningless lines inserted by way of refrain into the songs of the period, and sometimes later, not a little to the confusion of foreign students, who have vainly striven to attach a meaning to them.

4. ring time : i.e. the season for giving a weddingring.

5. For some unexplained reason Palgrave omits the final · ding' in both editions.

13. crowned with the prime : i.e. is at its height; prime, from meaning ' first period, has naturally taken the further meaning of 'period of perfection.'


This song was first printed in an anthology of 1602, compiled and partly written by Frank Davison and entitled A Poetical Rapsodie. It there appeared without ascription, but it was assigned to Dr. John Donne by Sir John Simeon who printed it in his Unpublished Poems of Donne in 1856. Grosart in his edition of Donne (1872) accepted the ascription, as did Palgrave in the second edition of his Golden Treasury; but Professor Grierson, the latest editor of Donne, has relegated the poem to an appendix as being probably by John Hoskins (1566–1638), a wit, schoolmaster and lawyer who became Member of Parliament for Hereford. It is marked 'J. H.' in a MS. transcribed by William Drummond, and it is not found in any of the most trustworthy MSS. of Donne's poems. The fact that it is assigned to Donne in an anthology of 1711 called The Grove has no great weight, for Donne appears to have acted as a dumping ground for anonymous verse both in his lifetime and after his death. Born in 1573 he became Dean of St. Paul's under James I., and was esteemed one of the most eloquent preachers of his day, though to ours he is better known by his Satires and Lyrics. He died in 1631.

There is considerable discrepancy between the various MSS. and early printed versions ; the readings adopted by Palgrave in his first edition are in the main those of the Poetical Rhapsody.

1. thou : omitted in two good MSS. and in The Grove. 2. strength : ‘completeness.'

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4. thou canst : 'you can,' in Poet. Rhap,

for alteration : to make me change.' 17. such : the MSS. for the most part give ' right.'

8. He soon hath found: there is a strong preponderance in favour of the reading “ His mind hath found'; Palgrave here follows Poet. Rhap., but adopts the better reading in the second edition.

12. Present : so all the printed versions and all the MSS. except one. Palgrave conjecturally read ‘Presence' in his first edition, and this has since been found in one MS. But, on the principle that the less obvious reading is probably correct, ' Present,' which Palgrave printed in his second edition, appears preferable.

After this line follows a rather obscure stanza which Palgrave omitted, as he explains in the Preface, 'to bring the piece to a closer lyrical unity. It is, fortunately, a process of which he has been sparing.

18. I both enjoy and miss her : it is so in Davison's version; the weight of authority is in favour of ' And so enjoy her, and so miss her.' The Grove reads' while none miss her.'

10 Sonnet No. LVII. 1. tend': attend.'

10. your affairs suppose : 'conjecture what is your business."

13, 14. in your will ... he thinks no ill : 'he believes that your intentions are always good.'.

11 Sonnet No. XCVII. 5. this time removed : “time of separation.

6. T'he teeming autumn, etc. ; an absolute clause equivalent to, ' while the teeming autumn was bearing.' big : ‘pregnant.?

7. wanton burden : “luxuriant produce'; a burden is that which is borne in the womb; prime : spring,' as being the first season of the year. . Cf. No. 8, 1. 13, and note.

10. But hope of orphans, etc.: Autumn is the mother and Spring the father, but Spring has vanished, so that the children when born will be fatherless.

13. cheer : "face,' expression of countenance this, the original meaning, is now obsolete. The second meaning 'mood,' 'state of mind,' hardly' survives except in the phrases • of good cheer,'' what cheer ?' and perhaps the latter is now only slang. The word is used in the sense of cheerfulness' from the 14th century onwards. Cf. note on No. 163, 1. 3.


Sonnet No. XXIX. 6. Featured : “formed,' shaped,' with reference to life rather than the face.

8. I.e. those occupations which generally give him pleasure are least able to satisfy him now.

11. It is noteworthy that the Quarto encloses this line in a parenthesis, connecting 'From sullen earth' with 'sings.' Mr. Percy Simpson in his Shakespearean Punctuation defends this reading ; but I should doubt it.


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Sonnet No. CIX. 7. Just : punctually'; exchanged : changed,' altered -an obsolete sense.

10. all kinds of blood : ‘people of different temperaments.'

11, 12. so stain'd To leave, etc.: i.e.'as to leave.'

14 Sonnet No. civ.

4. shook for · shaken' is not uncommon in the 17th century, which often used the past tense of strong verbs in place of the past participle.

8. which for who' is often found in Shakespeare and his contemporaries ; it occurs frequently in the Authorised Version of the Bible (1611), notably in the Lord's Prayer.

9, 10. Steal I take to be intransitive, and his to be put for 'its, i.e. beauty's; beauty slowly vanishes from the figure it adorns, as the hand steals imperceptibly round the clock.

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