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How careful was I, when I took my way,
Against that time, if ever that time come,
6 But thou, to whom my Jewels trifles are,] We have the same allusion in King Richard II.:
"——Every tedious stride I make,"Will but remember me what a deal of world"I wander from thejewels that I love." Malone. 'Within the gentle Closure of my breast,] So, in King Richard III.:"Within the guilty closure of thy walls." Steevens. We have the very words of the text in Venus and Adonis, p. 58: "Lest the deceiving harmony should run "Into the quiet closure of my breast." Bosnell.
8 For truth proves Thievish For A Prize So Dear.] So, in Venus and Adonis:
"Rich preys make true men thieves." C. 9 Whenas thy love hath cast his utmost sum,] Whenas, in ancient language, was synonymous to when. Malone.
Against that time do I ensconce me here2,
To leave poor me thou hast the strength of laws,
L. How heavy do I journey on the way,
LI. Thus can my love excuse the slow offence
1 When love, converted from the thing it was, Shall reasons find of settled gravity:] A sentiment somewhat similar, occurs in Julius Caesar:
"When love begins to sicken and decay,"It useth an enforced ceremony." Steevens. 1 —do I Ensconce me here,] I fortify myself. Asconce was a species of fortification. Malone.
'Thus far the miles are Measur'd From Thy Friend !] So, in one of our author's plays:
"Measuring our stepsfrom a departedfriend." Steevens. 4 Plods Dully on,] The quarto reads—Plods duly on. The context supports the reading that I have substituted. So, in the next Sonnet, where the same thought is pursued:"Thus can my love excuse the slow offence "Of my dull bearer." Malone.
From where thou art why should I haste me thence?Till I return, of posting is no need.
In winged speed no motion shall I know:Then can no horse with my desire keep pace;Therefore desire, of perfect love being made,
3 When Swift extremity can seem but Slow ?] So, in Macbeth:
"The swiftest wing of recompence is slow." Steevens.
4 Then should I spur, though Mounted On The Wind ;] So, in Macbeth:
"And Pity, like a naked new-born babe,"Striding the blast, or Heaven's cherubin, hors'd"Upon the sightless couriers of the air,"Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye." It is likewise one of the employments of Ariel,
"To run upon the sharp wind of the north." Again, in King Henry IV. Part II.:
"I, from the orient to the drooping west,"Making the wind my post-horse—." Again, in Cymbeline: ." — whose breath
"Rides on the posting winds." Malone.
5 Shall neigh (no dull flesh) in his firy race;] The expression is here so uncouth, that I strongly suspect this line to be corrupt. Perhaps we should read:
"Shall neigh to dull flesh, in his firy race." Desire, in the ardour of impatience, shall call to the sluggish animal, (the horse) to proceed with swifter motion. Malone.
Perhaps this passage is only obscured by the aukward situation of the words no dullflesh. The sense may be this: 'Therefore desire, being no dull piece of \\oxse-Jlesh, but composed of the most perfect love, shall neigh as he proceeds in his hot career.' "A good piece of hoKt-flesh," is a term still current in the stable. Such a profusion of words, and only to tell us that our author's passion was impetuous, though his horse was slow! Steevens.
So am I as the rich, whose blessed key
Can bring him to his sweet up-locked treasure,
The which he will not every hour survey,
For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure6,
Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare,
Since seldom coming, in the long year set,
Like stones of worth they thinly placed are7,
Or captain jewels in the carcanet8.
So is the time that keeps you, as my chest,
Or as the wardrobe, which the robe doth hide,
To make some special instant special-blest9,
By new unfolding his imprison'd pride.
6 For Blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure,] That is, for fear of blunting, &c.
Voluptates commendat rarior usus. Hor. Malone.
7 Therefore are Feasts So solemn and so rare,
Like stones of worth, &c.] So, in King Henry IV. Part I. i"If all the year were playing holidays,"To sport would be as tedious as to work;"But, when they seldom come, they wish'd-for come;"And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents." Again, ibidem:
"Seldom, but sumptuous, shewed like a feast,
"And won by rareness much solemnity." Malone. "— feasts so solemn and so rare." He means the fourfestivals of the year. Steevens.
8 Or Captain jewels in the Carcanet.] Jewels of superior worth. So, in Timon of Athens:
"The ass more captain than the lion, and the fellow "Loaden with irons, wiser than the judge." Again, in the 66th Sonnet:
"And captive Good attending captain 111." The carcanet was an ornament worn round the neck. Malone.
9 Or as the wardrobe, which the Robe doth hide, To make some special instant special-blest,] So, in King Henry IV. Part I.:
VOL. XX. T
Blessed are you, whose worthiness gives scope,
What is your substance, whereof are you made,
O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem, By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
"Then did I keep my person fresh and new; "My presence, like a robe pontifical, "Ne'er seen but wonder'd at." Steevens. 1 —and the Counterfeit—] A counterfeit, it has been already observed, formerly signified a portrait. Malone.
1 Speak of the spring, and Foizon of the year;] Foizon is plenty. The word is yet in common use in the North of England.
s The other As Your Bounty,—] The foizon, or plentiful season, that is, the autumn, is the emblem of your bounty. So, in The Tempest:
"How does my bounteous sister [Ceres]?" Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:"For his bounty,
"There was no winter in't; an autumn 'twas,