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How careful was I, when I took my way,
Each trifle under truest bars to thrust;
That, to my use, it might unused stay
From hands of falshood, in sure wards of trust!
But thou, to whom my jewels trifles are6,
Most worthy comfort, now my greatest grief,
Thou, best of dearest, and mine only care,
Art left the prey of every vulgar thief.
Thee have I not lock'd up in any chest,
Save where thou art not, though I feel thou art,
Within the gentle closure of my breast7,
From whence at pleasure thou may'st come and part;
And even thence thou wilt be stolen, I fear,
For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear8.


Against that time, if ever that time come,
When I shall see thee frown on my defects,
Whenas thy love hath cast his utmost sum 9,
Call'd to that audit by advis'd respects;
Against that time, when thou shalt strangely pass,
And scarcely greet me with that sun, thine eye;
When love, converted from the thing it was,
Shall reasons find of settled gravity1;

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,
Within the knowledge of mine own desert,
And this my hand against myself uprear,
To guard the lawful reasons on thy part:

To leave poor me thou hast the strength of laws,
Since, why to love, I can allege no cause.

L. How heavy do I journey on the way,
When what I seek,—my weary travel's end,—
Doth teach that ease and that repose to say,
Thus far the miles are measur'dfrom thy friend3!
The beast that bears me, tired with my woe,
Plods dully on4, to bear that weight in me,
As if by some instinct the wretch did know
His rider lov'd not speed, being made from thee:The bloody spur cannot provoke him on
That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide;Which heavily he answers with a groan,
More sharp to me than spurring to his side;For that same groan doth put this in my mind,—
My grief lies onward, and my joy behind.

LI. Thus can my love excuse the slow offence
Of my dull bearer, when from thee I speed:

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.
O, what excuse will my poor beast then find,
When swift extremity can seem but slow 3?
Then should I spur, though mounted on the

In winged speed no motion shall I know:Then can no horse with my desire keep pace;Therefore desire, of perfect love being made,
Shall neigh (no dull flesh) in his firy race5;
But love, for love, thus shall excuse my jade;
Since from thee going he went wilful-slow,
Towards thee I'll run, and give him leave to go.

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.
'—— aciesque habetatur amori
Mutato toties. Alicubi. Steevens.

7 Therefore are Feasts So solemn and so rare,
Since Seldom Coming, in the long year set,

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:

"my state,

"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.:


Blessed are you, whose worthiness gives scope,
Being had, to triumph, being lack'd, to hope.


What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
Since every one hath, every one, one shade,
And you, but one, can every shadow lend.
Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit1
Is poorly imitated after you;
On Helen's cheek all art of beauty set,
And you in Grecian tires are painted new:
Speak of the spring, and foizon of the year 2;
The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
The other as your bounty doth appear3;
And you in every blessed shape we know.
In all external grace you have some part,
But you like none, none you, for constant heart.


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,
"That grew the more by reaping." Malone.

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