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All our pleasure known to us poor swains,
For a sweet content, the cause of all my moan4:
Other help for him I see that there is none 5.
When as thine eye hath chose the dame,
Take counsel of some wiser head,
Neither too young, nor yet unwed.
*—back Creeping—] So Weelkes. England's Helicon, and Passionate Pilgrim—peeping. Malone.
s Farewell, sweet Lass,] The Passionate Pilgrim and England's Helicon, read—Farewell, sweet love. When I printed this poem in 1780, I proposed to read—sweet lass, and such I now find is the reading in Weelkes's Madrigal. Malone.
* For a sweet content, the cause of all my Moan :] This reading was furnished by the copy printed in England's Helicon. The rhyme shows it to be the true one. The Passionate Pilgrim and Weelkes's copy have—
"—— the cause of all my woe." Perhaps we ought to read—thou cause, &c. Malone.
s Other help for him I see that there is none.] Is it possible that Shakspeare could have written this strange farrago; or what is, if possible, still worse—" It was a lording's daughter?"
6 And stall'd the deer that thou would'st strike,] So, in Cymbeline:
"when thou hast ta'en thy stand,
"The elected deer before thee." Malone. 7 As well as Fancy, partial Tike:] Fancy here means love. So, in The Rape of Lucrece:
"A martial man to be soft fancy's slave!"
And when thou com'st thy tale to tell,
And to her will9 frame all thy ways;
The strongest castle, tower, and town, The golden bullet beats it down \
The old copy reads—partial might. Mr. Steevens some years ago proposed to read—partial tike; a term of contempt (as he observed,) employed by Shakspeare and our old writers : and a manuscript copy of this poem, of the age of Shakspeare, in the possession of Samuel Lysons, Esq. which has—partial like, adds such support to his conjecture, that I have adopted it. Malone.
7 — with Filed talk,] With studied or polished language. So, in Ben Jonson's Verses on our author:
"In his well-torned and true-jiled lines." Malone.
8 And set thy person forth to Sell.] The old copy has"And set her person forth to sale." Mr. Steevens conjectured that sell was the author's word, and such is the reading of the manuscript above mentioned. It likewise furnished the true reading in a former part of the line.
9 And to her will, &c.] This stanza and the next in the Passionate Pilgrim follow the two stanzas which now succeed them. The present arrangement, which seems preferable, is that of the manuscript already mentioned. Malone.
1 Spare not to spend,
The strongest castle, tower, and town, The golden bullet beats it down.] So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
"Win her with gifts, if she respect not words; "Dumb jewels often, in their silent kind, "More than quick words do move a woman's mind." A line of this stanza—
"The strongest castle, tower, and town," And two in a succeeding stanza,
Serve always with assured trust,
And in thy suit be humble, true;
Unless thy lady prove unjust,
Seek never thou to choose anew:
When time shall serve, be thou not slack
What though her frowning brows be bent,
And twice desire, ere it be day,
That with such scorn she put away.
What though she strive to try her strength,
Had women been so strong as men,
In faith you had not had it then.
"What though she strive to try her strength, "And ban and brawl, and say thee nay,—" remind us of the following verses in The Historie of Graunde Amoure [sign. 12.], written by Stephen Hawes, near a century before those of Shakspeare:
"Forsake her not, though that she saye nay; "A womans guise is evermore delay. "No castell can be of so great a strength, "If that there be a sure siege to it layed, "It must yelde up, or els be won at length, "Though that 'to-fore it hath bene long delayed; "So continuance may you right well ayde: "Some womans harte can not so harded be, "But busy labour may make it agree." Malone. 1 Her cloudy looks will Clear—] So the manuscript copy ; instead of which the Passionate Pilgrim reads—" will calm." See the 148th Sonnet:
"The sun itself sees not, till heaven clears." Malone. 3 And Ban and brawl,—] To ban is to curse. So, in King Richard III.:
"You bade me ban, and will you have me leave?" Malone. VOL. XX. 2 E
The wiles and guiles that women work, Dissembled with an outward show, The tricks and toys that in them lurk, The cock that treads them shall not know.
Think, women love to match with men 3, And not to live so like a saint:Here is no heaven; they holy then Begin, when age doth them attaint.
But soft; enough,—too much I fear;For if my lady hear my song, She will not stick to ring4 mine ear, To teach my tongue to be so long:Yet will she blush, here be it said,
s Think, women love to match with men, &c] In printing this stanza I have followed the old manuscript copy, which has likewise furnished some other minute variations now adopted. The Passionate Pilgrim reads:
"Think women still to strive with men, . , • , •
"To sin and never for to saint; ,
"There is no heaven by holy then,
"When time with age shall them attaint." Malone.
4 —Ring mine ear,] Should not this be wring mine ear? Cynthius aurem vellit. Boswell.
5 To hear her secrets so bewray'd.] The foregoing sixteen Sonnets are all that are found in the Collection printed by W. Jaggard, in 1599, under the title of The Passionate Pilgrim, excepting two, which have been already inserted in their proper places (p. 345, and 348); a Madrigal, beginning with the words, "Come live with me," &c. which has been omitted, as being the production, not of Shakspeare, but Marlowe; and the two Sonnets that were written by Richard Barnefielde. In the room of these the two following small pieces have been added, the authenticity of which seems unquestionable. Malone.?
Take, oh, take those lips away 6, That so sweetly were forsworn j ,-.'„""And those eyes, the break of day,
6 Take, oh, take those lips away.] This little poem is not printed in The Passionate Pilgrim, probably because it was not written so early as 1599. The first stanza of it is introduced in Measure for Measure. In Fletcher's Bloody Brother it is found entire. Whether the second stanza was also written by Shakspeare, cannot now be ascertained. All the songs, however, introduced in our author's plays, appear to have been his own composition; and the present contains an expression of which he seems to have been peculiarly fond. Seethe next note.
_' x. . ' •• '. vMalone.
7 Seals Of Love, but seal'd in vain.] So, in Shakspeare's 142d Sonnet: . ( .
"not from those lips of thine,"That have profan'd their scarlet ornaments,
"Pure lips, sweet seals in my soft lips imprinted,
I regret that I cannot agree with Mr. Malone in assigning this exquisite little poem to Shakspeare. The argument, founded upon one expression which is found in it, will prove nothing; for, if it were not sufficient to say that it is an obvious metaphor, it would be easy to produce a variety of instances in which it has been used exactly in the same way by contemporary writers. The first stanza of this poem, it is true, appears in Measure for Measure; but, as it is there supposed to be sung by a boy, in reference to the misfortune of a deserted female, the second stanza could not have been written for that occasion, as being evidently addressed by a male lover to his mistress. Mr. Weber, in his edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, in a note on the Bloody Brother, seems willing, according to the colloquial phrase, to split the difference; and is of opinion that "the first stanza was Shakspeare's, and that Fletcher added the second to suit his own purposes." But the truth is, that this poem would not suit