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The forward violet thus did I chide:

Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells,
If not from my love's breath? The purple pride
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells,

In my love's veins thou hast too grossly dy'd.
The lily I condemned for thy hand,a

And buds of marjoram had stol'n thy hair:
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol'n of both,
And to his robbery had annex'd thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.

More flowers I noted, yet I none could see,
But sweet or colour it had stol'n from thee.


Where art thou, Muse, that thou forgett'st so long
To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?
Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song,
Darkening thy power, to lend base subjects light?
Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem
In gentle numbers time so idly spent ;
Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem
And gives thy pen both skill and argument.
Rise, resty Muse, my love's sweet face survey,
If Time have any wrinkle graven there;
If any, be a satired to decay,

And make Time's spoils despised everywhere.
Give my love fame faster than Time wastes life;
So thou prevent'st his scythe and crooked knife.


O, truant Muse, what shall be thy amends

For thy neglect of truth in beauty dy'd?

The lily I condemned for thy hand,-] That is, for stealing the whiteness of thy hand.

b One blushing shame, &c.] The quarto reads, evidently by mistake, "Our blushing," &c.

Rise, resty Muse,-] "Resty" here means idle, torpid, &c. So in "Cymbeline," Act III. Sc. 6,

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Though some have thought that, in the latter example, "resty" signifies uneasy, restive.

da satire-] A satirist. So in Ben Jonson's Masque, called "Time Vindirated," &c.,

"Fame. Who's this?

Ears. 'Tis Chronomastix, the brave satyr.

Nose. The gentleman-like satyr, cares for nobody."

Both truth and beauty on my love depends;
So dost thou too, and therein dignified.
Make answer, Muse: wilt thou not haply say,
"Truth needs no colour with his colour fix'd;
Beauty no pencil, beauty's truth to lay;
But best is best, if never intermix'd?”-
Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb?
Excuse not silence so; for 't lies in thee
To make him much outlive a gilded tomb,
And to be prais'd of ages yet to be.

Then do thy office, Muse; I teach thee how
To make him seem long hence as he shows now.


My love is strengthen'd, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear;
That love is merchandiz'd whose rich esteeming
The owner's tongue doth publish everywhere.a
Our love was new, and then but in the spring,
When I was wont to greet it with my lays;
As Philomel in summer's front doth sing,
And stops here pipe in growth of riper days:
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burdens every bough,

And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.d
Therefore, like her, I sometime hold my tongue,
Because I would not dull you with my song.


Alack, what poverty my Muse brings forth,
That having such a scope to show her pride,
The argument, all bare, is of more worth
Than when it hath my added praise beside!

That love is merchandiz'd whose rich esteeming
The owner's tongue doth publish everywhere.]

Compare, "Love's Labour 's Lost," Act II. Sc. 1,

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summer's front-] Summer's beginning.

So, in the "Winter's Tale,"

"no shepherdess; but Flora

Peering in April's front."

her pipe-] The old copy has, "his pipe," but see in the subsequent lines her mournful hymns," and "Therefore like her," &c.

But that wild music burdens every bough, &c.] So, in the "Merchant of Venice," Act V. Sc. 1,

"The nightingale, if she should sing by day,

When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.'

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O, blame me not, if I no more can write!
Look in your glass, and there appears a face
That over-goes my blunt invention quite,
Dulling my lines, and doing me disgrace.
Were it not sinful, then, striving to mend,
To mar the subject that before was well? a
For to no other pass my verses tend
Than of your graces and your gifts to tell;

And more, much more, than in your verse can sit,
Your own glass shows you when you look in it.


To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I ey'd,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters' cold
Have from the forests shook three summers' pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn'd
In process of the seasons have I seen,

Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn'd,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah, yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceiv'd!b


your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand, Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceiv'd:

For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred,-
Ere you were born was beauty's summer dead.


Let not my love be call'd idolatry,
Nor my beloved as an idol show,
Since all alike my songs and praises be
To one, of one, still such, and ever so.
Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,
Still constant in a wondrous excellence;
Therefore my verse to constancy confin'd,
One thing expressing, leaves out difference.
Fair, kind, and true, is all my argument,-
Fair, kind, and true, varying to other words;
And in this change is my invention spent,
Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords.
Fair, kind, and true, have often liv'd alone,
Which three till now never kept seat in one.

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When in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rhyme
In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights,
Then in the blazon of sweet beauty's best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,a
I see their antique pen would have express'd
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And, for they look'd but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
For we, which now behold these present days,
Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.


Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,
Can yet the lease of my true love control,
Suppos'd as forfeit to a confin'd doom.
The mortal moon hath her eclipse endur'd,
And the sad augurs mock their own presage;
Incertainties now crown themselves assur'd,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age.
Now with the drops of this most balmy time
My love looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes,e
Since, spite of him, I'll live in this poor rhyme,
While he insults o'er dull and speechless tribes:

And thou in this shalt find thy monument,
When tyrants' crests and tombs of brass are spent.


What's in the brain, that ink may character,
Which hath not figur'd to thee my true spirit?
What's new to speak, what newd to register,
That may express my love, or thy dear merit?

Then in the blazon of sweet beauty's best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,-]

So in "Twelfth Night," Act I. Sc. 5,


"Thy tongue, thy face, thy limbs, actions, and spirit,
Do give thee five-fold blazon."

skill enough-] An emendation due to Tyrwhitt, the old copy having, “still enough.'

C- - and Death to me subscribes,-] That is, succumbs. So in "Troilus and Cressida," Act IV. Sc. 5,

"For Hector, in his blaze of wrath, subscribes
To tender objects."

What's new to speak, what new to register,-] So Malone, and perhaps rightly, though some editors still follow the quarto in reading,

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what now to register."

Nothing, sweet boy; but yet, like prayers divine,
I must each day say o'er the very same;

Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine,
Even as when first I hallow'd thy fair name.
So that eternal love in love's fresh case
Weighs not the dust and injury of age,
Nor gives to necessary wrinkles place,
But makes antiquity for aye his page;

Finding the first conceit of love there bred,

Where time and outward form would show it dead.


O, never say that I was false of heart,

Though absence seem'd my flame to qualify!

As easy might I from myself depart,

As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love: if I have rang'd,
Like him that travels, I return again; a
Just to the time, not with the time exchang'd,-
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reign'd
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stain'd,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my all.


Alas, 't is true I have gone here and there,
And made myself a motley b to the view,

Gor'd mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
Made old offences of affections new.

Most true it is that I have look'd on truth
Askance and strangely; but, by all above,
These blenches gave my heart another youth,
And worse essays prov'd thee my best of love.
Now all is done, have what shall have no end:
Mine appetite I never more will grind
On newer proof, to try an older friend,
A god in love, to whom I am confin'd.

That is my home of love: if I have rang'd,
Like him that travels, I return again ;]

Compare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Act III. Sc. 2,

"My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourn'd;

And now to Helen is it home return'd."

And made myself a motley-] As a motley dress was the usual garb of a jester, motley became in time the synonym for a fool.

Now all is done, have what shall have no end:] Malone, adopting a suggestion of Tyrwhitt, prints, "save what shall have no end," to the manifest improvement of the sense; but as the old reading is intelligible, we are hardly warranted in making any change.

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