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HELEN AGAIN TO PARIS.
Reason itself confounded,
BEAUTY, truth and rarity,
Hence inclos'd, in cynders lie:
Truth may seem, but cannot be ;
Truth and beauty buried be.
For these dead birds sigh a prayer.
WHY should this a desart be,
That the stretching of a span
Buckles in his sum of age.
Some of violated vows
"Twixt the soul of friend and friend,
But upon the fairest boughs,
Or at every sentence' end
HELEN'S cheek, but not her heart,
Sad LUCRETIA's modesty.
To have the touches dearest priz'd. Heaven would these gifts she should have, And I to live and die her slave.
THE VARIOUS OPINIONS OF
POEMS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.
SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS were entered on the Stationers' books by Thomas Thorpe, May 20, 1609, and printed in quarto in the same year. They were, however, written many years before. The general style of these poems, and the numerous passages in them, which remind us of our author's plays, leave not the smallest doubt of their authenticity. As these Sonnets are in 154 stanzas, peculiar passages have been selected, under appropriate heads, which will be more acceptable to readers in general. Also, THE PASSIONATE PILGRIM, being likewise of a miscellaneous nature, is given in the same manner: this was first published by William Jaggard, in small octavo, with our author's name, in 1599.
Ib. 1. 8. His gift confound. To confound, in Shakespeare's age, generally meant to destroy. MALOne. Ib. 1. 9. Time doth transfix the flourish; i. e. The external decoration. MALONE.
Ib. 1. 10.
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow; i. e. Renders what was before even and smooth, rough and uneven.
Ib. 1. 16. Crush'd and o'er worn. The old copy reads I suspect that our author wrote frush'd.
To frush is to bruise or batter.
P. 2, l. 1. To age's steepy night. I once thought that the poet wrote sleepy night. But the word travell’d shows, I think, that the old copy is right, however incongruous the epithet steepy may appear. Were it not for the antithesis, which was certainly intended between morn and night, we might read---to age's steepy height. MALONE.
P. 3, 1. 1. How with this rage. Shakespeare, I believe, wrote--with his rage; i. e. with the rage of mortality.
Ib. 1. 8. Shall time's best jewel from time's chest lie hid? I once thought Shakespeare might have written ---from time's guest; but am now convinced that the old reading is right. "Time's best jewel" is the person addressed, who, the author feared, would not be able to escape the devastation of time, but would fall a prey, however beautiful, to the all-subduing power.