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The old reading is certainly right. Then do I expect, says Shakespeare, that death should fill up the The word expiate is used nearly
measure of my days.
in the same sense in the tragedy of "Locrine," 1595: "Lives Sabren yet to expiate my wrath;"
i. e. fully to satisfy my wrath.
Again, in our author's "King Richard :”---
P. 20, 1. 1. So weary. Read---so wary. P. 21, l. 19. Hast thou the muster, mistress of my passion. Read--Hast thou, the master-mistress, &c. It is impossible to read this fulsome panegyric, addressed to a male object, without an equal mixture of disgust and indignation. STEEVENS.
Some part of this indignation might, perhaps, have been abated, if it had been considered that such addresses to men, however indelicate, were customary in our author's time, and neither imported criminality, nor were esteemed indecorous. To regulate our judgment of Shakespeare's poems by the modes of modern times, is surely as unreasonable as to try his plays by the rules of Aristotle.
Master-mistress does not, perhaps, mean man-mistress, but sovereign-mistress. MALONE.
Ib. 1. 24. A man in hue all hue, &c. Read---all hues.
This line is thus exhibited in the old copy :--
"A man in hew all hews in his controlling." Hews was the old mode of spelling hues (colours). and also Hughes, the proper name. MALONE.
P. 22, 1. 5. But since she prick'd thee out, &c. prick is to nominate by a puncture or mark.
Ib. 1. 12. Far from where I abide. This reading Mr. Malone thinks better than the old reading, which
is- from fur where I abide.
The old reading is, however, sense.
For then my
thoughts setting out from my place of residence, is far
distant from thee, instead &c. MALONE.
Presents their shadow, &c. Thus the
Ib. 1. 17.
quarto corruptly. Read---thy shadow.
P. 23, 1. 2. Do in consent, &c.
Read---concent. Swart is dark, approaching to black. The word is common in the North of England. MALONE.
Ib. 1. 7. Swart-complexion'd night.
Swart, or swarth, is a common word every where, and may be found in any English Dictionary. EDITOR.
Ib. 1. 8. When sparkling stars tweer out, &c. Read ---When sparkling stars twire not, &c. This being unfortunately copied from one of the most incorrect of all the modern editions.
Perhaps we should read---When sparkling stars twirl not. MALONE.
Twire may, perhaps, have the same signification as quire. The poet's meaning will then amount to this: ---When the sparkling stars sing not in concert, (as when they all appear, he supposes them to do) thou mak'st the evening bright and cheerful. Still, however, twire may be a corruption. If it is, we may read-twink for twinkling. STEEVENS.
Twinkling is certainly a more applicable expression
for stars than singing; and agrees much better with the epithet sparkling. EDITOR.
Ib. 1. 9 and 10. But day, &c. And night, &c. An anonymous correspondent proposes to make the two concluding words of this couplet change places. But, I believe, the old copy to be right. Stronger cannot well apply to drawn out, or protracted sorrow. The poet, in the first line, seems to allude to the operation of spinning. The day, at each return, draws out my sorrow to an immeasurable length; and every revolving night renders my protracted grief still more intense and painful. MALONE.
Ib. 1. 23. To sing at heaven's gate. Read-sings hymns at heaven's gate: the above being copied from an erroneous edition.
These nervous and animated lines, in which such an assemblage of thoughts, clothed in the most glowing expressions, is compressed into the narrow compass of fourteen lines, might, I think, have saved the whole of this collection (i. e. Sonnets) from the general and indiscriminate censure thrown out against them. Note, p. 7, 1. 10. MALONE.
P. 24, 1. 3. Edge for shade.
P. 25, 1. 5 and 6. Flaming---out-burning.
other copies read---flameth---out-burneth, which is certainly not rhyme for framing--burning. EDITOR.
Ib. l. 17. Dateless night. Shakespeare generally uses the word dateless for endless; having no certain time of expiration. MALONE.
Ib. 1. 19. Vanish'd sight.
Sight seems to be here used for sigh, by the same licence which Shakespeare has already employed, in Tarquin and Lucrece, writing hild instead of held, than instead of then, &c.
The substantive sigh was, in our author's time, pronounced hard: at present the vulgar pronunciation of the word is sighth. The poet has just said, that he "Sigh'd the lack of many a thing he sought." By the word expence Shakespeare alludes to an old notion, that sighing was prejudicial to health. MALONE.
I suppose, by the expence of many a vanish'd sight, the poet means the loss of many an object, which being gone hence is no more seen." STEEVENS.
P. 26, 1. 5. Obsequious tear.
Ib. 1. 18. Thy deceased lover.
Obsequious is funereal.
The numerous ex
pressions of this kind, in these Sonnets, as well as the general tenour of the greater part of them, cannot but appear strange to a modern reader. In justice, therefore, to our author, it is proper to observe, that such addresses to men were common in Shakespeare's time, and were not thought indecorous. MALONE.
Friendship was formerly known by the name of love, and a friend was called a lover. We have instances of this in the Sacred Writings, particularly Jonathan's love for David, &c.
Ib. 1. 21.
same as preserve.
Ib. 1. 24.
Had my friend's muse, &c.
Reserve is the
hence, as well as from other circumstances, infer, that
these were among our author's earliest productions. MALONE.
Ib. 1. 25.
Ib. 1. 28.
There style. Read---their style.
P. 27, l. 15.
Poets fain--for feign; probably so pronounced and spelt in Shakespeare's time. EDITOR. Ib. 1. 17. Fair was the morn, &c. There was a line between this and---Paler for sorrow, &c. which is lost, and which, of course, contained a rhyme for wild.
P. 29, 1. 8. Who time and thoughts so sweetly dost deceive. The old copy reads---Which time and thoughts so sweetly dost deceive.
Mr. Malone substitutes doth in the place of dost, and gives the following explanation :---Which, viz. entertaining the time with thoughts of love, doth so agreeably beguile the tediousness of absence, from those we love, and the melancholy which that absence occasions.
Thought, in ancient language, meant melancholy. MALONE.
Mr. Malone's emendation is certainly preferable to that of a modern edition, which we have copied, and which renders the pronoun personal, (who) for the sake of corresponding with dost. EDITOR.
Ib. 1. 13.
Ib. 1. 16.
Know love, &c. Read---No love, &c.
For has here
the signification of because. MALONE. Ib. 1. 17. If thou thyself deceivest. The quarto reads---If thou this self deceivest, It is evidently corrupt. MALONE.
We should read deceive, according to grammar, which is violated for the sake of rhyme; but both rhyme and grammar might be preserved by reading throughout you instead of thou, yourself instead of thy