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in his expenses. These objections in themselves would probably, have been insufficient in the eyes of the queen, were there not others whispered in her ears by some secret enemy, tending to shake her faith in his competency. It was during this struggle that, in reply to one of the urgent solicitations of Essex in behalf of the appointment, she said: “Bacon had great wit and much learning, but that in the law he could show to the uttermost of his knowledge, and was not deep." Montagu says: “Essex was convinced that Bacon's enemy was the Lord-Keeper Puckering.” Macaulay thinks “that Bacon himself attributed his defeat to his relations, Lord Burleigh and his son Sir Robert Cecil." Не quotes the following remarkable passage from a letter written by Bacon to Villiers many years afterwards: “Countenance, encourage, and advance able men in all kinds, degrees, and professions. For in the time of the Cecils, the father and son, able men were of design and of purpose suppressed.” While engaged in the effort to resist the effect of these and similar influences upon the mind of the queen, his fear of betrayal as a writer of plays must have haunted him like a spectre, to have revived so many years afterwards, such a vivid memory of it as he gives in this poem. In this spirit he invokes the hatred of Thou at that time, which is equivalent to saying that he wished all possible evidence of his dramas might be removed entirely from public observation.
They were created of Thou (Truth), and his hatred would conceal, while his love would expose him. “Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow" (as fortune was hostile to him, so mayst Thou be, that he may not hold him in fear; he will thank him for the favor). “Ah, do not, when my heart hath scap'd this sorrow, come in the rearward of a conquered woe” (do not reveal yourself after he las overcome other obstacles). “Give not a windy night a rainy inorrow, to linger out a purpos’d overthrow” (do not follow up the darkness and noise which now envelops him with thy storm and clouds, to aid those who are working for his defeat). “If Thou wilt leave Me, do not leave Me last, when other petty griefs have done their spite” (let not this exposure of his authorship be made when other and weaker impediments are removed). “ But in the onset come” (come as an enemy at first, and you will not be found out). “So shall I taste at first the very worst of fortune's might” (then with nothing to fear from you, all my fear will be of the calumnies of the day). “And other strains of woe, which now seem woe, compar'd with loss of Thee will not seem so ” (they will not alarm him; the only fear he has is this exposure as a playwright, all other opposition is nothing in comparison). IIe was certain that he would be appointed if his labors for the stage could be kept in concealment.
Wretched this alone, that Thou mayst take
He names in this stanza, as the highest enjoyment and greatest pride of his life, the time that he has spent in the creation of his dramas. There is for every one some particular pleasure paramount to all others; as for some their birth, others their skill. Some worship wealth, some strength. Fine garments, hawks, hounds, and horses have each their special admirers, who take their greatest pleasure in them. He has no choice among these, they are alike agreeable; but that which he prizes above them all is “Thy love” (the delight he has experienced in weaving his own true thought, and the truths gathered from the past, into the immortal dramas). In them, and in the truths of which they are composed, he has the pride of all men. It is depicted in them, and it saddens him when he thinks that in the attempts
of others to illustrate truth, all its beauty may be destroyed.
But what's so blessed-fair that fears no blot ?
In this stanza he expresses the conviction that Thou (Truth) will be with him during life. “But do Thy worst to steal Thyself away” (his delineated thoughts),"for term of life Thou art assured Mine” (Thou (Truth) will be with him while he lives), "and life no longer than Thy love will stay, for it depends upon that love of Thine” (all knowledge of him and his dramatic labors (his lise) ceases (dies) when he stops writing (Thou's love of Thy ends); as from that moment they will be recognized as the work of Shakespeare). “Then need I not to fear the worst of wrongs (which he declares to be the disappearance of Thy), "when in the least of them My life hath end” (since his name is gone from the moment
he ceases to write). “I see a better state to me belongs” (he is sure of the appointment as solicitor), “ihan that which on Thy humour doth depend” (superior in rank and position to writing). “Thou canst not vex Me with inconstant mind, since that My life on Thy revolt doth lie” (he cannot be blamed for preferring this office to writing, as the disclosure of that would ruin him). He will gain a title (be ennobled) by it, retain possessiou of Thou (Truth), and be happy in a cessation of labor as a writer. Better than all Thy (his thoughts) being gone, there may be some untruths in his writings which cannot be discorered.
How like Eve's apple doth Thy beauty grow,
He tells in this stanza that Truth will have the same attraction for him when his pursuit has changed as it had before. Ignorant of any fal