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For compound sweet foregoing simple savour,
Hence, thou suborn'd informer! a true soul
Of what value was it to him that he bore the canopy of royalty, and with his presence honored the outward show? How did it aid him to labor for long months to attain favor from the queen, which eventuated in the waste of fortune and disappointment of his hopes? Had he not seen others deceived in the same way, who for the allurements of office gave up honest life, and spent their all for preferment? No; he was satisfied with the delights of authorship, with delineating truth in character, which, while affording no wealth, is free of care, and a source of constant enjoyment. It placed him beyond the reach of informers, and preserved his integrity of purpose and life.
O Thou, My lovely boy, who in Thy power
Yet fear her, O Thou minion of her pleasure!
This stanza refers entirely to “Hamlet.” The irresolution of the prince in avenging the murder of his father is alluded to in the “fickle glass and fickle hour" of time, as being held by Thou (Truth) for his own purpose. This hesitation, or “waning,” of Hamlet has grown, and become a more prominent feature of his character as time advanced. It has shown the "lovers withering" in the separation of Hamlet and Ophelia, and her death. Nature, despite the wreck of his mind and hopes, and the love he bore to his mother, still withheld him from his purpose, that the disgrace of his mother by her hasty marriage with Claudius might be clearly illustrated, and due preparation made for the "wretched minutes" in which all were slain. Although held back and detained, Thou (Truth) had a further motive, the death of Hamlet himself, whom he detained, that he might skilfully arrange for that denouement, “and her [Nature's] quietus is to render Thee.” (See note "Francis Bacon," for further interpretation.)
Commentators generally believe that the 127th Sonnet is the beginning of a new series, which conveys a meaning entirely distinct from anything contained in the preceding Sonnets. I
have before me, while writing this, a photo-lithographic fac-simile of the first quarto edition of the Sonnets of 1609, "from the copy in the British Museum, by Charles Praetorius, Photographer to the British Museum," etc. In the space between the 126th and 127th Sonnets two pairs of parenthetical characters occur, thus (were they put there by the artist?):
) They are seeming reproductions of the printed work. Why are they there? They occur at the close of the first stanza in which allusion is made to Hamlet (126), and preceding the first in which Othello is indicated (127). This last stanza is followed by one (128) ludicrously descriptive of the attempts of other authors to imitate the spirit and style of the dramas, and that by one (129) which suggests the guilty love of Claudius and Gertrude in “Hamlet.” A ludicrous description of “My Mistress ” (Tragedy), indirectly alluding to Othello, occurs in 130.
The parenthetical characters have some significance. They would hardly be selected to designate the commencement of a new series; but as suggestive of the omission or tranposition of two stanzas, their appearance is both natural and proper. If two approximate stanzas could be found that would restore the breaks in the sequence of the poem, would it not be reasonable to conclude that they belonged in the spaces inclosed by the parentheses? Place 129 after 126, and follow the last with 128, and the breaks in both IIamlet and Othello are repaired, and the description of each is uninterrupted. This is the only instance in the entire poem where the meaning is clouded by transposition. It is so marked that it ought to assure the genuineness of the discovery which completes the thought.
Yet so they mour, becoming of their woe,
Othello is the drama signified in this stanza. Until the present time, white people only have been represented in the leading characters of the dramas. Black is now selected for that purpose, and Beauty is represented in Desdemona as suffering from the foulest slander that can assail a wife. As the other writers of the age have at
tempted to delineate nature in tragic illustration of life, and made artificial work of it, Beauty has no place, or name, or protection in their writings. He is profaned and disgraced by them. For the purpose of rescuing him, having chosen Tragedy for his Mistress, he now presents him in black. His observation will be employed to demonstrate in his work that personal beauty is not necessarily the only beauty, and the world may be deceived by it. In the anguish and distress of Othello he will depict a beauty that shall be admired by all.
Thence to the close of the poem, it is supposed to be addressed to his Mistress, and many strange and curious opinions as to what manner of person she must have been, to answer the description given her by the poet, have been sanctioned by the best Shakespearian scholars of all generations since the poem appeared. She was of very dark complexion, of a fiery nature, passionate beyond all reason, false in all the elements of good character, and, as the author has written, in general makeup a perfect devil. That Shakespeare should have loved such a woman, and published the fact to the world, has given birth to deeper regrets and weaker apologies than any similar sin ever received. If these writers had by chance lit upon the idea that Bacon instead of Shakespeare was the author of this poem, with the knowledge which history gives of his life and character, I