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times played about the city of London,” as found attributed to Shakspere; that some of the title-page tells us this was; but the play, these formed a group of continuous poems; without any injury to its poetical reputation that some were detached ; that no exact (to which, indeed, in the matter of plays, order could be preserved; and that accident little respect was paid), might take a line has arranged them in the form in which from the Sonnet. Our reasoning may be de- they first were handed down to us. fective, but our impression of the matter is If we have succeeded in producing satisvery strong. The play was published in 1596, factory evidence that many of the Sonnets after being “sundry times played ” in dif- are not presented in a natural and proper ferent theatres. William Herbert must have order in the original edition,-if we have begun his career of licentiousness unusually shown that there is occasionally not only a early, and have had time to make a friend digression from the prevailing train of and abuse his confidence before he was fifteen thought, by the introduction of an isolated -if the line is original in the Sonnet. Sonnet amongst a group, but a jarring and

The last point to which we shall very unmeaning interruption to that train of briefly draw the reader's attention, is the thought,—we have established a case that doubt which has been stated whether the the original arrangement is no part of the hundred and fifty-four Sonnets published in poet's work, because that arrangement 1609 were the same as Meres mentioned, in violates the principles of art, which Shak1598, as amongst the compositions of Shak- spere clings to with such marvellous judgspere, and familiar to his “private friends." ment in all his other productions. The Mr. Hallam thinks they are not the same, inference, therefore, is that the author of “ both on account of the date, and from the the Sonnets did not sanction their publicapeculiarly personal allusions they contain.” tion-certainly did not superintend it. This, One of the strongest of the personal allusions we think, may be proved by another course is contained in the 144th, originally printed of argument. The edition of 1609, although, in “The Passionate Pilgrim.' Where could taken as a whole, not very inaccurate, is full the printer of The Passionate Pilgrim' have of those typographical errors which inobtained that Sonnet except from some one variably occur when a manuscript is put of Shakspere's "private friends ?" If he so into the hands of a printer to deal with it obtained it, why might not the collector of as he pleases, without reference to the the volume of 1609 have obtained others of author, or to any competent editor, upon a similar character from a similar source ? any doubtful points. Malone, in a note Would such productions have been circulated upon the 77th Sonnet, very truly says, at all if they had been held to contain “pe- This, their, and thy are so often confounded culiarly personal allusions ?

If these are in these Sonnets, that it is only by attending not the Sonnets which circulated amongst to the context that we can discover which Shakspere's “private friends," where are those was the author's word.” He is speaking of Sonnets? Would Meres have spoken of them the original edition. It is evident, thereas calling to mind the sweetness of Ovid fore, that in the progress of the book through if only those published in The Passionate the press there was no one capable of dePilgrim' had existed, many of which were ciphering the obscurity of the manuscript “Verses to Music,” afterwards printed as by a regard to the context. The manuscript, such? Why should those Sonnets only have in all probability, was made up of a copy of been printed which contain, or are supposed copies; so that the printer even was not to contain, “ peculiar personal allusions ?” responsible for those errors which so clearly The title-page of the collection of 1609 is show the absence of a presiding mind in the 'Shake-speare's Sonnets.' We can only re- conduct of the printing. Malone has sugconcile these matters with our belief that in gested that these constantly recurring mis1609 were printed, without the cognizance takes in the use of this, their, thy, and thine, of the author, all the Sonnets which could be probably originated in the words being


abbreviated in the manuscript, according to are held to be addressed sanction their pubthe custom of the time. But this species of lication ? Would Lord Pembroke have sufmistake is by no means uniform. For ex- fered himself to be styled “ W. H., the only ample : from the 43rd to the 48th Sonnet begetter of these ensuing Sonnets ”—plain these errors occur with remarkable frequency; Mr. W. H.-he, a nobleman, with all the in one Sonnet, the 46th, this species of mis- pride of birth and rank about him—and take happens four times. But we read on, represented in these poems as a man of and presently find that we may trust to the licentious habits, and treacherous in his printed copy, which does not now violate licentiousness ? The Earl of Pembroke, in the context. What can we infer from this, 1609, had attained great honours in his but that the separate poems were printed political and learned relations. In the first from different manuscripts in which various year of James I. he was made a Knight of systems of writing were employed,-some the Garter ; in 1605, upon a visit of James using abbreviations, some rejecting them ? to Oxford, he received the degree of Master If the one poem, as the first hundred and of Arts ; in 1607 he was appointed Governor twenty-six Sonnets are called, had been of Portsmouth ; and, more than all these printed either from the author's manuscript, honours, he was placed in the highest station or from a uniform copy of the author's by public opinion ; he was, as Clarendon manuscript, such differences of systematic describes, “the most universally beloved and error in some places, and of systematic cor- esteemed of any man of that age.” Was rectness in others, would have been very un- this the man, in his mature years, distinctly likely to have occurred. If the poem had to sanction a publication which it was unbeen printed under the author's eye, their derstood recorded his profligacy? He was existence would have been impossible. of “excellent parts, and a graceful speaker

The theory that the first hundred and upon any subject, having a good proportion twenty-six Sonnets were a continuous poem, of learning, and a ready wit to apply to it,” or poems, addressed to one person, and that says Clarendon. Is there in the Sonnets the a very young man—and that the greater slightest allusion to the talents of the one portion of the remaining twenty-eight Son person to whom they are held to be adnets had reference to a female, with whom dressed ? If, then, the publication was not there was an illicit attachment on the part authorized, in either of the modes assumed, of the poet and the young man-involves we have no warrant whatever for having some higher difficulties, if it is assumed regard to the original order of the Sonnets, that the publication was authorized by the and in assuming a continuity because of that author, or by the person to whom they are order. What then is the alternative ? That held to be addressed. Could Shakspere, in the Sonnets were a collection of “Sibylline 1609, authorize or sanction their publica- leaves” rescued from the perishableness of tion ? He was then living at Stratford, in their written state by some person who had the enjoyment of wealth; he was forty-five access to the high and brilliant circle in years of age : he was naturally desirous to which Shakspere was esteemed ; and that associate with himself all those circum- this person's scrap-book, necessarily imperstances which constitute respectability of fect, and pretending to no order, found its character. If the Sonnets had regard to way to the hands of a bookseller, who was actual circumstances connected with his too happy to give to that age what its most previous career, would he, a husband, a distinguished man had written at various father of two daughters, have authorized a periods, for his own amusement, and for the publication so calculated to degrade him in gratification of his “private friends.” the eyes of his family and his associates, if the verses could bear the construction now put upon them? We think not. On the We subjoin, for the more ready informaother hand, did the one person to whom they | tion of those who may be disposed to ex

amine for themselves the question of the order of Shakspere's Sonnets (and it really is a question of great interest and rational curiosity), the results of the two opposite theories—of their exhibiting almost perfect continuity, on the one hand; and of their being a mere collection of fragments, on the other. The one theory is illustrated with much ingenuity by Mr. Brown; the other was capriciously adopted by the editor of the collection of 1640.

MR. BROWN'S DIVISION INTO Six POEMS. First Poem.-Stanzas i. to xxvi. To his

Friend, persuading him to marry. Second Poem.-Stanzas xxvii. to lv. To his

Friend, who had robbed him of his

Mistress—forgiving him. Third Poem.-Stanzas lvi. to lxxvii. To his

Friend, complaining of his Coldness,

and warning him of Life’s Decay. Fourth Poem.--Stanzas lxxviii. to ci. To

his Friend, complaining that he prefers another Poet's Praises, and reproving him for faults that may injure his cha

racter. Fifth Poem.-Stanzas cii. to cxxvi. To his

Friend, excusing himself for having been sometimes silent, and disclaiming

the charge of Inconstancy. Sixth Poem.-Stanzas cxxvii, to clii. To his

Mistress, on her Infidelity.

An Invitation to Marriage. [8, 9, 10,

11, 12.] False Belief. [138.] A Temptation. [144.] Fast and Loose. [P. P. 1.] True Content. [21.] A bashful Lover. [23.] Strong Conceit. [22.] A sweet Provocation. [P. P. 11.] A constant Vow. [P. P. 3.] The Exchange. [20.] A Disconsolation. [27, 28, 29.] Cruel Deceit. [P. P. 4.] The Unconstant Lover. [P. P. 5.] The Benefit of Friendship. [30, 31, 32.] Friendly Concord. [P. P. 6.] Inhumanity. [P. P. 7.] A Congratulation. [38, 39, 40.] Loss and Gain. [41, 42.] Foolish Disdain. [P. P. 9.] Ancient Antipathy. [P. P. 10.) Beauty's Valuation. [P. P. 11.] Melancholy Thoughts. [44, 45.] Love's Loss. [P. P. 8.] Love's Relief. [33, 34, 35.] Unanimity. [36, 37.) Loth to Depart. [P. P. 12, 13.] A Masterpiece. [24.] Happiness in Content. [25.] A Dutiful Message. [26.] Go and come quickly. [50, 51.] Two Faithful Friends. [46, 47.] Careless Neglect. [48.] Stout Resolution. [49.] A Duel. [P. P. 14.] Love-sick. [P. P. 15.] Love's Labour Lost. [P. P. 16.) Wholesome Counsel. [P. P. 17.] Sat fuisse. [62.] A living Monument. [55.] Familiarity breeds Contempt. [52.] Patiens Armatus. [61.] A Valediction. [71, 72, 74.] Nil magnis Invidia. [70.] Love-sick. [80, 81.] The Picture of true Love. [116.] In Praise of his Love. [82, 83, 84, 85.] A Resignation. [86, 87.] Sympathizing Love. [P. P. 18.] A Request to his Scornful Love. [88,

89, 90, 91.]


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*** In this arrangement the greater part

of the Poems of "The Passionate
Pilgrim' are blended, and are here
marked P. P. In this collection the
following Sonnets are not found :

-18, 19, 43, 56, 75, 76, 96, 126.
The Glory of Beauty. [67, 68, 69.]
Injurious Time. [60, 63, 64, 65, 66.]
True Admiration. [53, 54.]
The Force of Love. [57, 58.]
The Beauty of Nature. [59.]
Love's Cruelty. [1, 2, 3.]
Youthful Glory. [13, 14, 15.]
Good Admonition. [16, 17.]
Quick Prevention. [7.]
Magazine of Beauty. [4, 5, 6.]

A Lover's Affection, though his Love “There is extant a small volume of mis

prove Unconstant. [92, 93, 94, 95.] cellaneous poems in which Shakspere exComplaint for his Lover's Absence. [97, presses his feelings in his own person. It is 98, 99.]

not difficult to conceive that the editor, An Invocation to his Muse. [100, 101.] George Steevens, should have been insensible Constant Affection. [104, 105, 106.] to the beauties of one portion of that volume, Amazement. [102, 103.]

the Sonnets; though there is not a part A Lover's Excuse for his long Absence. of the writings of this poet where is found, [109, 110.)

in an equal compass, a greater number of A Complaint. [111, 112.]

exquisite feelings felicitously expressed. Self-flattery of her Beauty. [113, 114, But, from regard to the critic's own credit, 115.]

he would not have ventured to talk of an A Trial of Love's Constancy. [117, 118, act of parliament not being strong enough 119.]

to compel the perusal of these, or any proA good Construction of his Love's Un- duction of Shakspere, if he had not known kindness. [120.]

that the people of England were ignorant Error in Opinion. [121.]

of the treasures contained in those little Upon the Receipt of a Table-Book from pieces.” his Mistress. [122.]

That ignorance has been removed ; and A Vow. [123.]

no one has contributed more to its removal, Love's Safety. [124.]

by creating a school of poetry founded upon An Entreaty for her Acceptance. [125.] Truth and Nature, than Wordsworth himUpon her playing upon the Virginals. self. The critics of the last century have [128.]

passed away :Immoderate Lust. [129.]

“Peor and Baälim In praise of her Beauty, though Black.

Forsake their temples dim." [127, 130, 131, 132.] Unkind Abuse. [133, 134.]

By the operation of what great sustaining Love-suit. [135, 136.]

principle is it that we have come back to His Heart wounded by her Eye. [137, the just appreciation of “the treasures con139, 140.]

tained in those little pieces”? The poet A Protestation. [141, 142.]

critic will answer :An Allusion. [143.]

“There never has been a period, and perLife and Death. [145.]

haps never will be, in which vicious poetry, A Consideration of Death. [146.] of some kind or other, has not excited more Immoderate Passion. [147.]

zealous admiration, and been far more Love's powerful Subtilty [148, 149, 150.] generally read, than good ; but this advanRetaliation. [78, 79.]

tage attends the good, that the individual, Sunset. [73, 77.]

as well as the species, survives from age to A Monument to Fame. [107, 108.] age : whereas, of the depraved, though the Perjury. [151, 152.]

species be immortal, the individual quickly Cupid's Treachery. [153, 154.]

perishes; the object of present admiration vanishes, being supplanted by some other as easily produced, which, though no better, brings with it at least the irritation of novelty, - with adaptation, more

skilful, to the changing humours of the Of the estimation in which Shakspere's majority of those who are most at leisure to Sonnets' were held some half century ago, regard poetical works when they first solicit the greatest of our Sonnet writers, Words- their attention. Is it the result of the whole, worth, thus speaks :

that, in the opinion of the writer, the judg

or less

ment of the people is not to be respected ? It is the perpetual mistake of the public The thought is most injurious; and, could for the people that has led to the belief that the charge be brought against him, he would there was a period when Shakspere was repel it with indignation. The people have neglected. He was always in the heart of already been justified, and their eulogium the people. There, in that deep rich soil, pronounced by implication, when it is said have the Sonnets rested during two cenabove—that, of good poetry, the individual, turies ; and here and there in remote places as well as the species, survives. And how have the seeds put forth leaves and flowers. does it survive but through the people ? | All young imaginative minds now rejoice in what preserves it but their intellect and their hues and their fragrance. But this their wisdom ?

preference of the fresh and beautiful of *Past and future are the wings

poetical life to the pot-pourri of the last age On whose support, harmoniously conjoin'd,

must be a regulated love. Those who, seeing Moves the great spirit of human knowledge.' the admiration which now prevails for these

-MS. outpourings of “exquisite feelings feli

citously expressed,” talk of the 'Sonnets' The voice that issues from this spirit is that as equal, if not superior, to the greatest of vox populi which the Deity inspires. Foolish the poet's mighty dramas, compare things must he be who can mistake for this a local that admit of no comparison. Who would acclamation, or a transitory outcry-transi- speak in the same breath of the gem of tory, though it be for years; local, though Cupid and Psyche, and of the Parthenon ? from a nation! Still more lamentable is in the 'Sonnets,' exquisite as they are, the his error who can believe that there is any- poet goes not out of himself (at least in the thing of divine infallibility in the clamour form of the composition), and he walks, of that small though loud portion of the therefore, in a narrow circle of art. In the community, ever governed by factitious in- 'Venus and Adonis,' and the ‘Lucrece,' the fluence, which, under the name of the PUBLIC, circle widens. But in the Dramas, the centre passes itself, upon the unthinking, for the is the Human Soul, the circumference the PEOPLE.”


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