Massey on  Shakspeare's Sonnets (8)

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Composed for Master Will. Herbert.


In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not Beauty's name;
But now is black Beauty's successive heir,
And beauty slandered with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on Nature's power,
Fairing the foul with Art's false borrowed face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace:
Therefore my Mistress' eyes are raven black,
Her eyes so suited; and they mourners seem
At such, who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Slandering creation with a false esteem:
    Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
    That every tongue says, beauty should look
            so! (127)

How oft when thou, my Music, music playèst
Upon that blessèd wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently swayèst
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest
At the wood's boldness by these blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more blest than living lips:
    Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
    Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss. (128)

Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoy'd no sooner, but despisèd straight;
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
Mad in Pursuit, mad in possession so;
Mad, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof,—and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream;
    All this the world well knows; yet none
            knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to
            this hell. (129)

My Mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head:
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my Mistress reeks:
I love to hear her speak,—yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go,—
My Mistress, when she walks, treads on
        the ground:
    And yet, by heaven, I think my Love as rare
    As any she belied with false compare. (130)

Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art,
As those whose beauties proudly make them,
For well thou know'st, to my dear-doting heart
Thou art the fairest and most precious jewel!
Yet, in good faith, some say that thee behold,
Thy face hath not the power to make love groan;
To say they err, I dare not be so bold,
Altho' I swear it to myself alone:
And, to be sure that is not false I swear,
A thousand groans—but thinking on thy face—
On one another's neck, do witness bear
Thy black is fairest in my judgment's place!
    In nothing art thou black save in thy deeds,
    And thence this slander, as I think,
            proceeds. (131)

Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,
Knowing thy heart torments me with disdain,
Have put on black, and loving mourners be,
Looking with pretty ruth upon my pain:
And truly not the morning sun of heaven
Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east,
Nor that full Star that ushers in the Even
Doth half that glory to the sober west,
As those two mourning eyes become thy face:
Oh, let it then as well beseem thy heart
To mourn for me, since mourning doth thee grace,
And suit thy pity like in every part!
    Then will I swear Beauty herself is black,
    And all they foul that thy complexion lack. (132)

Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will!
And Will to boot, and Will in overplus:
More than enough am I that vex thee still,
To thy sweet Will making addition thus:
Will thou whose Will is large and spacious,
Not once vouchsafe to hide my "Will" in thine?
Shall Will in others seem right gracious,
And in my "Will" no fair acceptance shine
The sea, all water, yet receives rain still,
And in abundance addeth to his store;
So thou being RICH in Will, add to thy Will
One "Will" of mine, to make thy large Will more:
    Let no unkind, no fair beseechers kill;
    Think all but one, and me in that one
            "WILL." [76]  (135)

If thy soul check thee that I come so near,
Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy "Will";
And Will, thy soul knows, is admitted there!
Thus far, for love, my lovesuit, Sweet, fulfil:
Will will fulfil the treasure of thy love,
Ay, fill it full with Wills, and my "Will" one:
In things of great receipt with ease we prove
Among a number one is reckoned none:
Then in the number let me pass untold,
Though in thy store's account I one must be,
For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold
That nothing me, a something, Sweet! to thee:
    Make but my name thy love, and love
            that still,
    And then thou lov'st me, for my name is
            "Will." (136)

Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes,
They that behold, and see not what they see?
They know what beauty is, see where it lies,
Yet what the best is, take the worst to be;
If eyes, corrupt by over-partial books,
Be anchored in the bay where, all men ride,
Why of eyes' falsehood hast thou forgèd hooks,
Whereto the judgment of my heart is tied?
Why should my heart think that a several plot,
Which my heart knows the wide world's common
Or mine eyes, seeing this, say this is not,
To put fair truth upon so foul a face?
    In things right true my heart and eyes have
    And to this false plague are they now
            transferred. (137)

When my Love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies;
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties!
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue;
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed:
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told:
    Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
    And in our faults by lies we flattered be. [77] (138)

Oh, call me not to justify the wrong,
That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;
Wound me not with thine eye, but with thy tongue;
Use power with power, and slay me not by art:
Tell me thou lov'st elsewhere; but in my sight,
Dear heart forbear to glance thine eye aside!
What need'st thou wound with cunning, when
        thy might
Is more than my o'erpressed defence can 'bid?
Let me excuse thee: ah! my Love well knows
Her pretty looks have been mine enemies!
And therefore from my face she turns nay foes,
That they elsewhere might dart their injuries;
    Yet do not so; but since I am near slain,
    Kill me outright with looks, and rid my pain. (139)

Be wise as thou art cruel! do not press
My tongue-tied patience with too much disdain;
Lest Sorrow lend me words, and words express
The manner of my pity-wanting pain:
If I might teach thee wit, better it were,
Though not to love, yet, Love, to tell me so;
As testy sick men, when their deaths be near,
No news but health from their Physicians know;
For if I should despair, I should grow mad,
And in my madness might speak ill of thee:
Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad,
Mad slanderers by mad ears believèd be:
   That I may not be so, nor thou belied,
    Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart
            go wide. (140)

In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who in despite of view is pleased to dote:
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue's tune
Nor tender feeling, to base touches prone,
Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone:
But my five wits, nor my five senses can
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,
Who leaves unswayed the likeness of a man,
Thy proud heart's slave and vassal wretch to be:
    Only my plague thus far I count my gain,
    That she that makes me sin, awards me
            pain. (141)

Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,
Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving:
Oh, but with mine compare thou thine own state,
And thou shalt find it merits not reproving;
Or, if it do, not from those lips of thine,
That have profaned their scarlet ornaments,
And sealed false bonds of love as oft as mine;
Robb'd others' beds' revenues of their rents:
Be it lawful I love thee, as thou lov'st those
Whom thine eyes woo as mine importune thee: [78]
Root pity in thy heart, that when it grows,
Thy pity may deserve to pitied be:
    If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,
    By self-example may'st thou be denied. (142)

Lo! as a careful housewife runs to catch
One of her feathered creatures broke away,
Sets down her babe, and makes all swift despatch
In pursuit of the thing she would have stay,
Whilst her neglected child holds her in chace,
Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent
To follow that which flies before her face,
Not prizing her poor infant's discontent;
So runn'st thou after that which flies from thee,
Whilst I, thy babe, chase thee afar behind:
But if thou catch thy hope, turn back to me,
And play the Mother's part, kiss me, be kind!
    So will I pray that thou may'st have thy "WILL,"
    If thou turn back, and my loud crying still. (143)

Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require!
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour,
Whilst I, my Sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your Servant once adieu:
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save, where you are how happy you make those:
    So true a fool is love that, in your "WILL,"
    Though you do anything, he thinks no ill. (57)

That god forbid that made me first your slave,
I should in thought control your times of pleasure;
Or at your hand the account of hours to crave,
Being your vassal bound to stay your leisure!
O let me suffer, being at your back,
The imprisoned absence of your liberty;
And patience, tame to sufferance, bide each check
Without accusing you of injury!
Be where you list, your charter is so strong
That you yourself may privilege your time;
Do what you will; to you it doth belong
Yourself to pardon of self-doing crime!
    I am to wait, though waiting so be hell
    Not blame your pleasure, be it ill or well. (58)

Those lips that Love's own hand did make,
Breathed forth the sound that said "I hate,"
To me that languished for her sake:
But when she saw my woful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue, that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom;
And taught it thus anew to greet;
"I hate" she altered with an end,
That followed it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away.—
    "I hate" from hate away she threw,
    And saved my life, saying—"not you!" (145)

Poor Soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Foiled [79] by these rebel powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost then upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge?   Is this thy body's end?
Then, Soul, live then upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine, in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be Rich no more:
    So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
    And, Death once dead, there's no more dying
            then. (146)

My love is as a fever longing still
For that which longer nurseth the disease;
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
The uncertain sickly appetite to please:
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I, desperate now, approve
Desire is death, which physic did except:
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest,
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,
At random from the truth vainly express'd:
For I leave sworn thee fair and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night. (147)

Oh me! what eyes hath love put in my head,
Which have no correspondence with true sight!
Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled,
That censures falsely what they see aright?
If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote,
What means the world to say it is not so?
If it be not, then love doth well denote
Love's eye is not so true as all men's:  no,
How call it?   Oh, how can Love's eye be true,
That is so vex'd with watching and with tears?
No marvel then though I mistake my view;
The sun itself sees not, till heaven clears:
    Oh, cunning Love! with tears thou keep'st me
    Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should
            find. (148)

Cans't thou O cruel! say I love thee not,
When I against myself with thee partake?
Do I not think on thee when I forgot
Am of myself, all tyrant for thy sake?
Who hateth thee that I do call thy friend?
On whom frown'st thou that I do fawn upon?
Nay, if thou lower'st on me, do I not spend
Revenge upon myself with present moan?
What merit do I in myself respect,
That is so proud thy service to despise,
When all my best doth worship thy defect,
Commanded by the motion of thine eyes?
    But Love, hate on, for now I know thy mind;
    Those that can see thou lov'st, and I am blind. (149)

Oh, from what power hast thou this powerful might,
With insufficiency my heart to sway?
To make me give the lie to my true sight,
And swear that brightness doth not grace the day?
Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill,
That in the very refuse of thy deeds
There is such strength and warrantise of skill,
That, in my mind, thy worst all best exceeds?
Who taught thee how to make me love thee more,
The more I hear and see just cause of hate?
Oh, though I love what others do abhor,
With others thou should'st not abhor my state;
    If thy unworthiness raised love in me,
    More worthy I to be beloved of thee. (150)

Love is too young to know what conscience is;
Yet who knows not, conscience is born of love?
Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss,
Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove:
For then betraying me, I do betray
My noblest part to my gross body's treason;
My soul doth tell my body that he may
Triumph in love; flesh stays no further reason;
But, rising at thy name, doth point out thee
As his triumphant prize: Proud of this pride,
He is contented thy poor drudge to be,
To stand in thy affairs, fall by thy side,
    No want, of conscience hold it that I call
    Her—love, for whose dear love I rise and fall. (151)

In loving thee thou know'st I am forsworn,
But thou art twice forsworn, to me love swearing,
In act thy bed-vow broke and new faith torn
In vowing new hate after new love bearing:
But why of two oaths' breach do I accuse thee,
When, I break twenty?    I am perjured most;
For all my vows are oaths but to misuse thee,
And all my honest faith in thee is lost:
For I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness,
Oaths of thy love, thy truth, thy constancy;
And, to enlighten thee, gave, eyes to blindness,
Or made them swear against the thing they see;
    For I have sworn thee fair; more perjured I,
    To swear, against the truth, so foul a lie. (152)

Cupid laid by his brand, and fell asleep:
A maid of Dian's this advantage found,
And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep
In a cold valley-fountain of that ground;
Which borrowed from his holy fire of love
A dateless lively heat, still to endure,
And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove
Against strange maladies a sovereign cure:
But at my Mistress' eye Lore's brand new-fired,
The boy for trials needs would touch my breast;
I, sick withal, the help of bath desired,
And thither hied, a sad distemper'd guest,
    But found no cure; the bath for my help lies
    Where Cupid got new fire,—my mistress' eyes. (153)

The little love-god, lying once asleep,
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vowed chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire,
Which many legions of true hearts had warmed,
And so the General of hot desire
Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarmed;
This brand she quenchèd in a cool well by,
Which from love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
For men diseased; but I, my Mistress' thrall,
    Came there for cure, and this by that I prove,
    Love's fire heals water, water cools not love. (154)


    According to the testimony of Francis Meres, the "Sugred Sonnets" of Shakspeare were already extant, and known to be circulating amongst certain of the Poet's "Private Friends" in the year 1598.  These were also known to be love-sonnets; they are pointed to by Meres in proof of the author's excellence in this particular kind of poetry.

    Up to that time the one public patron and sole private friend to whom the Poet dedicated his poetry and his "love without end" had been Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton.  It was to him that Shakspeare offered his affection, and acknowledged his indebtedness, when he proclaimed that he had work in hand devoted and pre-dedicated to his service.  The Sonnets are termed the "barren tender of a poet's debt"; which debt had been publicly contracted or acknowledged in his dedication to Lucrece.  The debt was paid, and Shakspeare's promise fulfilled in those Sonnets that were written for the man, the patron, the private friend, who had first made the "dumb to sing aloud," or publicly aloft, and thus elevated his "rude ignorance" on a level with contemporary learning.  That was the Earl of Southampton, and consequently the Sonnets renowned by Meres in 1598 are the Sonnets written for and devoted to Henry Wriothesley.  Roughly reckoned, then, the first one hundred and twenty-six are Shakspeare's Southampton Sonnets.

    The series was begun with the Argument for Marriage.  It was continued in the "Sugred Sonnets," devoted to Southampton's love.  For these the friend furnished his own "Sweet Arguments," which the Poet set forth in a dramatic guise that afterwards became a disguise.  Hence the force of his plea,

"Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
 Whose influence is thine, and born of thee"!—Sonnet 78.

When his friend was married at last in the autumn of 1598, and the tiffs and troubles of that long and trying courting-time were all over, Shakspeare had attained the primary purpose and ultimate object in writing his Sonnets for Southampton.  Then his heart could be at ease on the subject that had been a source of sore anxiety to him for many years.  Consequently the Southampton Sonnets ceased for the time being, and very nearly altogether.

    In that same year (1598) young Master Will Herbert first came to live in London.  He had been in town on a visit to the Sidneys in the previous year, as we learn from Rowland White's letter, dated April 3, 1597, in which he mentions "my Lord Herbert's coming into the garden" of the Sidneys' house, but it was not until the next year [80] that he came to live in London.  We likewise learn from the same letters, that Herbert first went to Court in the year 1599, when the kindly old gossip hopes that he will play his cards well and prove himself to be a great man there.  White reports that Lord Herbert is greatly beloved by every one.  He is highly favoured by the Queen, who is very gracious to the young lord.  He was of sufficient mark and likelihood in 1599 for White to wish that Sir Robert Sidney might be lucky enough to find in him "a ladder to go up to that honour" White holds his master to be so worthy of.  Still the young lord is indifferent to the courtier's glory, much to White's regret.  He is not sufficiently obsequious; does not care to climb the steep and slippery ascent up which so many crawl, or become the petted lap-dog of Majesty, and is inclined to make way for others who pursue the matter with more persistency; he does not follow the business with the necessary care and caution.  We find that "My Lord Herbert is much blamed for his cold and weak manner of pursuing her Majesty's favour, having so good steps to lead him unto it."  Evidently his heart as a courtier is elsewhere than with her Majesty.  August 18, 1599, White says, "My Lord Herbert hath been from Court these seven days in London, swaggering it amongst the men of war, and viewing the matter of the musters."  There had been a sudden bruit of the Spaniards coming; orders were given for a camp to be raised and ships got ready in all haste.  A ruse probably of Cecil's, who was already on the pounce, alertly waiting for Essex to take his last false and fatal step.

    On the 8th of September in the same year, White says—" My Lord Herbert is a continual courtier, but doth not follow his business with that care as is fit; he is too cold a courtier in a matter of such greatness."  He is charged with a want of spirit and courage, and is said to be a "melancholy young man."  Also, it is muttered that young Sir Henry Carey stands to be a Favourite," and White appears to be jealous of "young Carey" who follows it—the prize of favourites—"with more care and boldness."  White does not account for the young lord's listlessness as a courtier, his indifference to the Royal caresses, nor for his melancholy as a man.  It is not that he wants a wife, for, when the subject of his marriage is mooted, White says, "I don't find any disposition in this gallant young lord to marry."  He has a continual pain in the head, for which he finds no relief except in smoking tobacco.  And White tells his correspondent that a more acceptable present than tobacco could not be made to the young lord.

More than once White hints that the young lord is greatly in want of advice.  He is a very gallant gentleman, but he needs such a friend as Sir Robert Sidney to be near him.  My immediate object, however, is to show from White's Letters, that in the year 1599 William Herbert was received at Court by her Majesty in the most friendly manner, and might have been favourite "an he would."  Next, to point out that during the two years following a great change took place in the Queen's personal regards toward him.  I doubt not there is more evidence extant than I have been able to collect, but some lines by John Davies will suffice for my purpose.  In his ode of rejoicing upon the accession of James to the English throne, Davies congratulates the Earl of Pembroke, amongst others, upon the change that had then taken place, and his prospect of a more inviting future at Court.  He says—

"Pembroke to Court, to which thou wert made strange,
 Go! do thine homage to thy Sovereign:
 Weep and rejoice for this sad-joyful change,
 Then weep for joy: thou needst not tears to feign,
 Sith late thine eyes did nought else entertain."

We see by this that the Earl had, before the death of Elizabeth, been looked on coldly at Court; that he had kept or been kept from it, and suffered some bitterness of feeling which had filled his eyes with tears.  My explanation is, that the estrangement arose from his being the personal friend of Essex and Southampton, and the banished Lady Rich.  We may learn how suspiciously the Queen had eyed any friend of theirs after the trial of Essex, by a letter of Cecil's to Winwood, [81] wherein he speaks of Sir Henry Danvers, whom Lord Mountjoy had employed to bring the report of his success in Ireland as a good opportunity to help him to kiss her Majesty's hands: "in whose good opinion he hath been a good while suspended, being known to be more devoted to the late Earl than became him!"  We may also see, by a letter from the Earl of Nottingham to Lord Mountjoy, to be quoted later, how closely and jealously the Queen was accustomed to watch the bearing of those for whom the Lady Rich had superior charms, and to whom her eyes were lodestars.  Late in the year 1599 Lady Rich had left the Court, as is reported, on account of her character, never to recover her lost place in the Queen's favour whilst Elizabeth lived; and in the September of this year "My Lord Mountjoy, with the Lord Herbert and Sir Charles Danvers, have been at Wanstead these four days."  Again, in the May of the next year we find that Herbert was paying a visit of three days' length to Lady Rich and Lady Southampton, in company with the same trusty friend of Southampton, who laid down his life for him and Essex on Tower hill.  In a letter dated May 26th, 1600, White says—

"This morning (Monday) my Lord Herbert and Sir Charles Danvers have taken water and gone to see my Lady Rich and Lady Southampton, almost as far as Gravesend; it will be Thursday ere they return."  This plainly enough strikes the trail of my subject: it shows the intimacy of the persons with whom my theory is concerned, and it gives a possible clue to the meaning which Rowland White's letters only hint at darkly.  Herbert was "greatly in need of advice," questionless because of the friendships he cultivated and the company he kept—these being most unpleasing in her Majesty's sight, for the Earl of Essex and his sister, Lady Rich, were now both out of favour; the Essex fortunes were falling, their star was fading, and the dark end was coming fast.  We may judge how her Majesty would resent this wandering away of Lord Herbert in such a pursuit by another letter of Rowland White's, dated December 28th, 1602, in which he speaks of something that concerns the fortunes of the Sidney family, and says—"The storm continues now and then; but all depends upon my Lady Rich's being or not being amongst you."  Evidently hers was at that time a perilous acquaintanceship.  The Earl of Southampton and his Countess were also in the deepest shadow of her Majesty's displeasure.

    The historical evidence here cited will serve to prove that Herbert was one of the Essex group of Shakspeare's "Private Friends" amongst whom the Sonnets circulated in 1599-1600.

    It will not be necessary for me to enter much into detail to prove that this young nobleman became a personal friend of Shakspeare.  The advocates of the theory that Herbert was the "Only Begetter" of the Sonnets, have laboured utterly in vain if they failed to show thus much!  Whilst those who hold that Herbert was the sole begetter of the Sonnets cannot, for the time being, become my opponents, whilst I show how he was one of the begetters.  Their great mistake was made through supposing that Thorpe's dedication to "Master W. H." covered the whole ground, whereas it was only the tail-piece which they laid bold of first, and so got the matter hind-before.  It is a fact of considerable significance, that the first play presented to King James in England was performed by Shakspeare's company in Herbert's house at Wilton.  Also the emphasis of the player' words bears far more on a private friendship than upon any facts that have been made public; they carry us behind the scenes.  In their dedication to the first folio they tell their readers that the Earl of Pembroke had prosecuted the Poet with so much favour that they venture to hope for the same indulgence towards the works as was shown to the parent of them.  This personal familiarity has had no identification for us in fact, and the players' meaning has never been recognizably localized.

    We might fairly enough assume that these Latter Sonnets were in some way an issue of the earlier ones; or that the same friends and acquaintances are bound up by a personal link of connection in the Book as they were in life and in their relation to the Poet.  However diverse in subject they may be, we cannot but infer that there is some meeting-place of the same persons from the fact that the Sonnets come to us as Shakspeare's, undoubtedly gathered up by one of the friends who was himself the connecting link.  Then the way in which they are mixed most curiously illustrates the intimacy of the persons, and the interchange of the Sonnets.  Thus we find three of Elizabeth Vernon's in company with those addressed to the other lady, and three of the "dark" lady's mixed up with Elizabeth Vernon's.  Also the two Sonnets which were printed in the Passionate Pilgrim were single Sonnets belonging to two separate stories, and yet they come into print together, which has a look of their having met in the hands of one and the same person.

    The testimony of character, too, is very conclusive.  Even with the personal interpretation, it has been taken for granted that the lady whom Shakspeare is imagined to have loved so madly in these Latter Sonnets was one with the Mistress of whom the friend was supposed to have robbed the Poet in the earlier ones, and the probability that the lady is the same is vastly increased by the present reading.  The lady of whom Elizabeth Vernon is jealous and afraid possesses the closest natural affinity to the Circe of the Latter Sonnets.  We have only to allow for the deeper hues into which such a character rapidly darkens for the likeness to be dramatically perfect.  In Sonnets 40 and 41 she is the wanton wooer of another woman's lover, the "Lascivious Grace," with such power in transforming evil into an appearance of good that all ill shows well in her; and in Sonnet 150 there is the same "becoming of things ill."  In the Jealousy Sonnets her "foul pride," her "steel bosom," and her "cruel eye" are dwelt upon by one victim of her iron rule and imperious will.  The same character, the precise characteristics, are reproduced here; there is the same commanding motion of the peculiar eyes, the same cruel pride in their power to enthral, the same authoritative Warrant of skill; the same subject for that public gossip which has grown bolder with her name, as her reputation has become worse.  Matters are now more serious, and the language has grown more emphatic, but the lady is one with the "woman coloured ill," in Sonnet 144, and still like that "lascivious Grace," who was known as Lady Rich.

    As we have seen, the Southampton Sonnets almost ceased with the Earl's marriage in 1598—their chief end and aim being then accomplished.  In the year 1598, William Herbert had come to live in London, and, possibly through his intimacy with Lord Southampton, had met with Shakspeare, and soon acquired some personal influence over our Poet.  The time was most opportune.  The young Lord could not take the warm place in his heart which had been consecrated to Southampton; he did not call forth any such fragrance of affection as breathes through the Sonnets devoted to the earlier, dearer friend of Shakspeare.  But he had winning ways, was a lover of poets, and something of a poet himself.  As a friend of Southampton and of Lady Rich, he would be early acquainted with the "Sugred Sonnets" of the Southampton series, and very naturally desirous of having verses written by so great a poet for himself.  The conclusion of the whole matter now sought to be established is that this last series of the Sonnets was written for William Herbert in the year 1599.

    All the evidence points to that year as the date of production. Two of the Sonnets were printed in 1599, and I doubt whether Shakspeare ever wrote another Sonnet of the latter series after that printing of his two Sonnets in the Passionate Pilgrim, which implies a violation of trust.  We learn from Heywood's Apology for Actors, that Shakspeare was much offended with the publisher, who, "altogether unknown to him, presumed to make bold with his name."  He would likewise be annoyed with the person who had played into the pirate's hands, and "cared not what he put into the press."

    "Youth, you have done me much ungentleness to show the letter that I writ to you!"  So says Phoebe in As You Like It.  And when that play was written the two Sonnets had just been put into print, without Shakspeare's permission, but not without any sign of his resentment.

    The motive or conceit of Sonnet 128 was borrowed from Ben  Jonson's play, Every Man out of his Humour, which was not produced until the year 1599.

"Fast.   You see the subject of her sweet fingers there (a viol de gamba).  Oh, she tickles it so, that she makes it laugh most divinely.  I'll tell you a good jest now, and yourself shall say it's a good one; I have wished myself to be that instrument, I think, a thousand times.—Act III. scene iii.

The Sonnet is addressed to the lady playing on the virginal.  She is called "my Music" by the speaker, who says how he envies the "jacks" that leap to kiss her hand.

"Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap, (a RICH harvest!)
 At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
 To be so tickled, they would change their state
 And situation with those dancing chips,
 O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
 Making dead wood more blest than living lips."

    We may safely conclude, from internal evidence and external data, that the present group was written after those Sonnets which are devoted to the court-ship of Southampton; and all the dates coincide in pointing to the year 1599.  The comparative test will also show that others belong to the time of, or preceded, the Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado, and As You Like It.

    My earlier argument was, that these Latter Sonnets were composed by Shakspeare at the suggestion of young Will Herbert upon his infatuation for the siren Lady Rich.  Such things have been as that of a youth falling fanatically in love with a woman far older than himself, and it was no answer to tell me that history had kept no record of William Herbert's passion for Lady Rich.  Neither does history furnish any account of Shakspeare's keeping a mistress, whether to himself or in common with Lord Herbert.  In either case, the data have to be derived from the Sonnets.  It was said that the lady was old enough to be Herbert's mother.  But that was only what I had pointed out as being the theme of Sonnet 143.  It is true that the glosses of her youth were gone; the flower had shed its freshest perfume; those that once "kneeled to the rose bud" might "stop their noses" against the rose over-blown.  But, her magic in working on the heart, and flinging a glamour over the eyes of a youth, must have attained its supremest subtlety.  She had a keen wit; was sprightly in conversation, and could say things full of salt and sparkle as a wave of the sea.  The eyes, of course, have their charm; they are the windows from whence looks a spirit wonderful in wit and wantonness, and in its ripest age of power; the potent spirit that by word or beck could bind a youngster fast in strong, invisible toils.  Her natural simplicities of the early time were now craftily turned into conscious art.  Practice had made her perfect in the use of those conquering eyes when they took aim with their deadly level in the dark.  She was mistress of a combination of forces most fatal to a young and fervent admirer; would know well how to feed his flame, and turn her own years into a maturer sexual charm for his youth.

    But it has now to be confessed that in my earlier delineation Stella was unwarrantably made the OBJECT of the Latter Sonnets and of their Speaker.  It is enough for me to show that she was, how she was, and why she was the subject of them, and their allusiveness to her character, complexion, and name.

    In describing his poem as a Passion in Sonnet 20 Shakspeare is careful to make the distinction betwixt Object and Subject, which the personal theorists are most anxious to obliterate.  The Dark Lady of dark character and dark deeds is the subject of the Latter Sonnets, but I now see that she need not be considered the Object of them.  It is impossible that any such wooing should have availed any man for either love or lust.  It could not have served a lover's purpose for serious use.

    The passion is capable of any extravagance of speech to gain its ends, and yet the very opposite language is made use of; such as could not have furthered the speaker's supposed aims.  Persons who serenade a lady under the circumstances implied do not approach her windows with a band of vulgar "rough music."  They do not remind her that she has broken her marriage vows, decry her charms, laugh at her age and her lies to conceal it, tell her that her face is foul, and on the whole she is as dark as night and as black as hell, with the view or expectation of gaining admission.

    The Sonnets are written on a false love, but they are not even true to that!  If we call the false love lust, it contains no reality when truly interpreted.  The burning passion surmised to smoulder in certain expressions is only employed to heat the branding-iron with which the lady is stamped with the scars of degradation!  And that was not the way to woo any woman, fair or foul.

    When most intense in his flame of words, the speaker is most utterly false, and says so in a mocking mood—

"When my Love swears that she is made of truth,
 I do believe her, though, I know she lies. "—Sonnet 133.

"In nothing art thou black save, in thy deeds."—Sonnet 131.

"In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes."—Sonnet 141.

"For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright,
 Who art as black as hell, as dark as night."—Sonnet 147.

In common with the autobiographists, I was long misled by the apparent sincerity of expression.  Shakspeare had nearly reached the maturity and culmination of his poetic faculty when he wrote the later Sonnets, and his giant powers even at play imposed upon me.  Then we are certain to be deceived by satire if we do not suspect the intention to deceive or to jest.  If the lady's deeds were so black and her character had been so bad; if she were so common that she could be called "the bay where all men ride," and the "wide world's common place," then nothing evil said of her could be considered slanderous; therefore such lines as these—

"For if I should despair I should grow mad,
 And in my madness might speak ill of thee;
 Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad,
 Mad slanderers by mad ears believèd be,"

—must be satirical when the woman described is past the possibility of being slandered.  Such wooing could have neither wooed nor won any woman, and therefore had no such aim.  The protestations are confessedly false, and therefore can furnish no proof that the lady thus blackened could have been the speaker's guilty paramour.  He tells her that he neither loves her nor lusts after her.

"All my vows are oaths but to misuse thee."

He only makes use of her subjectively where others are his object! (Sonnet 151.)  The character of the lady indicated by the most profoundly natural of all the dramatists is one that would not be wooed without flattery, and could not be won by being blackguarded with the maddest abuse.  Shakspeare did not suppose it would promote the suit, whether he pleaded for himself or another, to tell the lady that black as she was in her beauty, that was fair in comparison with the foulness of her black deeds; that she was as black as hell and dark as night; that her breasts were dun-coloured (or, as in Suffolk, dunduckitymur); that her breath was smoky or sooty in its rockiness; that she was a traitor to her marriage vows, a proclaimed prostitute, and that it was not her person that he sought.

"In faith I do not love thee with mine eyes,
 For they in thee a thousand errors note;
 But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
 Who in despite of view is pleased to dote:
 Nor are my ears with thy tongue's tune delighted;
 Nor tender feeling to base touches prone;
 Nor taste, nor smell desire to be invited
 To any sensual feast with thee alone.—Sonnet 141.

    It is perfectly impossible, then, that these Sonnets could have won or wooed the person so addressed.  They could not have promoted any love-suit nor pandered to any passion of lust.  Therefore it is senseless to suppose that Shakspeare ever thought they would, or ever wrote them for that purpose.  No matter whether the speaker be "Will" Herbert or Will Shakspeare, this fact is sufficient to show that the lady so darkly described was not the Object, and can only be considered as a sonneteering subject of the Sonnets that were suggested and written for some indirect but special purpose other than that which has been commonly assumed.  In trying to fathom this perplexing purpose, it will be necessary to show that in writing his Latest Sonnets Shakspeare was working on Sidney's lines as he had done in the earliest ones; possibly (I think assuredly) at the request of Herbert, who was Sidney's nephew.  It happens that there had been a new edition of the ' Arcadia' published in 1598, which contained certain Sonnets and Songs that were never before printed.  Two of these new Sonnets are here paralleled with two of Shakspeare's.


The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad:
Mad in pursuit and in possession so:
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed! behind, a dream!
    All this the world well knows, yet none
            knows well
    To shun the heaven that leads men to this
            hell.    (129)
                                                           Shakspeare, 1599

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Foiled by these Rebel Powers that thee array,
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly-gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? is this thy body's end?
Then, Soul, live, thou upon thy servants' loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross:
Within be fed, without be rich no more!
    So shalt then feed on Death, that feeds on
    And Death once dead there's no more dying
            then.     (146)


Thou blind man's mark, thou fool's self-chosen
Fond fancy's scum, and dregs of scattered
Band of all evils; cradle of causeless care;
Thou web of will, whose end is never wrought:
Desire! Desire! I have too dearly bought,
With prize of mangled mind, thy worthless ware;
Too long, too long, asleep then hast me brought,
Who shouldst my mind to higher things prepare:
But yet in vain then hast my ruin sought;
In vain thou madest me to vain things aspire;
In vain then kindlest all thy smoky fire;
For virtue hath this better lesson taught,—
    Within myself to seek my only hire
    Desiring nought but how to kill desire.
                                                           Sidney, 1598.

Leave me, O Love, which reachest but to dust;
And thou, my mind, aspire to higher things;
Grow rich in that which never taketh rust;
Whatever fades, but fading pleasure brings:
Draw in thy beams, and humble all thy might
To that sweet yoke where lasting Freedoms be;
Which breaks the clouds and opens forth the
That doth both shine, and give us sight to see:
O take fast hold; let that light be thy guide
In this small course which birth draws out to
And think how ill becometh him to slide,
Who seeketh Heaven, and comes of heavenly
    Then farewell, world; thy uttermost I see:
    Eternal Love, maintain thy life in me!
                                                        Sidney, 1598.


    The theme of both Poets is identical in each instance, and both themes were Sidney's first.  Those who follow me will have little difficulty in perceiving that Shakspeare took his cue from Sidney for a differentiated treatment of the same subjects; and a theme thus adopted and developed from Sidney may be looked upon as abstract or dramatic, but it can no longer be considered as a passion personal to the writer when it is evidently not suggested by his own experience, but where the source itself can be traced to Sidney's theme.

    In his Philosophy of Shakspeare's Sonnets (p. 73), Mr. Richard Simpson takes it for granted that the "Vulgar Love" of the Latter Sonnets is personal to the writer, and says piously enough, "It is to be noticed that the two most directly religious Sonnets (129 and 146) occur in the second series.  For remorse of conscience holds the same place in the lower love as criminal passions in the higher.  As such passions are obstacles to the progress of a pure love, so sorrow for them, and purposes of amendment, are obstacles to the progress of a guilty love."  But when the motif is patently adopted for the purpose of sonneteering, neither "guilty love" nor "remorse of conscience" can be attributed to Shakspeare.  And if Will Herbert did nurse any such passion for the lady, then the Poet plays the part of religious mentor to him, not to himself.  Even then the Sonnet ends with a wicked allusion to the heaven that leads men to this hell in the Poet's most covert manner!  Thus the imitation of Sidney, the denunciation of lust, the lightness of this last allusion to the sexual illusion, and the false philosophy (if seriously taken) are all opposed to a personal application of the Sonnet.

    Sonnet 129 is written for a purpose, but not for the purpose of self-admonishment.  The subject is the nature of lust, which is denounced as being perjured, murderous, bloody, savage, cruel, mad in pursuit and mad in possession.  All the world knows this well enough, and yet no one knows how to shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.  Does the reader think that Shakspeare borrowed from Sidney in this way for the purpose of painting his own case and excusing himself by making that case common to all men?

    That is neither Shakspeare's own morality nor his personal excuse for a criminal relationship. These two Sonnets contain matter enough, properly moralized, to convince all who have ever approached the real soul of Shakspeare, that the Latter Sonnets were not written on an amour of his own.  They ought to be sufficient to set us right on the subject, even if we had for awhile done him the injustice of thinking he could have been so blindly infatuated, and babbled about it so foolishly.  On the score of personal character alone, we should be entitled to assume that the subject of these Sonnets was not of Shakspeare's own choosing, but imposed on him by one of the "Private Friends" for whom he wrote.  It has no touch of his quality.  In his dramas he abets no intrigues of the kind; encourages no treacheries to the marriage bed; is no dealer in adulteries; has no sensual lubricity.  His wholesomeness in this respect is unimpeachable, and it is unparalleled amongst the dramatists of his or the following age.  Moreover, the root of the matter here can be traced in two of Sidney's Sonnets, which came into print for the first time in 1598.  It will be well to bear in mind that this note of warning against false inferences is sounded early in the Latter Sonnets, No. 129 being the third of the series.  Sidney had called upon the Elizabethan Poets to celebrate his Lady, Stella.

"But if both for your love and skill your name
You seek to nurse at fullest breasts of fame,
Stella behold, and then begin to endite."
                                                   Astrophel and Stella, Sonnet 15.

He likewise set them the example in punning on her married name of Lady Rich.


My mouth doth water, and my breast doth swell,
My tongue doth itch, my thoughts in labour be:
Listen then, Lordings, with good ear to me,
For of my life I must a riddle tell:
Toward Aurora's Court a nymph doth dwell,
Rich in all beauties which man's eye can see;
Beauties so far from reach of words that we
Abase her praise saying she doth excell:
Rich in the treasure of deserved renown,
Rich in the riches of a royal heart,
Rich in those gifts which give th' eternal crown;
Who though most rich in those and every part
    Which. make the patents of true worldly bliss,
    Hath no misfortune but that Rich she is.
                                                                           A. and S. 37.

                  "RICH, MORE WRETCHED."
Rich fools there be whose base, and filthy heart
Lies hatching still the goods wherein they flow,
And damning their own selves to Tantal's smart,
Wealth breeding want—more rich more wretched
Yet to those fools Heaven doth such wit impart,
As what their hands do hold, their heads do know,
And knowing love and loving lay apart
As sacred things, far from all danger's show:
But that rich fool, who, by blind Fortune's lot,
The richest gem of love and life enjoys,
And can with foul abuse such beauties blot;
Let him, deprived of sweet but unfelt joys,
    Exiled for aye from those high treasures which
    He knows not, grow in only folly rich!
                                                                          A. and S. 24.


    Sidney had said that "long-needy fame doth even grow Rich-meaning my Stella's name" (A. & S. 35).  And that she who was Rich in all joys did rob his joys from him (A. & S. Song v. 8).

    Various poets and versifiers, imitating him, also punned upon the name of Lady Rich.  Constable does so in Sonnets written for the express purpose, and inscribed to the Lady Rich, in which he celebrates the lady's three perfections as "most fair, most RICH, most glittering," and of the riches of her name, and says that no treasure is RICH but she.

    Barnaby Barnes, whose Sonnets have many resemblances to Shakspeare's, addressed the following Sonnet to Lady Rich—

"Thou bright, beame-spreading, Love's thrise-happy Starre,
 The Arcadian Shepheard Astrophill's cleare guide:
 Thou that on swift-wing'd Pegasus doest ride,
 Aurora's harbenger, surpassing farre
 Aurora caried in her rosie carre;
 Bright Planet, teller of cleare evening-tide,
 Starre of all starres, fayre-favor'd nighte's cheefe pride,
 Which day from night, and night from day doest barre:
 Thou that hast worldes of harts with thine eye's glaunce
 To thy love's pleasing bondage taken thrall;
 Behold where graces in love's circles daunce,
 Of two cleare starres, out-sparkling Planettes all:
     For starres her bewtie's arrow-bearers bee;
     Then be the subjectes, and superiour shee."
                                                                  Parthenophil, Sonnet 95.

    This Sonnet should be compared with Shakspeare's 132nd.

    John Davies followed suit, and punned upon her name by using the antithesis of poverty or of indigence; he says of Stella, she played her hapless part "richly well," and "to be rich was to be fortunate."

    This punning on the name of Lady Rich is as palpable in Shakspeare's Sonnets, if not so frequent, as it is in Sidney's.  In the Sonnet on aspiring to higher things, which has been quoted, Sidney bids his soul to rise from the love of Stella or earthly love, and "Grow Rich in that which never taketh rust."  Shakspeare repeats this when the speaker tells his soul to be fed within, "without be Rich no more."  The two go together, like substance and shadow.

    In Sonnet 151 the speaker says, that in thinking of her who is addressed,

"My soul doth tell my body that he may
 Triumph in love; flesh stays no farther reason;
 But rising at thy name, doth point out thee
 As his triumphant prize; proud of this pride
 He is contented thy POOR drudge to be."

Here the poor drudge is the Shakspearean antithesis to the name of Rich, just as Davies opposes indigence to her riches, or as Sidney juxtaposes her poor lord with his Lady Rich.  This allusiveness to her name is yet more audaciously indicated in Sonnet 135, where the lady is saluted in the spirit of Biron when he says to Rosaline (or Lady Rich) in the play of Love's Labour's Lost,

                                         "Your capacity
Is of that nature, that to your huge store
Wise things seem foolish, and rich things seem poor."

    In the Sonnet the lady is celebrated as being most wilful, or, as it is put for the purpose of punning, "full of Will," and the innuendo which conveyed the complete sense of Sonnets 135, 136, and furnished their real raison d'être, is that the Lady being so rich in Will (the Wilful Lady Rich), it would be natural or a propos for him to be Will in Rich.  The true Shakspearean antithesis is Rich in Will and Will in Rich—the Will being that youngster in Sonnet 143 portrayed in pursuit of a woman who is old enough to be his mother.  The name of "Rich," then, is as surely punned upon by Shakspeare as it is by Sidney; and as the subjects are identical, this is sufficient to at least suggest that Lady Rich is the subject of both.  In Sidney's Sonnets she was the object also; in Shakspeare's she is the subject merely; the passion as subject in the Elizabethan sense; the Sonnets being turned for the private delectation of Master Will Herbert, who poses like "mine uncle" for the purpose, or who has induced another poet to write anew on Sidney's old subject, Stella.

    Again, the curious complexion of Lady Rich was unique enough to present a passport for poetic immortality.  She was a fair woman with two black stars for eyes.  Her hair was tawny; her poets called it golden, or the colour of amber; her eyes were black as night and brilliant as its stars.  Sidney says they were as black as touch, and that they darted death with their "dark beams."  When King James called her a "fair woman with a black soul," he did but re-apply Sidney's antithesis of the fair woman in her peculiar beauty of blackness; Shakspeare's "light condition in a beauty dark," or his "tawny Tartar."  Because there was the background of a different complexion it was said that her eyes were in mourning, they, or she, had put on mourning; had taken the veil of mourning.  The conceit originated with Sidney, and it was derived from the peculiar combination of features that were Stella's only.  As Sidney sings of her—

"When Nature made her chief work, Stella's eyes,
 In colour black why wrapt she beams so bright?
 Would she in beamy black, like painter wise,
 Frame daintiest lustre, mixed of shades and light?
 Or did she, else, that sober hue devise,
 In object best to knit and strength our sight,
 Lest, if no veil those brave gleams did disguise,
 They, sunlike, should more dazzle than delight?
 Or, would she her miraculous power show,
 That whereas black seems Beauty's contrary,
 She even in black doth make all beauty flow?
 Both so, and thus, she, minding Love should be
     Placed ever there, gave hint his mourning weed,
     To honour all their deaths who for him bleed."

These same mourning eyes are those of "Philoclea," and the Poet has the very thought in prose (Arcadia, p. 95), "Her black eyes (are) black indeed, whether Nature so made them that we might be the more able to behold and bear their wonderful shining, or that she, goddess-like, would work this miracle with herself, in giving blackness the price above all beauty!"  The "only Philoclea" was Stella, Lady Rich.  And these are the eyes of Penelope Rich, the "only Philoclea!"  The eyes that constituted the feature on which her singers always settled as they ranged over her beauties with the honeyed murmurs of bees all busy in a world of flowers!  And in their dark depths lies the unfathomed secret of these Latter Sonnets.  Here are the mourning eyes, and the very miracle which Nature wrought in one particular person to set blackness above all beauty.  Shakspeare adopts and expands the ingenious idea often used by Sidney; he adds other reasons for the eyes appearing in mourning, but the elfin-bright black eyes are the same!  Not only does blackness take the shape of beauty in Stella, the same thought that Shakspeare reproduced in Sonnet 127 had been applied by Sidney to whiteness when she was sick, to virtue and to love—

"Stella is sick; and in that sick-bed lies
 Sweetness, which breathes and pants as oft as she;
 And Grace, sick too, such fine conclusion tries,
 That Sickness brags itself best graced to be.
 Beauty is sick, but sick in so fair guise
That in that paleness Beauty's white we see."—A. and S. 101.

"Who will in fairest book of Nature know
 How Virtue may best lodged in beauty be,
 Let him but learn of Love to read in thee

 Stella!"—Sonnet 71.

"Love of herself took Stella's shape, that she
 To mortal eyes might sweetly shine in her."

    Here we shall find the very matter of the two first Sonnets of the latter series.  But the likeness can be best shown by the comparative process—


                    MOURNING EYES.
In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not Beauty's name;
But now is black Beauty's successive heir,
And Beauty slandered with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on Nature's power,
Fairing the foul with Art's false borrowed face,
Sweet Beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace:
Therefore my Mistress' eyes [83] are raven black,
Her eyes so suited; and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Slandering creation with a false esteem:
    Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
    That every tongue says, "Beauty should
            look so!"    (127)

Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,
Knowing thy heart torments me with disdain,
Have put on black, and loving mourners be
Looking with pretty ruth upon my pain:
And truly not the morning sun of heaven
Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east,
Nor that full star that ushers in the even
Doth half that glory to the sober west,
As those two mourning eyes become thy face:
O, let it then as well beseem thy heart
To mourn for me, since mourning doth thee grace,
And suit thy pity like in every part:
    Then will I swear Beauty herself is black,
    And all they foul that thy complexion lack. (132)

When Nature made her chief work, Stella's eyes,
In colour black why wrapt she beams so bright?
Would she in beamy black, like painter wise,
Frame daintiest lustre, mixed of shade and light?
Or did she else that sober hue devise,
In object best to knit and strength our sight;
Lest, if no veil these brave gleams did disguise,
They, sunlike, should more dazzle than delight?
Or would she her miraculous power show,
That, whereas black seems Beauty's contrary,
She even in black doth make all beauties flow?
Both so, and thus—she minding Love should be
    Placed ever there, gave him this mourning
    To honour all their deaths who for her
            bleed.   (7)

"Soul's joy! bend not those morning stars
            from me."

"Who where she went bare morning on her



    Now at the risk of being charged by shallow observers with trying to make black white, the present writer is prepared to maintain, that after all we have heard of the Dark Lady, the Black Beauty, and the Swarthy Syren, the Woman of the Latter Sonnets is no more black-haired than she was black-skinned.  If she had been, the black eyes would not have put on mourning.  The black veil would have been thrown over her head and not limited to the eyes, or to eyes and eyebrows.  In Shakspeare's Sonnet both the hair and brows are not only avoided in the description of the lady's blackness, that is beyond all beauty, the eyes are repeated instead.  Her "eyes are raven black—her eyes THUS suited, and they mourners seem."

    The lady of Sidney's description was not a person of the ordinary dark and swarthy complexion, with hair of blue-black lustre, although he speaks of Nature setting blackness above all beauty; nor is the lady of Shakspeare's Sonnets; the blackness which he also celebrates as the only beauty is of the eyes, not of the face and hair. But the blackness of the eyes and the blackness of her character have blended to dye these Sonnets and make the lady look dark indeed.

    The opening Sonnet is of necessity founded on such a contrast as was only to be met in the complexion of Lady Rich.  The argument is that since the painting of faces and dyeing of hair have become so common, here, in this peculiar combination of black and fair, this triumph of Nature's most cunning workmanship, is Beauty's only place of worship.

    The fashion at Elizabeth's Court was to imitate the hair of the Queen.  If the painter of an early portrait of Her Majesty is to be trusted, her hair must have been of a ruddy gold, somewhat like the bark of the Scotch fir seen in the glow of sunset.  This natural hue was afterwards maintained by artifice.  The practice of dyeing hair became as prevalent as it is to-day.  The dead were robbed of their tresses, and, as we are told by Stubbes, ladies were accustomed to allure children into private places to snatch a grace from Nature by stealing their fair locks.  Therefore, because of this, "my Mistress' eyes are raven black," says the speaker, they have gone into mourning on this account, and so well does this black become them in spite of the implied contrast, that every tongue says "Beauty should look so!"—should appear in this pattern which owes nothing to Art and cannot be imitated.

    Lady Rich did appear in one of the Court masques, called the "Masque of Blackness," as an Ethiop beauty, with her hands, arms, and face blackened to the required tint, whilst her naked white feet dazzled the eyes as they dallied with a running stream; but this cannot be the complexion celebrated.  Nor did it need Shakspeare to tell us that the negro complexion was not wont to be admired in the antique time.  The subject touches in a most particular way the old poetic quarrel respecting the rival charms of black eyes and blue.  In the old time the frank eye of bonny English blue, or good honest gray, bore away the palm as the favourite of our Poets.  Black eyes were alien to the Northern ideal of beauty.  But here is such a triumph of this colour that black is Beauty's only wear.  Black eyes and black eyebrows, not a black face nor a dark complexion!  It is the eyes alone that have put an mourning, and become such "pretty mourners."  Now, the eyes would not have put on mourning if the face had been very swarthy; the hair black; and it is the eyes alone that are "so suited" in mourning hue.  There are two distinct excuses why the eyes should have assumed this mourning and put on this black; neither of which would have had a starting-point if the lady had been altogether dark; then it would have been her beauty that was dressed in the mourning robe, not her eyes alone.

    It will be seen that there is something very special about these black eyes—in opposition to which something fair is required and implied, for this dwelling upon a special feature is thoroughly opposed to Shakspeare's usual way of working.  Except for a humorous purpose, as in the case of Bardolph's firebrand of a nose, and Falstaff's mountain of a belly, it is not his habit to make featurely remarks, or to map out his characters by any of their particular physical signs.  We do not remember Shakspeare's men and women, as a rule, by their personal features.  Not that the poet generalizes them into vagueness, but the instinct of the Actor was alive to the fact that any stereotyped set of features would have interfered with the perfect portrayal in action.  The girth of Falstaff is always a difficulty, because the idea which has been given to the spectators must be acted up to!  And Shakspeare wisely abstained from giving his own set of faces and features, which must have left but little or no latitude in playing.  He gives us the spirit of the character minutely finished, but leaves the physical face a good deal to the actor, and thus allows scope to the imagination, and a great possible variety of "filling in"; this he does with it so careless an air, but such cunning of hand, that he is gone before we have noted it!  So that à priori there must be some very uncommon cause for these repetitions of the "mourning eyes," and this frequent looking into their unfathomable darkness.  For these eyes haunted the imagination of Shakspeare as much as they did that of any other Elizabethan poet.  There is nothing like it in the Southampton Sonnets; no such dwelling on a particular feature.  Therefore the explanation must be sought in the nature of the object, and there is sufficient internal evidence to show that in the present instance Shakspeare and Sidney both drew from one original, and that the one poet repeated the other's description because he was applying it to the same lady; and when we have lifted the veil of mystery through which they have glittered, and behind which the face has been so long concealed, we shall find that the supposed dark lady of Shakspeare's Sonnets is the famous golden-haired and black-eyed beauty, Penelope Rich, the first love of Philip Sidney, the cousin of Elizabeth Vernon, the sister of Essex, the Helen of the Elizabethan poets, personified as that "Lascivious Grace" by Shakspeare.

    She was "a most triumphant lady, if report be square to her."  As wonderful a piece of work as ever Nature cunningly compounded, and her beauty was of the rarest kind known in the North.  Sidney, who proclaimed his love for her and his joy therein, "tho' nations might count it shame," has left vivid Venetian paintings of her as the "Stella" of his Sonnets, the "Philoclea" of his Arcadia—whereby the lady glows in the mind, warm with life once more.  She had hair of tawny gold.  Sidney described her tresses as beams of gold. caught in a net.  In complexion of face she was nearly a brunette.  Her Poet has exactly marked the colour of her cheek as a "kindly claret," which is definite as the tint described by Dante as being "less than that of the rose, but more than that of the violets";

"Of all complexions the culled sovereignty
 Did meet as at a fair in her fair cheek."

    So black were her eyes, that those who have attempted to depict them seem to have felt, as they say of their very dark women in Angoulême, they were "born when coal was in blossom."  This opposition of blonde and brunette was striking as is the rich gold and the gorgeous black of the humble-bee.  Thus her beauty had the utmost contrast and chiaroscuro with which Nature paints the human face.  Day, with its golden lustres, may be said to have dwelt in her hair: night and starlight, in her eyes.  The light above and the dark below—the fair hair with its Northern frankness of smile and the black burning eyes of the South glittering deadly-brilliant under black velvet eyebrows, with what Keats might have called their ebon diamonding, gave that piquancy of character to her appearance on which the poets loved to dwell and doat.

An angel of light at the first glance; a "precious visitant," looking as though just stepped down from heaven, but with Proserpine-like eyes of such mystery you could not tell whether the indwelling divinity might not be an angel of darkness; could not get at the spirit in the black mask!  And so she walked as a wonder among men, gathering hearts by impressment under the banner of her voluptuous beauty, and winning such worship as falls to but few.  One of those women on whom "Heaven hath set strange marks"; one of those "earthtreading stars," as Shakspeare calls them, that come and light up our old world awhile, it may be, on their downward way from that pure heaven in which they will shine no more; one of the women who just seem to be angels falling!

    But, it may be asked, if these be the jetty eyes of Lady Rich, where then are the tresses of the Siren's own colour, the Merimaid's yellow, which the Poets so harped upon?  Sonnet 130 says, "If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head"; but evidence enough will be adduced to indicate that these Sonnets are not to be fathomed by the careless, casual glance with which they have as yet been read.  They have many covert meanings that have hitherto lurked privily.  We must learn to read between the lines.  They tell a secret history in cipher of which we have never before possessed the key.  The element of irony enters into their composition.  In Sonnet 138 it is irony in a smiling mood; and this Sonnet 130 is full of irony of the subtlest kind—that which makes its mock in smooth words of smiling dissimulation.  This is what Puttenham calls giving the "privy nippe," the sly pinch of disparagement under the pretended fondling of praise; it is serving up the honey with a sting in it.  "There's no such sport as sport by sport o'erthrown," says the Princess in Love's Labour's Lost; and this is the sort of sport which the speaker here makes.  He is showing that he can "gleek upon occasion."  The intention of the Sonnet is to decry and depreciate under an assumed guise of praise.  No one can suppose, for example, if the lady's breasts were dun-coloured, that the fact was mentioned for the sake of flattery, or that the description of the breath reeking from her indicates any niceness of feeling!  The apparent frankness of statement in this Sonnet is not meant to please, nor to say sooth, and it is a bit of malicious subtlety to call the lady's hair "black wires," which was so often be-sung as golden hair; and she had been so vain of its mellow splendour—so proud of its repute!  The rise of the word "wires" points to this ironic reading, for the primary comparison of hair with "wire" is when it is golden—the golden wire which was made when Apollo's lute was strung with his sunny hair.  It is always golden wires that hair is likened to in our poetry.  It is not the quality of the hair, not the wiriness, as we say, but the colour that is meant to be decried, and the expression is "black wires," which, by implication, points to a far different colour.

    In the same mocking vein Biron calls Dumain's "divine Kate" an "Amber-coloured Raven."  "Her Amber hair for foul" is darkly "quoted."   If it were necessary we might parry this expression with another which was made equally at random, and not meant to be a statement of fact—

"In nothing art thou black, save in thy deeds."

    Benedick asks a question very appropriate to the present subject when he says to Claudio "Speak you this with a sad brow, or do you play the flouting jack?  Come, in what key shall a man take you?"

    It is the unique complexion of Stella and of Rosaline, whose beauty in black did not include black hair.  When the speaker says, "If hair be wires, black wires grow on her head," he is using "Ethiope words" on purpose to decry her.  He is making her black all over.

    The sentiment in these Sonnets of the eyes in mourning, and of black being the sole beauty, together with the argument for the eyes and brows being black, when, according to the other parts, they ought not to be so, is only a repetition, curiously complete, from the play of Love's Labour's Lost.  It is there applied to "Rosaline" by Lord Biron, though not quite so carefully manipulated.  Again the same mistake has occurred; Rosaline is not a dark lady in the ordinary sense. It is the remarkable complexion of Lady Rich once more. It is the peerless eyes of "Stella" that have burned on Lord Biron, and made his temperament all tinder to their sparks—"Oh, but her eye! by this light, but for her eye, I would not love her; yes, but for her two eyes"—the startling strangeness of her black eyes and eyebrows, under the tawny yellow hair, that excites the jesting comment of the merry mocking lords.  The peculiarity of which they make fun is something beyond a dark skin; that would not explain the pleasant conceit which moves their mirth.  Lord Biron only defends the lady's eyes and brows, on account of blackness, and Shakspeare would not have written in this manner had the case been simply as supposed.

"O, who can give an oath? where is a book?
 That I may swear Beauty doth beauty lack,
 If that she learn not of her eye to look:
 No face is fair that is not full so black.
 O, if in black my lady's brows be decked,
 It mourns that painting and usurping hair
 Should ravish deters with a false aspect,
 And therefore is she born to make black fair.
 Her favour turns the fashion of these days,
 For native blood is counted painting now;
 And therefore red that would avoid dispraise
 Paints itself black to imitate her brow."

    It is the eyes and brows that are black, not the hair of the lady's head, ruddy hair being the fashion in Elizabeth's day.  According to Lingard, [84] the Queen wore "false hair of a red colour surmounted by a crown of gold."  It is the red eyebrow that was blackened to avoid dispraise, not the red head of hair.  Now, as ruddy golden hair was the fashion, if Rosaline's hair had been black, the others ought to have dyed their hair as well as their eyebrows.  The statement carefully confines the comparison to the lady's eyes and brow.  Evidently her hair was more in fashion.  The eyes and the brow alone mourned over the falsehood of other complexions, with which tricks were played artificially.  The perfect contrast of her complexion was a trick of Nature's own; not to be approached, by any cunningnesses of Art.  Elsewhere Biron calls the lady

"A wightly wanton with a velvet brow,
 With two pitch-balls stuck in her face for eyes." [85]

The eyes are "stuck in," not as naturally belonging.  The description is the same as that of the Sonnets: "Those two mourning eyes!" it is also one with Sidney's, and the sole meeting-place of all three is the person and complexion of Lady Rich.

    Sidney tells us that when he first began to write of Stella he did it to show his love in verse,

"That she, dear she, might take some pleasure of my pain."

Here the theme and motive of several of Shakspeare's Sonnets is to be found in four lines of Sidney's second Sonnet, in which he describes himself as a vassal who is like a "slave-born Muscovite" in his abjectness.  He says,

"I call it praise to suffer tyranny;
 And now employ the remnant of my wit
 To make myself believe that all is well,
 While with a fading skill I paint my hell

Such a mood of unmanly self-prostration is taken advantage of by Rosaline in Love's Labour's Lost, the "attendant star" of the Queen, whom I hold to be Stella, when she says of Biron,

"How I would make him fawn, and beg, and seek,
 And wait the season, and observe the times,
 And spend his prodigal wits in bootless rhymes,
 And shape his service wholly to my hests,
 And make him proud to make me proud, that jests!
 So potent-like would I o'ersway his state
 That he should be my fool, and I his fate."—Act V. sc. ii.

And this abjectness in love, this self-surrender, is continued and extended in Shakspeare's latter Sonnets, where the lady aimed at is the same, but the character is so changed that any liberty may be taken in speaking of her and her ill fame,—that is in the Sonnets only intended for a private friend.

    Biron's indication of Rosaline's character is also full of likeness.  There is, moreover, the same personification of that WILL to which Elizabeth Vernon was "mortgaged"; the Will that is so punned upon.

"Biron.    Is she wedded or no?
 Boyet.    To her will, sir, or so?"

    In this personification of will or wilfulness, we again meet the rival lady to whose high imperious "quill" the speaker in Sonnet 133 is a prisoner, to the will of lieu who is personified as "Will" in Sonnet 135, and it likewise features the wilful Lady Rich, the breakings-out of whose will were perpetual, and dashed with Cleopatra-like audacity.

    When once we have discovered a speaker for these Sonnets who is in every way a more befitting person than the Poet himself, and we couple with them the name of Lady Rich, a whole host of suggestions and illustrations start up to enforce the conjecture that she is the lady addressed.  Her coarser character in later life could not have been more exactly rendered than it is in these Sonnets.  They read like the plainest comments on the well-known facts of her career.  In the year 1600 she had lost the Queen's favour, says the historian Camden, because she was more than suspected of being false to her husband's bed.  And Sonnets 142 and 152, written in 1599, contain the bluntest statement of this precise charge.

    King James told Mountjoy that he had "purchased a fair woman with a black soul."  So the lover in these Sonnets denounces the lady as having a heart black enough to be the devil's looking-glass, but full of fatal witchery herself.

    The black eyes of Lady Rich were a subject of constant comment in her time, and frequently was their colour associated with another kind of blackness.  It was divined that her startling combination of fair and dark was in some degree the outward symbol of her curious moral mixture.  There is a hint of this in a letter of the Earl of Nottingham, who, in writing to Lord Mountjoy, twits him respecting these same black eyes.  He says, "I think her Majesty would be most glad to see and look upon your black eyes here, so she were sure you would not look with too much respect of other black eyes."  "But for that," says the old gallant past sixty, "if the Admiral (himself) were but thirty years old, I think he would not differ in opinion from the Lord Mountjoy."  The lady of these Sonnets is one in pride of spirit with her to whose power Essex paid unconscious tribute when he spoke of his sister's strength of mind and force of character, and proved his own miserable weakness: "She must be looked to, for she has a proud spirit."  This was cowardly on the part of a brother, but he spoke the bitter truth of her who had been the master spirit of his intrigues with James of Scotland, and who helped to hurry on his own weakness until his folly met its fate.

    But to return to our clue in Sidney's Sonnets.

    Sidney's 34th Sonnet supplies the text for several of Shakspeare's.  He will write to ease his heart by seeing his pain portrayed in words—see it externalized, if only in a mirror; for "Cruel fights well-pictured forth do please."  But will not the wise think his words "fond ware" if these are published?  Then let them be kept secret!  He is in a quandary with his wits at war.  It is difficult for him to explain, but perhaps others may feel and find the powers of Stella that so confuse his mind.  As Shakspeare most assuredly did, and turned it to sonneteering account.  Following the safe track already found, this Sonnet will afford a further clue.  Stella's great magical powers that so confused the mind of her lovers—especially confusing eyesight and insight—is the subject of 137, 141, 148, and 150 of Shakspeare's Sonnets.

"O, from what power hast their this powerful might
 With insufficiency my heart to sway?
 To make me give the lie to my true sight!
 O me! what eyes hath love put in my head,
 Which have no correspondence with true sight!"

"Stella's great Powers" have so "confused" his mind.

    Sidney's 52nd is upon the strife between Love and Virtue—

"A strife is grown between Virtue and Love,
 While each pretends that Stella must be his."

Shakspeare's 142nd opens thus—

"Love is my sin, and thy dear Virtue hate,
 Hate of my sin grounded on sinful loving."

The Sidneian situation could not be more perfectly portrayed than in those two lines, although the thought is with a different intent.

    Another contention described by Sidney is betwixt the "Will and Wit."  Virtue, he say, doth set "a bait between my Will and Wit."  This would afford a sufficient suggestion for the two Sonnets (135 and 136), in which the name of "Will" occurs eighteen times; the contention between "Will and wit" being most ingeniously, wittily, and wilfully sonnetted by Shakespeare.

    In addition to this, it could be shown that, where the likeness is less, Sonnet after Sonnet might have been composed on text after text selected from Sidney's for the purpose of a re-application to the same person.  Here is one example.  Stella had confessed (Sonnet 62) that

"Love, she did, but loved a love not blind;"

and Shakspeare's 149th commences—

"Canst thou, O cruel! say I love thee not?"

and concludes with—

"But, Love, hate on, for now I know thy mind:
 Those that can see thou lov'st, and I AM blind!"

The echo answers perfectly.

    Sonnet 151, compared with Sidney's 91st, will present us with a comparative test case.  Sidney's Sonnet is headed by Mr. Grosart, "You in them I love," with words quoted from the Sonnet itself.

                  "YOU IN THEM I LOVE."
"Stella, while now, by Honour's cruel might
 I am from you, light of my life, misled,
 And whiles,—fair you, my sun, thus overspread
 With Absence' veil,—I live in Sorrow's night;
 If this dark place yet show like candle-light,
 Some Beauty's piece, as amber-coloured head,
 Milk hands, rose checks, or lips more sweet, more red;
 Or seeings jet-black but in blackness bright;
 They please,—I do confess they please—mine eyes;
 But why? because of you they models be;
 Models, such be wood-globes of glistering skies:
 Dear, therefore be not jealous over me,
     If you hear that they seem in my heart to move;
     Not them, O no! but you in them I love."

    Sidney's plea is that if he appears to love others it is not so in reality; they are but lay-figures by which he pictures her.  It is her personally that he loves in them.  This same song is sung in the bass clef by the quizzer or mocker of "mine uncle."  Here the "love in you" becomes lust in strict accordance with the change in the characters of the Lascivious Grace, and the speaker who now addresses her or who covertly aims at her.  It is not with her but with others that "flesh" rises at the mention of her name.  Her magic has such power over his mind that the "gentle cheater" betrays it to the betrayal of his body.  The marriage with her is imaginary, whilst it is carnal with others.  Something analogous to this is applied to one of the wives in Goëthe's Elective Affinities.  The fight is for her, not with her.  Hence—

"No want of conscience hold it that I call
 Her—Love! for whose dear love I rise and fall."

Not with her, but with others!  There is no more a personal marriage with the lady addressed in this Sonnet than there was a wooing with intent to win her in the others.  She is subject rather than object.  As such her wanton charm betrays his soul, and that betrays his body.  Hence he says,

"Poor Soul! within be fed, without be Rich, no more;"

or, be no more misled with the deluding shadow of Lady Rich!

[Next page]




[76.](page 224)   It is incomprehensible to me that any Shakspearean student should suppose there are more than two "Wills" in this antithetical Sonnet—the "Will" as name of the speaker and the Will of the lady addressed.  The second line only indicates the abundance and overplus of the lady's capacity of Will (not one or rather two more "Wills" by name), hence the context—

"More than enough am I that vex thee still,
 To thy sweet will (not Wills) making addition thus."

Professor Dowden has changed the 13th line, and prints it—

"Let no unkind 'No' fair beseechers kill!"

But this is to set up a plea on behalf of any number of rivals, and then to make the speaker ask that they may be mistaken for HIM, if they only bespeak her fairly.  "Fair" is Shakspearean for to "make fair," which shows the antithesis to "unkind" or unnatural.  I read the last two lines as meaning, "let neither of this class of beseechers conquer or kill, but think the whole of your suitors one, and that one me. He pleads for himself alone, and not on behalf of her lovers in general.

[77.](page 224)

"When my love swears that she is made of truth,
 I do believe her though I know she lies,
 That she might think me some untutored youth,

 Unskilful in the world's false forgeries:
 Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,

 Although I know my years be past the best,
 I smiling credit her false-speaking tongue,

 Out-facing faults in love, with love's ill rest:
 But wherefore says my Love that she is young?
 And wherefore say not I that I am old?
 Oh, love's best habit is a soothing ton tongue,
 And age in love loves not to have years told:
 Therefore I'll lie with love, and love with me,
 Since that our faults in love thus smothered be."

[78.](page 225)    "Be it lawful, I take up what's cast away."—Lear, I. i.

[79.](page 226)   The following note by Dr. C. M. Ingleby, in Shakspeare: the Man and the Book, may serve to explain the earlier reading of this line proposed by me—

"Mr. Gerald Massey, in his big book on Shakspeare's Sonnets, made one step in the right direction, but unhappily made another in a wrong direction.  He saw far more than Mr. Dyce.  It was plain to him that the first array was not the verb used in that Sonnet.  But having reached this conclusion, he spoiled all by attempting to impose the second array on the corrupt line.  This he did by retaining the three first words, which every critic had discarded as a reduplicative misprint, and the following is the text adopted by him—

'Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,—
 My sinful earth these rebel powers array.'

Thus making the second line an impertinent parenthesis, and stultifying the demonstrative pronoun (these) by rejecting the only words which show who the rebel powers are.  What rebel powers? asks the reader; and here no answer is given in the text or by the critic.  Besides this objection, every reader of taste must feel that the speaker, having addressed his (or her) soul in the first line, preparatory to asking her why she pines and starves within her fading mansion, would not have arrested the course of his (or her) thought by an interpolation having no connection, grammatical or substantive, with the rest of the Sonnet.  For my part, had the Sonnet thus appeared in Thorpe's 4to, I should have marked it with an obelus; still less can I allow such writing to be imposed upon Shakspeare, when his publisher has not given it the sanction of print.  While thus condemning Mr. Massey's reconstruction, I honour him for having had one true insight.  He saw that the maintenance and adornment of the soul's 'fading mansion' is not the direct work of the 'rebel powers,' but of the soul herself.  At the same time, I must add, that his original insight seems to have suffered from his not perceiving that the verb array in that place cannot be an equivoke."

Dr. Ingleby did not quite apprehend my meaning, but there is no need now for further defence or explanation, as I give up the emendation—whilst retaining my sense of the word "array," which was endorsed by him.

Sidney's eighth Sonnet in Sidera, first printed in 1598, determines the true lection. Sidney wrote—

"If I could think how these my thoughts to leave,
 Or thinking still, my thoughts might have good end;
 If rebel sense would Reason's law receive,
 Or reason foyled would not in vain contend."

Here the "rebel sense" presents the original of the "rebel powers," and "reason foyled" suggests the right word at last.  I trust that this interpretation may make the second "step in the right direction"?  Shakspeare's Sonnets, especially these latter ones, could neither have been written nor read without the aid of Sidney's.

[80.](page 228)   Sydney Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 35.

[81.](page 230)   Winwood's Memorials, vol. i. p. 370.

[82.](page 235)   These titles are taken from Sidney's two Sonnets, and applied as headings by Mr. Grosart in the Poems of Sidney edited by him for the Fuller's Worthies' Library.

[83.](page 240)   "My mistress' eyes."  These eyes are so dwelt upon, and the lady's hair is so obviously omitted, as to suggest a something quite unaccountable.  Walker fancied the "eyes" of this line might have been a misprint for "hairs."  The editors of the "Globe" and "Gem" editions, acting on this hint, have taken a leap in the dark, and printed "brows."  By "her eyes so suited," Shakspeare did not mean also, but her eyes thus dressed in black.  A repetition which lays a double stress upon the eyes, and proves that neither the hair nor the brows was intended.

[84.](page 244)   Vol. vi. p. 65.

[85.](page 244)   Previously I argued against "Whitely," and pointed out that "Whitely Wanton" certainly could not be intended in the sense of a sallow face or "cheek of cream," because Biron says:

Of all complexions the culled sovereignty
Do meet as at a fair in her fair cheek,
Where several worthies make one dignity,
Where nothing wants that Want itself doth seek,"

I now see that as Wight or White is a name for a Witch, the epithet means a witching or bewitching wanton like that "lascivious Grace."