William Shakespeare

Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Critical Reference Edition, Vol. 1

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  • Link 1From off a hill whose concaue wombe reworded,
  • 2A plaintfull story from a sistring vale
  • 3My spirrits t'attend this doble voyce accorded,
  • 4And downe I laid to list the sad tun'd tale,
  • 5Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale
  • 6Tearing of papers breaking rings a twaine,
  • Critical Apparatus7Storming her world with sorrowes wind and raine.
  • 8Vpon her head a plattid hiue of straw,
  • 9Which fortified her visage from the Sunne,
  • 10Whereon the thought might thinke sometime it saw
  • 11The carkas of a beauty spent and donne,
  • 12Time had not sithed all that youth begun,
  • 13Nor youth all quit, but spight of heauens fell rage,
  • 14Some beauty peept, through lettice of sear'd age.
  • 15Oft did she heaue her Napkin to her eyne,
  • 16Which on it had conceited charecters:
  • 17Laundring the silken figures in the brine,
  • 18That seasoned woe had pelleted in teares,
  • 19And often reading what contents it beares:
  • 20As often shriking vndistinguisht wo,
  • 21In clamours of all size both high and low.
  • 22Some-times her leueld eyes their carriage ride,
  • 23As they did battry to the spheres intend:
  • 24Sometime diuerted their poore balls are tide,
  • 25To th'orbed earth; sometimes they do extend,
  • 26Their view right on, anon their gases lend,
  • K2r Link 27To euery place at once and no where fixt,
  • Critical Apparatus28The mind and sight distractedly commixt.
  • 29Her haire nor loose nor ti'd in formall plat,
  • 30Proclaimd in her a carelesse hand of pride;
  • 31For some vntuck'd descended her sheu'd hat,
  • 32Hanging her pale and pined cheeke beside,
  • 33Some in her threeden fillet still did bide,
  • 34And trew to bondage would not breake from thence,
  • 35Though slackly braided in loose negligence.
  • pg 150936A thousand fauours from a maund she drew,
  • Critical Apparatus37Of amber christall and of bedded Iet,
  • 38Which one by one she in a riuer threw,
  • 39Vpon whose weeping margent she was set,
  • 40Like vsery applying wet to wet,
  • 41Or Monarches hands that lets not bounty fall,
  • 42Where want cries some; but where excesse begs all.
  • 43Of folded schedulls had she many a one,
  • 44Which she perus'd, sighd, tore and gaue the flud,
  • 45Crackt many a ring of Posied gold and bone,
  • 46Bidding them find their Sepulchers in mud,
  • 47Found yet mo letters sadly pend in blood,
  • 48With sleided silke, feate and affectedly
  • 49Enswath'd and seald to curious secrecy.
  • 50These often bath'd she in her fluxiue eies,
  • Critical Apparatus51And often kist, and often gaue to teare,
  • 52Cried O false blood thou register of lies,
  • 53What vnapproued witnes doost thou beare!
  • 54Inke would haue seem'd more blacke and damned heare!
  • 55This said in top of rage the lines she rents,
  • 56Big discontent, so breaking their contents.
  • 57A reuerend man that graz'd his cattell ny,
  • K2vCritical Apparatus Link 58Sometime a blusterer that the ruffle knew
  • Critical Apparatus59Of Court of Cittie, and had let go by
  • 60The swiftest houres obserued as they flew,
  • Critical Apparatus61Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew:
  • 62And priuiledg'd by age desires to know
  • 63In breefe the grounds and motiues of her wo.
  • 64So slides he downe vppon his greyned bat;
  • 65And comely distant sits he by her side,
  • 66When hee againe desires her, being satte,
  • 67Her greeuance with his hearing to deuide:
  • 68If that from him there may be ought applied
  • 69Which may her suffering extasie asswage
  • 70Tis promist in the charitie of age.
  • 71Father she saies, though in mee you behold
  • 72The iniury of many a blasting houre;
  • 73Let it not tell your Iudgement I am old,
  • 74Not age, but sorrow, ouer me hath power;
  • 75I might as yet haue bene a spreading flower
  • 76Fresh to my selfe, if I had selfe applyed
  • 77Loue to my selfe, and to no Loue beside.
  • pg 1510Critical Apparatus78But wo is mee, too early I attended
  • 79A youthfull suit it was to gaine my grace;
  • Critical Apparatus80O one by natures outwards so commended,
  • 81That maidens eyes stucke ouer all his face,
  • 82Loue lackt a dwelling and made him her place.
  • 83And when in his faire parts shee didde abide,
  • 84Shee was new lodg'd and newly Deified.
  • 85His browny locks did hang in crooked curles,
  • 86And euery light occasion of the wind
  • 87Vpon his lippes their silken parcels hurles,
  • 88Whats sweet to do, to do wil aptly find,
  • 89Each eye that saw him did inchaunt the minde:
  • K3r Link 90For on his visage was in little drawne,
  • Critical Apparatus91What largenesse thinkes in parradise was sawne.
  • 92Smal shew of man was yet vpon his chinne,
  • 93His phenix downe began but to appeare
  • 94Like vnshorne veluet, on that termlesse skin
  • 95Whose bare out-brag'd the web it seem'd to were.
  • 96Yet shewed his visage by that cost more deare,
  • 97And nice affections wauering stood in doubt
  • 98If best were as it was, or best without.
  • 99His qualities were beautious as his forme,
  • 100For maiden tongu'd he was and thereof free;
  • 101Yet if men mou'd him, was he such a storme
  • Critical Apparatus102As oft twixt May and Aprill is to see,
  • 103When windes breath sweet, vnruly though they bee.
  • 104His rudenesse so with his authoriz'd youth,
  • 105Did liuery falsenesse in a pride of truth.
  • 106Wel could hee ride, and often men would say
  • 107That horse his mettell from his rider takes
  • 108Proud of subiection, noble by the swaie,
  • 109What rounds, what bounds, what course what stop he makes
  • 110And controuersie hence a question takes,
  • 111Whether the horse by him became his deed,
  • Critical Apparatus112Or he his mannad'g, by'th wel doing Steed.
  • 113But quickly on this side the verdict went,
  • 114His reall habitude gaue life and grace
  • 115To appertainings and to ornament,
  • 116Accomplisht in him-selfe not in his case:
  • 117All ayds them-selues made fairer by their place,
  • pg 1511Critical Apparatus118[Came] for addicions, yet their purpos'd trimme
  • 119Peec'd not his grace but were al grac'd by him.
  • 120So on the tip of his subduing tongue
  • K3v Link 121All kinde of arguments and question deepe,
  • 122Al replication prompt, and reason strong
  • Critical Apparatus123For his aduantage still did wake and sleep:
  • 124To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weepe,
  • 125He had the dialect and different skil,
  • 126Catching al passions in his craft of will.
  • 127That hee didde in the general bosome raigne
  • 128Of young, of old, and sexes both inchanted,
  • 129To dwel with him in thoughts, or to remaine
  • 130In personal duty, following where he haunted,
  • Critical Apparatus131[Consents] bewitcht, ere he desire haue granted,
  • 132And dialogu'd for him what he would say,
  • 133Askt their own wils and made their wils obey.
  • 134Many there were that did his picture gette
  • 135To serue their eies, and in it put their mind,
  • 136Like fooles that in th' imagination set
  • 137The goodly obiects which abroad they find
  • 138Of lands and mansions, theirs in thought assign'd,
  • Critical Apparatus139And labouring in moe pleasures to bestow them,
  • 140Then the true gouty Land-lord which doth owe them.
  • 141So many haue that neuer toucht his hand
  • Critical Apparatus142Sweetly suppos'd them mistresse [of] his heart:
  • 143My wofull selfe that did in freedome stand,
  • 144And was my owne fee simple (not in part)
  • 145What with his art in youth and youth in art
  • 146Threw my affections in his charmed power,
  • 147Reseru'd the stalke and gaue him al my flower.
  • 148Yet did I not as some my equals did
  • 149Demaund of him, nor being desired yeelded,
  • 150Finding my selfe in honour so forbidde,
  • 151With safest distance I mine honour sheelded,
  • 152Experience for me many bulwarkes builded
  • K4r Link 153Of proofs new bleeding which remaind the foile
  • 154Of this false Iewell, and his amorous spoile.
  • pg 1512155But ah who euer shun'd by precedent,
  • 156The destin'd ill she must her selfe assay,
  • 157Or forc'd examples gainst her owne content
  • 158To put the by-past perrils in her way?
  • 159Counsaile may stop a while what will not stay:
  • 160For when we rage, aduise is often seene
  • Critical Apparatus161By blunting vs to make our wits more keene.
  • 162Nor giues it satisfaction to our blood,
  • 163That wee must curbe it vppon others proofe,
  • 164To be forbod the sweets that seemes so good,
  • 165For feare of harmes that preach in our behoofe;
  • 166O appetite from iudgement stand aloofe!
  • 167The one a pallate hath that needs will taste,
  • 168Though reason weepe and cry it is thy last.
  • 169For further I could say this mans vntrue,
  • 170And knew the patternes of his foule beguiling,
  • 171Heard where his plants in others Orchards grew,
  • 172Saw how deceits were guilded in his smiling,
  • 173Knew vowes, were euer brokers to defiling,
  • 174Thought Characters and words meerly but art,
  • 175And bastards of his foule adulterat heart.
  • 176And long vpon these termes I held my Citty,
  • 177Till thus hee gan besiege me: Gentle maid
  • 178Haue of my suffering youth some feeling pitty
  • 179And be not of my holy vowes affraid,
  • 180Thats to ye sworne to none was euer said,
  • 181For feasts of loue I haue bene call'd vnto
  • Critical Apparatus182Till now did nere inuite nor neuer [woo].
  • 183All my offences that abroad you see
  • K4v Link 184Are errors of the blood none of the mind:
  • 185Loue made them not, with acture they may be,
  • 186Where neither Party is nor trew nor kind,
  • 187They sought their shame that so their shame did find,
  • 188And so much lesse of shame in me remaines,
  • 189By how much of me their reproch containes,
  • 190Among the many that mine eyes haue seene,
  • 191Not one whose flame my hart so much as warmed,
  • Critical Apparatus192Or my affection put to [th' smallest] teene,
  • 193Or any of my leisures euer Charmed,
  • 194Harme haue I done to them but nere was harmed,
  • 195Kept hearts in liueries, but mine owne was free,
  • 196And raignd commaunding in his monarchy.
  • pg 1513197Looke heare what tributes wounded fancies sent me,
  • Critical Apparatus198Of palyd pearles and rubies red as blood:
  • 199Figuring that they their passions likewise lent me
  • 200Of greefe and blushes, aptly vnderstood
  • 201In bloodlesse white, and the encrimson'd mood,
  • 202Effects of terror and deare modesty,
  • 203Encampt in hearts but fighting outwardly.
  • Critical Apparatus204And Lo behold these tallents of their heir,
  • 205With twisted mettle amorously empleacht
  • 206I haue receau'd from many a seueral faire,
  • 207Their kind acceptance, wepingly beseecht,
  • Critical Apparatus208With [th'annexations] of faire gems inricht,
  • 209And deepe brain'd sonnets that did amplifie
  • 210Each stones deare Nature, worth and quallity.
  • 211The Diamond? why twas beautifull and hard,
  • 212Whereto his inuis'd properties did tend,
  • 213The deepe greene Emrald in whose fresh regard,
  • 214Weake sights their sickly radience do amend.
  • 215The heauen hewd Saphir and the Opall blend
  • L1r Link 216With obiects manyfold; each seuerall stone,
  • 217With wit well blazond smil'd or made some mone.
  • 218Lo all these trophies of affections hot,
  • 219Of pensiu'd and subdew'd desires the tender,
  • 220Nature hath chargd me that I hoord them not,
  • 221But yeeld them vp where I my selfe must render:
  • 222That is to you my origin and ender:
  • 223For these of force must your oblations be,
  • 224Since I their Aulter, you enpatrone me.
  • 225Oh then aduance (of yours) that phraseles hand,
  • 226Whose white weighes downe the airy scale of praise,
  • 227Take all these similies to your owne command,
  • Critical Apparatus228Hollowed with sighes that burning lunges did raise:
  • 229What me your minister for you obaies
  • 230Workes vnder you, and to your audit comes
  • 231Their distract parcells, in combined summes.
  • 232Lo this deuice was sent me from a Nun,
  • Critical Apparatus233[A] Sister sanctified of holiest note,
  • 234Which late her noble suit in court did shun,
  • 235Whose rarest hauings made the blossoms dote,
  • 236For she was sought by spirits of ritchest cote,
  • pg 1514237But kept cold distance, and did thence remoue,
  • 238To spend her liuing in eternall loue.
  • 239But oh my sweet what labour ist to leaue,
  • 240The thing we haue not, mastring what not striues,
  • Critical Apparatus241[Playning] the Place which did no forme receiue,
  • Critical Apparatus242Playing patient sports in [vnconstrained] giues,
  • 243She that her fame so to her selfe contriues,
  • 244The scarres of battaile scapeth by the flight,
  • 245And makes her absence valiant, not her might.
  • 246Oh pardon me in that my boast is true,
  • L1v Link 247The accident which brought me to her eie,
  • 248Vpon the moment did her force subdewe,
  • 249And now she would the caged cloister flie:
  • 250Religious loue put out religions eye:
  • Critical Apparatus251Not to be tempted would she be [emur'd],
  • Critical Apparatus252And now to tempt all liberty [procurd].
  • 253How mightie then you are, Oh heare me tell,
  • 254The broken bosoms that to me belong,
  • 255Haue emptied all their fountaines in my well:
  • 256And mine I powre your Ocean all amonge:
  • 257I strong ore them and you ore me being strong,
  • 258Must for your victorie vs all congest,
  • 259As compound loue to phisick your cold brest.
  • Critical Apparatus260My parts had powre to charme a sacred [Nunne],
  • Critical Apparatus261Who disciplin'd I dieted in grace,
  • 262Beleeu'd her eies, when they t'assaile begun,
  • 263All vowes and consecrations giuing place:
  • 264O most potentiall loue, vowe, bond, nor space
  • 265In thee hath neither sting, knot, nor confine
  • 266For thou art all and all things els are thine.
  • 267When thou impressest what are precepts worth
  • 268Of stale example? when thou wilt inflame,
  • 269How coldly those impediments stand forth
  • 270Of wealth of filliall feare, lawe, kindred fame,
  • 271Loues armes are peace, gainst rule, gainst sence, gainst shame
  • pg 1515272And sweetens in the suffring pangues it beares,
  • 273The Alloes of all forces, shockes and feares.
  • 274Now all these hearts that doe on mine depend,
  • 275Feeling it breake, with bleeding groanes they pine,
  • 276And supplicant their sighes to you extend
  • 277To leaue the battrie that you make gainst mine,
  • 278Lending soft audience, to my sweet designe,
  • L2r Link 279And credent soule, to that strong bonded oth,
  • 280That shall preferre and vndertake my troth.
  • 281This said, his watrie eies he did dismount,
  • 282Whose sightes till then were leaueld on my face,
  • 283Each cheeke a riuer running from a fount,
  • 284With brynish currant downe-ward flowed a pace:
  • 285Oh how the channell to the streame gaue grace!
  • 286Who glaz'd with Christall gate the glowing Roses,
  • 287That flame through water which their hew incloses,
  • 288Oh father, what a hell of witch-craft lies,
  • 289In the small orb of one perticular teare?
  • 290But with the invndation of the eies:
  • 291What rocky heart to water will not weare?
  • 292What brest so cold that is not warmed heare,
  • Critical Apparatus293[Oh] cleft effect, cold modesty hot wrath:
  • 294Both fire from hence, and chill extincture hath.
  • 295For loe his passion but an art of craft,
  • 296Euen there resolu'd my reason into teares,
  • Critical Apparatus297There my white stole of chastity I daft,
  • 298Shooke off my sober gardes, and ciuill feares,
  • 299Appeare to him as he to me appeares:
  • 300All melting, though our drops this diffrence bore,
  • 301His poison'd me, and mine did him restore.
  • 302In him a plenitude of subtle matter,
  • 303Applied to Cautills, all straing formes receiues,
  • 304Of burning blushes, or of weeping water,
  • 305Or sounding palenesse: and he takes and leaues,
  • 306In eithers aptnesse as it best deceiues:
  • 307To blush at speeches ranck, to weepe at woes
  • 308Or to turne white and sound at tragick showes.
  • 309That not a heart which in his leuell came,
  • L2v Link 310Could scape the haile of his all hurting ayme,
  • 311Shewing faire Nature is both kinde and tame:
  • 312And vaild in them did winne whom he would maime,
  • 313Against the thing he sought, he would exclaime,
  • 314When he most burnt in hart-wisht luxurie,
  • 315He preacht pure maide, and praisd cold chastitie.
  • pg 1516316Thus meerely with the garment of a grace,
  • 317The naked and concealed feind he couerd,
  • 318That th'vnexperient gaue the tempter place,
  • 319Which like a Cherubin aboue them houerd,
  • 320Who young and simple would not be so louerd.
  • 321Aye me I fell, and yet do question make,
  • 322What I should doe againe for such a sake.
  • 323O that infected moysture of his eye,
  • 324O that false fire which in his cheeke so glowd:
  • 325O that forc'd thunder from his heart did flye,
  • 326O that sad breath his spungie lungs bestowed,
  • 327O all that borrowed motion seeming owed,
  • 328Would yet againe betray the fore-betrayed,
  • 329And new peruert a reconciled Maide.
  • 330FINIS.

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
7 sorrowes gildon2; ~, eld. 'Sorrowes' themselves are not 'storming' elsewhere in Shakespeare. The compositor may have understood the possessive as the first in a series.
Critical Apparatus
28 commixt benson; commxit eld
Critical Apparatus
37 bedded = beaded eld
Critical Apparatus
51 gaue to eld; gave a gildon; 'gan to malone 1780. Although Shakespeare does not elsewhere use 'gaue to' to mean 'gaue over to', that sense is apparent in this line and common enough in the period that Shakespeare, for poetic and perhaps metrical reasons, may have employed this unique phrasing.
Critical Apparatus
58 Sometime eld (text); Some eld (catchword)
Critical Apparatus
58 The catchword reads 'Some' for 'Sometime'
Critical Apparatus
59 of Cittie eld; and ~ burrow
Critical Apparatus
61 fastly eld; softly conj. maxwell
Critical Apparatus
78 attended benson; atttended eld
Critical Apparatus
80 O one eld; Of one malone 1780 (Tyrwhitt)
Critical Apparatus
91 sawne eld; sown conj. boswell–malone. The conjecture understands 'sown' as a reference to the vegetation in paradise.
Critical Apparatus
102 May eld; March conj. wells. March, wells observes, is more traditionally associated with unruly winds. burrow posits that the 'storm' is a battle fought by the months May and April, rather than an event occurring between the two months. If the passage is erroneous, Shakespeare may be to blame.
Critical Apparatus
112 mannad'g = manège. Compare 'mannadge' in Two Noble Kinsmen 5.6.69, a Shakespeare scene.
Critical Apparatus
118 Came sewell; Can eld. Graphical error. 'Can' may be correct if taken as an archaic form of '[be]gan', but David Crystal's database does not point to any instances where Shakespeare uses this form, and deliberate archaism does not seem likely.
Critical Apparatus
123–4 sleep: . . . weepe, sewell; ~, . . . ~: eld
Critical Apparatus
131 Consents malone 1780; Consent's eld. 'Consents' =consenting persons (pooler); burrow thinks the apostrophe 'a compositor's vain attempt to grasp at sense'.
Critical Apparatus
139 labouring eld; labour wells (Wyndham). burrow reads as 'lab'ring'; while 'labour' may, as maxwell suggests, 'regularize the construction', the metrical emendation is not necessary.
Critical Apparatus
142 of benson; os eld. Foul case.
Critical Apparatus
161 wits eld; wils maxwell. Noting the prevalence of the spelling 'wils', maxwell suggests a graphical error. 'Wils' may be more readily analogous with 'rage', but 'wits' may refer to faculties of the mind or body (Crystal), and may certainly be blunted.
Critical Apparatus
182 woo dyce (capell); vovv eld. The lack of rhyme indicates error. Possible eye-skip or contamination from 'vowes' at 179, perhaps a misreading of copy. The error includes the only 'vv' in the poem, and the only lower-case 'vv' in eld (nineteen capital 'VV' appear). This was the last 'w' set on K4r, perhaps the result of a type shortage where the compositor did not want to wait for a 'w' type to be distributed; in any case it does not appear relevant to the error.
Critical Apparatus
192 to th' smallest lintott2; to th, smallest eld; toth' smallest benson; to the smallest capell
Critical Apparatus
198 palyd = palid. malone 1780 suggests 'palèd'.
Critical Apparatus
204 heir = hair
Critical Apparatus
208 th'annexations wells (Taylor); th'annexions eld; the annexions capell. Both 'annexation' and 'annexion' mean 'the action or process of joining', but the former is metrically preferable. Additionally, EEBO–TCP records only three uses of 'annexation' before 1611, but no uses of 'annexion' other than eld before 1633.
Critical Apparatus
228 Hollowed = Hallowed
Critical Apparatus
233 A dyce2; Or eld; Oh conj. this edition. eld has variously been explained as the man's explanation that the nun is actually a nun and not a prostitute (burrow) or a mere novice (rowe), or a rhetorical correction clarifying that the 'Sister' had not taken formal orders (duncan-jones). These glosses seem unusual at this point in the poem, and an amplification of the Nun's holiness seems more likely, hence 'A', which may have resulted from a misreading of copy. Considering the man's proclivity for 'oh' and 'lo', 'Oh' seems a possible reading; compare 293.
Critical Apparatus
241 Playning wells (Capell) (Plaỹing); Playing eld; Paling malone. Dittography; 'Playing', because of 'sports', is necessary in line 242. Some editors suggest that the correct word need not resemble 'Playing', but a similar-looking word would more readily encourage error. Nevertheless, neither of the two popular alternatives is entirely satisfactory. 'Playning', 'the action of smoothing or levelling a surface' (OED 'planing' n1) makes sense and is predicated in sonnet 24.1; burrow's objection that planing usually incorporates some physical modification is notable, although not disqualifying and perhaps may even be in play here, suggesting that the 'Sister sanctified' rejected the 'blossoms' and 'ritchest cote' for her suitors, a metaphorical razing of material temptations. 'Paling', meaning 'enclosing', may similarly work with some interpretive ingenuity. burrow also admits the temptation of understanding 'plaining' as 'complaining', even though the transitive form of 'plain' in this sense is not found in OED until 1855.
Critical Apparatus
242 giues = gyves
Critical Apparatus
242 vnconstrained gildon2; vnconstraind eld. Metrical emendation.
Critical Apparatus
251 emur'd gildon (immured); enur'd eld. Minim error. For the likely spelling compare Love's Labour's Lost 3.1.106 and 4.3.298.
Critical Apparatus
252 procurd benson (procur'd); procure eld. Sense and rhyme justify emendation. Compositor misreading of terminal 'e'.
Critical Apparatus
260 Nunne capell (nun); Sunne eld. The nun is not elsewhere compared to a sun or anything bright, so eld would be a clumsy metonymy. The compositor may have misread the initial upper-case 'N' as 'S', or he may have been encouraged to alliterate by 'sacred'.
Critical Apparatus
293 Oh gildon; Or eld. Compositor misreading.
Critical Apparatus
297 daft = doffed. See Jackson, Determining, 148–9.
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