Ah, wherefore with infection should he live,
And with his presence grace impiety,
That sin by him advantage should achieve,
And lace itself with his society?
Why should false painting imitate his cheek,
And steal dead seeing of his living hue?
Why should poor beauty indirectly seek
Roses of shadow, since his rose is true?
Why should he live, now Nature bankrupt is,
Beggar'd of blood to blush through lively veins?
For she hath no exchequer now but his,
And, proud of many, lives upon his gains.
O, him she stores, to show what wealth she had
In days long since, before these last so bad.
LXVII. The world being such as was represented in the last
Sonnet, the excellences of the poet's friend are out of place. Its
atmosphere is charged with an infecting miasma. The friend's
beauty serves as an extenuation and excuse for the debasement and
decay of all around. The only reason which can be assigned for
his presence in such a world is, that he is Nature's memorial of a
golden age long passed away.
3. That sin by him advantage, &c. His presence serving as a veil to
4. Lace itself with his society. "Lace" may here mean "embellish,"
though in passages which have been quoted in proof the sense is rather
"diversify." So in Romeo and Juliet., Act iii. sc. 5, lines 7, 8, --
"What envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east;"
Shakespeare's Treatment of Love... "For heights of poetic metaphysic we do not look in Shakespeare. He is one of the greatest of poets, and his poetry has less almost than any other the semblance of myth and dream; its staple is the humanity we know, its basis the ground we tread; what we call the prose world, far from being excluded, is genially taken in. And precisely where he is greatest, in the sublime ruin of the tragedies, love between the sexes has on the whole a subordinate place, and is there is most often fraught, as we have seen, with disaster and frustration." C. H. Herford. Read on....