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Sonnets of Shakespeare's Ghost   By:

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Sonnets of Shakespeare's Ghost

The Words procured by GREGORY THORNTON The Ornaments made by WILLEM BLAEU

Never before Imprinted

At Sydney

By Angus & Robertson , and are to be solde by all booksellers






The Spirit of William Shakespeare, sore vexed of them who say that in his Sonnets he writ not from the truth of his heart but from the toyings of his brain, and that he devised but a feigned object to fit a feigned affection, herein maketh answer, renewing as best a shadow may that rhyme wherein he was more excellent in the living body


The wise world saith I not unlock'd my heart When I of thee and thy dear love did write, And would each word of mine to false convert, Doing my simple sense a double spite. It saith thou wert but shadow born of nought, But vain creation of an apish rhyme, While, Fashion's fool, my strain'd invention sought To better them who best did please the time. But wherefore say they so, and do dear wrong To thee, whose worth was my sole argument, To me, whose verse 'twas truth alone made strong By that the breast must feel, not brain invent? They who this doubt never such beauty knew, Nor what to poet love alone can do.


They say a man ne'er bore such love to man, Or, if he did, 'twere but a cause for shame; But, speaking so, they their own measure scan, And blot their censure with self blaming blame. For, thou being Beauty's best, the best of me Worshipp'd but Beauty's self and Beauty's worth; My fire and air, my spirit, adorèd thee Unmix'd with gross compounding of my earth. And thou wert best of Truth, the first in grace Of all rich gems in Virtue's carcanet; Then should I not love thee and give thee place Above all love of sense on woman set? In love of Beauty, whate'er shape 'tis in, There's nought of Truth, if it must think of sin.


Look, when the rose to deep vermilion hue Adds that sweet odour gracious Nature gives, When his proud glory gladdens every view, And no base worm within his beauties lives, We nothing question of what sex it be, Nor ask more of it than that it should lend His lovely gaze for ravish'd eye to see, And on the blessed air his fragrance spend. We ask not that the star which lights the heaven Should be or male or female to our sense, Suffic'd in this, that it empearls the even, And happies all our under reverence. Then might'st not thou, who wert both rose and star, Be pure to me as these to others are?


Some hold it strange that love like thine and mine 'Twixt two in state so sunder'd should be bred, That he who did all worths in him combine, Birth, beauty, wit, wealth, me thus honourèd, Me, the poor motley, maim'd by Fortune's spite, Sear'd and o'erworn with tyranny of time, Whose wit was but the wit to learn to write When thou, my Muse, inspir'dst my pupil rhyme. Thou wert the wide world's pride, but I his scorn; His pattern thou, I his poor toy and tool; Whence therefore should that tender love be born 'Twixt Fortune's minion thee, and me her fool? O know they not that all such outward things Hold lowest count in the soul's reckonings?


Hadst thou been such as, boasting of their birth, Pass by the humbler born with proud disdain, Making self merit of the antique worth Whereby some sire that state for them did gain; Had riches' dross so reign'd in thy respect, That riches' lack were deem'd by thee disgrace; Of thy rare parts had 't been the rude effect, That cruel pride held gentle pity's place; Then would'st thou ne'er have look'd on lowly me, To find what merit there thou might'st approve, Nor would my heart, grown warm for haughty thee, Dare or desire to clamour for thy love... Continue reading book >>

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