Monday, November 18, 2013

Sonnet XXV (25)

Let those who are in favour with their stars, 
Of public honour and proud titles boast, 
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars, 
Unlook'd for joy in that I honour most. 
Great princes' favourites their fair leaves spread 
But as the marigold at the sun's eye; 
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glory die. 
The painful warrior famoused for worth, 
After a thousand victories once foil'd, 
Is from the book of honour razed quite, 
And all the rest forgot for which he toil'd:
   Then happy I, that love and am beloved 
   Where I may not remove nor be removed. 

3. Fortune of such triumph bars. A sentiment to be expressed afterwards more fully.

4. Unlook'd for. Disregarded and not sought for to receive distinction.

6. The marigold. Cf. Lucrece, 397 seq.:
"Her eyes, like marigolds, had sheath'd their light,
And, canopied in darkness, sweetly lay
Till they might open to adorn the day."

Schmidt identifies the marigold here spoken of as "the flower Calendula pluvialis."

7. And in themselves. Suddenly all display of glory is at an end, and they become, as it were, the tomb of their own former pride.

9. Worth. The emendations "fight" and "might" have been proposed, or, leaving "worth" untouched, it has been suggested that "quite" (line 11) should be changed to "forth."

4. Perspective. As used here, the meaning of the word appears to be "capability of being looked through." But though this may be the sense immediately intended, there is a reference also to the ordinary employment of the word in relation to pictorial art, whether with respect to the representation of distance, or of a picture so designed as to require to be looked at obliquely.

5. Through the painter, &c. In the sense mentioned above. But there is probably an allusion, also, to the general necessity of taking the position occupied by an artist in painting a picture, so as to see, as it were, with his eyes.

11. Are windows -- where-through the sun. Notice the additional proof of sincerity. Not only are the friend's eyes windows to the poet's breast, seeing everything within, but the sun himself can look through.

14. Know not the heart. Intimating possibly a suspicion in accordance with the last lines of Sonnet XXII (22).

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