Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sonnet CXXVII (127)

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 slander'd with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on nature's power,
Fairing the foul with art's false borrow'd face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profan'd, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress' brows 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.


3. Beauty's successive heir. Has gained the esteem formerly devoted to beauty. The "successive heir" is the heir who succeeds, and obtains the inheritance. 

4. And beauty slander'd with a bastard shame. The "bastard shame" is the product of art. Beauty and Nature are slandered by the artificial asserting in effect that Art is better than Nature. 

5. Hath put on Nature's power. It being Nature's prerogative to give beauty. 

7. Natural beauty has no exclusive name, no sanctuary all her own. Q., "no holy boure." 

10. Suited. The sense of "clothed" which has been given to the word here is questionable. 

12. Slandering creation, &c. See on line 4. 

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