Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Not Mine Own Fears
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
NOT 1 mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,
Can yet the lease of my true love control,
Supposed as forfeit to a confined doom.
The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured,        5
And the sad augurs mock their own presage;
Incertainties now crown themselves assured,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age.
Now with the drops of this most balmy time
My love looks fresh, 2 and Death to me subscribes, 3        10
Since spite of him I’ll live in this poor rhyme,
While he insults o’er 4 dull and speechless tribes:
  And thou in this shalt find thy monument
  When tyrants’ crests and tombs of brass are spent.
 
Note 1. Sonnet cvii. Shake-speare’s Sonnettes, 1609. This sonnet continues the celebration of his friend, according to Prof. Dowden’s interpretation, and rejoices in their restored affection. Mr. Massey explains it as a song of triumph for the death of Elizabeth, and the deliverance of Southampton from the Tower. “I interpret, as Mr. Simpson does” (Philosophy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, p. 79), writes Prof. Dowden; “not my own fears (that my friend’s beauty may be on the wane, Sonnet civ., 9–4—see No. 545) nor the prophetic soul of the world, prophesying in the persons of dead knights and ladies your perfections (Sonnet civ.—see No. 122), and so prefiguring your death, can confine my lease of love to a brief term of years. Darkness and fears are past, the augurs of ill find their predictions falsified, doubts are over, peace has come in place of strife; love in my heart is fresh and young (see Sonnet cviii., line 9), and I have conquered Death, for in this verse we both shall find life in the memories of men.” [back]
Note 2. My love looks fresh: Prof. Dowden queries whether this means the love in my heart, or my love = my friend. [back]
Note 3. Death to me subscribes: submits. Cf. The Taming of the Shrew, act i. sc. 1, 81. [back]
Note 4. Insults o’er: triumphs over. Cf. 3 King Henry VI., act i. sc. 3, 14. [back]
 
 
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