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after a little amazedness, we were all commanded out of the chamber; only this, methought I heard the shepherd say he found the child.

Aut. I would most gladly know the issue of it.


First Gent. I make a broken delivery of the business; but the changes I perceived in the king and Camillo were very notes of admiration they seemed almost with staring on one another to tear the cases of their eyes; there was speech in their dumbness, language in their very gesture; they looked as they had heard of a world ransomed, or one destroyed: a notable passion of wonder appeared in them; but the wisest beholder, that knew no more but seeing, could not say if the importance were joy or sorrow; but in the extremity of the one, it must needs be.

Enter another Gentleman.

Here comes a gentleman that haply knows more. Rogero.

Sec. Gent. Nothing but bonfires: the oracle is fulfilled; the king's daughter is found: such a deal of wonder is broken out within this hour that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it.

Enter a third Gentleman.

The news,


Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward: he can deliver you How goes it now, sir? this news which is called true, is so like an old tale, that the verity of it is in strong suspicion has the king found his heir?

Third Gent. Most true, if ever truth were pregnant by circumstance: that which you hear you'll swear you see, there is such unity in the proofs.'

(A Winter's Tale, Act. v., Sc. 1., II. 1—36.)

Reader, with this quotation from that writer who, it has been seen by other than ourselves, was in the habit of dealing in his plays with circumstances corresponding to others which had concerned himself-a quotation indeed from one of those last three plays, which have been seen

by other than ourselves to 'illuminate the Sonnets and justify the moral genius of their writer,' our tale is told. And though that which you have heard you may be ready to swear you see-there being such unity in the proofs, you do not so at our request. Happily, the truth or falsity of our theory may be settled absolutely. That it ought to be so settled, and must be so settled, is all that we ask you to say. Though Shakespeare's manuscripts recovered as left by him perfected for posterity would be nothing less than a 'world ransomed,' even their value would be insignificant beside the value of such an addition to the forces making for fidelity to high principle as would be made by proving him a martyr for love of Beauty and Truth.

1 Dowden, Introduction to Shakespeare's Sonnets, p. 35.












T. T.



Taking advantage of his plan of showing himself given to the love of Beauty-Ideal Beauty (which is often referred to later on as the 'better part' of himself) being figured as a 'lovely youth' or a 'man right fair,'-the writer, in this opening sequence, argues by analogy. The arguments brought to bear on the 'lovely youth' to prove the duty of Beauty to perpetuate itself, apply in infinitely greater degree to the poet, whose beauties of mind and heart are so infinitely more important to the world. The proof of the duty of Beauty to perpetuate itself, intimates to us what mainly induced the poet to picture himself, and defends him against the charge of egoism. Many of the words used in the sequence may well be applied directly to the poet, as, for example, the lines from Sonnets 9 and 10 which we quoted on page 5; in Sonnet 14, too, the figure of the 'lovely youth' veils very thinly the poet's self. But, as we have said, the purpose of the sequence is to argue by analogy; and so Ben Jonson understood it :

'Look how the father's face

Lives in his issue, even so the race

Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well-turnéd, and true-filéd lines.'

In Sonnet 15, the poet, affecting that his admonitions have been ineffective with the 'lovely youth,' decides on action himself-decides to picture the youth's beauty (in reality his own mind given to the love of Beauty) in his verse.

In Sonnet 16 he returns to the idea of Beauty shown not in description but in a 'child'—in this shadowing one of his plays as contrasted with his Sonnets.

In Sonnet 17 he records his conviction that description alone

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