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THE SONNET.                             200
This innate attraction, however, is altogether apart from the illustration of metrical laws with which we are concerned, though it furnishes an instance —if instances were required—of the fascination of the materials with which we are dealing. Here follow two choice specimens of his work, the latter of which is regarded by many as the finest sonnet ever written:
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste. Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night, And weep afresh love's long-since-cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight. Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before. But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, All losses are restored and sorrows end.
Shakspere (39).
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action ; and till action, lust Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust; Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight;
Past reason hunted ; and no sooner had, Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad: Mad in pursuit, and in possession so ;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme ; A bliss, in proof, and proved, a very woe ;
Before, a joy proposed ; behind, a dream.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III