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Mistress Fitton

SONNET NO. 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 natures' power,
       Fairing the foul with arts' false borrow'd face,
       Sweet beauty hath no name.  No Holy Bower,
       But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
       Therefore my mistress eyes are raven black,
       Her eyes so suited and they mourners seem,
       As such who not born fair-no beauty lack,
       Sland'ring creation with a false esteem
       Yet so they mourne. Becoming of their woe,
       That every tongue say beauty should look so.


  Here Bacon tells Mistress Fitton that in olden times black
was not counted (reckon'd) to be fair (beauty) or if it was it
did not bear beauty's name, that in his time black was the
successive (succeeding) heir (child) of beauty and that beauty
was slandered (defamed) with a bastard (false) shame since each
hand (everyone) hath put (placed) the power (potentiality) of
nature (the power that regulates the world) making what is
foul to be fair with the false borrowed face of art-that in
his time beauty had no name and no bower (dwelling) but that
beauty is profaned (desecrated) and lives in disgrace (out of
favour) therefore his mistress's (Mistress Fitton's) eyes are black
and that her eyes so suited (clothed) appear to be mourners
(grievers) and like those who not being born fair still lack no
beauty slandering (defaming) creation (the world) with a false
esteem (value) that her eyes mourn looking becoming in their
woe (misery) so that every tongue should say that beauty should
look the same.

  It is interesting to compare the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th lines
of this sonnet with four lines in the play of " Love's Labours
Lost ".  In Act 4, Scene 3, where we read:

           Or if in black my ladyes browes be deck't,
         It mournes that painting and usurping hair
         Should ravish dooters with a false aspect
         And there is she borne to make black fayre."

  In the four lines in this sonnet-we see the words-black
mourners faire and false and in the four lines in "Love's Labours Lost " we see the words black mournes fair and false.  If this is merely a coincidence it is a very strange one.  It seems to
show that the man who wrote Shakes-spears Sonnets also wrote
"Love's Labours Lost ".

 

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