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Pallas Athene

SONNET NO. 38

 


     How can my muse  want subject to invent,
     While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse,
     Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
     For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
     0, give thyself the thanks, if aught in me
     Worthy perusal stand against thy sight;
     For who's so dumb that cannot write to thee
     When thou thy self, doth give invention  light?
     Be thou the tenth muse-ten times more in worth
     Than those old nine  which rhymers invocate;
     And he that calls on thee- let him bring forth
     Eternal numbers-to outlive long date
     If my slight muse do please these curious days
     The pain be mine, but thou shall be the praise.

 

     

 

5th Line.  Aught in me-anything written by me.
12th Line.  Date-duration.

This sonnet is addressed to " Pallas Athene " the goddess of
wisdom, who Bacon refers to as the tenth muse who he writes
is worth ten times more than the old nine muses. Bacon writes
that so long as Pallas is alive, there is much for him to invent
(contrive) for which he gives due thanks and that Pallas gives
him the faculty or power of contriving and bringing forth
eternal numbers (ciphers ) which will live for ever (outlive longdate), that the pain (trouble) of producing his work is his but that Pallas shall have the praise.


 

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