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LXXV. So are you to my thonghts as food to life
Ν Ο Τ Ε.
The present Edition differs from that in the Parchment Series in having
fuller notes, and Part II. of the Introduction, giving a survey of the
Literature of the Sonnets.
The best counsel to a reader of Shakspere is to cling close to the text of
plays and poems, and remain with it long. Notes are made to be used,
and then cast aside. But the careful student knows how presumptuous a
mistake it is to suppose that an offhand reader will always take up the
meaning rightly. The study of each line and each sentence on this side
and on that is like the preliminary posturings of wrestlers before the
grapple and the tug. To those unversed in the art it is foolishness ; but
others know the uses of the wary eye and slow approach.
No edition of Shakspere's Sonnets, apart from his other writings, with sufficient explanatory notes, has hitherto appeared. Notes are an evil, but in the case of the Sonnets a necessary evil, for many passages are hard to understand. I have kept beside me for several years an interleaved
copy of Dyce's text, in which I set down from time to time anything that seemed to throw light on a difficult passage. From these jottings, and from the Variorum Shakspere of 1821, my annotations have been chiefly drawn. I have had before me in preparing this volume the editions of Bell, Clark and Wright, Collier, Delius, Dyce, Halliwell, Hazlitt, Knight, Palgrave, Staunton, Grant White; the translations of FrançoisVictor Hugo, Bodenstedt, and others; and the greater portion of the extensive Shakspere Sonnets literature,
· The poet's name is rightly written Shakespeare, rightly also Shakspere. If I err in choosing the form Shakspere, I err with the owner of the name.
2 To which this general reference may suffice. I often found it convenient to alter slightly the notes of the Variorum Shakspere, and I have not made it a rule to refer each note from that edition to its individual writer.