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XXXVI. According to the announcement made in xxxv., Shakspere proceeds to make himself out the guilty party.
1. We two must be twain. So Troilus and Cressida, Act III. sc. 1, 1. 110, “She'll none of him; they two are twain.”
5. Respect, regard, as in Coriolanus, Act III. sc. 3, 1. 112:
I do love
More holy and profound than my own life. 6. Separable spite.
“A cruel fate, that spitefully separates us from each other. Separable for separating.”— MALONE.
9. Evermore. “Perhaps ever more.”—W. S. WALKER.
10. My bewailed guilt. Explained by Spalding and others as “the blots that remain with Shakspere on account of his profession ” as an actor. But perhaps the passage means : “I may not claim you as a friend, lest my relation to the dark woman—now a matter of grief, should convict you of faithlessness in friendship.”
12. That honour, i.e., the honour which you give me. 13, 14. These lines are repeated in Sonnet XCVI.
XXXVII. Continues the thought of xxxvi. 13, 14. 3. I, made lame. Compare Sonnet LXXXIX. :
Speak of my lameness and I straight will halt. Shakspere uses “to lame" in the sense of " disable.” Here the worth and truth of his friend are set over against the lameness of Shakspere; the lameness then is metaphorical; a disability to join in the joyous movement of life, as his friend does. Capell and others conjectured that Shakspere was literally lame. Mr. Swinburne, in his mocking “Report of the Proceedings, etc., of the Newest Shakespeare Society," introduces Mr. E. reading a paper on “The Lameness of Shakespeare—was it moral or physical ? ” Mr. E. assumes at once that the infirmity was physical. “Then arose the question — In which leg ?” Perhaps it is best so to dismiss the subject with a jest.
3. Dearest, chief, strongest ; as in Hamlet, Act I. sc. 2, 1. 182:
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven.
“ their parts;
7. Entitled in thy parts do crowned sit. The Quarto reads
but the misprint their for thy happens several times. Schmidt accepts the Quarto text and explains,“ i.e., or more excellences, having a just claim to the first place as their due. Blundering M. Edd. e. in thy parts." “Entitled means, I think, ennobled.”—MALONE. “Perhaps.”—DYCE. Perhaps it means “ having a title in, having a claim upon," as in Lucrece, 57 :
But beauty, in that white (the paleness of Lucrece] inti
tuled, From Venus' doves doth challenge that fair field.
XXXVIII. The same thought as that of the two preceding sonnets : “ The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.” In xxxvII. 14, Shakspere is “ten times happy” in his friend's happiness and glory; he also is ten times happy in the inspiration he receives from his
friend who is “the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth than the old nine Muses.
Prof. Stengel notices that “argument,” “subject,” “ light,” are also found together in Sonnet C.
XXXIX. In XXXVIII. Shakspere spoke of his friend's worth as ten times that of the nine Muses, but in XXXVII. he had spoken of his friend as the better part of himself. He now asks how he can with modesty sing the worth of his own better part. Thereupon he returns to the thought of xxXVI., “we two must be twain ;” and now, not only are the two lives to be divided, but “ our dear love ”—undivided in xXXVI.—must “ lose name of single one.”
19. Doth. The Quarto has “dost.”
13, 14. Absence teaches how to make of the absent beloved two persons, one, absent in reality, the other, present to imagination.
XL. In xxxix. Shakspere desires that his love and his friend's may be separated, in order that he may give his friend what otherwise he must give also to himself. Now, separated, he gives his beloved all his loves, yet knows that, before the gift, all his was his friend's by right. Our love “losing name of single one” (xxxix. 6) suggests the manifold loves, mine and thine.
5. Then if for love of me thou receivest her whom I love.
6. For, because: I cannot blame thee for using my love, i.e., her whom I love.
7, 8. The Quarto has “this selfe” for thyself. Yet you are to blame if you deceive yourself by an unlawful union while you refuse loyal wedlock.
11. And yet love knows it, etc. Printed by many editors, “And yet, love knows, it.”
XLI. The thought of xl. 13, “ Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows,” is carried out in this sonnet.
1. Pretty wrongs. Bell and Palgrave read petty.
5, 6. Compare 1 King Henry VI., Act v. sc. 3, 11. 77, 78:
She's beautiful, and therefore to be woo'd ;
8. Till she have prevaild. The Quarto has “ till he,” which may be right.
9. Thou mightst my seat forbear. Malone reads “ Thou mightst, my sweet, forbear;” but “seat” is right, and the meaning is explained by Othello, Act II. sc. 1, l. 304, (Iago jealous of Othello):
I do suspect the lusty Moor
Dr. Ingleby adds, as a parallel, Lucrece, 412, 413 :
Who [Tarquin], like a foul usurper, went about
XLII. In xli. 13, 14, Shakspere declares that he loves both friend and mistress; he now goes on to say that the loss of his friend is the greater of the two.
10, 12. The “loss” and “ of these lines are spoken of in xxxiv.
11. Both twain. This is found also in Love's Labour's Lost, Act v. sc. 2, 1. 459 :
PRINCESS. What, will you have me, or your pearl again? BIRON. Neither of either ; I remit both twain.
XLIII. Does this begin a new group of Sonnets ?
1. Wink, to close the eyes, not necessarily for a moment, but as in sleep. Compare Cymbeline, Act II. sc. 3, 11. 25, 26 :
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes. 2. Unrespected, unregarded.
4. And darkly, etc. And illumined, although closed, are clearly directed in the darkness. It is strange that no one of the officious emenders has proposed “right in dark directed.”
5. Whose shadow shadows, etc. Whose image makes bright the shades of night.
6. Shadow's form, the form which casts thy shadow. 11. Thy. The Quarto has their.
13, 14. All days are nights to see, etc. Malone proposed nights to me.” Steevens, defending the Quarto text, explains it, “ All days are gloomy to behold, i.e., look like nights.” Mr. Lettsom proposed :
All days are nights to me till thee I see,
And nights bright days when dreams do show me thee. “To see till I see thee,” is probably right in this sonnet, which has a more than common fancy for doubling a word in the same line, as in lines 4, 5, 6.