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10. Blanks. The Quarto has blacks : the correction is from Theobald.

12. Perhaps this is said with some feeling of wounded love-my verses have grown monotonous and wearisome; write yourself, and you will find novelty in your own thoughts when once delivered from your brain and set down by your pen. Perhaps, also, “this learning mayst thou taste,” I. 4, is suggested by the fact that Shakspere is unlearned in comparison with the rival. I cannot bring you learning; but set down your own thoughts, and you will find learning in them.

LXXVIII. Shakspere, I suppose, receives some renewed profession of love from his friend, and again addresses him in verse, openly speaking of the cause of his estrangement, the favour with which his friend regards the rival poet.

3. Got my use, acquired my habit [of writing verse to you].

6. Heavy ignorance. So Othello, Act II. sc. 1, 1. 144, “O heavy ignorance !

Fly. The Quarto has flee.

7. The learned's wing. Compare Spenser's Teares of the Muses :

Each idle wit at will presumes to make,
And doth the learneds task upon him take.


9. Compile, write, compose.

So Sonnet Lxxxv. 2, “ Comments of your praise, richly compiled.Love's Labour's Lost, Act iv. sc. 3, 1. 134:

Never did sonnet for her sake compile.

12. Arts, learning, scholarship. Love's Labour's Lost, Act II. sc. 1, 1. 45:

A man of sovereign parts he is esteem’d;
Well fitted in arts, glorious in arms.

13. Advance, lift up. As in The Tempest, Act I. sc. 2, 1. 408:

The fringed curtains of thine eyes advance.

LXXIX. In continuation of Sonnet LXXVIII.

5. Thy lovely argument, the lovely theme of your beauty and worth.

LXXX. Same subject continued.

2. A better spirit. For the conjectures made with respect to this “ better spirit,” see the Introduction, pp. 19, 20.

6, 7. The humble, etc. Compare Troilus and Cressida, Act I. sc. 3, 11. 34-42:

The sea being smooth,
How many shallow bauble boats dare sail
Upon her patient breast, making their way
With those of nobler bulk !
But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage
The gentle Thetis

where's then the saucy boat ?

LXXXI. After depreciating his own verse in comparison with that of the rival poet, Shakspere here takes heart, and asserts that he will by verse confer immortality on his friend, though his own name may be forgotten.

1. Or I. Staunton proposes “Wh'er I,” i.e., Whether I.

12. Breathers of this world; this world, i.e., this age. Compare As You Like It, Act III. sc. 2, l. 297, “I will chide no breather in the world but myself.” Sidney Walker proposes to point as follows :

shall o'er-read,
And tongues to be your being shall rehearse ;
When all the breathers of this world are dead,
You still shall live, etc.

It is rare, however, with Shakspere to let the verse run on without a pause at the twelfth line of the sonnet. 14. Where breath most breathes.

Staunton proposes “ most kills,” slanderous breath being poisonous.

LXXXII. His friend had perhaps alleged in playful self-justification that he had not married Shakspere's Muse, vowing to forsake all other, and keep only unto her.

3. Dedicated words. This may only mean devoted words, but probably has reference, as the next line seems to show, to the words of some dedication prefixed to a book.

5. Thou art as fair in knowledge us in hue. Shakspere had celebrated his friend's beauty (hue); perhaps his learned rival had celebrated the patron's knowledge; such excellence reached “a limit past the praise” of Shakspere, who knew small Latin and less Greek.

11. Sympathized, answered to, tallied. So Lucrece, 1113:

True sorrow then is feelingly sufficed
When with like semblance it is sympathized.

13, 14. Compare with the rhyming of these lines, Love's Labour's Lost, Act II. sc. 1, ll. 226, 227 :

This civil war of wits were much better used
On Navarre and his book-men; for here 'tis abused.

LXXXIII. Takes up the last lines of LXXXII., and continues the same theme.

2. Fair, beauty. 5. Slept in your report, neglected to sound your praises.

7. Modern, trite, ordinary, common. So Antony and Cleopatra, Act v, sc. 2, 1. 167 :

Immoment toys, things of such dignity
As we greet modern friends withal.

8. What worth. Malone suggested “ that worth.” For “ being dumb” Staunton proposes “thinking dumb” or “praising dumb.”

12. Bring a tomb. Compare Sonnet XVII. 3.

It [my verse] is but as a tomb
Which hides your life and shows not half your parts.

Which of us,

LXXXIV. Continues the same theme. the rival poet or I, can say more than that you are you?

1-4. Staunton proposes to omit the note of interrogation after most (1. 1), and to introduce one after grew (1. 4).

8. Story. W. S. Walker proposes to retain the period of the Quarto after story ; so also Staunton-perhaps rightly.

9. Let him but copy, etc. Compare Sidney, Astrophel and Stella, 3 :

In Stella's face I read
What Love and Beauty be, then all my deed
But copying is what in her nature writes.

10. Worse. Staunton proposes gross.

14. Being fond on praise, doting on praise. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II. sc. 1, 1. 266 :

That he may prove

More fond on her than she upon her love.

Palgrave has “ of praise.”

LXXXV. Continues the subject of LXXXIV. Shakspere's friend is fond on praise; Shakspere's Muse is silent while others compile comments of his praise.

1. My tongue-tied Muse. Compare Sonnet Lxxx. 4.
2. Compiled. See note on Sonnet LXXVIII. 9.
3. Reserve their character. Reserve has here,

Reserve has here, says Malone, the sense of preserve; see Sonnet XXXII. 7. But what does " preserve their character” mean? An anonymous emender suggests “ Rehearse thy” or “Rehearse your.” Possibly “ Deserve their character” may be right, i.e., “deserve to be written.”

4. Fild, polished, refined (as if rubbed with a file). Love's Labour's Lost, Act v. sc. 1, l. 11, “His humour is lofty, his discourse peremptory, his tongue filed.See note on Sonnet LXXXVI. 13.

11. But that, i.e., that which I add.

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