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5, 6. An ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests, etc. So Coriolanus, Act v. sc. 3, 1. 74:—
Like a great sea-mark standing every flaw.
7. It is the star, etc. 66 Apparently, whose stellar influence is unknown, although his angular altitude has been determined."-F. T. PALGRAVE. Schmidt explains unknown here as inexpressible, incalculable, immense. The passage seems to mean, "As the star, over and above what can be ascertained concerning it for our guidance at sea, has unknowable occult virtue and influence, so love, beside its power of guiding us, has incalculable potencies." This interpretation is confirmed by the next sonnet (CXVII.), in which the simile of sailing at sea is introduced. Shakspere there confesses his wanderings, and adds as his apology,
I did strive to prove
The constancy and virtue of your love.
Constancy, the guiding fixedness of love; virtue, the "unknown worth." Sidney Walker proposed "whose north's unknown;" explaining, " As by following the guidance of the northern star, a ship may sail an immense way, yet never reach the true north, so the limit of love is unknown. Or can any other good sense be made of 'north'? Judicent rei astronomica periti." Dr. Ingleby (The Soule Arayed, 1872, pp. 5, 6, note), after quoting in connection with this passage the lines in which Cæsar speaks of himself (Julius Cæsar, III. 1) as "constant as the northern star," writes: "Here human virtue is figured under the true-fix'd and resting quality' of the
northern star. Surely, then, the 'worth' spoken of must be constancy or fixedness. The sailor must know that the star has this worth, or his latitude would not depend on its altitude. Just so, without the knowledge of this worth in love, a man hoists sail to all the winds,' and is 'frequent with unknown minds." "
Height, it should be observed, was used by Elizabethan writers in the sense of value, and the word may be used here in a double sense, altitude (of the star) and value (of love), "love whose worth is unknown, however it may be valued."
9. Time's fool, the sport or mockery of Time. So 1 King Heny IV., Act v. sc. 4, 1. 81:
But thought's the slave of life, and life time's fool.
11. His brief hours, i.e., Time's brief hours.
12. Bears it out even to the edge of doom. So All's Well that Ends Well, Act III. sc. 3, 11. 5, 6:
We'll strive to bear it for your worthy sake
To the extreme edge of hazard.
CXVII. Continues the confession of his wanderings from his friend, but asserts that it was only to try his friend's constancy in love.
5. Frequent, conversant, intimate.
With unknown minds, persons who may not be known, or obscure persons.
6. Given to time, given to society, to the world. See note on Sonnet LXX. 1. 6. Or, given away to temporary
occasion what is your property, and therefore an heirloom for eternity. Staunton proposes "given to them."
11. Level, the direction in which a missive weapon is aimed, as in The Winter's Tale, Act II. sc. 3, 1. 6 :—
The harlot king
Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
CXVIII. Continues the subject; adding that he had sought strange loves, only to quicken his appetite for the love that is true.
Herr Krauss compares Sidney, Arcadia, lib. III. (p. 338, ed. 1613):
Like those sicke folkes, in whom strange humours flowe,
So to my mind while passions daily growe,
Joyes strangers seem, I cannot bide their show,
2. Eager, sour, tart, poignant. Aigre, Fr., as in Hamlet, Act I. sc. 5, 1. 69:
Did curd, like eager droppings into milk.
9. Policy, prudent management of affairs. 12. Rank, "sick (of hypertrophy)."-SCHMIDT. 2 King Henry IV., Act IV. sc. 1, 1. 64 :—
To diet rank minds sick of happiness,
And purge the obstructions which begin to stop
CXIX. In close connection with the preceding sonnet; showing the gains of ill, that strange loves have made the true love more strong and dear.
2. Limbecks, alembics, stills. Macbeth, Act I. sc. 7, 1. 67. 4. Either, losing in the very moment of victory, or gaining victories (of other loves than those of his friend) which were indeed but losses.
7. How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted, etc., how have mine eyes started from their hollows in the fever-fits of my disease. Compare Hamlet, Act 1. sc. 5, 1. 17:
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres.
Lettsom would read "been flitted."
11. Ruin'd love . . . built anew. Note the introduction of the metaphor of rebuilt love, reappearing in later sonnets. Compare The Comedy of Errors, Act III. sc. 2, 1. 4:
Shall love, in building, grow so ruinate.
And Antony and Cleopatra, Act III. sc. 2, 11. 29, 30.
14. Ills. So the Quarto; altered by Malone and other editors, perhaps rightly (see 1. 9), to ill.
CXX. Continues the apology for wanderings in love; not Shakspere alone has so erred, but also his friend.
3. I must needs be overwhelmed by the wrong I have
done to you, knowing how I myself suffered when you were the offender.
6. A hell of time. So in Othello, Act III. sc. 3, ll. 169, 170:
But 0, what damned minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves.
And Lucrece, 11. 1286, 1287:
And that deep torture may be call'd a hell,
9. Our night. Staunton proposes "sour night." Remember'd, reminded, an active verb governing sense in 1. 10. So The Tempest, Act I. sc. 2, 1. 243.
11. And soon to you, as you to me, then tender'd. Surely the sense requires that we should point—
And soon to you, as you to me then, tender'd."
W. S. WALKER.
And shame to you—as you to me then-tender'd.
12. Salve. Compare Sonnet Xxxiv. 1. 7.
CXXI. Though admitting his wanderings from his friend's love (CXVIII.-CXX.), Shakspere refuses to admit the scandalous charges of unfriendly censors.
Dr. Burgersdijk regards this sonnet as a defence of the stage against Puritans.
2. Not to be, i.e., not to be vile.
3, 4. And the legitimate pleasure lost, which is deemed