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The quarto reads :--
" For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense.” The line appears to me unintelligible. Might we read,-
- " I bring incense.” A jingle was evidently intended; but if this word was occasionally accented on the last syllable, (as, perhaps, it might formerly have been) it would afford it, as well as the reading of the old copy, (in sense.) Many words that are now accented on an early syllable, had formerly their accent on one more remote. Malone.
I believe the old reading to be the true one. The passage, divested of its jingle, seems designed to express this meaning :---Towards thy exculpation I bring in the aid of my soundest faculties, my keenest perception, my utmost strength of reason, my sense.
I think I can venture to affirm, that no English writer, either ancient or modern, serious or burlesque, ever accented the substantive incense on the last syllable. STEEVENS.
Ib. I. 10. Which sorely. Read—Which sourly.
Ib. 1. 17. A separable spite. A cruel fate, that spitefully separates us from each other. Separable for separating. MALONE.
Ib. 1. 18. Soul effect. Read-sole effect.
P. 39, 1. 3. Dearest spite. Dearest is most operative. MALONE.
Ib. 1.7. Intitled in their part. Read—thy parts ; their is an error in the old copy, and the singular for the plural, an error of a modern edition. Editor.
Entitled means, I think, ennobled. MALONE.
Ib. 1. 16. Neither by my share. Read--neither be my share.
Ib. I. 18. And daft; or daff'd.
Ib. 1. 24 and 25. It may, &c. Read, according to the old copy---'t may, &c.
P. 40, 1. 1 and 2. Wander (a word) for shadows, &c. And take, &c. Thus a modern erroneous edition. Read---wander, a word for, &c. As take, &c.
Ib. I. 4. My heart doth charge the watch. The meaning of this phrase is not very clear. Perhaps the poet, wishing for the approach of morning, enjoins the watch to hasten through their nocturnal duty. MALONE.
I cannot suppose that Shakespeare could entertain such an idle notion as suggested by Mr. Malone: the meaning of the phrase, as it appears to me, is--My heart doth enjoin vigilance. I“ play the watchman,” says lie, in another sonnet. See p. 54, 1. 23 and 24. EDITOR,
Ib. 1. 10. Dark dreaming night. Read.-dark dismal-dreaming night
Ib. I. 13. And solace mixt with sorrow. Dele and.
Ib. 1. 17. Each minute seems an hour. Thus the old copy. The want of rhyme to the corresponding line shews that it must be corrupt. MalOnE. Mr. Steevens proposes to read :--
-“ Each minute seems a moon;" i. e. a month, in order to agree with,
"The night would post too soon.”
Which emendation is adopted by Mr. Malone in his edition of Shakespeare. Making, however, one minute a month, when only minutes are added to the hours, is, I think, exceeding the poet's intention. I am certain, from the preceding line, the old copy is as Shakespeare wrote it; who, as it was the third line, seems to have disregarded the rhyme. See p. 42, 1. 1 and 3.
If, however, rhyme be insisted upon, instead of altering the sense of our poet, I think it would be much better to transpose his own words, viz.
Were I with her, too soon would post the night,
EDITOR. P. 41, 1. 3. In table of my heart. A table was the ancient term for a picture. MALONE.
Ib. 1. 4. My body is the same. Read--My body is the frame.
P. 42, 1. 1 and 3. Famoused for worth, &c. Thus the old copy, which (says Mr. Malone) not rhyming with the concluding word of the corresponding line (quite), either one or the other must be corrupt. Mr. Theobald suggested to read fight instead of worth, or forth instead of quite, which former Mr. Malone has adopted. I dare say Shakespeare disregarded rhyme here as before, these being the first and third lines ; and it being often deemed sufficient for only the second and fourth to chime. Editor.
This stanza is not worth the labour which has been
bestowed upon it. By transposition, however, the rhyme may be recovered without further change.
The painful warrior for worth famoused,
STEEVENS. Why it should not be worth while to correct this, as well as any other manifest corruption in our author's works, I confess I do not comprehend: neither much labour, nor many words, have been employed upon it. MALONE.
Though, for reasons before given, I cannot think the want of rhyme here any manifest corruption ; yet the rhyme proposed by transposition, is as bad as any that can be found in all Shakespeare's poems which the same gentleman has censured: it is, indeed, as bad as aspect and respect in the following sonnet. EDITOR.
Ib. 1. 19. Of their sweet respect. Thus the old copy. It is evidently a misprint. Read, therefore---Of thy sweet respect.
The same mistake has several times happened in these sonnets, owing, probably, to abbreviations having been formerly used for the words their and thy, so nearly resembling each other as not to be easily distinguished. MALONE.
From such palpable errors, I am inclined to think, that authors formerly depended upon their publishers for correcting the press, instead of performing that necessary duty themselves, EDITOR.
P. 43, 1.3. When that I seek my weary travel's end. Read
6 When what I seek---my weary travel's end---."
Ib. 1.7. Plods dully on. The quarto reads--Plods duly on. The context supports the reading which Mr. Malone has substituted.
Ib. 1. 26. Shall neigh no dull flesh in his fiery race. The expression is here so uncouth, that I strongly suspect this line to be corrupt. Perhaps we should read
“Shall neigh to dull flesh, in his fiery race.” Desire, in the ardour of impatience, shall neigh to the sluggish animal, (the horse) to proceed with swifter motion. MALONE.
Perhaps this passage is only obscured by the aukward situation of the words no dull flesh. The sense may be this :---" Therefore desire, being no dull piece of horse-flesh, but composed of the most perfect love, shall neigh as he proceeds in his hot career." STEEVENS.
P. 44,1. 6 and 11. Their picture's sight &c. Their fair appearance, &c. Thus the old copy. Read---thy picture's sight, &c.---thy fair appearance, &c.
Ib. 1. 12. To 'cide; i. e, decide. The old copy reads---side. Malone.
Ib. 1. 13. A quest of thoughts. An inquest or jury. MALONE.
Ib. 1. 15. The clear eye’s moiety. Moiety, in ancient language, signifies any portion of a thing, though the whole may not be equally divided. Malone.
Ib. 1. 16 and 17. Their outward part--their inward love, &c. Thus the quarto. Read-thine outward, &c. thine inward, &c.