The Sonnets, and A Lover's Complaint
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Edited by G. B. Harrison - Book number B18 - 128 pages. Printed in Great Britain 1949.
should ‘put a good face on things’, bravely make the best of whatever may be) fair truth lovely chastity, honest constancy, true beauty (the product of neither cosmetics nor the besotted beholder) so foul a face features so hideous, such a vile visage. Foul carries both ethical and aesthetic implications. 13–14 In things… transferred. This is the poet’s answer to his accumulated questions, though it registers as a cry of despair. His heart and eyes have made mistakes In judging things right
adumbrated in these events: old anxieties fade; his ‘love looks fresh’; and though his verse is ‘poor’, it flourishes. Yet, however different these two sonnets may seem, they are linked by divination and a sense of the present. The ‘prophetic soul’ of the one derives from the ‘prophecies’ of the other (107.1, 106.9); in both, great tracts of time revolve around the word ‘now’ (106.8 and 13, 107.9). Sonnet 108 sets off on another tack. The poet may have ‘Nothing’ (that very Shakespearian quantity)
has been resisted. The notes below use quotation to clarify usage, not to demonstrate the authority of the text. That, in any case, should need no urging. For the work of Professors Muir and Jackson has recently been complemented and confirmed by the research of Eliot Slater. After examining the text’s vocabulary – against a statistical background provided by the plays and other poems – Slater concluded that A Lover’s Complaint was ‘an authentic work of Shakespeare’ with a ‘statistically highly
day’, 2 Henry VI II. 1.2), and though thus sense is initially only latent it registers retrospectively when summer becomes a season (lines 4 and 9). On the questioned comparison see the Introduction, pages 30–31. 2 temperate equable 2, 4 temperate… date. Rhymed on long ‘a’, resembling the ‘a’ in southern English ‘bat’, ‘bad’, lengthened. 3 May. In the 1590s our calendar lagged several days behind the European system – something not corrected till the late eighteenth century. Shakespeare’s
(see the note to 94.11), like encomium in the Sonnets, is seen to be competitive, and linked to the theme of betrayal. Sonnet 21 has the same role in the first group of sonnets (1–126) as 130 in the second (127–52). ‘So is it not with me as with that Muse,’ it starts, Stirred by a painted beauty to his verse, Who heaven itself for ornament doth use, And every fair with his fair doth rehearse, Making a couplement of proud compare With sun and moon, with earth and sea’s rich gems, With April’s