Colin Burrow (ed.), The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Sonnets and Poems
pg 556 pg 557 88
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus1When thou shalt be disposed to set me light,
- Editor’s Note2And place my merit in the eye of scorn,
- Editor’s Note3Upon thy side against myself I'll fight,
- Editor’s Note4And prove thee virtuous, though thou art forsworn.
- Editor’s Note5With mine own weakness being best acquainted,
- Editor’s Note6Upon thy part I can set down a story
- Editor’s Note7Of faults concealed, wherein I am attainted,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus8That thou in losing me shall win much glory.
- 9And I by this will be a gainer too,
- Editor’s Note10For bending all my loving thoughts on thee:
- 11The injuries that to myself I do,
- Editor’s Note12Doing thee vantage, double vantage me.
- Editor’s Note13 Such is my love, to thee I so belong,
- Editor’s Note14 That for thy right myself will bear all wrong.
1 disposed] benson; dispode q
1 set me light (a) value me at a low rate; (b) regard me as fickle
2 And … scorn hold my deserts up to public contempt
4 though both 'even though you are' and 'if (hypothetically) you were to be'. This masks a direct accusation as a piece of speculative hyperbole.
forsworn perjured; used especially of those who have broken vows of love
5 With … acquainted since I know more about my failings than anyone else
6 Upon thy part on your side, to strengthen your case. It is possible to take the phrase with faults concealed in the next line: so 'I can tell a story about hidden faults on your side too'.
7 attainted (a) tainted, stained; (b) found guilty of a criminal offence. These two senses were associated as a result of a false etymology which derived 'attainder' from French taindre, dye or stain.
8 losing] q (loosing)
8 losing me Q reads 'loosing', which is the usual spelling of 'losing' (only in 125.6 is the verb spelt 'lose' rather than 'loose'). Here, though, Q's form allows a secondary sense, 'loosing', i.e. 'in setting me free'.
shall occurs where one would normally expect 'shalt', but the use of plural for singular form is not unusual.
10 bending … on turning towards
12 double vantage me do me a double advantage. That is, the poet will benefit twice by slandering himself: once because it will require him to think of the friend (ll. 9–10), and once because any benefit done to the friend will also benefit the poet, since the two lovers are one.
13 so (a) so completely; (b) in such a way
14 That for thy right (a) in order to assist your case; (b) in order to present you as virtuous (although you are not)
bear all wrong (a) put up with all injustice; (b) take the responsibility for all wrongdoing