Colin Burrow (ed.), The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Sonnets and Poems
pg 570 pg 571 95
- Editor’s Note1How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame,
- 2Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose,
- Editor’s Note3Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name?
- 4O, in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose!
- 5That tongue that tells the story of thy days
- 6(Making lascivious comments on thy sport)
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus7Cannot dispraise, but in a kind of praise,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus8Naming thy name blesses an ill report.
- Editor’s Note9O, what a mansion have those vices got,
- 10Which for their habitation chose out thee,
- Editor’s Note11Where beauty's veil doth cover every blot,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus12And all things turns to fair that eyes can see!
- Editor’s Note13Take heed (dear heart) of this large privilege:
- Editor’s Note14The hardest knife ill-used doth lose his edge.
1 sweet sweet-smelling (only)
3 budding name? your reputation which is just approaching its prime. The pointing of Q's rhetorical question has been retained in order to differentiate it from the exclamation mark which ends the following line. On exclamation marks in Q see 48.4 n.
7 praise,] q; ~; malone (conj. Capell)
7–8 Cannot … report Q's punctuation is followed here, although many editors place a semicolon after praise. In Q's version the subject of blesses is either Naming or tongue and but in a land of praise qualifies either blesses or dispraise.
8 name‸] malone; ~, q
8 Naming … report simply mentioning the friend's name gives a gloss of praise to a critical account of his doings
9 mansion glorious abode (i.e. the friend's body)
12 turns] q; turn sewell
12 turns to transforms to. (The subject of the verb is beauty's veil.)
see! Q's exclamation mark may serve to emphasize the carefully limited praise of that eyes can see.
13 large privilege extensive freedom granted particularly to you
14 The hardest … edge has a proverbial ring, but has only distant recorded parallels (as 'Iron with often handling is worn to nothing', Dent I92). Compare Nashe, Christ's Tears over Jerusalem, Nashe, ii.37: 'No sword but will lose his edge in long striking against stones'. Swords and penises are so commonly associated in the period that there may well be a sexual pun here.