William Shakespeare

Colin Burrow (ed.), The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Sonnets and Poems

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pg 436 pg 437 28

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1 return in happy plight come back (from the journey described in 27) in a fortunate state
Editor’s Note
3 day's oppression the oppressive travel and labour of the daytime
Critical Apparatus
5 either's] q (ethers); others benson; other's gildon 1714
Editor’s Note
5 either's each other's
Editor’s Note
6 Do in … me agree to form a partnership to oppress me
Editor’s Note
7 The one … the other are day and night respectively.
Editor’s Note
9 to please him Some editors mark this off by commas. Q's lack of punctuation doubles the flattery: both 'I tell the day, in order to please him, that … ' and 'I tell the day that you are bright only to please him'.
Editor’s Note
11 So flatter I in a similar way I please (with a touch of deceit)
swart-complexioned dark-faced, with a suggestion of malignity
Critical Apparatus
12 gild'st the even] malone; guil'st th'eauen q
Editor’s Note
12 twire peep out; 'intr. To look narrowly or covertly; to peer; to peep. Also fig. of a light, etc'. (OED 1; first cited usage)
gild'st the even give a glitter to the evening. Q reads 'guil'st th' eauen'. This could be modernized as 'guilest th' heaven', meaning 'beguile or charm the skies'. 'Gild'st' makes the friend's presence a more obvious substitute for the stars. For a similar moment where Shakespeare seems to have collapsed together guile and gilding see Lucrece l. 1544 and n.
Critical Apparatus
13–14 longer … length … stronger ] q; longer … strength … stronger capell; stronger … length … longer conj. Capell in Malone
Editor’s Note
14 length Many editors emend to 'strength'. As Kerrigan notes, this makes the couplet excessively predictable. The couplet works by using repetition to evoke endless labour (day … daily), whilst offsetting the dangerously mimetic tedium so generated by a daring interchange of length and intensity.
This and the following sonnet (linked in a cycle of woe by their opening word) make use of the conventions of complaint: the lover is isolated and apparently deprived of all means of comfort until thoughts of the friend dispel his gloom.
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