Colin Burrow (ed.), The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Sonnets and Poems
pg 480 pg 481 50
- Editor’s Note1How heavy do I journey on the way,
- Editor’s Note2When what I seek (my weary travel's end)
- 3Doth teach that ease and that repose to say
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus4'Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend.'
- Editor’s Note5The beast that bears me, tirèd with my woe,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus6Plods dully on, to bear that weight in me,
- Editor’s Note7As if by some instinct the wretch did know
- Editor’s Note8His rider loved not speed being made from thee.
- 9The bloody spur cannot provoke him on
- Editor’s Note10That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide,
- Editor’s Note11Which heavily he answers with a groan
- Editor’s Note12More sharp to me than spurring to his side,
- 13For that same groan doth put this in my mind:
- Editor’s Note14My grief lies onward, and my joy behind.
1 heavy adverbial, meaning 'slowly, sluggishly; laboriously' (OED 2). It also may reflect the character of the horse which bears the poet. Horses were believed, like all living things, to have an individual temperament based on the relative dominance of the four humours in their bodies: as Thomas Blundeville puts it, 'And if the earth have sovereignty [in the temperament of a horse], then he is black of colour, or a mouse dun, and therewith fearful, faint-hearted, dull and heavy', The Order of Dieting Horses (1593), fo. 3a. The ideal horse is hot, moist, and dominated by the humour of blood.
2–4 When … friend when the only rest and repose which my destination offers me after my laborious journey is the thought that each mile I have travelled has taken me further from my friend (which is no rest at all)
2 travel's Q's 'trauels' excludes the otherwise frequent pun on 'travail' or labour
4 'Thus … friend.'] malone (italic); ‸~ … ~.‸ q
4 'Thus … friend' Q does not use inverted commas to mark direct speech.
5 tired (a) exhausted; (b) attired. The description could suit either horse or rider.
6 dully] q (duly)
7 instinct stressed on the second syllable
8 being made … thee since it was being made away from you
10 That which; i.e. the bloody spur
12 sharp painful; also conveying the physical pain inflicted by the sharp spurs
14 my joy (a) my happiness; (b) the cause of my joy, i.e. the friend