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Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus27

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Notes

Critical Apparatus
27] L.MS, Trial, 1850A-; not in T.MS
Editor’s Note
27. Love involves responsibility, effort, and suffering. The poet does not envy the conditions in life which do not demand these commitments. The challenges of travellers (21), his retrospect (22–5), and his own doubts about the decay of love (26) have brought him to this attitude.
Editor’s Note
2–3] Cf. Gray, 'Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College', 27: 'The captive linnet which enthrall'; 'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard', 51: 'Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage'.
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3 cage,] 1851A-; cage — L.MS; cage Trial-1850C
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4 woods:] 1850A-; woods L.MS; woods; Trial
Editor’s Note
5–8] Cf. Keats, 'Hyperion', II 66–7: 'once tame and mild / As grazing ox unworried in the meads'. Cf. also T.'s letter of 1839 to Emily Sellwood (noticed by Bradley):

God might have made me a beast; but He thought good to give me power, to set Good and Evil before me that I might shape my own path. The happiness, resulting from this power well exercised, must in the end exceed the mere physical happiness of breathing, eating, and sleeping like an ox.                     (Memoir, I 170)

T. elsewhere associates sexual licence, the absence of a spiritual nature, and pleasure in the present moment; cf. 35.21–4, and also:
  • The vast leviathan, which takes
  •    His pastime in the sounding floods.
  •                     ('Love' ('Almighty Love'), 27–8)
  • Where wert thou when thy father played
  • In his free field, and pastime made.
  •                          ('The Two Voices', 319–20)
  • Why took ye not your pastime? To that man
  • My work shall answer, since I knew the right
  • Arid did it.
  •                     ('Love and Duty', 28–30)
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6 time,] Trial-; Time — L.MS
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7 crime,] Trial-; crime L.MS
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9 Nor,] Trial-; Nor L.MS
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10 troth] Trial-; troth, L.MS
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11 sloth;] L.MS, 1850A-; sloth, Trial
Editor’s Note
11] A reminiscence of Hamlet, I v 32–4:
  • And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
  • That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
  • Wouldst thou not stir in this.
Cf. 'Sonnet' 'Conrad!', 14: 'This sloth-sprung weed' (Ricks); Hallam, 'A Farewell to the South', 631–3:
  •               I will never drift
  • Before the varying gale in aimless sloth
  •      Of purpose, like a battered wreck.
Editor’s Note
12 want-begotten rest] In page-proofs of the Eversley notes in TRC, this is glossed 'desired', but H.T. deleted this and substituted 'any repose that comes from want of thought'. The published note reads: 'rest — the result of some deficiency or narrowness'.
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13 hold it true, whate'er] L.MS 2nd reading-; [illegible words] 1st reading
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13 befall;] Trial-; befall — L.MS
Editor’s Note
13–16] Bradley comments: 'With this conviction the poem comes to a break, as though a definite stage of advance were reached'. He suggests that 'I hold it true' and 'loved and lost' are intended to recall1.1: 'I held it truth' and1.15: 'Behold the man that loved and lost'. The stanza is echoed in 85.1–4, which was, in fact, composed before 27.
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14 most;] Trial-; most: L.MS
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15 'Tis] Trial-; Tis L.MS
lost] Trial-; lost, L.MS
Editor’s Note
15–16] There are many analogues to this maxim. Cf. Seneca, 'Consolation to Marcia', XII 3: 'si ponatur electio, utrum satius sit non diu felicem esse an numquam, melius est descessura nobis bona quam nulla contingere' (For if we should be given the choice — whether it is better to be happy for a short time only or never at all — it is better for us to have blessings that will flee than none at all.) Collins compares Congreve, The Way of the World, II 2: ''Tis better to have been left than never to have been loved.' Bradley compares Campbell, 'The Jilted Nymph', 19–20: 'Better be courted and jilted / Than never be courted at all'.
Critical Apparatus
16 all.] Trial-; all L.MS
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