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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Sonnet 116
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0444  Friday, 15 February 2002

[1]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Feb 2002 04:16:53 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0421 Re: Sonnet 116

[2]     From:   Alex Went <
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        Date:   Fri, 15 Feb 2002 11:26:36 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.0421 Re: Sonnet 116


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Feb 2002 04:16:5     3 -0
Subject: 13.0421 Re: Sonnet 116
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0421 Re: Sonnet 116

> Cliford Stetner is right that the verb, 'loved', could be used
> transitively, but in the last line of Sonnet #116 it is used
> intransitively -- there is no direct object in that clause. The word,
> 'ever', is used here as an adverb of time, which I would take to mean
> 'at any time' ('forever' or 'one time' make little sense in this
> context).
>
> Paul E. Doniger
> Cliford Stetner is right that the verb, 'loved', could be used
> transitively, but in the last line of Sonnet #116 it is used
> intransitively -- there is no direct object in that clause. The word,
> 'ever', is used here as an adverb of time, which I would take to mean
> 'at any time' ('forever' or 'one time' make little sense in this
> context).
>
> Paul E. Doniger

Not to keep beating a dead horse, but the direct object in this case
would be "no man." The subject is an understood "I": ie "If this is
true, and proved on me, I never wrote, nor ever loved no man." "I [not]
ever loved no man=[nor I] no man ever loved" could refute: "at one time,
I loved a man" or "some men," or "I [for]ever loved a man" or "men" (ie
loved with an eternal love). Your "at any time" is a singular noun
equivalent to my "at one time": ie "at any one time." As Bill Godshalk
implies, the construction incorporates all the uses and abuses of the
conventional poetic double, triple, and quadruple negative. Perhaps the
legalistic idiom implies the potential value of such in drafting
contracts.

Clifford

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alex Went <
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Date:           Fri, 15 Feb 2002 11:26:36 -0000
Subject: 13.0421 Re: Sonnet 116
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.0421 Re: Sonnet 116

With all respect, Paul Doniger is wrong to continue to assert a single,
intransitive, reading of 'loved'. It is a construction common in English
to have two co-ordinate clauses in which the subject of the second is
the same as the subject of the first, understood. For example: "I wrote
to SHAKSPER, and [I] received many useful replies."

Furthermore, the inverted construction " ...and many useful replies [I]
received" is commonplace in literary English, particularly in verse.
Accordingly, it is entirely possible to read " ... nor no man ever
loved" as "nor no man ever [I] loved", with 'no man' as the object of
'loved'.

The more conventional reading is, to my mind, equally possible. Let me
correct that. I see nothing inherently more 'conventional' in either
reading.  My conviction, as this case draws to a close, is that the
ambiguity is typical, almost certainly intentional, and completely
delightful.

"How with this rage shall Beauty hold a plea
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?"

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