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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: October ::
Sonnet 125
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0891  Tuesday, 10 October 2006

[1] 	From: 	Nigel Davies <
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	Date: 	Monday, 9 Oct 2006 18:53:58 +0100
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 17.0892 Sonnet 125

[2] 	From: 	Peter Bridgman <
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	Date: 	Monday, 9 Oct 2006 22:46:06 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0892 Sonnet 125


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Nigel Davies <
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Date: 		Monday, 9 Oct 2006 18:53:58 +0100
Subject: 17.0892 Sonnet 125
Comment: 	RE: SHK 17.0892 Sonnet 125

Peter, the couplet is perhaps the strongest linkage to your argument, 
and the part of the sonnet that has been the most difficult to 
comprehend. It does fit well with Judas being the "suborned informer".

I do feel myself though that the coronation procession of James I is the 
most apt occasion that this sonnet comments on, particularly with the 
"state", "pomp", "policy" and "politic". There is strong emotion in this 
sonnet, particularly the closing couplet, that suggests to me that it 
was a contemporary event that prompted its writing rather than any great 
emotion directed at a Eucharist procession. I also detect some antipathy 
from Shakespeare towards James I elsewhere in the canon that fits well 
with the sentiments of this sonnet.

On the points you make:

- "savours sweet" is a favourite term in the canon, e.g. in V&A, ToS, 
MSDN, etc., none with religious reference. The V&A reference is 
particularly close to 125's: "Find sweet beginning, but unsavoury end".
- It is striking how bereft the canon is of religion, particularly in 
respect of contemporaries' expectations of an afterlife contrasting with 
Shakespeare's "worms" and "common grave".
- The sonnet has striking correlation with Iago's opening statements in 
Othello Ii, in which he prepares with Roderigo to inform Brabanzio of 
Desdemona's secret marriage to Othello. The themes in this speech of 
obsequious two-facedness and an informer, are obviously aspects of 125.

It is also interesting to note that the only monarch to be coronated in 
Shakespeare's lifetime was James. His coronation procession was on 15th 
March 1604 whilst his actual coronation was on 25th July 1603, both 
dates (15th and 25th) being reflected in this sonnet's positioning at 125.

Nigel Davies

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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Date: 		Monday, 9 Oct 2006 22:46:06 +0100
Subject: 17.0892 Sonnet 125
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0892 Sonnet 125

Peter Farey writes ...

 >... the canopy mentioned in the first line is more likely to
 >be that carried over the host in an Eucharistic procession
 >rather than one borne over the monarch.

Is Peter Farey aware that all Eucharistic processions in England were 
abolished in the 1547 Injunctions (i.e. seventeen years before 
Shakespeare's birth)?  And if he is aware of this, does he think WS 
found time to travel abroad before writing Sonnet 125?

Peter Bridgman

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