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Sonnet 146
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.1037  Wednesday, 22 November 2006

[1] 	From: 	John Briggs <
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 	Date: 	Tuesday, 21 Nov 2006 21:58:40 -0000
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1030 Sonnet 146

[2] 	From: 	Sid Lubow <
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 	Date: 	Wednesday, 22 Nov 2006 07:15:40 EST
 	Subj: 	Sonnet 146

[3] 	From: 	Norman D. Hinton <
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 	Date: 	Tuesday, 21 Nov 2006 20:43:52 -0600
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1030 Sonnet 146

[4] 	From: 	John Briggs <
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 	Date: 	Wednesday, 22 Nov 2006 00:57:04 -0000
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1030 Sonnet 146

[5] 	From: 	Duncan Salkeld <
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 	Date: 	Wed, 22 Nov 2006 12:21:31 +0000 (GMT)
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1030 Sonnet 146

[6] 	From: 	Peter Farey <
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 	Date: 	Wednesday, 22 Nov 2006 15:25:54 -0000
 	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.1030 Sonnet 146


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Briggs <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Nov 2006 21:58:40 -0000
Subject: 17.1030 Sonnet 146
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1030 Sonnet 146

Peter Bridgman wrote:

>I have a question for SHAKSPERians.  The Oxford editors start Sonnet
>146 thus ...
>
>Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
>[              ] these rebel powers that thee array;
>Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
>Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?

You should consult Colin Burrow's Oxford Shakespeare "Complete Sonnets and 
Poems" (2002) [I still think that should be 'Complete Poems and Sonnets' - 
but then I start worrying about incomplete poems...  But I digress.]  He 
chews over the issue thoroughly and supplies "Spoiled by".  I am not 
totally persuaded by that - a siege metaphor is clearly being set up here, 
but I would prefer "Sieged by" (which Burrow also considers).  We are 
clearly looking for two syllables, second syllable "-ing" or "by". 
"Feeding" is very good, but Burrow considers it too obvious, in the 
context of line 13 - and I would point out that it is the first word of 
line 3 of Sonnet 147.  It would help if we were agreed on the meaning of 
line two: if the soul is supposed to be complicit with these rebel powers, 
I would suggest "Aiding"; if it is being confronted by them, I would 
suggest "Ringed by" or "Facing".

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sid Lubow <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 22 Nov 2006 07:15:40 EST
Subject: 	Sonnet 146

The answer to your question, Peter, is simply this. One must first know 
the story of the Sonnets. At this late point in the story, Will knows that 
the Muse, (the dark lady) has stolen (wooed) his mirror Image away, to 
make him, magically, see the Image of himself on the neck of a Muse, a 
"false borrowed image", the "one on anothers neck" of sonnets 126.6 and 
131.11.  The Image does not appear to him to be as beautiful any longer. 
He realizes that Self-love, the excess, the abundance of sonnet 1.7, is 
wrong. And that is the point of her spitefully magic power, to give him 
eyes to blindness.  Self-love in the sonnets had turned to self-hate, so 
much so, that Will was certain, assured, in sonnet 107.7, that he was gong 
to die, just as Narcissus did.

He knows now that the mighty Muse has power and can do anything she wants, 
just to teach him a lesson. She has said in the previous sonnet, 145, that 
she loves him, and threw away her spiteful hate. He cracked the glass of 
the virgin Muse and it is gone forever, stolen by that narcissistic 
teen-ager Will of A Lover's Complaint, and we know what teen-agers go 
through in discovering that mighty power of sexual love, especially love 
of oneself. Therefore . . .

Sonnet 146
POore foule the center of my finfull earth,
My finfull earth these rebbell powres that thee array,   (eliminate the 
words "earth these")
Why doft thou pine within and fuffer dearth
Painting thy outward walls fo coftlie gay?
Why fo large coft hauing fo fhort a leafe,               5
Doft thou vpon thy fading manfion fpend?
Shall wormes inheritors of this exceffe,
Eate vp thy charge? is this thy bodies end?
Then foule liue thou vpon thy feruant's loffe,
And let that pine to aggrauat thy ftore;               10
Buy tearmes diuine in felling houres of droffe;
Within be fed, without be rich no more,
   So fhalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men,
   And death once dead, ther's no more dying then.

By eliminating those unnecessary additions the line makes sense and is now 
in proper meter.  There are only three characters in the sonnets, the 
Poet, (Will) the Muse and the mirror Image, created by Will, the new 
Narcissus.  Why is that so difficult for sonneteers to grasp?  The earth 
goes around the Sunne, the son, born in sonnet 18.14. as we well know. 
Scholars must try their hardest to grasp this psychological creation by a 
teen-age genius.  If scholars have not understood the poems, they must try 
re-living their lives as teen-agers. The life of a teen-age Shakespeare, 
who was so witty, eloquent and full of invention.  Can anyone prove the 
Sonnets were written in his adult years?  Of course not!  Could this be 
the 'young genius' sonneteer, Shakespeare, taking up where Ovid left off? 
Why not?  Jonathan Bate (and others) thought so, in sonnet 1.

Respectfully,
Sid Lubow

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Norman D. Hinton <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 21 Nov 2006 20:43:52 -0600
Subject: 17.1030 Sonnet 146
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1030 Sonnet 146

I have no idea what Shakespeare wrote but I remember when the empty space 
in Sonnet 146, 2 was filled with

[Rebuke] these rebel powers....

and it seemed to work well enough in classes.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Briggs <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 22 Nov 2006 00:57:04 -0000
Subject: 17.1030 Sonnet 146
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1030 Sonnet 146

Perhaps I should add a pointer to John Kerrigan's New Penguin Shakespeare 
edition of the Sonnets (1986).  Kerrigan says that "Scores of emendations 
have been proposed", but only prints 19 (presumably "the most 
satisfactory") in his collation!  He says that this sonnet has been 
"widely discussed", and gives some references in his bibliography.

John Briggs

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Duncan Salkeld <
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Date: 		Wed, 22 Nov 2006 12:21:31 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 17.1030 Sonnet 146
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1030 Sonnet 146

Colin Burrow's Oxford edition has 'Spoiled by' and a fulsome commentary to 
go with it. Burrow discusses Vendler's [and hence Katherine 
Duncan-Jones's] 'feeding' and notes its first suggestion by Sebastian 
Evans in 1893. He mulls over 'Sieged by' but prefers 'Spoiled' for its 
evocations of being ravaged (cf. Othello 5.1.55) and 'sullied' (cf. 
Lucrece, ll. 1170-3). His textual note covers Malone's 'Fool'd by', 
Steevens's 'Starv'd by', Furnivall's Hemmed with', Seymour-Smith's 'Gulled 
by', Vendler's 'Feeding', and his own 'Seiged [sic] by'. Personally, 
'Feeding' seems most apposite. Burrow's note to l. 12 of Sonnet 106 
unfortunately gives Randall McLeod's pseudonym as 'Random Clod'. Poor 
soul.

Duncan Salkeld
Department of English
School of Cultural Studies
University of Chichester

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Farey <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 22 Nov 2006 15:25:54 -0000
Subject: 17.1030 Sonnet 146
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.1030 Sonnet 146

Peter Bridgman asks us to say what we think Shakespeare originally wrote 
at the beginning of the second line of Sonnet 146. I wouldn't have the 
gall to answer that one, but I can say what would have 'worked' for me if 
he had written it!

John Kerrigan (New Penguin, p.439) lists a few more suggestions from other 
editors: Foiled by; Spoiled by; Soiled by; Swayed by; Starved by; Thrall 
to; Yoked to; Prey to; Fooled by; Bound by; Grieved by; Galled by; Vexed 
by; Pressed with; Served by; Ruled by; Feeding; Hemmed with; Leagued with.

Of these I certainly like 'Soiled by', connecting as it does with the 
sound of 'soul' and the meaning of 'earth', and supported by Gertrude's 
(FF 2464-7)

    O Hamlet, speake no more.
    Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soule,
    And there I see such blacke and grained spots,
    As will not leaue their Tinct.

However, this image is not supported at any point after this, and none of 
the other suggestions work for me either. Given the military context - a 
rebel power which 'arrays' the soul (OED 10.b - To put into a (sore) 
plight, trouble, afflict), and that it is therefore suffering 'dearth' 
(OED 3. - A condition in which food is scarce and dear) I would go for 
something like:

    Poor soul the centre of my sinful earth,
    Sieged by these rebel powers that thee array,

(I would actually like 'Siege to' better, but I have so far been unable to 
find any grammatical precedent for that!)

Peter Farey

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