SONNET NO. 86
Was it the proud full sail of his great verse,
Bound for the prize of (all too precious) you
That did my ripe thoughts in my brain inhearse,
Making their tomb-the womb wherein they grew?
Was it his spirit, by spirits taught to write
Above a mortal pitch, that struck me dead?
No, neither he, nor his compeers by night
Giving him aid, my virtue astonished.
He not that affable familiar ghost
Which nightly gulls him with intelligence
As victors of my silence cannot boast;
I was not sick of any fear from thence:
But when your countenance fil'd up his line
Then lack'd I matter; that enfeebled mine.
Note the repetitions of the following, we find-his great verse,
his spirit, his compeers, his line.
3rd Line. In hearse=entomb.
8th Line. Astonished = stunned.
9th Line. Familiar love-"Loves Labours Lost", Act 1,
Scene 2-" Love is a familiar."
Here the writer of this sonnet refers to the proud full sail of
his great verse. Whose great verse is he referring to? Shakes-
Spears as contained in the first folio which is referred to as a
ship (proud full sail) carrying his work (the "Shakespeare"
plays) in which were inhearsed (buried) his ripe thoughts as in a
tomb. He asks-was it his spirit (Shakes-Spears) that had
been taught to write. By spirits in an unseen world? He
writes " he or his compeers (companions) by night giving him
aid. Clearly a reference to Bacon and his assistants, as Bacon
wrote " I have still some good pens that forsake me not."
We read that it was not he (Shakes-speare) or the affable
familiar ghost (the spirit guiding him) which nightly beguiled
(gulled) him with intelligence who could boast that they had
been able to silence him.
Compare this sonnet with Sonnet No. 80 where the poet
says that a better spirit doth use your name and refers again to
the proudest sail (in Sonnet No.80 the proud full sail).
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