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William Shakespeare, Sonnet cxxviii

How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks, that nimble leap [*]
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more bless'd than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.


line 5: Jacks. The small hammers, moved by the keys, which strike the strings of a virginal. In the comedy of 'Ram Alley' we have --

Where be these rascals that skip up and down
Like virginal jacks? [ Back to text ]

Most notes to Shakespeare's sonnets are from Charles Knight's edition, but those in square brackets are mine.