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William Shakespeare, Sonnet cxlvi

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
Fool'd by these rebel powers that thee array, [*]
Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? Is this thy body's end?
Then, soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
And, Death once dead, there's no more dying then.


line 2: In the original copy we have the following reading:--

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
My sinful earth these rebel powers that thee array.
The received reading is a conjectural emendation by Malone. When the change in a text must rest wholly on conjecture, and some change is absolutely necessary, it seems to us that the change which has been established is in most cases better than any improvement. [ Back to text ]

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