Here is Shakespeare’s sonnet 126 – ‘O thou my lovely boy who in thy power’ – as it appeared in 1609, in Shake-speares Sonnets: Neuer before Imprinted, printed by George Eld for publisher Thomas Thorpe. Amid what look like some eccentric choices in spelling and punctuation (I like ‘wretched mynuit kill’), we read that even the beautiful boy of the sonnet, so long the pride of Nature, will eventually fall victim to Time. ‘Her
Fascinating post, as is Robert MacLean's. As a retired fellow tradesman, I naturally enjoy it when the work and concerns of librarians gets a share of the spotlight (Hooray, FNL saves the Honresfield Hoard for the nation!) but in truth "special collections" librarians are a breed apart, scholarly types lurking in air-conditioned seclusion, while the rest of us toil over questions of underfunding, stock acquisition and processing, shelf-occupancy, and "reader services". I'm afraid digitisation *is* often the answer to these more pressing managerial concerns... So, hands up: we're also the ones who come up with Cunning Plans such as "foliogate"...
On Sonnet 126, as always I look to Don Paterson for enlightenment, but I find he is as baffled by those parentheses as anyone. FWIW, I had always meant -- given the accounting metaphor that closes the poem -- to investigate whether bracketed lines had some significance in book-keeping at the time: "account closed", that sort of thing. But as I'm sure the same thought must have occurred to others and I had work to get on with the impression in my mind gradually faded away to a blank (you see what I've done here).