In rendering the Sonnets by William Shakespeare on this website, the following conventions are being applied throughout.
Much in line with common practice:
- Archaic spellings are being contemporised, such as neuer to never, heire to heir, fewell to fuel, eate to eat; and obsolete letters replaced with contemporary ones, such s for the 'long s' ſ.
- Punctuation is being standardised and emended to aid the contemporary reader in their understanding of the text.
- In most cases, capitalised words that in contemporary English do not require a capital letter are being converted to lower case, such as Winter to winter. Exceptions are made in cases where personification requires or strongly suggests that the word be given effectively as a name, such as in Time's scythe, or wasteful Time debateth, for example.
Editors make different choices for conjugated verbs and the use of apostrophes to indicate syllables that are not pronounced or accents to mark those that are.
Here, a decision has been taken to largely ease off on these aids as neither the Quarto Edition nor any subsequent one is entirely consistent as to the use of apostrophes and of course accents do not feature in the Quarto Edition at all. So here, the text is set largely without extraneous marks, with notes given in the explanations to help with pronunciation where necessary and/or relevant.
1.6 Quarto Edition feed'st is here given as feedst
1.11 Quarto Edition buriest is here also given as buriest; it is nevertheless pronounced with two syllables: 'buri'st'
1.12 Quarto Edition makst is here given as makest and pronounced with one syllable.
Exceptions are made where an apostrophe clearly helps a contemporary reader make sense of the word, or where the archaic spelling simply doesn't register well today. For example:
5.8 Quarto Edition ore-snow'd is here given as o'resnowed, even though 'ore' is elsewhere in the Quarto Edition used to mean 'over'.
10.6 Quarto Edition gainst is here given as 'gainst
Specific textual issues will be listed here when they materialise as sonnets are added.
Please note that this project and its website are a work in progress. If you spot any issues or mistakes, or if you have any questions or suggestions, please use the contact page to get in touch.