Sonnet CXLVI: Poor Soul, the Centre of my Sinful Earth

Original Text: 
William Shakespeare, Shake-speares sonnets (London: G. Eld for T. T., 1609). STC 22353. Facs. edn.: London: J. Cape, 1925. PR 2750 B48 1609b ROBA.
3Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
4Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
5Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
6Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
7Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
12Within be fed, without be rich no more.
13So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
14And, Death once dead, there's no more dying then.


1] sinful earth: i.e., body. Back to Line
2] The Quarto reading of this line, "My sinfull earth these rebell powres that thee array," is evidently corrupt, the compositor probably being responsible for the repetition of "My sinfull earth." The original is irrecoverable. Conjectural readings include "Thrall to" (by analogy with Lucrece, 722-28), "Fool'd by," "Lord of," "Press'd by," "Why feed'st." The meaning of the phrase is: the rebellious bodily passions that are the garment of the soul. Back to Line
8] thy charge: i.e., the body. Back to Line
9] loss: i.e., privation. Back to Line
10] aggravate: increase. Back to Line
11] terms divine: long periods of divine salvation. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
F. D. Hoeniger
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.144.