Strangely Botched Endings


This must be one of the most unusual titles to a Victorian sonnet that there is!

On the Strangely Botched Endings of Some of Shakespear’s Sonnets

O lame and impotent conclusion! ‘Tis
As some full stream should run not to the sea,
But lose itself in sand, or stagnant be;
Or proud steed his last winning leap should miss,
And fall flat t’other side; or lovers kiss,
And with their last word quarrel; or the bee
Taint all the honey by the flower he
Last sucked from; or dove’s coo end with snake’s hiss!
‘Tis like Adonis with a cloven foot;
Fair woman fish-like ending; richest vein
Of gold “at fault”; coarse patch in rarest suit;
Mere discord in last notes of voice or strain
Angelic — strange all these! That he should do it,
Who wrote what went before, more strange again!

Henry Ellison


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