Sonnet Journey Cards

So - I'm always learning sonnets. Though I'm nearly halfway through, I still have a LOT to learn. I like to have my current crop of 5 sonnets close at hand to grab a few minutes with them on the subway, at the coffee shop, or waiting in line, so I carry these cards everywhere. I laminate them for durability. The cards evolved from my original method of pocketing my sonnets, the Origami Study Guide.


You will need:

Step one: Put on some relaxing music and select a bottle of wine (or your beverage of choice). Because after printing for an hour+, you will need both. Pro Tip: don't start drinking until AFTER the printing is finished, or else your printer will see your impaired state and proceed to mess with you. 

In your print dialogue, you'll need to select 4x6 as your paper size. Most printer drivers actually have a selection of common sizes that includes 4x6 index cards, so that's easy. What's not so easy: most printers do not handle odd paper sizes automatically, so you'll need to use the manual feed. You may need to experiment with your printer to see how best to manage this probably lesser used feature of your printer.

The first page of the PDF is just the logo. This is meant to be the back of all the cards, so print that page with a quantity of 155, plus 5 more for safety.

Pro Tip: do this in smaller batches, starting with 5, and if all seems good, finish with 5 more batches of 30 cards at a time. Stand by your printer's manual feed with your stack of cards and feed them through one at a time (unless your printer handles stacks of small cards better than mine does, which is not all that well.) The tray where your printed cards emerge is probably not big enough for more than 30 or so before they start pushing and toppling over. Also, that's a tedious stretch to stand there feeding cards into a slot.

Once you have your stack of cards with the backs printed, you can start printing the sonnets. I would do even smaller batches of these. Before you begin feeding, make sure your cards are all facing the same direction, then print a test of page two of the PDF (the Dedication). If you get a card with the back graphic and the Dedication printed on the same side, TURN YOUR STACK OVER and print that one again. All good? Perfect.

Start printing in batches of 15, or whatever number you can do at a stretch without losing concentration. When you're finished, pour yourself a glass of the aformentioned beverage and relax before starting the optional lamination process (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!) Feel free to drink and relax while laminating.  It's a much slower paced process, and laminators aren't as vindictive as printers.

Notes on editing

In editing the Sonnet Journey Cards, I’ve used the 1609 Q, with some emendation:

• NOTE: I am sharing this as a work in progress. All too often, I find an error, which pains me greatly, mostly because the mistakes are not editorial but due to my negligent typography and version control. When I find them, I fix them and post a new version immediately. Starting with v5, there will be a list of edits [below] for each new version so you can download the new version and reprint only the affected cards. If you find a mistake, CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY!! 

Finally, this is my work, which I share freely for your benefit, but not your profit, so please don't publish my work in any way without my permission.

• All original Q punctuation is intact. This includes periods, commas, semi-colons, colons, question marks, parenthesis, exclamation points, and included apostrophes in necessary contractions. [see next note]
• Apostrophes have been added to contracted words where the Q omits them but modern convention would demand them. The Q is wildly inconsistent in this regard, using contracting apostrophes willy-nilly, probably to conserve space or resources (Running low in ‘e’s? Use apostrophes!). If the rhythm of the line indicates contraction of a word printed without an apostrophe, I add it; where the rhythm of the line indicates a word with an apostrophe be complete, I remove it and restore the full word. I all cases, I adjust to modern spellings.

• Apostrophes are added to possessive forms. The Q includes no possessive apostrophes, since that convention would not be standardized until the late 17th-early 18th century.

• The Q capitalization and italics  has been preserved, with the exception of the printer's penchant for capitalizing the first (with the drop cap) AND the second letter of each sonnet. I didn't do drop caps, so I omitted the second capitalization, too.

• Q hyphenations are intact where they make modern sense; hyphenation is added or removed where clarity or modern convention dictates.

• Spellings have been modernized to current convention, including making one word out of two, eg 'every where' becomes 'everywhere.'

***Thy self vs thyself (and similar) are taken on a case by case basis, as I find the Q use of separate words illuminating in some instances, and less important in others. So sue me.

• Shouldst vs should'st is especially inconsistent; I default to the modern (and still archaic) shouldst, lacking any opinion on the matter.

• Some standard emendations have been included in brackets and italics after the Q version, such as this one in lines 11 and 14 of S 128 (generally agreed to be a mistake, since “their” makes zero sense here):

Ore whom their [thy] fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more blest than living lips,
Since saucy Jacks so happy are in this,
Give them their [thy] fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

There are also instances where there is little agreement about what, if any, emendation is needed, such as in this one from the third Q of S 25

The painful warrior famoused for worth, [fight, might]
After a thousand victories once foiled,
Is from the book of honor razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toiled:

Note that in this case, editors attempt to 'fix' the fact that worth and quite do not rhyme (duh). But some fix it one way, some another. I've included both types of 'fixes', and further include two popular variations on the attempt to change worth into a rhyme for quite. In these instances, I provide a clue to my own preference: my pick is first in the series of options (as in "[fight, might]", where I choose 'fight'. To be clear, I waffle on the fight/might front, so feel free to have an opinion of your own.

For an exhaustive history of every historical edit, I refer you to Uncle Stephen Booth. He covers them all, and he doesn’t shy from opinion on the matter either.

KIND OF UNRELATED NOTE: Sonnet 146 is a special case, and I don't have a horse in that race. Any alterations to the Q text is pure conjecture. To be fair, most of the others are, too, but this one is a particular mystery with zero contextual guidance except that what "My sinful earth…" replaced is likely two syllables. Doesn't really narrow it down much. Have fun with that one. Maybe by the time I tackle it, I'll have a pick, but for now, I've got nothing. And that's OK. I have, for now, included a number of popular options for your consideration. Again, I refer you to Mr. Booth.

Further unrelated, 146 will be one of the last sonnets I learn, along with 99, 126, and 145 which are all special little snowflakes. FWIW, I'll be tackling this group just prior to my final pair, 153 & 154. Other than this milestone, I have NO IDEA in what order I'll be memorizing the rest. Stay tuned!



Prior to v5 11/27/16 :

  • The word REPRINT appears on sonnets 2, 25, 29, 40, 41, 42, 50, 51, 53, 54, 58, 61, 63, 71, 73, 89, 90, 93, 94, 97, 105, 109, 110, 113, 114, 115, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 129, 141, 142, 146.
  • Sonnet 34, line 12 was missing the proper editorial notation:
    WAS: To him that bears the strong offence's cross.
    SHOULD BE: To him that bears the strong offence's loss [cross].
  • Bracketed edits now appear in italics uniformly.
  • Sonnet 25, line 11 no longer contains an edit for "worth" (stick with "fight" or "might" in line 9!)

v6 5/23/17 fixes :

  • S20, l13 added "for"
  • S18, l10 changed "possessing" to "possession" (lordy, I don't know how that even happened)