Thomas Edwards (1–2). From The Canons of Criticism, and Glossary; The Trial of the Letshy; ter [Y], alias Y, and Sonnets. 7th ed. (London, 1765).
1. Edwards's sonnets, including this one, first appeared in the second volume of A Collection of Poems by Several Hands, popularly known as “Dodsley's Miscellany” (1748).
2. See also Ebenezer Elliott's sonnet “Criticism” (420).
Thomas Gray (3). From The Poems of Mr. Gray. To which are Prefixed Memoirs of his Life and Writings by W. Mason, M.A. (York, 1775).
3. line 2, Phoebus: the sun in classical mythology.
Thomas Warton (4–5). From The Poetical Works of the Late Thomas Warton, B.D. Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford; and Poet Laureate, ed. Richard Mant. 5th ed., 2 vols. (Oxford, 1802). Warton's sonnets were first published in 1777.
4. line 2, Surrey: a county in southeast England, near London. line 2, Epsom: a town in southeast England, near London.
5. title, the River Lodon: now called the River Chet, it flows through Norfolk, Engshy; land.
John Codrington Bampfylde (6–9). From Sixteen Sonnets (London, 1778).
6. line 8, gins: machines worked by horses.
7. line 2, The myrtle never-sear: Myrtle is the common name for several evergreen plants used since ancient times for wreaths, decorations, and perfume and symbolizing love, marriage, and happiness. line 2, gadding: wandering. line 5, pied: multi-colored. line 6, woodbine: Virginia Creeper, a high-climbing, woody vine. line 7, eglantine: common name for rosa eglanteria or sweetbrier, a rose noted for its frashy; grant foliage and pink flowers.
8. line 9 would make more sense beginning “And prayer, essayed to mar…”
9.line 1, yclad: clothed. line 7, ruddy prattlers dear: the shepherd's children.