Lost Sonnets: A Restoration of the Runes
The Edited Texts of
Set I: Runes 1-14
Notes on Set I
scholars have often stressed the thematic unity in Sonnets 1-17
or 1-18 (see Ramsey 6), Kenneth Muir, Hilton Landry, and C. Knox Pooler
have all concludedwithout knowing about Qs 11 lost setsthat
Sonnets 1-14 form a thematic group. Pooler has suggested that Sonnet 15
is the first to treat the theme of immortalizing the poets friend
through art. Muir finds consistency in the first 17 sonnets but notes
that in the last three
there is a change as the theme
of immortality through the permanence of great poetry takes
over and that of encouragement to marry fades (Muir 45; Landry 144, crediting
Poolers Arden edition).
at Set I and imagining the poems penned on a folio-sized leaf,
about 22 x 17 inches, in the near-minuscule hand of the Thomas More
remnant invites us to envision how the poet composed a given set. Writing
the first sonnet of the set and the first lines of all 14 sonnets (generating
Rune 1) would have imposed no unusual constraints, except that each line
that Will composed had to start another poem. These two texts, Sonnet
1 and Rune 1, laid out the formal and thematic dimensions of the set.
As the poet successively added lines, down or across,
the texture of his set thickened and his choices grew more complex. Still,
when he wrote any given line, his problem was to advance the sense and
wit of two texts concurrently, not 28. Perhaps the poet roughed in all
the lines for the set on a single folio leaf and then refined the texts
on separate leaves, jot-and-tittle, so they could bear more punning freight.
In any case, the process was exacting and tedious.
(First lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
From fairest creatures we desire increase.
When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest,
4 Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Those hours that with gentle work did frame?
Then let not winters ragged hand deface.
Lo, in the orient, when the gracious light
8 Music to hear, why hearst thou music sadly?
Is it for fear? To wet a widows eye?
For shame deny that thou bearst love to any!
As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou growst
12 When I do count the clock that tells the time.
O, that you were yourself! But love you are.
Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck.
Glosses: 1) increase = improvement, progeny; 3) glass = mirror, drinking glass; 4) spend = pass idly; 5) frame = pass constructively (ME); 7) Lo puns on Low [in the east]; orient = dayspring; light = alight (i.e., arise from [a high] bed); 9) Or, ...for fear to wet a widows eye [a pudendal pun]?; 10) any puns on Annie, Wills wifes name.
(Second lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
That thereby beautys rose might never die
And dig deep trenches in thy beautys field,
Now is the time that face should form another
4 Upon thyself, thy beautys legacy
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell.
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distilled,
Lifts up his burning head: Each under eye,
8 Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
That thou consumst thyself in single life
Who for thyself art so unprovident,
In one of thine from that which thou departst
12 And see, the brave day sunk in hideous night,
No longer yours, then you yourself here live,
And yet: Methinks I have astronomy.
Glosses: 1) rose puns on rows [of text here]; 2) thy beautys field = your face, your domain; 4) Upon thyself = Patterned after you; 9) That = Because, Given that (ME); also, That thou consumstthyselfin...; 11) one of thine = the poet, this (still-extant) poem; 11-12) that which.../...see = the visible world; 14) astronomy = cosmic control (implied by the context); pun: Anne died, methinks. Eye half-assed rune. Oh, my!
(Fourth lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
His tender heir might bear his memory,
Will be a tottered weed of small worth held;
Thou dost beguile the world. Unbless some mother
4 And, being frank, she lends to those are free
And that unfair which fairly doth excel
With beautys treasure, ere it be self-killed
Serving with looks his sacred majesty
8 Or else, receivst with pleasure thine annoy.
The world will wail thee like a makeless wife,
But that thou none lovst is most evident!
Thou mayst call thine, when thou from youth convertest
12 Andsable curls or silvered oer with white
And your sweet semblance to some other give
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons quality.
Glosses: 2) Will = the poet; tottered weed = shaky weed, ragged garment; 4) frank = open, generous; free = available; 5) with phallic overtones in the line; 9) makeless = matchless, mateless; 12) hinting at pubic hair covered with ejaculate.
(Fifth lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Then being asked where all thy beauty lies
(For where is she so fair whos uneared womb,
4 Then beauteous?)niggard, why dost thou abuse?
For never-resting Time leads Summer on
That use is not forbidden usury,
And having climbed the steep-up heavenly hill.
8 If the true concord of well-tunèd sounds,
The world will be thy widow, and still weep
For thou art so possessed with murderous hate!
Herein lives wisdom: Beauty and increase.
12 When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
So should that beauty which you hold in leaf
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell.
Glosses: 1) contracted = shriveled, betrothed; 3) whos uneared womb = who is unfruitful...; 4) niggard = miser; 6) use = maintenance for sexual purposes; usury = unlawful lending; 7) And = Nor is; Any more than...; 10) For = Because; 13) leaf (Q lease, with a long s, an eyepun on f); 14) Nor without Neither (arch.); minutes = time, records; tell (see tally, calculate).
(Sixth lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
Feedst thy lights flame with self-substantial fuel
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry
4 The bounteous largess given thee to give
To hideous winterand confounds him there,
Which happies those that pay the willing loan,
Resembling strong youth in his middle age
8 By unions married. Do offend thine ear
That thou no form of thee hast left behind
That gainst thyself thou stickst not to conspire.
Without this, folly, age, and cold decay,
12 Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
Find no determination; then you were
Pointing to each his thunder, rain, and wind.
Glosses: 10) Thou stickest not: = you dont show unwillingness (OED), smacking of wit about stickiness; 11) this = your replication in an offspring (see 9); 12) Erst = formerly; 13) then you were = in that case (i.e., without an heir) you would be ; 14) the triplet series shows formal parallelism with the one in 11.
(Eighth lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel,
Were an all-eating shameand thriftless praise
Of his self-love to stop posterity,
4 So great a sum of sums. Yet canst not live
Beauty oersnowed and bareness everywhere;
Oer, ten times happier be it ten for one
Attending on his golden pilgrimage.
8 In singleness, the parts that thou shouldst bear:
By childrens eyes, her husbands shape in mind
Which to repair should be thy chief desire.
And threescore year would make the world away,
12 Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear:
By oft predict that I in heaven find.
Glosses: 3, 7) His refers to the listeners self (see 1); 6) Oer (Q Or) suggests [life] completed; 9) Her implies a widows; 10) repair = fix, resort to; 13) bear puns on bare, i.e., reveal; 14) Oft predict may mean frequent forecasting.
(Ninth lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
Thou that art now the worlds fresh ornament,
How much more praise deserved thy beautys use!
Thou art thy mothers glass, and she in thee;
4 For having traffic with thyself alone,
Then were not summers distillation left.
Ten times thyself were happier than thou art.
But when? From highmost pitch, with wary car,
8 Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Look. What an unthrift in the world doth spend!
O change thy thought, that I may change my mind!
Let those whom nature hath not made for store!
12 Then of thy beauty do I question make:
Who lets so fair a house fall to decay?
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive.
Glosses: 2) use: i.e., for procreation; 7) wary plays also on weary,wiry (see string in 8); 11) Let = Leave; store = cautious frugality;
(Tenth lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
And, only herald to the gaudy spring,
If thou couldst answer, This fair child of mine
Calls back the lovely April of her prime,
4 Thou of thyself thy sweet self dost deceive
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass
If ten of thine ten times refigured thee!
Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day,
8 Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Shifts but his place fore; still, the world enjoys it.
Shall hate be fairer lodged, then gentle love
Harsh, featureless, and rudebarrenly perish
12 That thou among the wastes of time must go
Which husbandry in honor might uphold
And constant stars? (In them I read such art.)
Gloss: 13) uphold = exalt, and (paradoxically) prevent; 14) Q such is always a bawdy eyepun on f--k.
(Eleventh lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
Within thine own bud buriest thy content.
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,
So thou, through windows of thine age, shalt see
4 Then how, when Nature calls thee to be gone,
Beautys effect with beauty were bereft.
Then, what could Death do if thou shouldst depart?
The eyes fore duteous now converted are,
8 Resembling sire and child and happy mother.
But Beautys waste hath in the world an end.
Be as thy presence is, gracious and kind.
Look whom she best endowed, she gave thee more!
12 Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake,
Against the stormy gusts of winters day
As Truth and Beauty shalltogether thrive.
Glosses: 1) content = satisfaction, substance; 2) suggesting, My account will summarize my old explanation; 5) Beautys effect may be Beautys offspring; bereft varies bereaved; 8) Resembling = looking like, reassembling (i.e., reuniting), as the Runes do lines; 11) she suggests Beauty (see 4, 9) or Nature (4); 14) Together implies with someone else, not singly.
(Twelfth lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
And tender churl makst waste in niggarding,
Proving his beauty by succession thine,
Despite of wrinkles. This thy golden time,
4 What ácceptable audit canst thou leave
Nor it nor no remembrance what it was
Leaving thee, living in posterity?
From his low tract, and look another way,
8 Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing,
And, kept unused, the user so destroys it!
Or, to thyself at least kind-hearted prove
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish,
12 And die as fast as they see others grow,
And, barren, rage of deaths eternal cold!
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert!
Glosses: 1) tender churl = gentle miser, i.e., Beauty (see 2); 3) wrinkles = tricks or wiles, moral blemishes (OED); 7) his low tract = Beautys miserly teachings; 12) they (ambig.) points back to posterity (see 6) and wrinkles (see 3).
(Thirteenth lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
Pity the world, or else this glutton be!
This were to be new made when thou art old
But if thou live. Remembered not to be,
4 Thy unused beauty must be tombed with thee,
But flowers distilled, though they with winter meet.
Be not self-willed (for thou art much too fair),
So thouthyself outgoing in thy noon,
8 Whose speechless song (being many, seeming one)
No love toward others in that bosom sits
Make thee another self for love of me!
She carved thee for her seal, and mint thereby,
12 And nothing gainst Times scythe can make defense.
O none but unthrifts, dear my love, you know,
Or else of thee this I prognosticate.
Glosses: 2) This (ambig.) = this choice, this dismembered poem cycle; 3, 5) But = Only, and is an automatic pun, e.g., on beauty, bawdy, body, butt, bud; 11) She (ambig.) points toward Time (see 12); 14) this (ambig.) = an optimistic future (see 10), your death (see 12), the company you keep (see 13), and/or the poems whole statement.
(Fourteenth lines, Set I: Sonnets 1-14)
To eat the worlds due, by the grave and thee,
And see thy blood warm when thou feelst it cold,
Die singleand thine image dies with thee
4 Which usèd lives, th executor to be:
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.
To be deaths conquest and make worms thine heir
Unlooked on, diced unless thou get a son
8 Sings this to thee: Thou single wilt prove none,
That on himself such murdrous shame commits!
That beauty still may live in thine or thee,
Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.
12 Save breed to brave him when he takes thee hence.
You had a father. Let your son say so.
Thy end is truths and beautys doom and date.
Glosses: 1) eat = taste; due = recompense; To eat puns on 2-8i.e., 28, the number of sonnets and runes now being wrapped up in Set I; 2) see...blood warm = feel anger; 5) Leese = Lose; their (ambig.) = deaths and your, the worlds (see 1); pun: th heir; 7) diced (Q diest) = punningly, cut up into little pieces; also, [thou] diest!; get = beget; 10) That = So that; 11) copy = pattern, text source; 12) to brave him = to face death (see 6), to ennoble your son (see 13).
Set II: Runes 15-28
Notes on Set II
Though any generalization (except about rhyme) on the absolute difference between the Sonnets and the Runes is beset with problems, the poet does seem to give each sonnet a kind of topical unity that any given rune may lack. Still, the Runes typically cohere as texts in all kinds of waysthrough figures, puns, echoic language, and even in many cases by the logic of octave, quatrain, sestet, and couplet; more so than the Sonnets, the Runes seem to me to progress by add-on association, meandering through a range of ideas and holding onto logic and sense somewhat more precariously and incrementally. The missing punch of rhyme is also a part of what they dont have. As riddlic texts, the runes thrive on vague and prepositioned pronouns, a shifting point of view, and strained syntax. And Qs punctuation, already unreliable in the Sonnets, becomes mostly irrelevant in the Runesexcept on special occasions, where it works.
(First lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
When I consider everything that grows,
But wherefore do not you a mightier way?
Who will believe my verse in time to come?
4 Shall I compare thee to a summers day?
Devouring time, blunt thou the lions paws,
A womans face with natures own hand painted?
So is it not with me, as with that muse:
8 My glass shall not persuade me I am old.
As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Mine eye hath played the painter and hath steeled.
Let those who are in favor with their stars,
12 Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage,
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed.
How can I then return in happy plight?
Glosses: 3) believe (Q beleeue) puns on be-leaf, i.e., put onto pages, publish; 7) that muse points back to you, thee, thou (2, 4, 5); 8-9) pun (reinforced by the meter): I am old / as Anne, unperfect...; 10) steeld = engraved, fixed, hardened; 11) Let = Leave (see the pun in 3); 10-11) namepuns: m Annie Hath-th [= p, archaic thorn]-lay,Anne Hath..., Let = L et = l and = Le Anne; 14) plight = condition, commitment (suggesting marriage), punning on placket = a slit in a womans garment, and thus a woman (OED).
(Second lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
Holds in perfection but a little moment:
Make war upon this bloody tyrant time!
If it were filled with your most high deserts,
4 Thou art more lovely, and more temperate,
And make the earth devour her own. Sweet brood
Haste thou, the master-mistress of my passion,
Stirred by a painted beauty to his verse.
8 So long as youth and thou are of one date,
Who with his fear is put besides his part?
Thy beauties form, in table of my heart,
Of public honor and proud titles boast.
12 Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit
The dear repose for limbs with trávail tired
That am debarred the benefit of rest.
Glosses: 3) it (ambig.) = time (see 2), the earth (see 5); 6) Haste/Hast (Q Haste): the ambiguity triggers contradictory meanings; 7) his = my passions (see 6); 10) heart = art, my heart = merd (OED 1477, 1621), i.e., dung (both routine puns in Q); 11) boast (v.) = may boast, with Thy beauties form (10) its subject.
(Third lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
That this huge stage presenteth, nought but shows
And Fortify Yourself in Your Decay,
Though yet, heavn knows, it is but as a tomb:
4 Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,
A womans gentle heart but not acquainted
Who heavn itself for ornament doth use;
8 But when in thee times furrows I behold,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
My body is the frame wherein tis held,
Whilst Iwhom fortune of such triumph bars
12 To thee I send this written ambassage.
But then begins a journey in my head
When days oppression is not eased by night.
Glosses: 1) this huge stage = the world (suggesting The Globe); 2) Fortify...Decay suggests a morality play, contrasting with shows (1), a term implying frothy entertainment; 4) Rough winds puns on Runes; 6-7) i.e., Only a beautiful, ingenuous woman not being familiar [with the harshness of life]; 11) Whilst I = Will Shakespeare [st = the routine family name cipher, a long s shaking a spear-like t], I/...eye; such is an eyepun on f--k in Q; 12) pun: ...Toothy, eye Ass Anne t hiss; writ, a name be sage (...besiege/...beseech).
(Fourth lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment
With means more blessed than my barren rhyme,
Which hides your life, and shows not half your parts;
4 And summers lease hath all too short a date;
And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood
With shifting change, as is false womens fashion;
And every fair with his fair doth rehearse;
8 Then look I death my days should expiate
Whose strengths abundance weakens his own heart
And pérspective. It is best painters art
Un-looked for, joyin that I honor most
12 To witness duty, not to show my wit;
To work my mind, when bodys works expired,
But day by night and night by day oppressed.
Glosses: 1) Whereon implies On your life (see 3) and Whereas and puns We rune!; 4) namepuns: Anne S., Hath; phallic pun: Awl too short? Add 8 [inches]; 5) burn = may burn, burns; 7) rehearse (ambig.) = repeat stale lines, entomb again (with sexual overtones, since die = have sex); 7) with his puns on witties, i.e., witticisms; 8) Then look I = Then I anticipate; 9) heart = art (a routine pun); 11) that = what, that which; 12) witness = see, certify.
(Sixth lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
Cheered and checked evn by the self-same sky,
And many maiden gardens yet unset
And in fresh, numbers number all your graces,
4 And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
Anddo whateer thou wilt, swift-footed time
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth
With sun and moon, with earth and seas rich gems,
8 Is but the seemly raiment of my heart.
The perfect ceremony of loves wright,
To find where your true image pictured lies,
But (as the marigold at the suns eye)
12 May make seem bare, in wanting words to show it.
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee;
Do, in consent, shake hands to torture me.
Glosses: 1) checked puns on chequered (like an acrostic gameboard); 2) gardens suggests knot-gardens and thus (unwritten) poems; the line puns, e.g., Anne, m Annie, made a neger dance (...may eat a neger dense). Why et [= and = Anne], Ands [= Anne S.] et..., with complex plays on eat/et/et/and/Anne; 3) And in continues the Anne/Anne humor; in fresh = just planted; numbers = verses; 4) his = the skys (see 1), implying both the sun (see 7) and your (see 3); 5) time implies meter (see 3); 6) it = my heart (see 8), punning on my art and implying the sun; 7) sun puns on son (see 4, 11), i.e., Wills dead son, Hamnet; 8) seemly puns on seamly (i.e., patched together, as Sonnets and Runes are), with heart punning on art; 9) wright (Q right): also, right (prerogative); 11) But = Merely; 13) Intend = Take note of; 14) consent puns on cunt-scent.
(Seventh lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
With virtuous wish would bear your living flowers;
The age to come would say, This poet lies!
4 And, Every fair from fair sometime declines!
To the wide world, and all her fading, sweets
A man in hue, all hues in his controlling:
With Aprils first-born flowers and all things rare
8 Which in thy breast doth live (as thine in me,
And in mine own), loves strength seem to decay
Which in my bosoms shop is hanging still;
And in themselves their pride lies burièd
12 But that I hope some good conceit of thine
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
The one by toil, the other to complain.
Glosses: 1) Vaunt (sb., archaic) = A brag or boast; 2) bear puns on bare, i.e., reveal; your living flowers (fig.) = these poems, lines that flow; 9) seem = may seem; 11) themselves (ambig.) points back to flowers and all things rare (see 2, 7) and/or to the...world (5)that is, humans; 12) But that I hope = Unless I wish into being, with hope a pun on ope (i.e., open up).
(Eighth lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
And were their brave state out of memory,
Much liker, then, your painted counterfeit;
Such heavenly touches neer touched earthly faces,
4 By chance or natures changing course untrimmed.
But I forbid thee one most heinous crime,
Which steals mens eyes and womens souls amazeth
That heavens air in this huge rondure hems:
8 How can I then be elder than thou art,
Oer-charged with burthen of mine own, loves mite
That hath his windows glazèd with thine eyes!
For at a frown they in their glory die.
12 In thy souls thought, all naked. Will, bestow it!
Looking on darkness which the blind do see,
How far I toil, still farther off from thee.
Glosses: 1) their (a riddlic prepositioned pronoun) points toward heavenly touches in 3 and implies any or all of the friends attractive facial features; 2) liker = more probable; counterfeit = likeness; 4) untrimmed = unadorned, unattractive, unshaven, stripped of decorations; 10) hath...glazèd = has his eyes dazzled, suggesting a cathedral window, maybe a huge rondure (see 7); 11) they = your eyes, especially as reflected in mine (see 10), with they a routinely automatic pun on th eye; 12) Will = a self-address (to Will) and a reduplicative order to the muse, Bequeath [= Bestow] it!
(Ninth lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
Thin the conceit of this inconstant stay,
So should the lines of life that leaf repair;
So fold my papers, yellowed with their age,
4 But thy Eternal Summer shall not fade!
O, carve not with thy hours my loves fair brow,
And for a woman wert thou first created.
O, let me, true in love, but truly write.
8 O, therefore, love, be of thyself so wary,
O, let my books be then the eloquence.
Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have done
The painful warrior famousèd for worth.
12 Till whatsoever star that guides my moving
Save that, my souls imaginary sight ,
I tell the day, To please him thou art bright.
Glosses: 1) stay = pedestal, support; 2) Q should (with a long s) is an eyepun on fold, relevant to leaf; repair = restore, reassemble; 4) not puns on knot, puzzle; 5) hours (Q howers) puns on whores; 14) him (ambig.) = my soul, my imagination (see 13). Opening the poem is the pun Thin/Thick, onset of this [poem] inconstant is to eye.
(Tenth lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
Sets you, most rich in youth before, my sight,
Whichthis times pencil or my pupil pen
Be scorned, like old men of less truth than tongue
4 Nor lose possession of that fair thou owst
Nor draw no lines there with thine antic pen,
Till nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting;
And then, believe me, my love is as fair
8 As I, not for myself but for thee, will;
And, dumb preságers of my speaking breast,
Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine, for me
After a thousand victories once foiled
12 Points on me graciously with fair aspéct,
Presents their shadow to my sightless view,
And dost him grace when clouds do blot the heaven.
Glosses: 2) this times pencil = modern styles in drawing, my present effort at depicting you; 4-5) Nor.../Nor... = Neither /Nor ; 5) antic (Q antique): an automatic pun in Q; 8) As I will (8) encodes an automatic namepun on Will, the poet; 9) presagers = predictors; 10) thine = thy shape; 11) foiled ( suggesting a pointed weapon) = defeated; 14) him = the victorious shadow of the man being addressed, punning on hymni.e., a lyric, such as this text.
(Eleventh lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
Where wasteful, time debated with decay
Neither in inward worth nor outward fair
And your true rights be termed a poets rage.
4 Nor shall death brag thou wandrest in his shade:
Him, in thy course untainted, do allow,
And, by addition, me, of thee defeated
As any mothers child, though not so bright,
8 Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary.
Who plead for love and look for recompense
Are windows to my breast (wherethrough the sun
Is from the book of honor razèd quite)
12 And puts apparel on my tottered loving,
Which, like a jewel, hung in ghastly night.
So flatter I the swart-complexioned night.
Glosses: 1) time suggests meter, and thus poetry; 3) rights: also, rites; 5) Him = Death (see 4), with Him in t... a play on Hamnet (Wills dead son), and course, on corse (i.e., corpse); 6) And plays on Anne, Hamnets mother (see mothers child in 7); 8) I will puns, I, Will...; chary = frugally; 9) Who = Those who, Whoever may; 9) the sun plays on son, echoing Him in t... in 5and on The Son, suggesting Christ (with book of honor implying the Bible); 13) hung: a past-tense verb.
(Twelfth lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
To change your day of youth to sullied night
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men
And stretchèd meter of an antique song
4 When in eternal lines to time thou growst
For beautys pattern to succeeding men,
By adding one thingto my purpose nothing:
As those gold candles fixed in heavens air,
8 As tender nurse, her babe from faring ill
More than that, tongue that more hath more expressed
Delights to peep. To gaze therein on thee
(And all the rest forgot for which he toiled
12 To show me worthy of their sweet respect)
Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new;
When sparkling stars twire not, thou gildst the even.
Glosses: 7) gold candles = stars; 11) he = tongue (9) and thus the poet; 12) their refers to all the rest (see 11) but suggests eyes; 14) twire = peep, blink (OED); gildst (suggesting beguiles) = makes golden; the even puns on th heaven.
(Thirteenth lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
And all in war with time for love of you,
To give away yourself keeps your self still:
But were some child of yours alive that time
4 So long as men can breatheor eyes can see
Yet, do thy worst, old time, despite thy wrong!
But since she pricked thee out for womens pleasure,
Let them say more that like of hearsay well.
8 Presume not on thy heart, when mine is slain!
O learn to read what silent love hath writ;
Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art.
Then happy I that love and am beloved.
12 Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee.
Low thus by day my limbs, by night my mind;
But day doth daily draw my sorrows longer.
Glosses: 1) time puns on meter (and on Tommy, likely Wills printing agent Thomas Thorpe); 5) despite (Q dispight) = set at nought (v.), a thing scorned (sb.); 6) she = time (1, 5); 8) heart = art (routine pun); 13) Q Loe = Low, Lo; Loe thus by day puns on Ludus [L. game, joke] bitty; 14) But day... puns on Beauty, Body, Bawdy; Q sorrowes (long s) is an eyepun on furrows, i.e., lines.
(Fourteenth lines, Set II: Sonnets 15-28)
As he takes from you, I engraft you new;
And you must live drawn by your own sweet skill:
You should live twicein it, and in my rhyme
4 So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
My love shall in my verse ever live young:
Mine be thy love, and thy loves use; their treasure
I will not praise that purpose not to sell.
8 Thou gavst me thine not to give back again.
To hear with eyes belongs to loves fine wit.
They draw but what they see, know not the lair
Where I may not remove, nor be removed
12 Till then, not show my head where thou mayst prove me
For thee, and for myself no quiet find,
And night doth nightly make griefs length seem stronger.
Glosses: 3) it = your...skill, while he (in 1, ambig.) points forward to the same phrase; 8) thine may mean thy love and (implicitly) its treasure (see 6); 9) wit (Q wiht) puns on wight, i.e., creature (OED 1587); 10) lair: an ambig., garbled form in Q, visually suggesting liar, hart, heart, hare. The engrafting metaphor in 1 refers to the poets own method of grafting Runes onto Sonnets, making his unnamed muse live twice (see 3).
Set III: Runes 29-42
Notes on Set III
lines of the two opening sonnets hereamong the better known
in Qcolor all the runes in the set with melancholy contemplation;
the affirmations of their couplets, by contrast, lend a relatively upbeat
tone to Runes 41 and 42, as if to make those two a sort of couplet
close to the runic string inherent on the leaf. Sonnet 33, with
its butchered-looking confessional line mentioning Heavens
Sun [Son] (Sonnet 33.14), provides a rare Christian
detailhowever seriousin a welter of Q verses sometimes
verging on sacrilege. The acrostic NOT (Sonnets 35, 39, 42) catches the
eye on the leaf, as does the familiar TT (41-42) and (less overtly) the
long-line endpun dusty f--ker in the upper right (Sonnet 32.2).
(First lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
When in disgrace with fortune and mens eyes,
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought,
Thy bosom is endearèd with all hearts
4 If thou survive my well-contented day.
Full many a glorious morning have I seen;
Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day?
No more be grieved at that which thou hast done;
8 Let me confess, that we two must be twain.
As a decrepit father takes delight,
How can my muse want subject to invent?
Oh, how thy worth with manners may I sing?
12 Take all my loves, my loveyea, take them all,
Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits!
That thou hast her, it is not all my grief.
Glosses: 2) sessions = court hearings, with sessions of sweet, silent thought a conceit for the Runes; 4) well-contented suggests a full docket; 6) promise puns on swear yourself in (on); 8) that = so that; 11) manners = (courtly) decorum; 14) her = liberty (see 13), but suggesting some woman.
(Second lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
I all alone beweep my outcast state;
I summon up remembrance of things past
Which I, by lacking, have supposèd dead
4 When that churl death my bones with dust shall cover,
Flatter the mountaintops with sovereign eye,
And make me travel forth without my cloak.
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,
8 Although our undivided loves are one.
To see his active child do deeds of youth
While thou dost breathethat pourst into my verse.
When thou art all the better part of me,
12 What hast thou then more than thou hadst before
When I am sometime absent from thy heart?
And yet it may be said I loved her dearly.
Glosses: 1) outcast state suggests discarded texts in Q (the Runes), absence from the family in Stratford; 2) past puns on paste (i.e., imitations, things stuck together); 4) churl = boorish miser; 5) Flatter = Delude (and thus Dominate), punning on Flatten; 5-6) sovereign eye, / And make puns, sovereign aye, Anne, make [= mate]; 6) cloak suggests a (dusty) bodily covering (see 4); 9) his (ambig.) = deaths (see 4), my verses (see 10); 11) all suggests Hall, Wills son-in-law, heir, and father of a granddaughter (see 9); 13) heart = art (a routine pun); 14) her = your heart/art (see 13), suggesting both Susanna Hall and the Halls daughter, Elizabeth.
(Third lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
And, trouble-deaf heaven, with my bootless cries
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought
(And there reigns love, and all loves loving parts)
4 And shalt by fortune once more resurvey,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green
To let base clouds oertake me in my way.
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun;
8 So shall those blots that do with me remain.
So Imade lame by fortunes, dearestspite
Thine own sweet argument, too excellent.
What can mine own praise to mine own self bring?
12 No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call.
Thy beauty, and thy years, full well befits;
That she hath thee is of my wailing chief.
Glosses: 1) bootless = unprofitable; cries puns on series, suggesting the Q cycle; 3) there = in heaven (see 1); 14) she ambiguously suggests heaven (see 1-3), love (see 12), beauty, a full well (see 13), and Anne Hathaway, whose name lurks as a pun in 14: That she, Hath-thee-aye, is of my way-ling chief. Qs cheefe (14) puns visually, e.g., on cheese and ...heavy.
(Fourth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
And look upon myself and curse, my fate,
And with old woes new wail my dear times waste
And all those friends which I thought burièd,
4 These poor rude lines of thy deceasèd lover,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke;
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud
8 Without thy help, by me be borne alone.
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth
For every vulgar paper to rehearse,
And what ist but mine own when I praise thee?
12 All mine was thine before thou hadst this more
For still temptation; follows where thou art
A loss in love that touches me more nearly.
Glosses: 1) my fate, a direct address; 2) times suggests meters, poetrys; 6) rotten puns on wroten, i.e., written; 10) rehearse = restate, punning on re-inter; 13) still = further, leisured, punning on steel, i.e., hard.
(Fifth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow
How many a holy and obsequious tear.
4 Compare them with the bettering of the time;
Anon, permit the basest clouds to ride.
Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break;
All men make faultsand even I in this.
8 In our two loves there is but one respect.
For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
Oh, give thyself the thanks if aught in me.
Even for this, let us divided live.
12 Then if, for my love, thou my love receivest,
Gentle thou art, and therefore to be won.
Loving offenders, thus I will excuse ye.
Glosses: 4) them = my tears (implied in 3); 5) Anon = Shortly; ride (paradoxically) = pass on by, dominate; 7) make faults = generate flaws, create fissures or divisions (as I do in these Sonnets/Runes); All men puns on Awl men, a phallic joke reinforced by make faults (i.e., dig crevices) and by I (a phallic pictograph); the line also plays on John Hall, Wills daughters make (i.e., mate), while All men make faults puns, All (Old...) m Anne, make (m ache), is old: S., Anne, Eve, 90 is and Hall, m Anne, make, assaults, undoing I (...aye) in this; 10) if aught = if any one of these virtues exists...; 10-11) pun: ...in me enough artist, let us divided live; 11) the line, if addressed to Anne, is highly personal. A routine welter of puns on Anne includes And, in and (here) Anon (5), can (2), an eye (2), etc.;14) I will: also, I, Will.
(Sixth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
For precious friends hid in deaths dateless night
Hath dear religious love stoln from mine eye
4 And though they be outstripped by every pen
With ugly rack on his celestial face
To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
Authórizing thy trespass with compare.
8 Though in our lives a separable spite
Oer any of these all, or all, or more,
Worthy perusal stand against thy sight,
And our dear love lose name of single one.
12 I cannot blame thee for my love thou usest:
Beauteous thou arttherefore, to be assailed.
Thou dost love her because thou knowst I love her.
Glosses:1) him (twice) suggests this or that man but may mean death (see 2), friends (2), and/or love (3); 3) puns on Anne: Hath., mAnnie; 4) they = my eyes, punning th eye (see 3); 5) rack = cloud mass, instrument of torture; his = every pens (see 4) and thus any writers; 6) To puns on Two ( = my eyes); 12) for = because; 13) to puns again on two (eyes); 14) her may mean our love (see 3, 11, 12) or this expression of it. The righthand profile of the text (with an ugly rack protruding or indented in lines 4-5) looks like an authorized pictographic element, illustrating such clues as Featured (1), eye (3), face (5, 6). Line 10 seems to challenge a reader to puzzle out the profile. Puns on Anne and the phrase a separable spite suggest it may be an unflattering picture of the poets scowling wife. A separable spite is a conceit for the Q texts.
(Seventh lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
Desiring this mans art, and that mans scope
And weep, a fresh loves long-since canceled woe,
As interest of the dead. Which now appear,
4 Reserve them for my love (not for their rhyme),
And from the fórlorn world his visage hide;
For no man well of such a salve can speak,
Myself corrupting, salving thy amiss
8 Which, though, it alter not, loves sole effect
Entitled in. Their parts do crownèd sit:
For whos so dumb that cannot write to thee
That, by this separation, I may give?
12 But yet be blamed if thou this self deceivest
Andwhen a woman woeswhat womans son.
(Anne, for my sake, even Sue, doth she abuse me.)
Glosses: 2) weep (sb.) = lamentation; Q loues = loves, love is...; 3) Which = these poems which, punning on witch; 6) man well puns, male pudendum7) thy amiss puns on thymus (1693, from Gr.), a warty excrescence; 9) Entitled in = engraved, firmly grounded; Their (ambig.) = other (female?) writers, or the men of line l; 11) That = What; separation = estrangement, or this text, with its 14 line units disparate in Q; 13) what = whatever (some other, any); 14) Q And = Anne, Wills wife; Q so = Sue, familiar for Susanna, Wills older daughter, Mrs. John Hall. Body part puns include heart (1), hide (5), sole (8), crown (9), toothy (10), hard (1), and well (6).
(Eighth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
With what I most enjoy contented least,
And moan th expense of many a vanished sight
But things removed that hidden in there lie;
4 Exceeded by the height of happier men,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace
That heals the wound and cures not the disgrace,
Excusing their sins more than their sins are;
8 Yet doth it steal sweet hours from loves delight:
I make my love engrafted to this store
When thou thyself dost give invention light
That due to thee, which thou deservst alone,
12 By willful taste of what thyself refusest;
Will sourly leave her till he have prevailed,
Suffring, My friend, for my sake too, approve her.
Glosses: 1-2) With... / ...mone = with moan[ing] being...; 3) But = Merely; there = in th ear, in th air (i.e., song); 7) their (twice) points back to these poems (see 1, 3), things (3), and men (4); 8) it = my writing (see 1, 9); 11) due puns on deux, two, suggesting the double-layered, duplicitous Q texts; 12) By = By means of; 13) leave puns on may (should..., will...) leaf (i.e., may inscribe on leaves); her points back to delight (8) and to this store (9), denoting this verse storehouse while punning th history and th hissed whore.
(Tenth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
And heavily from woe to woe tell oer,
Hung with the trophies of My lovers gone!
4 Had my friends muse grown with this growing age!
With all triumphant splendor on my brow,
Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss.
Thy adverse party is thy advocate;
8 Least my bewailèd guilt should do thee shame.
Whilst that this shadow doth such substance give
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate,
Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave?
12 Although thou steal thee all my poverty,
And chide thy beauty and thy straying youth
And losing her, my friend hath found that loss.
Glosses: 1) Q Haplye = Perchance; state = condition, estate, printed works; 4) ...muse = this poet, I; this...age = the Renaissance, my own aging; 8) Q Least = Least of all (eyepun: leaft, i.e., published); 10) Q Then = Than (a customary emendation in the Sonnets) = As, More than; old nine = the Muses, with a numeric gesture toward lines 1-9 in this text; 11) leave puns on leaf, page; 13) chide puns on see hide, i.e., look at parchment and see hiding; 14) her (ambig.) = beauty, youth (see 13), suggesting also the Dark Lady; my friend puns ms., runed (i.e., runic text) and on ...reigned, ...ruined, misery end, and my S. [ass] , wry end.
(Eleventh lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
Like to the lark at break of day arising,
The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan
Who all their parts of me to thee did give.
4 A dearer birth than this his love had brought,
But out, alack, he was but one hour. Mine,
Th offenders sorrow lends but weak relief,
And gainst myself a lawful plea commence;
8 Nor thou with public kindness honor me
That I in thy abundance am sufficed.
And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
To entertain the time with thoughts of love.
12 And yet love knowsit is a greater grief
Who lead thee in their riot even there:
Both find each other, and I lose both twain.
Glosses: 2) The sad [sb.] account of [v.] = Those who mourn [i.e., specifically, these poems] enumerate, recount...; 3) parts = segments, musical voices; of me = by my authority; 6) offenders = moral stumblers (OED); 7) commence = may begin, begins; 10) he that calls on thee = your present singerpossibly this poet (I, Will, especially as overt sonneteer), possibly a rival poet/suitor.
(Twelfth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heavens gate
Which I new pay as if not paid before:
That due of many now is thine alone.
4 (To march in ranks of better equipáge,
The region cloud hath masked him from me now.)
To him that bears the strong offenses loss,
Such civil war is in my love and hate,
8 Unless thou take that honor! From thy name,
And by a part of all thy glory, live,
Eternal numbers to outlive, long date
Which time (and thoughts so sweetly) dost deceive.
12 To bear loves wrong, then hates known injury
Where thou art forced to, break a twofold truth
And both, for my sake, lay on methis cross.
Glosses: 1-2) Which is the subject of sings; 2) the line may mean That which I offer anew (i.e., my praise, my voice); 5) him may mean the auditor of 3, punning on Ham, Hamnet, Wills son; 6) him = the poet, with puns on tome, tomb, to Hamnet (code To him t...), etc.; 8) that honor = eternal life, the hymns of tribute here; 10) eternal numbers = poems, eons; 11) time puns on meter, echoing numbers (i.e., metrics) in 10.
(Thirteenth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
For thy sweet love, remembered, such wealth brings,
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
Their images I loved I view in thee.
4 But sense he died, and poets better prove;
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth.
Ah, but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
That I an áccessary needs must be
8 But do not so, I love thee in such sort.
Look what is best, that best I wish in thee.
If my slight muse do please these curious days
And that thou teachest, how to make one twain,
12 Lascivious grace in whom all ill well shows,
Hers by thy beauty tempting her to thee
But heres the joy: My friend and I are one.
Glosses: 1) For = Because; 2) if the while I = if only I happen to...; 3) Their puns on There, Th air (the poem), Th heir, Tear...; 4) But sense = Mere perception (with he a reduplication); 5) him = sense (see 4); 7) i.e., So that I should join in crying; 11) one twain puns on ...want wane, while how to make one twain refers to the Sonnets/Runes, the twin halves of Q, concurrently composed; 12-13) pun: ...a lil Will S. house / here is bitty beauty...; 13) Hers = graces (see 12); 14) But = Only, Solely.
(Fourteenth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
That then I scorn: To change my state with kings.
All losses are restored, and sorrows end,
And thou (all they) hast all the all of me.
4 Theirs for their style Ill read, his for his love.
Suns of the world may stainwe heavens Son stained
And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.
To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me,
8 As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.
This wish I have, then ten times happy me:
The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise
By praising him here who doth hence remain.
12 Kill me with spites, yet we must not be foes.
Thine by thy beauty being false to me,
Sweet flattery, then, she loves but me alone.
Glosses: 3) they points back to kings in 1; 4) Theirs = kings states (see 1); his in context (see 5) suggests Christs; 5) Q whé heauens sun stainteh seems intentionally error-ridden and is likely a conventional mea culpa line; 10) mine puns on m Anne (with Q wish an eyepun on wife); shall puns on S. Hall, Wills daughter; 11) him suggests the auditor/friend, hymn, the poet, Christ, and/or Ham (i.e., Hamnet, the poets dead son); 13) Thine = Your spites (see 12).