Return to Index Page: Shakespeare’s Lost Sonnets
           

Shakespeare’s Lost Sonnets: A Restoration of the Runes
by Roy Neil Graves, Professor of English
The University of Tennessee at Martin

An Index to the First Lines of the Runes

             


           This index may be useful because readers in time may come to recall some runic numbers by their first lines. Collectively, these are the 155 lines comprising the 11 sonnets that initiate the sets. (The number is 155, not 154, because Sonnet 99, initial in Set VIII, has 15 lines, not 14— triggering aberrational A and B variants in that set, and different openings for Runes 99A and 99B.)

           Locating all of his runic openers inside just 11 overt texts laid a particular set of constraints on the poet—also otherwise much constrained, of course—and had predictable effects on both the cycles that Q houses: The lines of the first sonnet in each set, even the interior lines, were all under pressure to say something that would admit development into a new train of thought; but if all 14 of a first-sonnet’s lines sounded like opening pronouncements or separate lead-ins, that sonnet text would suffer choppy disconnection and might seem to disintegrate. A main upshot of this tension, I think, is that the Runes often open as if in medias raes—compounding their riddlic features. Comparing the runic line-openings with the first lines in the Sonnets (cf. Booth’s first-line index, pp. 574ff.) shows, e.g., that the Runes are much more likely than the Sonnets to open with coordinating conjunctions that imply logical continuation, especially “And…,” “But…,” “For…,” “Nor…,” and “Yet….” (“Nor,” reversed, puns on “rune.”) One rune even opens with “Therefore….” This pattern of first lines that seem to start halfway around the track rather than at the starting line allies in the Runes with the many pre-positioned pronouns and implicit but unstated subjects—features that seem to emerge from the same set of necessary technical constraints at work in Q. In summary, then, the Sonnets typically open with clearer and more straightforward assertions than the Runes do.

           Notably, few runes start with “O…,” the most common rhetorical opener in the Sonnets. (Perhaps loading up the first-sonnet texts in the sets with “O’s”—as Will, e.g., loads up Runes 61, 69, and 79—would’ve created an excessive kind of overt bathos.) Too, the Sonnets are much more apt than the Runes to start with “How…,” an opener that may effectively trigger either a question to explore or an assertion to pursue. Openings with “When…” seem almost equally popular in both of Q’s linked genres.

           Technicalities of the Megasonnet scheme dictate that most of the lines in Q that are already familiar as first-line titles for sonnets are not equally salient in their runic locales. The 11 initial lines in the sets are the only ones that, in a given case, can concurrently initiate both a sonnet and a rune. A few of these 11 lines ring familiar—including “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes” (Sonnet 29.1, Rune 29.1)—but most do not. Because Sonnet 29 is so well known, all 14 runes that its lines engender seem to begin their race for public recognition with a leg up.

           The items below appear as regularized and edited first-line component of runes. In a few cases, the first word of an edited line is a pun on the Q form (e.g., “Whore…” as a pun on Q’s “Or…”), so that that pun displaces the line in an alphabetized sequence. In such cases, I’ve entered that line twice, using both the overt and the punning forms of the opening line element, to help readers locate it. A few edited first-lines from Set VIII show small variations in their A and the B contexts; here I select the edited form that goes with the rune number that’s listed first in sequence below—all B variants, as it happens.


          A

Rune number
All days are nights to see till I see thee
55
And all in war with time for love of you
27
And, beauty slandered with a bastard shame.
130
“And buds of marjoram had stol’n thy hair”
104B, 105A
And, darkly bright, are bright-in-dark directed.
46
And, like unlettered clerk, still cry Amen!
90
And look upon myself and curse, my fate
32
And mock you with me after I am gone
84
And, nights’ bright days when dreams do show thee me
56
And, only herald to the gaudy spring
10
And, precious phrase (by all the muses filed.
88
And tender churl mak’st waste in niggarding
12
And that which governs me to go about
114
And, too, his robb’ry had annexed thy breath
108B, 109A
And to the most of praise add something more
94
And, trouble-deaf heaven, with my bootless cries
31
And were their brave state out of memory
22
As he takes from you, I engraft you new
28
A third, nor red nor white, had stol’n of both
107B, 108A
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack
137
A vengeful canker eat him up to death
110B, 111A

         B     

Beauty’s profaned (if not, lives in disgrace)
134
Being your slave, what should I do but tend
57
But as the riper should by time decease
3
But for his theft in pride of all his growth
109B, 110A
But is [Beauty’s…] profaned (if not, lives in disgrace)
134
But let your love even with my life decay
82
But like a sad slave stay and think of nought
67
But my five wits, nor my five senses, can
149
But now is black, beauty’s successive heir
129
But sweet or color, it had stol’n from thee
112B
But that is in my thought whose love to you
95
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes
5
But ’tis my heart that loves what th’ eye despise
143
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee
45
By looking on thee in the living day
52


          C

 
Cheered and checked ev’n by the self-same sky
20
          D  
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope
35
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee
150
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse
81
Doth part his function, and is partly blind
115
          F  
Fairing the foul with art’s false borrowed face
132
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed
34
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel
6
For all, the day they view things unrespected
44
Fore they in thee a thousand errors note
142
For if it see the rud’st or gentlest sight
121
For it no form delivers to the heart
117
For since each hand hath put on nature’s power
131
For [Fore] they in thee a thousand errors note
142
For thy sweet love, remembered, such wealth brings
41
From fairest creatures we desire increase
1
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate
40
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell
74
          G  
Give warning to the world that I am fled
73
          H  
Haply I think on thee, and then my state
38
Hearing you praised, I say, “’Tis so, ’tis true!”
93
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem
136
His tender heir might bear his memory
4
Holds in perfection but a little moment.
16
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessèd made
51
How would thy shadow’s form form happy show
48
          I  
I all alone beweep my outcast state
30
If not from my love’s breath, the purple pride
100B, 101A
If thinking on me then should make you woe
78
I have no precious time at all to spend
59
Incapable of more, replete, with you.
125
In faith I do not love thee; with mine eyes
141
In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly died
102B, 103A
In polished form of well-refinèd pen
92
In the old age, black was not counted fair
127
I think good thoughts, whilst other write good words
89
          L  
Least the wise world should look into your moan
83
Like to the lark at break of day arising
39
          M  
Making a famine where abundance lies
7
Me for my dumb thoughts speaking in effect
98
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see
111B, 112A
My most true mind thus maketh mine untrue
126
My tongue-tied muse in manners holds her still
85
          N  
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
75
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
71
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue’s tune delighted
145
Nor dare I chide the world. Without end hour
61
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
65
Nor his own vision holds what it doth catch
120
Nor services to do till you require
60
Nor taste nor smell desire to be invited
147
Nor-tender feeling, to base touches prone
146
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
63
          O
 
Of bird, of flower, or shape which it doth lack
118
Of his quick objects hath the mind no part
119
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
79
Only my plague thus far I count my gain
153
Or [Whore…] if it were, it bore not beauty’s name
128
Our blushing shame, another white depair
106B, 107A
          P  
Pity the world, or else this glutton be
13
          R  
Reserue their character with golden quill
87
          S  
Save where you are (how happy!) you make those
68
Seems seeing, but effectually is out
116
Sets you, most rich in youth before, my sight
24
Since I left you, mine eye is in my mind
113
Sland’ring creation with a false esteem
138
So true a fool is love, that in your will
69
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower
133
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells
99B, 100A
          T  
That every tongue says Beauty should look so
140
That I in your sweet thoughts would be—forgot
77
That “she” that makes me sin, awards me pain
154
That then I scorn: To change my state with kings
42
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die
2
That this huge stage presenteth, nought but shows
17
The crow or dove, it shapes them to your feature
124
The forward violet thus did I chide
99A
The hand, that writ it (for I love you so
76
The lily I condemnèd for thy hand
103B, 104A
The most sweet favor or deformed’st creature
122
The mountain or the sea, the day or night
123
Then others, for the breath of words, respect
97
Then [Thin…] the conceit of this inconstant stay
23
Then, thou whose shadow shadows doth make bright
47
Then you shall hear the surly, sullen bell
72
Therefore my mistress’ eyes are raven black
135
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand
105B, 106A
Thin the conceit of this inconstant stay
23
Though Words come hindmost, holds his rank before
96
Though you do anything, he thinks no ill
70
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament
9
Through, heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay
54
Thy proud heart’s slave and vassal, wretch-to-be
152
Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel
8
To any, sensual feast with thee alone
148
To change your day of youth to sullied night
26
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee
14
To every hymn that able spirit affords
91
To the clear day, with thy much clearer light
49
          U  
Upon the hours and times of your desire
58
          V  
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease
21
         W  
When I consider everything that grows
15
When in dead night, they’re fair, imperfect shade
53
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
29
When I perceive that men, as plants, increase
19
When I, perhaps, compounded am with clay
80
When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see
43
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so
50
When you have bid your servant once adieu
64
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment
18
Where wasteful, time debateth with decay
25
Where you may be, or your affairs, suppose
66
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells
101B, 102A
While comments of your praise, richly compiled
86
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you
62
Who in despite of view is pleased to dote
144
Who leaves unswayed, the likeness of a man
151
Whore if it were, it bore not beauty’s name
128
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope
33
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
11
With what I most enjoy contented least
36
          Y  
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising
37
Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe
139

 

             
Return to Index Page: Shakespeare’s Lost Sonnets