Set III, Runes 29-42: Texts and Comments
Second lines, Set III (Sonnets 29-42)
(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.
30. My Outcast State
All alone I cry over my isolation, and over the loss of these printers discards, as
like a conjurer, I call up memories from what in the future will be the past, reconstituting this old art, reassembling things
that I imagined would get lost, perhaps partly from my own deficiencies,
4 whenever that boorish miser death might cover my bones with dust,
winking at the high places of the world with a kingly look that levels arrogance
and makingI think of Anne, my makeme set out with no other cloak than dust.
Lifes beauties have their downsides, poets go on using these as conceits, and my sweet rows and airs have sub rosa counterparts that are thorny or murky,
8 but our love is a pure and singular entity.
To see deaths now-living child perform youthful feats
while you still livethat fountain feeds my poems, that breath inspires them.
When you yourself become almost all of what is left of me,
12 I wonder whether you will have any more then than what you had beforeor have now
at a time when I am sometimes absent from your heart, and from this superficial art of roses and fountains that is your serious tribute.
At any rate, it may be said that I loved your heartand this artfervently, and at a cost.
this lament the “outcast” (1) persona works alone
on his arcane project to “re-member” his recollections. An
old, synthetic art gives new life to his love, albeit in buried form,
even while he is “absent” from the heart (13) he pays tribute
to, that “better part” (11) of himself. By vaguely shifting
his tense the poet strains to unify past and present with a future when
his own death (4-6, 11) leaves only the poems intact, expressing true
love through their paradoxes and “mixed” character (cf. 7).
“Outcast state” laments these “discarded texts”
that we are now helping Will to “re-member.” If Q’s
sonnets are like “roses” and “silver fountains,”
the prickly, murky runes are the “thorns” and “mud”
(7). Still, Will’s love is “undivided” (8), with no
“more” (12) to add. “Things paste” (2), Q’s
texts are nonetheless whole and seamless.
1) J. [= I.] Hall, all [Hall] wan; outcast state may
be a printing term (suggesting the cast-off Runes); it also has phallic
downward emphatic codeline—IIWW FARAT WWWWA—insists
that we hear “FARAT-wit” in it: Readings include, e.g., “Jew,
fart away,” “You fart. Why?” “Jew of [Mt.] Ararat
(arid) weigh [evaluate],” “Jew fart farty [= 40, 8 x V] eye,”
“Jehovah erred. Why?” Jehovah hard (art) 40 eye,” “Jehovah
arid weigh,” “Jehovah heard 40 ‘Aaai!’”
and “22—ferret—40 eye [= 62].”