Set I, Runes 1-14: Texts and Comments
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.
1. Knot from the Stars
Even from those who are fairest we expect better thingsand hope for their progeny.
When the ravages of forty years attack your face and mind,
look in your mirror (if not the bottom of your glass) and say to yourself,
4 Wasteful loveliness, why do you idle away
the life you once spent in graciously constructive service?
Then dont let winters ragged claw deface you.
Look: As people with good attitudes toward life are arising at daybreak
8 ready to listen to the music, why do you mope, downcast and distracted?
Are you fearful? Trying to making some woman weep? Afraid of lovemaking?
Shame on you for denying that you love anyone at all!
However quickly you may waste away, you grow at just that rate
12 at any given point in timewhen Im the one who measures things.
O, I wish you were more yourself. But really youre unchanged. You still embody love, and are beloved.
I dont divine my findings from the stars.
a reader/player’s eye in the recomposed text of Rune 1
is the bottom lefthand acrostic string AVON, built using
one of the “split W’s” that happen haphazardly—or
so we used to think—in the Q verses. About 1979, early in my dealings
with the Runes when I was struggling to show incredulous readers that
the 154 newfound linestrings Q were authorized, not chimerical, I asked
a UTM colleague, a mathematician, to help me figure the odds that this
AVON would happen by chance; he calculated the likelihood
at about one in six million. Surely, then, AVON is an
early and emphatic authorized clue urging in-group readers to search out
(Note: See the Introduction to Subtextual
Vocabulary for an index of representative terminology buried
as puns in the Q lines.)
Each first-line rune, because of initial-letter capitalization patterns in the typography of Q, has a double vertical column of emphatic capitals and thus a more complex acrostic codeline system than successive runes in the set (i.e., here in Set I, e.g., Runes 2-14). Effectively each of the first-line runes in the sets (i.e., Runes 1, 15, 29, etc.) offers four basic permutations: down/down; down/up; up/up; and up/down. In actual fact the four starting points, two at the bottom and two at the top, allow not just 4 but rather 8 codeline variants in all the first-line runes. (From each of the two top starting points begin a down/down and a down/up variant; from each of the two bottom starting points begin an up/up and an up/down variant.)
I’ve come to call the “loop” (i.e., the down/up and up/down) readings “hairpins.” The two parallel vertical letterstring lines—especially in their up/up and down/down variants) also suggest “ladders,” itself a play on “letters.” While no one of the letterstring codes is primary, the down/down code seems visually dominant—especially so here in Rune 1 because of the emphatic AVON.
RVONHHOVS here (down from the top in the second column) is one of many
plays in Q on “rune[s],” with variants round[s], rown[s],
and so on being equivalent terms.
The down/down codeline, splitting the VV’s in 2 and 12, is FVL V TTL MI FAVON RVON HHOV SO SVT O. Sample readings include, e.g., “Fuel, you title m’ fon [silly] Rune. How so, O, Southy, O!” “Fully title my sawn (fon, i.e., silly) Rune…,” “Fool, you tittle [the crossing of a T] miss, Avon runes, O…,” and “Fully you title ms. ‘Avon Runes’….”
The up/up reverse of this same code is O TV SO S VOHHN OVR NOVA F IM LTT V LVF—with decodings that include, e.g., “‘O’ to Sue (to [pur]sue) is “O, two Sues you honor, our Nova [1877, from L., cf. ‘Knot from the Stars do I hymn…’ (1.14)], Femme (…Fame, Same, of Hymn), Little Wife,” “O, two saw Sue’s honor…,” “…O you rune of a fame (femme), little wife (use),” “Ought you (O, to; O, two) so swoon over Anne ova? Fie, my little wife!” “O, two verses, O’s, you honor now; I fame (eye some) little verse,” “…our new half-hymn, let 5 love,“ “…our Nova of Hamlet you love (...leaf, leave),” “…Anne, ova of Hamlet, vulva…,” and “Hamlet 5 love.”
insistent string NOV, which occurs twice, once as NOVR, invites
us to hear the line as a dateline, with “S = 5” and “V
= 5.” The up/up codeline OT VS OS V OHH NOV R NOV AFI
M LTT V LVF suggests, e.g., “Ode, use [‘O’
would use…] ’05, 5 o’ Nov[r].—or Nov[a].—affirm—let
Link: Rune 1 as an
Easy Sample Text