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

Set VIII, Runes 99-112: Texts and Comments
Copyright © Roy Neil Graves 2003, All Rights Reserved        

             
Proceed to Rune 104
Return to the Index of Set VIII

Rune 103A,
Fifth lines in Set VIII (Sonnets 99-112)

Rune 103B, Sixth line in Sonnet 99
and Fifth lines in Sonnets 100-112


                       Rune 103A

     (Fifth lines, Set VIII: Sonnets 99-112)

     In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly died!
     Return, forgetful muse, and straight redeem!
     Make answer, muse! Wilt thou not haply say
 4  Our love was new, and then but in the spring?
     O, blame me not if I no more can write,
     “Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turned;
     Kind is my love today, tomorrow kind,
 8  Then….” In the blazon of sweet beauty’s best,
     The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured—
     Nothing, sweet boy, but yet, like prayers, divine.
     That is my home of love; if I have ranged,
12 Most true it is. That I have looked on, truth;
     Thence comes it that my name receives a brand.
     You are my all the world, and I must strive.
__________
     Glosses: 2) straight = at once (pun: strait [sb.] = confined situation); 3) haply = perchance; 5) puns: if I no more see Anne write; if I no More can write, referring to the still unpublished (and probably censored) play of Sir Thomas More; 8) blazon = vivid heraldic depiction; 9) mortal = dying, suggesting Diana; 10) boy suggests Cupid; 13) brand = searing mark (of infamy), toying with Will’s name component“...spear.”

 
                      Rune 103B

(Sixth line, Sonnet 99, + Fifth lines, Sonnets 100-112)

     The lily I condemnèd for thy hand;
     Return, forgetful muse, and straight redeem!
     Make answer, muse! Wilt thou not haply say
 4  Our love was new, and then but in the spring?
     O, blame me not if I no more can write,
     “Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turned;
     Kind is my love today, tomorrow kind,
 8  Then….” In the blazon of sweet beauty’s best,
     The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured—
     Nothing, sweet boy, but yet, like prayers, divine.
     That is my home of love; if I have ranged,
12 Most true it is. That I have looked on, truth;
     Thence comes it that my name receives a brand.
     You are my all the world, and I must strive.
__________
     Glosses: 2) straight redeem = claim [the lily] soon; 3) haply = perchance; 5) puns: if I no more see Anne write; if I no More can write, referring to the still unpublished (and probably censored) play of Sir Thomas More; 8) blazon = vivid heraldic depiction; 9) mortal = dying, suggesting Diana; 10) boy suggests Cupid; 13) brand = searing mark (of infamy), toying with Will’s name component“...spear.”


   103A. Nothing Divine (I)

     You have died, alas, here in my veins where love circulates!
     Come back, negligent muse! Make amends at once! Remedy these dire straits.
     Answer me, my inspiration! Can you not tell me
  4 that our love was merely in its early stages before?
     O, do not blame me if I cannot go on writing,
     “Three beautiful springs having turned to yellow autumns;
     my love, considerate now, surely will be so in times to come
  8 as well….” Outshone by an utmost beauty as bright as a splendid coat of arms,
     the dying moon underwent eclipse (and perhaps will again)—
     a negation, something invisible, sweet boy, and yet as divine as prayer.
     That vision of beauty’s heavenly consummation is my love’s home; if I have strayed from it,
12 it remains absolute. I have looked on that truth;
     from that blazing encounter my family name is seared with infamy, is pierced with Cupid’s “…spear.”
     To me, you are the whole world, and I must go on with this struggle.


     103B. Nothing Divine (II)

     I plucked a lily here for you to hold.
     Come back quickly, negligent muse, and claim it before it wilts.
     Answer me, my inspiration! Can you not tell me
  4 that our love was merely in its early stages before?
     O, do not blame me if I cannot go on writing,
     “Three beautiful springs having turned to yellow autumns;
     my love, considerate now, surely will be so in times to come
  8 as well….” Outshone by an utmost beauty as bright as a splendid coat of arms,
     the dying moon underwent eclipse (and perhaps will again)—
     a negation, something invisible, sweet boy, and yet as divine as prayer.
     That vision of beauty’s heavenly consummation is my love’s home; if I have strayed from it,
12 it remains absolute. I have looked on that truth;
     from that blazing encounter my family name is seared with infamy, is pierced with Cupid’s “…spear.”
     To me, you are the whole world, and I must go on with this struggle.


Comments: 103A

         This apostrophe to the absent muse is ostensibly an anguished prayer for inspiration and an extravagant tribute. Remembering their “eclipsing” encounter that has somehow tarnished his reputation (13), Will struggles to turn the friend into a cosmic absolute. Diction includes travel talk, colors, and conceits about nature, family, Christ, and Cupid and Diana. Suggesting travel are “Return” (2), “turned” (6), “home,” “ranged” (11), “comes” (13), and “all the world” (14)—with the puns “strait” (2) and “sweet buoy” (10) making “veins” (1) seem like clogged-up channels. “I must strive” (14) suggests a heroic wanderer. Hues inher in “moor” (5), “yellow” (6), “blazon” (8), the moon’s shades (9), and “brand” (13). “Blazon” (8)—heraldic representation—undergirds details about family: e.g., “home” (11); “name” (13); “Make” (3) as “mate” and perhaps “bride [of Christ]” (2); “knot, haply say, / ‘Our love was new’” (3-4); and “kind” (7) as “species.”

          The concern with “name” introduces a play on “Shakespeare,” for “a brand” (13) puns on “Cupid’s arrow,” a little “spear.” Allegorically, the “mortal Moon Hath. her eclipse (…my own [my Anne] Hath-ery-ay see lapse) endured” (9) speaks of Will’s wife, who pales before the bright new lover.

         Here natural conceits (6-7) become clichés the poet can no longer mouth. But typically Will disavows the very kind of diction he employs: The coming of the friend is like a sweet spring or summer (2, 4, 6, etc.), and the friend is sun-like and is “all the world” (14), a cosmic center.

          Figuratively the friend replaces Christ as Will’s absolute, reason for being, and potential Savior—as the implicit bloody “death” (1) and the plea “Return… and…redeem” (2) hint. “Straight redeem,” with phallic overtones, echoes the scriptural prophecy of a level road to Grace (cf. Isaiah 40:4). “Like prayers divine” is blatant. “Blame” (5) and “brand” (13) suggest sin.

          The connection to the allegory of Cupid and Diana seems more vague. Still, “Sweet boy” (10) as “Cupid” prepares for “brand” (13) as “flaming arrow.” “Mortal [= ‘dying’ = Diane] Moon” (9) suggests the super-chaste Diana, here a female eclipsed by the “blazon” of the male friend. “In the spring” (4, see 6)—suggesting “in the early stage, before the carnage”—alludes to the myth: Interrupting Diana’s bath in a spring, Actaeon, changed to a stag, was torn apart by hounds.

Comments: 103B

          While 103A opens with an image of the inspiring friend’s “gross death,” 103B starts more gently as the poet offers a floral tribute (albeit a funereal one) that is a conceit for the poem itself.

           Line 1 here also has the ring of a cliché (of the kind the poet seems to reject in 5ff); the line stresses that the “redemption” (2) the poet cries for is the new inspiration the friend would bring (see 5-8). In fact, lines 1-2 seem vaguely “religious,” like an apostrophe to an unhearing statue of Christ—the Redeemer whose return would offer a straight path (cf. prayers divine [10]). The “straight,” wilting lily foils the image of Cupid’s rigid “brand” (see 10, 13), both vaguely phallic.

          The word straight (2) also gains from 103B.1 the playful sense “unwilted.” “Lily” (1) links with “moon” (9)—both white—and, as a blooming flower, foils “yellow autumn” (6). The wife-demeaning pun “Thee Lyly aye condemnèd, farty Anne” (1) alludes obliquely to the decorated euphuistic style that Shakespeare elsewhere undercuts (cf. 1 Henry IV 2.4.441ff.) and here (5ff.) ostensibly eschews.


Sample Puns

103A

         1) In my loss of Anne S., thou hast took her off elated; John, my love, is vain; John, mellow, Sue-anus tossed T.T., ogre silly died; gruff Ely died; G-row elided; two grow elated; error, fellati(o)
         1-2) Southy has too grossly dyed, red urn sore gets; Enemy loves vain Southy

103B

         1) Th’ Lyly icon damned 40; T’ heal, I lick on damned farty end; T’ hell I liken damned, swarthy Anne; dimmed is O radiant
         1-2) T’ hell (I lie) I condemned, sore, thy hand red; you earned sore, jet solemn you see, hand straight, red...

103A and 103B

         2) muffin; muse, Anne Shakespeare writer deem; Annie’s tirrit [tirade] read; strait; forked, full hymn you see
         2-3) ready, mimic Anne’s weary muff, wilt; straight, red, mimic Anne’s worm (you, Sue, I kid)
         3) Ma[t]e Anne S. were m’ wife, wilt thou not haply sigh; Will, T.T., hone “O”; knot, happily, key
         3-4) let dough-knot apply feral (virile) office new, and then butt in; thou, naughty, play, serialize anew; sailor weighs anew…in the spring
         4) Our Louis’s new, and thin; Whore lows anew; eye sinew inditing “butt”; in body Nate F. prying; in bawdy, knight is peering
         4-5) Job, hell amend (Amen’d) I sin; this peer eying Job lame mint
         5) O, blame Maenads aye; eye Fenimore (Finn moor)
         5-6) see Anne riddle three bawdy houses
         6) aspiring to yell out, homme Nate “urned”; ye hell-O wooed; ye allow ode, you meant you runed; towel odd you mend; peer in jest tallowed homme (hallowed home)
         6-7) in deacon dies my love
         7) Kin dies, my loved “O” died; toady Tom, our hawk-eye end [i.e., editor, eventual printer]
         7-8) weak, in debt, Hen, end
         8) few eat bawdy ass, beast; Eleison of Swede bawdy is
         8-9) beast theme o’er t’ Hall; bull eye, zones sweet be odious, beasty
         9) The mort Hall, m’ own Hath-er-ay see; The Moor tall, m’ own [with Q ortall suggesting Othello]; see lips undivided; lips seen, deux, red
         9-10) cinder (fiend dour), denoting feud; Harry clips end [suggesting the question of Southy’s moustache in the 1590s], hurting Odin; M’ Anne Hathaway’s lip see in dour din (…in dirty no-thing), sweet boy-butt
       10) sweet boy-butt ye et, lick, peer, a Y, arse divine
       10-11) eye cabaret-er—sudden that ass malmsey loves; butt yet lick, pierce, dive in it; divined, Hat. is my home, O, fellow (O fallow), I favor Anne good (god)
       11) love is aye half rune-god; home o’ Slav eye, fey half-range
       11-12) aye Sovereign God, Most True I tasted
       12) Moist, rooted, eye Southy, devil hooked onto Ruth; Moist root aye is that “I,” half looked-on; Moist root “I” ’tis that I have looked on t’ root
       11-13) God most true I tease that I have looked on, Truth [and]…my name receives a brand
       12-13) T’ Hen, sesame-seeded minim wrecks A/B rune; rooting, see come; sight that, my name receives a brand; sight that men eye merry; sight that many may receive—ass, upper hand; minim, wreck Eve’s apron
       13-14) apron dour, mild, you’re leading [a printing term?], Thomas T., strive; Receive saber handier; Aye bare, endure my “awl” the W., earl dandy, him (hymn) used Shakespeare’s teary “V” (ewe); randier my awl to you, Earl
       14) mild your lady, handy, muffed—fit, wry V [groin]; dame used, fit reeve; Anne dim you stuffed; Hall, to you our Lady Anne dim; Lady Anne, damn you; ewer-mildew whore let in


Acrostic Wit

103A

          The downward codeline—I R MOOT K TT NT MTY—suggests, e.g., “Eye our moody ‘kitty,’ end empty,” “Our mood (moat) kittened [i.e., littered, brought forth] empty,” “Eye remote quay, T.T., end empty,” “Ire-mood, key to [at]tend Tom T.-Y [groin],” “Our moat, quay t’ end empty,” “Higher mode, kitten tempt ye,” “Ire moot, kitty and Tom tie,” and “Eye our moody kitten, Tom T. Why?”

          Will’s printing agent Thomas Thorpe is one likely auditor here.

          The upward (reverse) codeline—Y TMTN TT K TOOM RI—insinuates such readings as these: “Why tempting titty get homme awry [crooked]?” “Why tempt Nate, take tomb airy?” “Yet empty Nate, get homme wry,” “Ye tempting tea take to Mary (too merry),” “Way tempting t’ take, tome wry.”

          The down/up code suggests, e.g., “Eye remote kitten, Tom T., yet empty. In T. T., key to mystery.” The MOOT / TOOM reverse generates insistent possibilities in each of its two directions, with TOOM echoing TT and TM as a potential play on Thorpe’s name.

103B

           The downward codeline—T RMOOT KTTN TM TY —can be read, e.g., to mean, “T’ remedy kitten, Tom T.…,” “To our mood, Kate and Tom tie [die],” “To harm ode, kitten [&] Tom tie,” and/or “To Rome ought Kate and Tom T. hie.”

           The upward code—Y TM T N TT KT OOM RT—may mean, e.g., “Ye tempting tea take to mart (…too merdy),” “Why Tom T and T.T. key to m’ heart [art]?” “Ye, Tom, [&] 10 [others] take ‘tomb art’ (...‘tome-art’),” “Why ‘Tom T. and titty’ get homme hard,” and/or “Ye Tom T. and T.T. get, O O, m’ art.” Here OO suggests “doubly ‘runic,’ pictographically voyeuristic, and/or duplicitous as in this ‘doubled’ set.” The pair OO always suggests ogling. Concurrently, the pair depicts testicles.

           The down/up hairpin suggests, e.g., “T’ remote kitten Tom tied maiden…,” “T’ our mute Kate-end Tom tied, maid and T.T.—Kate, homme—hurt,” and “To our moody kitten Tom tied empty entity: Cat homme hurt.”

             
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