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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 111
Return to the Index of Set VIII

Rune 110A,
Twelfth lines in Set VIII (Sonnets 99-112)
Rune 110B, Thirteenth line in Sonnet 99
and Twelfth lines in Sonnets 100-112


                      Rune 110A

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

                But for his theft, in pride of all his growth
     And make, time’s spoil’s despisèd everywhere;
     And two be praised of ages yet to be,
 4  And sweet’s grown common. Loose their dear delight,
     Then of your graces and your gifts to tell
     Hath motion, and (mine eye may be deceived),
     Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords,
 8  They had not still enough your worth to sing!
     While he insults o’er-dull and speechless tribes
     But makes antiquity for aye his page,
     To leave for nothing all thy sum of good
12 (A God in love, to whom I am confined)—
     Nor, double penance, to correct correction—
     Mark how with my neglect I do dispense.
__________
     Glosses: 1) But = Only, If only; 2) make = style, form (ME); 3) two suggests you and I, composition sets, eyes,A & B variants, etc.; 4) their points to two (in 3, 5); 5) graces...gifts: the doublet underscores two in 3; 6) Hath...eye puns, “Hath-motion [with motion suggesting ‘moving away’], Anne, dim Annie...”; 7) Three escalates two (in 3); themes puns on Thames, which, on witch; Three themes points to the three And’s (= Anne’s) that are initial in 2-4; 8) They puns on “Th’ eye”; 9) While he puns on Willy...; he = mine eye (see 6); 10) for puns on four (see two, three, earlier); aye puns on eye (see 6, 9); page = leaf, servant; 11) To puns on “Two (sets of poems)”; leave puns on leaf, page; 12) A God suggests (paradoxically) The Trinity (see Three themes in one in 7); 13) double penance, to puns on “double writing [with penance a play on pen], two [i.e., eyes]...”; 14) do puns on deux [Fr. two], pointing to Sonnets and Runes and to A & B variants in Set VIII; I do dispense puns, “I do Dis- [i.e., hellish] pen see.”


                 Rune 110B

(Thirteenth line, Sonnet 99, + 12th lines, Sonnets 100-112)

     A vengeful canker eat him up to death
     And make time’s spoils despisèd everywhere,
     And to be praised of ages yet to be,
 4  And sweets grown common, loose their dear delights—
     Then, of your graces and your gifts to tell
     Hath motion, and (mine eye may be deceived),
     Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords,
 8  They had not still enough your worth to sing!
     While he insults o’er-dull and speechless tribes
     But makes antiquity for aye his page,
     To leave for nothing all thy sum of good
12 (A God in love, to whom I am confined)—
     Nor, double penance, to correct correction—
     Mark how with my neglect I do dispense.
__________
     Glosses: 1) him = time (see 2); 2) spoils = ravages; time’s spoils puns, “meter’s leftovers”; 3) to: the pun two suggests duplicity, A & B variants, etc.; 4) their points to two (in 3, 5); 5) graces...gifts: the doublet underscores two in 3; 6) Hath...eye puns, “Hath-motion [with motion suggesting ‘moving away’], Anne, dim Annie...”; 7) Three escalates two (in 3); themes puns on Thames, which, on witch; Three themes points to the three And’s (= Anne’s) that are initial in 2-4; 8) They puns on “Th’ eye”; 9) While he puns on Willy...; he = mine eye (see 6); 10) for puns on four (see two, three, earlier); aye puns on eye (see 6, 9); page = leaf, servant; 11) To puns on “Two (sets of poems)”; leave puns on leaf, page; 12) A God suggests (paradoxically) The Trinity (see Three themes in one in 7); 13) double penance, to puns on “double writing [with penance a play on pen], two [i.e., eyes]...”; 14) do puns on deux [Fr. two], pointing to Sonnets and Runes and to A & B variants in Set VIII; I do dispense puns, “I do Dis- [i.e., hellish] pen see.”


     110A. Double Penance

     Especially for what he steals—in the more positive context of his progress
     and general character—time’s spoilage is everywhere despised;
     let me add that two items will be praised throughout time,
  as sweetness becomes commonplace. Their cherished pleasure released,
     then, praising your gifts and graces
     gains impetus; and (does my eye see wrongly?)
     three interrelated topics, affording a wonderful range,
  8 nonetheless might be too narrow for praising your virtues.
     While my eye remarks critically on overly dull (even mute) hoards
     but concurrently looks on pages that will last into eternity—
     setting down without reward all your goodness
12 (a God—Triune, perhaps—of love, my single homage and topic),
      not correcting what is already correct, which would be double subjection for a writer in a bifurcated writing project—
     note how productive I am (and hellishly duplicitous) while seeming desultory.


     110B. Three Themes in One, or Double Penance

     Suppose a vindictive cancer destroyed time itself
     and time’s ravages earned universal scorn,
     so that being—living itself—gained the praise of future generations
  4 and all sweet things became commonplace, their cherished pleasures freed from mutability and loosed upon the world—
     then, praising your gifts and graces
     gains impetus; and (does my eye see wrongly?)
     three interrelated topics, affording a wonderful range,
  8 nonetheless might be too narrow for praising your virtues.
     While my eye remarks critically on overly dull (even mute) hoards
     but concurrently looks on pages that will last into eternity—
     setting down without reward all your goodness
12 (a God—Triune, perhaps—of love, my single homage and topic),
      not correcting what is already correct, which would be double subjection for a writer in a bifurcated writing project—
     note how productive I am (and hellishly duplicitous) while seeming desultory.


Comments: 110A

          Since Set VIII houses one overt and two runic sets of variants, Will’s comment here points beyond two to three (7). Puns on “two” in Q’s to (3, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13) generate, e.g., “two be praised” (3). Through “double penance,” duplicitous composition, Will is both sonneteer and runemaster, both “dispensing” and victimized by neglect (see 14).

           Punningly, “two” may mean any paired body parts; friend and poet; and doublets like “graces and…gifts” (5), “motion and mine eye” (6), and “dull and speechless” (9). The play in “make” on “mate” (2, 10) is part of this numbers joke, as are “four” (1), “all” (1, 11) “times,” “despise deux rare” (2), “lose” (4), “three…in one,” “scope” (7), “enough,” “worth” (8), “nothing,” and “sum” (11). “Growth” and “dispense” suggest increase, while “theft” implies loss (1). “Common” (4) applies in mathematics to “a number which belongs equally to two or more quantities” (OED 1594) and thus describes the poet’s lines, which work in two (here, three) contexts. Will also uses monetary terms and puns including “dinar,” “mark” (12-14).

           Echoic pairs are growth / grown (1, 4); make / makes (2, 10); page / leave (10,11); tell / sum (5, 11); ages / antiquity (2, 3, 10); and penance / dispense (13,14).

           A cluster of printing and writing terms begins with “But forest theft in pride o’ fall’s growth” (1)—i.e., “Only fallen leaves.” Overt elements in the cluster include “praised,” “themes,” “sing,” “insults,” “dull,” “speechless,” “page,” “leave,” “penance,” and “correction.” Too, “tribes” (9) suggests hacks and diatribes (discourses), while “make times’ spoils” (2) puns “create metric ruins.” “Ages yet to be” (3) and “antiquity for aye” (10) adumbrate a future reading public—us.

110B

          The typically vague pronoun him (1) puns on “hymn” while gesturing toward the unnamed friend, the “hymn-text” (or set of texts) being suppressed, and death (2); the “name that pronoun” game continues in 9-10, where he may mean any of these as well as “my eye,” with the pun “I” (14) pursuing that game, and with various “two’s” (e.g., 3, 4, 11, 12, 13, with deux [pun 14]) also suggesting “eyes”—along with Sonnets/Runes and A/B texts.

          The term eat (1) links in this B context with spoils (2) and sweets (4) and (through the medial term “mouth”) with sing (8), insults, and speechless (9). Here, as in 110A, the notion of three themes reminds us that in Set VIII the A/B runestrings generate two runic texts for each sonnet.

           Puns in the early lines on family names—e.g., Ham (1), Anne (2, 3, 4), “make” (mate, 2), and Hath. (6)—overlay the text with potentiality. As in 110A, the “three themes in one” (7) refer to the initial “Anne’s” of 2-4 and almost certainly encode a joke about her corpulence—with antiquity (10) and penance (13) being further “Anne-words.” The joke “To [Two] leave for nothing [pudendal] Hall, the sum of good” (11) suggests that Anne, Sue, and John Hall may also be the poet’s “three themes.”

           Reading the opening as a comment on the disappearing “hymn” is one approach; but the sense of the text that I choose to go with in the paraphrase of 110B picks “time” as the “he” of line 1 and then follows the logic of that choice.


Sample Puns

110A

          1) Beau thesaurus, this tempered evil; Butt fore; Hate [B=8] you thesaurus’d, hefty Anne; hiss this tin parade, awfully sick, rude; forest hefty [cf. “leaves”]; John pried his awl, his growth; I Deo-solace grow; peer, eye devil, hiss
          1-2) high escrow, tandem ache, Tommy is feeble ass; awful is Crow, thin, dim; …a kitty aye may spoil city; hiss G-row thin, dim, aye keyed (eye ms.)

110B

          1) Avenge ass: you lick Anne carroty; have inch, ass, ...; you Lucan-garret eye; Lucan—crate him up; fool can carry tea, mope, too; Ave in jest you like
          1-2) ode eyed, hand—make it, aye, ms.; eye map today, then, dim, eye cat, eye miss

110A and 110B

          2) Anne, ma[t]e, t’ eye, mass of boils, deaf, pieced everywhere; eye ms. of Poles deaf; I’ve pissed everywhere
          2-3) …despised, you rear Anne, “To be” parasite of ages…to be
          3) Ralph does eye Jesse, T.T.
          3-4) O, sage sighed to be Anne, daft-wit, sick; peers’ dosages ye et, two beans we et, sugar—onus, omen loosed here
          4)
man loved Herod, “eary” (hairy) delight
          4-5) satyr dirty lightens your gray seas; owe Nice, homme, m’ own luster dirty lightens hosier; Anne S.’s weight has grown (is groan) communal, O, O [suggesting eyes, grunts], fatter turd elating (fatter turtle eating)
          5) Know sour, gray season dour, justice total; T’ Hen., O, sir (sewer), gray seas end, your gusts to tell; see Seine dour; in dirge I fits total
          5-6) your gift, ’tis totally t’ Ham’et, I own; …your jests’ total hath m’ ocean
          6) Adam ought I own; Anne, m’ Annie, my beady sieve
          6-7) Bede see, Eve, Ed—three themes in one
          7) Sinon, W.H., I chew on; Ham see none, W.H., I see you on (own) dross
          7-8) if copies soared, Southy had noticed ill; ass-copes for Dis th’ eye had not; copious swords t’ eye
          8) eye Eden, oat, fiddle in our wordy, tough inch; Th’ eye hid knot, stealing “O” huge…; note still, inner were (weir,) that offing
          8-9) sing, whaling fool, t’ soar; you were that offing, W.H., alee; is Bawdy my cousin?
          9) Willy in full t’ sort, you’ll end speechless; land of peach-less tribes; Leicester abyss; redolent of peach, laughter I piss; so riddle ends, pageless tripe; W.H., a lean fool to soar, duel, and speak hellish’d ribs; speech left ribs
        10) Tommy, kissing tick, you eye; Bawdy make is Auntie quiet, Eve arrays page; saint eye, quite usurious
        10-11) you’d my kiss end, equities arise, paged olives, or nothing, all; forest-page, two leaves or nothing; “No-thing, awl”—this hum (the sum) of God; a jet hollow, serenading Hall
        11) leave foreign oath in Gaul; to loo, foreign oat, angel to his homme
        11-12) fumes Scottish Odin loved; Scottish Odin lowed; angel, this homme, May’s goody-good John, love Tommy, a Mason (amazing, finned); May’s gaudy God, anal Ovid
        12) I, guarding love to W.H., O, maim cunt’s end; to womb I am confined
        12-13) O, m’ Amazon, send dinner
        13) In our “double-pen,” eye nice dog or East’s whore action; find dinar double
        13-14) shun Mark, Jude, hominy glazed aye; see erection, m’ Ark hued, many-glassed; see our Actaeon mar queued hymn; Zion mark out
        14) M’ ark, how witty; hominy-glazed, I dough dispense; Mark how witty man, glazed-eyed, odes pens; mark how… I deux dispense; eau de Spain see


Acrostic wit

110A

          Notably in this text, the A textual variant opens with the letter B, initiating the acrostic codeline, while the B variant opens with A.

          The downward codelineBAAAT H TT W BT A NM—suggests such readings as these: “Betty Hat. wiped aye (whipped I) in hymn,” “Beth-titty W. bit, tan him!” “Bath, T.T. wiped, eye in hymn,” “‘Bath-tub,’ ten hymn [tan homme],” “Baaa!—the tupped Anne hymn,” and “‘Bath’ to tubbed Anne hymn.”

          The upward (reverse) codeline—M NAT B WTTH TAAAB—houses such potentialities as these encryptions: “My (k)night be with tabby” (suggesting Southy in the Tower, where he had a cat), “My knight-body (My innate beauty), that abbey,” “My Nate be witty tabby,” “Men eyed Beauty type,” “…butted ape,” and “…Betty th’ tabby.”

           The down/up hairpin codeline suggests, e.g., “Bath tub be tin. M’ mend be witty tab,” “Bath tub be 10-manned, 8 with ‘tab’,” “Baited, weighty [B=8] name ‘Nate’ be, witty to be (type; witted ape),” “Bath-tubbed Anne hymns [=MM, M’s] knight, Beauty [bawdy] type,” “Bathe, T.T., wipe, tan homme, my knight, beauty type [my Nate, bawdy, type; my night-beauty tub],” and “Bath, to bed an homme’s knight be, with tape.”

           The initial word sequence in the downward acrostic (2-9) suggests Anne-Anne-Anne, Then Hath / … / They / Whi…, with “Three themes in one” (7), suggesting the syllables in “Hath-a-way”—and/or Anne’s three children, her amplified corpulence, and so on. “Thin” may describe the skinny acrostic and, ironically, Anne’s size.

           The extended acrostic code BAAATH TT W B[=8]T A N M / unnnhahhhuooa… suggests, e.g., “Paid T.T., weighty aye in money.” The joke here may link with the pun “…double penance to correct correction / Mark…” (in 13), and the whole joke may play on Will’s concern about paying extra for page proofs or for keeping Thorpe from overcorrecting his own functional “errors.”

110B

          The downward B codelineAAAATHTTWBTANM—starts with a plethora of A’s. Readings include these: “‘Aaaath-tt-W’ be to Anne hymn,” and “Aye, I aye eye Th. T., too—be T. aye in hymn.”

           The play “88, webbed [whipped?] annum” (or some such) might be allusive, with “web” suggesting sails and thus the year of the Armada; “88, 2-bit annum” has another sense; and “88, 2, VV [overlaid on ‘To be’] t’ annum” is concurrent, perhaps encoding 1600 as the “Hamlet” year.

          The upward (reverse) code—M NAT B WTTHTAAAA—suggests, e.g., “M’ knight be wit hit aye (…that I aye eye, aye),” “Men hate beauty,” “Mine 8, bawdy,” and “Eminent [etc.] beauty/bawdy,” and “Hymn innate beauty.”

             
Proceed to Rune 111
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