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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 XI, Runes 141-154: Texts and Comments 
Copyright © Roy Neil Graves 2004, All Rights Reserved        

Proceed to Rune 154
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Rune 153
Thirteenth lines, Set XI (Sonnets 141-154)

                         Rune 153

      (Thirteenth lines, Set XI: Sonnets 141-154)

     Only my plague thus far I count my gain.
     If thou dost seek to have what thou dost hide,
     So will I pray that thou mayst have thy Will,
 4  Yet this shall I ne’er know, but live in doubt
     I hate—from “Hathaway.” She threw
     (So shalt thou) feed on death, that feeds on men.
     Fore, I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright.
 8  O, cunning love, with tears thou keepst me blind!
     But love, hate on, for now I know thy mind.
     If thy unworthiness raised love in me,
     No want of conscience hold it that I call
12 “For I have sworn thee fair!” more perjured eye
     But found no cure. The bath for my help, lies,
     Came there for cure, and this by that I prove.
     Glosses: 1) pun: th’ hussy’s hairy cunt, Make [i.e., Mate] Anne; 2) thou (twice) puns on “th’ O ” (i.e., the round, rune); have puns on halve (i.e., divide into Sonnets/Runes); hide (v.) puns on “put on hide [parchment],” (i.e., write down); 3) So will puns on “Sue, Will” and “swill”; have puns on halve; 4) shall I ne’er puns, “S. Hall eye (aye) near,” suggesting Susanna Hall, Will’s daughter; 5) She threw puns, “Shit rue”; 6) So shalt puns, “Sue, S. Hall...”; 7) and puns on Anne (the line addressing Sue, Susanna); 11) conscience puns on “cunt-science”; I call puns, “I see Hall”; 12) For I have sworn thee fair echoes 7; puns: Fore (i.e., previously), aye; 13) lies = dissembling, duplicity, as in the Runes; 14) puns: “Came t’ Harry S. [suggesting Southampton] for cure”; “Anne died”; you runed this; “Anne This-by-That [suggesting that she’s big, like a room with dimensions to measure] I prow.”

     153. Hate Away

     So far my only measurable gain here has been my suffering.
     If you want what’s “halved” on this vellum and will stay hidden if you don’t seek it out,
     I’ll pray you get your Will
  4 but will never know whether you do or not, living in doubt
     that I hate—etymologically derived from “Hathaway.” She’s already provided fodder
     for death—as you will, too, and as men always do.
     Anticipating you, whoever you are, I’m certain of your equanimity and intelligence.
  8 O, shrewd affectionate reader, thinking about you makes my eyes well up with tears!
     But Hathaway, my dear, go on despising me, for I’ve come to know your mind, too.
     If your simplicity once made me love you,
     don’t see it as a lack of conscience now for me to equate
12 my former affirmation of your appeal with my own unreliable vision,
     for which I’ve long needed a cure. A healing solution, duplicity,
     confronted my vision, and I use it now as a means to show that all you see is genuine.



          Punctuated by a nearly overt “Hathaway” (5), the knotty text of Rune 153 admits rough summary: Will has gotten only misery for his pains, and his ms. project, his unfeeling auditor, and even his wife in Stratford all share blame. His “blindness” in love is still not cured, and his last “will and testament” still reflects his own tendency toward confusing truth and falsehood.

           Images about illness, eating, “counting,” courts, and writing (“wills” in particular) texture the rows.

           Words cataloging sickness, e.g., include plague, sick, death, blind, cure and no cure, bath for my help, and (punningly) “hives.”

          Amid “feeding” puns, various scatologies broach outhouse wit—e.g., “Hathaway, shitter, you / saw, faulty…” (5-6) and “ass raised, loo enema, / No want of conscience holed it…” (10-11).

          Jokes about numbers and “counting” are not much nicer. The opening pun “One-ly my plague, the huss is 1) Harry, Count, 2) my gay Anne…” uses “count/cunt” to link Will’s two trials, plausibly Southampton and Anne. The pun “live in debt” (4) merges with “Hath., away she threw…” (5) to hint that a spendthrift wife he once thought “bright” (7) is part of Will’s problem.

           The poem is also, as usual, much preoccupied with the topic of Will the writer. “Counting” (1) suggests skill at numbers, while “my gain [gay end]” (1) means “the wit I’ve written, here at the end.” To “seek to halve” what’s hidden (2) suggests “dividing rightly” the bifurcated text. “Hide” (2) suggests parchment, and “bath” (13) ink—which “lies.” Like a will, Q can be “proven” (14) for authenticity, a process that is just now occurring, with modern readers, overwhelmed by a heavy docket, in the roles of judge and jury.

Sample Puns

          1) my plague, th’ huss, arrogant midge Anne; One lame wipe, leggèd huss furry; One Limey play (Only my pillow), Judy [Ju…eth] you suffer aye; Wan lie [cf. 13]; Wan Lima plagued you; O, Nellie, my plague, th’ huss’s airy (hairy) cunt, Make Anne
          1-2) Judas, fairy-cunt making, eyes th’ ode; You Saracen Tommy, gay Anne eye, Southy; Only my play Judas Pharisee Tommy gains
          2) eye stout O, oft seek twat; dusty Sikh (sick) twat thou’d OO [=ogle]; If th’ O you do sight, seek to halve what th’ O’d oft hide; hide cf. parchment; dust; deux fit [i.e., duplicitous stanza]; you Hathaway dust hide
          2-3) Eye, Southy, dusty, fake twat out of Titus; Fetid Sue, Will eye, prayed Hathaway; ideas O will aye prate at Tommy
          3) a leper eyed Hathaway; Swill appeared, Hathaway, my ass, fit halved you ill; the atom (Adam) aye is tough t’ hew; mastiff et you
          3-4) eye T.T., who must have th’ Yule white
          4) Wyatt’s failing ear know; Livy I endowed; Ye T.T. hiss, ass-hole in Eric know, butt living, daubed; White thistle in ear know; Ye ate (Why 8?) his awful (offal) “I”, an ear know (an O), butt, loo, in doubt; Ye, T.T., hiss, “S. Hall I in ear know”
           4-5) Livy eye endowed: Eye 8 [inches] of Rome; now bawdy Livy John doubted, of Rome
           5-6) Hathaway shit here you saw; “Shit rue” is offal, T.T., who see dawn dead; fey, the roses halt Thos. (the rows of Hall T.T. housed); Hathaway, she threw Sue’s Hall t’ Thos., ed.
           5-8) th’ rows (ruse) of hell Thomas, ed., owned aye, Th[os.] Th., aye, tough ed. is on men (m’ end), furry half-ass, warned he S., Harry
           6) Sauce’ll T.T. house, Eden did it
           6-8) Hat. is Ed’s own man, for aye, half-ass, worn, the siren dead, haughty, buried, oaken angel of wit t’ Harry S.
           7) ornate he is, Harry—and dead; hornet heavy runed—how jetty, bright; Foe raves war, native errand; forests wore native air; huge titty berate
           7-8) Hairy Anne did you hit, th’ buried O, cunt inch lewd tears; buried, O, see Hun included; Anne, dead, haughty bride oaken, I inch
           8) cunning glove witty tears; Harry S. (heiress) took a piss; O, cunning, low, wetted arras; heiress talky pissed, m’ Belinda
           8-9) Tom Belinda-butt loved, unsoaring O weak, naughty; fit may be lined, but lewd (elude, loud, loved, loo’d)
           9) Bawdy Lloyd owns whore Norwegian [sic]; Butt elevate, Owen, for now—eke naughty mind
           9-10) Butt elevate, O Inferno “wick,” and (weaken) otium ends; Boo till Ovid, on foreign, oaken oat hymn ends; Butt love, 8 on ass, whoring O, I know thy man dies; India’s t’ Hun worthy aye and fair
           9-11) O, wit, hymn India’s thane warty, and every fiddle of enemy know
         10) Eye Southy unworthy; unworthy, I’ve thin worth, aye, an ass erased love in me; razed loo enemy
         10-11) eye knave fair-assed, loving my Anne, Auntie of Cunt-Science; loving Minoan, tough cunt scants Hall (…scants hole dated IC)
         11) Know Anne, tough cunt-science, hold I titty; An O-wand, of cunt-science holed, eyed, that icy awl
         11-12) cunt-science hold it: Hat., Icy Anne, fore-I halves; holed aye, T.T. had icy awl fore; dated, aye (day-to-day,) carnivorous whore needs (kneads) Harry; coniferous John [W=IN] horny to heifer amore perjured
         12) “hornet-y” is Harry, m’ whore-peer
         12-13) repair I, your début sound; Fore-I half-worn, t’ heifer, m’ whore, appear I, wordy beauty
         13) Bawdy found no cure; Butt is hound-nose, you read, help I th’ sore male place
         13-14) ochre the body, formal pee, Lyceum t’ Harry S. (…is); our male pee-lice came; sore male pee-lice (formal police) came t’ Harry for cure; Beauty found no curate, Hebe, th’ formal Peleus (palace) see amid Harry’s whores, you runed this bitty type-row (taper); formal (my hell-) Pelias came t’ Harry for current taste
         14) See a meter 4 (metaphor) current t’ hiss, baited (th’ eye spied it) upper row [cf. line 5’s tetrameter?]; See a mate, Harry, sore, cure end; Came t’ Harry for cure Anne, dead; Anne This-by-That I prow (“I,” peer, oft); Anne This-by-That I prove [as if measuring a room, commenting on her obesity]; you runed Thisbe t’ Hat, eye Pierrot; Andes by the Tiber owe

Acrostic Wit

          The downward acrostic codeline—O I SYIS FO B IN F BC—suggests such readings as these samples: “O, eye (‘I’), seize fop, eye knave (knife) busy,” “O, I say (sigh), eye’s foe be enough busy,” “Orpheus fighting is busy [F=S, B=8],” “Orifice foe, 8 inches busy (8 in. effete see; …fights),” “Wisest foe be John, if busy,” “O, aye sea’s foe be John if by sea,” “Isis fob [trick, pocket], eye insights,” “O, aye Sue’s foe be John if busy,” “O, Isis foe be aye, Ann of B.C.,” and “O, ease ye ass of open fop, see?”

          The upward (reverse) codeline—C BF NI B OF SIY SIO—suggests, e.g., “See beef, an ‘I,’ be of size 10,” “Seep, fine ‘I,’ be of size 10,” “Seep: Fine eye be of sighs, I owe [admit],” “Seep of nib, of sighs, I owe [acknowledge],” “See beef nigh, beef, ass eye, y’ ass tend,” “See beef, fine ‘I,’ buff [cause to explode] Susie (Sue’s ‘eye’), O,” “See buff [a blow] in ‘eye’ buff Sue’s ‘O’,” and “See buff, an ‘I,’ buff Sue’s ‘O’.”

Proceed to Rune 154
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