Lost Sonnets: A Restoration of the Runes
The Edited Texts of
the Runes in the 1609
Quarto: Sets X-XI, the “Perverse Mistress” Texts
Set X: Runes 127-140
Notes on Set X
introducing the infamous Dark Lady or Perverse Mistress, texts
in Sets X and XI add new challenges and a puzzling dominant character
(often prefigured earlier) to Qs implicit dramatic interrelationships
among poet/persona, friend/auditor, and mistressthe
last a witty perversion of several centuries worth of idealized
females who were good at making the poems of European males drip in drool.
While various hints in the Runes point to wife Anne, daughter Susanna,
Mistress Alchemy, or even granddaughter Elizabeth as prototype(s) for
this odd femaleand while there may even have been some
other real Dark Ladythe Mistress, Im sure, is
essentially figurative, a conceit for Wills own torturous contrivances,
for the poems themselves and especially the peer-verse Runes:
The Mistress is Qs Mysteries. Such overlaid coterie puns as ms(s.),
mystery sighs, ms. duress, ms. distress,
ms. dress, misty heiress, and mystery see
ye help in some measure to decode Wills cryptic assertions,
heavy with her voice. The mysteries, too, are
in part the poets guttural and suppressed vocabulary, which we have
to work hard to make audible (see the index).
(First lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)
In the old age, black was not counted fair.
How oft when thou, my music, music playest
Th expense of spirit in a waste of shame
4 My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun.
Thou art as tyrannous, so, as thou art,
Thine eyes I love, and theyas pitying me
Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan.
8 So now I have confessed that he is thine:
Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will ,
If thy soul check thee that I come so near.
Thou blind fool, love, what dost thou to mine eyes
12 When my love swears that she is made of truth?
O, call not me to justify the wrong;
Be wise as thou art cruel: Do not press.
Glosses: 1) counted (a pudendal pun) suggests metered; 3) spirit (Q Spirit) is a namepun on ....speare; waste puns on waist; shame puns visually on fame; 4) mistress eyes puns on mystery-sighs and on printed mss. Is; nothing puns on the pudendum; sun puns on son; 5) so suggests Sue (i.e., Susanna, Wills daughter); 7) Beshrew = Curse; heart puns on art (see 5, twice in both lines); 8) So (again) puns on Sue; he = my heart (see 7, 5); the line may joke that Dr. John Hall is Sues; 9) Whoever hath her wish puns, Whore Hath-her-wi[fe], with a nameplay on Will; hast puns on haste; 10) If = Even if; check = may rebuke (suggesting, Checkmate!); 11) mine eyes puns on m Annie S.; 12) made puns on maid; 13) justify is a printing term; 14) wise is an eyepun on wife; do not press suggests, Dont print [this]!
(Second lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)
Whore if it were, it bore not Beautys name
Upon that Blessed Wood whose motionZounds!
Is loosed in action, and, till action, lust.
4 Coral is far more red than her lips, red
As those whose beauties proudly make them cruel,
Knowing thy heart. Torment me with disdain
For that deep wound it gives, my friendand me,
8 And I, myself, am mortgaged to thy will,
And Will to boot, and Will in overplus.
Swear to thy blind fool that I was thy Will
That they behold and see not what they see.
12 I do believe her, though I know she lies.
That thy unkindness lays upon my heart,
My tongue-tied patience, with too much disdain.
Glosses: 1) Whore (Q Or) puns on Oar, Oer; 2) Zounds (Q sounds) = the oath His [Christs] Wounds! 3) Is loosed (Q lust) puns, I sluiced (i.e., let flow); 4) red is a pun about lip-reading the mute mistress; 6) heart puns routinely on art, hard (phallic); 11) they (pun: th eye) = the speakers three selves (see 8); 13) heart puns on art (see 6); 14) tongue-tied points back to l. 4; and with...disdain echoes 6.
(Third lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)
But now is black, beautys successive heir,
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently swayst;
Is perjured, murdrous, bloody full of blame!
4 If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun!
For, well thou knowst, two, my dear doting heart,
Have put on black, and loving mourners be.
Ist not enough to torture me alone?
8 My self Ill forfeit, so that other mine,
More than enough, am I that vex thee still
And Will, thy soul knows, is admitted there.
They know what beauty is, see where it lies.
12 That she might think me some untutored youth,
Wound me, not with thine eye, but with thy tongue,
Lest sorrow lend me words, and words express.
Glosses: 4) her = beautys...heirs = blacks (see 1); 5) well suggests inkwell; two suggests eyes, Sonnets/Runes; heart puns on art; 10) admitted = acknowledged to be present; 11) They = Eyes (pun: Th eye), My selves, The public sonnets; 14) Lest puns on Leafd, Least.
(Fifth lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)
For since each hand hath put on natures power,
Do I envy those Jacks that nimble leap,
Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight?
4 I have seen roses damasked, red and white
Yet, in good faith, some say that. Thee behold,
And, truly not the morning sun of heaven,
Me from myself thy cruel eye hath taken.
8 But thou willt not, nor he will not be free.
Wilt thou, whose will is large and spacíous,
Will will fulfill the treasure of thy love,
If eyes corrupt by over-partial looks.
12 Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Tell me thou lovst elsewhere; but, in my sight,
If I might teach thee wit, better it were.
Glosses: 1) each hand suggests double composition; 1-3) suggesting both masturbation and a card game; 8) will puns on Will (with nameplays 7-10); 9) Wilt (also Willt); 12) she suggests thy love (see 10); 14) I puns on eye (see 4, 7, 11, etc.), with innuendo throughout the text about testicles and Is, pictographically phallic.
(Seventh lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest, reap
Past reason, hated as a swallowed bait,
4 And in some perfumes is there more delight.
To say they err, I dare not be so bold,
Nor that full star that ushers in the even;
Of him, myself, and thee I am forsaken.
8 He learned but surety-like to write for me:
Shall Will in others seem right gracious?
In things of great receipt with ease we prove.
Why of eyes falsehood hast thou forgèd hooks?
12 Simply, I credit her false-speaking tongue.
What? Needst thou wound with cunning when thy might
(As testy sick men, when their deaths) be near?
Glosses: 3) Past reason = Passed-down lore, paste ideas; 5) they = my...lips (2); so bold puns on sibyl (prophetess); 6) that...star = Hesperus; 7) thee I am puns on theme; 8) surety-like: i.e., as guarantor or proxy; 9) in others: i.e., as represented by any other; 10) receipt = import; 12) her = falsehoods (11); when thy puns on windy; 14) deaths = death is.
(Tenth lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem;
And situation with those, dancing chips
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme.
4 That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
A thousand groans! But thinking on thy face,
O, let it then as well beseem thy heart.
But then, my friends heart, let my poor heart bail,
8 Thou usurer that putst forth all to use
And in abundance addeth to his store,
Though in thy stores account I one must be
Which my heart knows. The wide worlds commonplace;
12 And wherefore say not I that I am old,
Her pretty? Looks have been mine enemies,
And, in my madness, might speak ill of thee.
Glosses: 1) Her points to my poor heart/art (7, see 11); 2) chips (v.) = reduces to bits, i.e., cuts down (on dancing); 4) puns: a farmer-pleasing sound; sour, Moor-pleasing...;5) pun: growings, groins; 6) beseem puns on beseam (compare suited, seem/seam in 1); 7) let = lend; 8) all puns on awl (phallic); 9) his store puns on history; 10) pun: e.g., into hissed whores assy-cunt [a phallic] I wan muffed be; 11) my heart encodes puns on art (see 6, 7), hard, merd; 13) pretty may denote clever, crafty (adj.), pretty one (sb.); 14) pun: e.g., End in my maiden ass, midgets pickle lofty.
(Eleventh lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Oer whom their fingers walk with gentle gait,
A bliss in proof, and proud, and very woe
4 I grant eye never saw a goddess go.
One on anothers neck, do witness bear
To mourn for me, since mourning doth thee grace;
Whoeer keeps me, let my heart be his guard
8 And sue a friend came debtor for my sake.
So thou, being rich in Will, add to thy Will.
For nothing hold me; so, it please thee, hold,
Or mine eyes, seeing this, say this is not.
12 O, loves best habit is in seeming trust;
And therefore from my face she turns my foes,
Now this ill-wresting world is grown so bad.
Glosses: 1) pun: At f--k, W.H. owe [i.e., acknowledge, recognize]...; 2) walk...gait = peruse a perverse text (pun: genital gate/gaiety); 3) in proof = in print; puns: Anne prowed [phallic]; woe puns on wo[man]; 4) eye (Q I): also I; 4-5) go / One puns on John; another puns on an oather (i.e., a sworn coterie member); 7) Whoeer puns on Whore; my heart pun on ...art, merd; 7-8) guard/ And puns on guardian, garden; And sue puns, Anne, Sue; sue = pursue, follow; came = become; 9) pun: Southy, O you... [suggesting Southampton]; Will suggests sexual drive; 10) pun: holed ms. O [owe]; 11) pun: this [text] is [a] knot; is a not suggests ...does not exit; 12) pun: seeming/seaming trust (see mine in 11, ill-wresting in 14); 13) she = love (see 12) or the mistress suggested in 1-4; 14) ill-wresting = wrongly-construing (a text, etc.).
(Fourteenth lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)
That every tongue says Beauty should look so,
Give them their fingers, me thy lips to kiss,
To shunthe heaven that leads men to this hell
4 As any she belied with false compare.
And thence this slander, as I think, proceeds,
And all they foul that, thy complexion. Lack,
Perforce, am thine, and all that is in me;
8 He pays the wholeand yet am I not free?
Think all but one, and me in that one, Will,
And then thou lovest me, for my name is Will!
And to this false plague are they now transferred,
12 And in our faults, by lies, we flattered be.
Kill me outright with looks, and rid my pain:
Bear thine eyes straight, though thy proud heart go wide.
Glosses: 1) That = Given that, Because; the string ...hat euery ton... encodes Hathaway, written (...wry ton), and lines 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12 start with puns on Anne; 1-2) puns: ...Look: Sue, Judy, Ham[ne]t, heirs (John [= in] jeers)a rare line-up of Wills childrens names, with the son-in-laws, John [Hall]s; 4) any she = any female; pun: Ass, Annie S., hip, belly eyed, with faults (...sauce); 5) thence suggests from idealism and false comparison; 6) all they points back to every tongue in 1; Lack (Q Iacke), a personification, also suggests Jack and thus John; 8) I am not puns on Hamnet (see 2), with the poignant suggestion I, Will, am no more; 9) but = merely; 14) go wide puns on Judy, i.e., Judith; closing pun: ...thou, jetty parody, art Judy.
Set XI: Runes 141-154
Notes on Set XI
the second of the Perverse Mistress sets pairs with Set X to
comprise a formal couplet close to Wills grand design,
Qs Megasonnet; texts in Set XI (at the far right in that imaginative
construct) effectively add unstressed syllables
across the board, packing the structure full. Readers have long recognized
that the last 28 sonnets in Q are somehow of a different order from the
rest. (For my own speculations about the origin and dating of the two
final sets and about how they fit into the overall scheme, click on this
linke.) As a further terminal add-on to the predominant Dark Lady materials
in Sets X-XI, the last two overt sonnets in the last set function visually
on the spread as a couplet close, exhibiting a conventional
shift of subject matter in textual units 13-14, and concurrently rounding
off the whole of Q with a bit of allusive formality.
(First lines, Set XI: Sonnets 141-154)
In faith I do not love thee; with mine eyes
Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue, hate.
Low as a careful housewife runs to catch
4 Two loves, I haveof comfort and despair
Those lips that loves own hand did make
Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth:
My love is as a fever longing still!
8 O me! What eyes hath love put in my head!
Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not?
O, from what power hast thou this powrful might?
Love is too young to know what conscience is:
12 In loving thee, thou knowst, I am forsworn
Cupid, laid by his brand and fell asleep,
The little love-god lying once asleep.
Glosses: 1) mine eyes puns on m Annie S., with and, hate, and hath in 2-13 being other namepuns on Anne Hathaway Shakespeare; 3) runs (Q runnes) puns on runes; catch is a related pun, since catch = round (OED 1601), and round/rune/O are punningly interchangeable; 4) have puns on halve (and I have on eye half), pointing to the bifurcation of visible Sonnets/hidden Runes; 5) pun: ...that low sound Anne did make; make (sb.) = mate; 8) eyes echoes mine eyes in 1; hath love is an eyepun on Hathaway; 8-10) O = round/rune; thee not puns on the knot, suggesting riddle or rune; 9) Canst puns on See Anne Shakespeare [st = the family name cipher]; 10) might puns on mite/midget (see young in 10); 11) conscience echoes In faith in 1 and puns on cunt-science; 12) forsworn = perjured; 13) brand = torch, mark (of infamy); 14) lying puns on telling falsehoods (see 12); once puns on wands.
(Second lines, Set XI: Sonnets 141-154)
Fore they in thee a thousand errors note
(Hate of my sin, grounded on sinful loving),
One of her feathered creatures broke away
4 (Which, like to spirits, do suggest me still),
Breathed forth the sound that said, I hate / My sin-
ful earth, these rebel powers that thee array
Fore, that which longer nurseth the disease
8 Which have no correspondence with true sight
When I, against myself, with thee partake
With insufficiency, my heart to sway
Yet who knows not. Conscience is born of Love,
12 But thou art twice forsworn, to me love swearing.
A maid of Dians this advantage found,
Laid by his side: his heart-inflaming brand.
Glosses: 1) Fore they i... puns on 41, and the linepun suggests,[Rune 1]41 ended, housing D [= 1000] errors in ode...; 3) the line supplies the missing One in 141 (see the pun in 1); her = Dianas maids (see 13), with One of her feathered creatures = an arrow (echoing the pun error/arrow sent... in 1); 4) pun: Witchlike, two... (Q two); 5) this line, line 5, the E-row (about an arrow) has a metrical error, with a metrically long line (Sonnet 146.2) compensating for the short one (Sonnet 145.2); 7) which puns on Witch (see 4, 8); 9) partake = participate; 10) heart puns on art (see art twice forsworn in 12); 11) Conscience puns on Cunt-science; 12) forsworn = perjured, punning on force-worn; 14) his = Loves (see 11), Cupids.
(Fifth lines, Set XI: Sonnets 141-154)
Nor are mine ears with thy tongues tune delighted
Or, if it do, not from those lips of thine
Whilst her neglected child holds her in chase.
4 To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Straight in her heart did mercy come.
Why so large cost, having so short a lease
My reason, the physician to my love
8 If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote?
Who hateth thee that I do call my friend?
Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill?
For, thou betraying, me I do betray;
12 But why, of two oaths breach, do I accuse thee
Which borrowed from this holy fire of love,
The fairest votary, took up that fire?
Glosses: 2) if it do = if the tune delights; 3) Whilst puns on Will Shakespeare, with st the family name cipher; a larger pun is Will Shakespeare here in a glazed ed[ition] see held...; 3) a chase is a printing mechanism, an iron frame holding the type in place; 3-4) pun: ...herein see haste own me: Sandell [and] my female evil [i.e., Anne]..., a likely allusion to Wills hasty marriage and to Fulke Sandells, a Stratfordian who posted Wills marriage bond; see, as related elements, neglected child in 3; the pun marry in 7; I do with Hath.-punsin 9, 11; and oaths in 12; 5) did mercy come = did mercy become; 6) eyepun: halving so short a leaf [i.e., page]; 7) pun: Marry, son the physician [i.e., Dr. John Hall], to my love [i.e., Susanna, Wills daughter]; 9) pun: That I do see, Hall, my friend; 10) hast puns on haste; 12) two oaths suggests the marriage and Hippocratic oaths, further implicating Dr. Hall, Wills son-in-law; 13) Which puns on Witch (see 4); 14) ..., took = [and] took....
(Sixth lines, Set XI: Sonnets 141-154)
Nor-tender feeling, to base touches prone
That have profaned their scarlet ornaments,
Cries to catch her whose busy care is bent,
4 Tempteth my better angel from my sight,
Chiding, That tongue (that ever-sweet)
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept!
8 What means the world to say it is not so?
On whom frownst thou, that I do fawn upon,
That in the very refuse of thy deeds
My nobler part, to my gross, bodies treason.
12 When I break twenty, I am perjured most,
A dateless, lively heat still to endure
Which many legions of true hearts had warmed.
Glosses: 1) Nor-... puns on Inner..., reversing to pun on rune; 2) scarlet ornaments (ambig.) = red lips, other body parts; 3) her = my better angel (see 4); 5) Chiding puns, See hiding, C [i.e., 100] hiding; 6) fading mansion = deteriorating body, body of writings (esp. the Runes, which disappear as they are created); pun: ...a pun, thy fading mansions penned [i.e., written in ink; buried]; 7) his = your tongues (see 5); 9) On whom puns, On homme, O [i.e., round, rune]-gnome = runic aphorism; 11) My nobler part echoes my better angel in 4; 12) break twenty (ambig.) = finish 20 poems (sonnets, runes) of the 28 total in Sets XI, rape 20, etc.; 13) heat puns on 8 [more overt poemsor hidden ones, or bothleft to write in Set XI]; 14) true hearts is a phallic pun: true [i.e., right-angled] hards.
(Ninth lines, Set XI: Sonnets 141-154)
But my five wits, nor my five senses, can
Be it: lawful. I love thee as thou lovst those
So runst thou after that which flies from thee.
4 And whether that my angel be turned fiend
I hate, she altered with an end;
Then, soul, live thou upon thy servants loss.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care.
8 How can itO, how can loves eye be true?
What merit do I in my self respect?
Who taught thee how to make me love thee more?
But rising at thy name doth point out thee.
12 Fore, I have sworn deep oaths of thy deep kindness.
But at my mistress eye loves brand new fired;
This brand she quenchèd in a cool well by.
Glosses: 1) But = Only; nor = not; 3) puns: Sue, runest, the Hat.-witch S.; 4) pun: Anne, inch-hell; 5) puns: A. Hate (paralleling Anne Hathaway), S. Hall, altared, Witty Anne; 7) cure suggests pastoral care, curé (OED 1655); 8) puns: see Anne; I (phallic) be plumb; 11) But = Mere; pun: Butt rising, a thin aim doth point...; 14) puns: th eyes bare Anne, This be a rune,Will.
(Tenth lines, Set XI: Sonnets 141-154)
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee
Whom thine eyes woo as mine importune thee
Whilst I, thy babe, chase thee, afar behind.
4 Suspect I mayyet not directly tell,
That followed it as gentle day
And let that pine to aggravate thy store,
And, frantic mad with evermore unrest
8 That is so vexed with watching and with tears;
That is so proud thy service to despise
The more I hear and see, just cause of hate
As his triumphant prizeproud of this pride,
12 Oaths of thy love, thy truth, thy constancy
The boy for trial needs would touch my breast,
Which from loves fire took heat perpetual.
Glosses: 3) Whilst I puns, Will Shakespeare [ = st, the family name cipher]; 5) That = I, who; it = my heart (see 1); 6) that = gentle day (see 5), i.e., a peaceful life; also, my heart; 11) pride (see proud in 9); 13) breast (see foolish heart in 1);
(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 neer know, but live in doubt
I hatefrom 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 hussys 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 neer puns, S. Hall eye (aye) near, suggesting Susanna Hall, Wills 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 shes big, like a room with dimensions to measure] I prow.