Set III, Runes 29-42: Texts and Comments
Fourth lines, Set III (Sonnets 29-42)
(Fourth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
And look upon myself and curse, my fate,
And with old woes new wail my dear times waste
And all those friends which I thought burièd,
4 These poor rude lines of thy deceasèd lover,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke;
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud
8 Without thy help, by me be borne alone.
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth
For every vulgar paper to rehearse,
And what ist but mine own when I praise thee?
12 All mine was thine before thou hadst this more
For still temptation; follows where thou art
A loss in love that touches me more nearly.
Glosses: 1) my fate, a direct address; 2) times suggests meters, poetrys; 6) rotten puns on wroten, i.e., written; 10) rehearse = restate, punning on re-inter; 13) still = further, leisured, punning on steel, i.e., hard.
32. No Vulgar Paper
My fated self, look at me and curse,
and in a familiar complaint once again lament the waste of my precious time and verses,
and cry anew over all those verse companions that I thought were buried for good,
4 these poor, crude lines of your dead lover
that decorate and illuminate white pages, dim trains of thought touched with unearthly magic,
hiding your fine qualities in their cursed obscurity;
further, in the sweetest little rose here lives a loathsome cancer,
8 something you had no part in, something I must accept full and solitary responsibility for.
Even if all my assurances of your virtue be taken up
by every common medium, be echoed (and thus buried) by every hack,
arent such praises mere derivations of what I've already said? (Are my praises really any better than theirs?)
12 Everything of mine was already yours before you had this added poem,
another quiet challenge that goes on flattering your pride. Anywhere you are, there follows
a sense of lost love that touches me here, too, very close to home.
bit like “Caedmon’s Hymn” for embedding an
inventive series of epithets that vary one subject, this “new wail”
(2, 12-13) ingeniously finds names for the runic verse itself: “Old
woes’ new wail” and “my dear time’s [meter's]
waste” (2); “friends I [eye, aye] thought buried” (3);
“poor rude lines” and “pale streams gilded with heavenly
alchemy” (4-5); “rotten [‘wroten’] smoke”
(6); a rosebud harboring disease (7); “my comfort [like a “woven’
coverlet] of thy worth and truth [cf. warp and woof]” (9); a “vulgar
paper” that “re-buries” (10); “mine own [Minoan]…praise”
(11) and “All mine” (12), suggesting underground treasure;
“this more” (12), punning on Moor (cf. “buried, inky”)
and mower (“scythe”); “still temptation” (cf.
something quiet and attractive)—with the pun “steel"
suggesting pens, engraving, and mirrors—and “thou-art”
(13); and “a loss in [low-sin, low sign] love” (14). These
kennings add texture and wit while threatening to obliterate any flow
of thought in a reader/player’s head.
Anne (look, a pun!)—cf. other addresses to Anne in 2, 3,
4, 7, 11; Anne, see your seamy seat; my cell-fiend; missal; dick, you
The downward acrostic codeline—AAAT GHAWT FAAFA—may be gamily decoded in such ways as these: “‘Hate God’ five eye,” “Hate God, fay [faith] fey (of aye),” “I aye eyed God, fay fey (Ave),” “Hate Jew tough, eye Ave,” and “I aye ate, jawed five aye (…jaw tough I have aye).”
The upward codeline—A FA AF TW AHGT AAA—suggests, e.g., “Eye 5-2 (52), age t’ eye aye (aged I aye, aaai!),” “A fey halved wage t’ eye aye, aaai,” “A fiefed witch t’ eye aye,” “Aye five twitched…,” “A forfeit waged I,” and “I’ve a half-twitch aye.” Suggestions of these terms lie in the code: “agate,” “egg,” “edge(d),” “wedge(d),” “wage(d),” and “witch.” With F=S, the codeline suggests “Eight goats assay,” “A saved wag…,” and “A safety way….”
letterstring TWAHGT, which insistently suggests “twat,”
recycles GHAWT, suggesting “God.” Such a parodic letterstring
reversal is reminiscent of the God/Dog reversal, one sacrilege attributed
to the School of Night, a contemporaneous London coterie that scholars
often mention in background notes to Love’s Labor’s Lost.