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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 III, Runes 29-42: Texts and Comments 
Copyright © Roy Neil Graves 2003, All Rights Reserved        

Proceed to Rune 34
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Rune 33
Fifth lines, Set III (Sonnets 29-42)

                         Rune 33

     (Fifth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)

     Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
     Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow
     How many a holy and obsequious tear.
 4  Compare them with the bettering of the time;
     Anon, permit the basest clouds to ride.
     ’Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break;
     All men make faults—and even I in this.
 8  In our two loves there is but one respect.
     For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
     Oh, give thyself the thanks if aught in me.
     Even for this, let us divided live.
12 Then if, for my love, thou my love receivest,
     Gentle thou art, and therefore to be won.
     Loving offenders, thus I will excuse ye.
     Glosses: 4) them = my tears (implied in 3); 5) Anon = Shortly; ride (paradoxically) = pass on by, dominate; 7) make faults = generate flaws, create fissures or divisions (as I do in these Sonnets/Runes); All men puns on “Awl men,” a phallic joke reinforced by make faults (i.e., dig crevices) and by I (a phallic pictograph); the line also plays on John Hall, Will’s daughter’s make (i.e., mate), while All men make faults puns, “All (Old...) m’ Anne, make (m’ ache), is old: S., Anne, Eve, 90 is” and “Hall, m’ Anne, make, assaults, undoing I (...aye) in this”; 10) if aught = if any one of these virtues exists...; 10-11) pun: “ me enough artist, let us divided live”; 11) the line, if addressed to Anne, is highly personal. A routine welter of puns on Anne includes And, in and (here) Anon (5), can (2), an eye (2), etc.;14) I will: also, I, Will.

   33. Let Us Divided Live

     Wishing that I were more blessed with hope,
     I allow myself to weep freely, though usually I don’t gush
     so many reverential tears as are now flowing.
  4 See them as indications of better times,
     for soon the darkest clouds allow escape. We must let such clouds pass.
     It’s not enough for me that you sunder the heavens, sunlike.
     Everybody is similarly divisive—even I, in this writing project. All of us are “faulty.”
  8 Our divided affections are still an entity, singular in aspect,
     since any handsomeness, breeding, wealth, or cleverness
     seen in me, I insist, should be credited to you.
     Even granting all this (or because of all this), let us live separately—and let this project thrive;
12 thus if you take my love for what it is and also let me give you something,
     you prove yourself gentle and thus still susceptible to and worthy of wooing and “oneness.”
     I love “faulty” people, and so I, Will, will forgive you and let you go your own way, too.


        The association between Christ and 33 points to Biblical wit even before line 14 conflates Will’s voice with Christ’s and sets his scenario at Calvary, where Christ “excuses” the Thief on the Cross. Numerous puns and allusive details encourage this reading: e.g., “one more Arisen Hope” (1); “Gentile thou art” (13); “breaking through the cloud” (5-6); “better time to come” (4) “if…thou my love receivest” (12); and “a holy and obsequious tear [rip]” (3).

        Aspects that run counter to Christ’s nature include the poet’s faults (7) and “hopelessness” (1) and the fact that his virtues seem to derive from the auditor (9-10), the Thief. Too, “Let us divided live” insistently perverts Christ’s “This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”

        Another “solution”—consistent with the rune’s focus on “division” and its coy opening “Wishing me like two…”—is to parse it as a dialogue, attributing lines 1-3, 6-7, and 8-10 to the Thief, and lines 4-5 and 11-14 to the Christ-like Will.

        Whether a revisionist’s version of Christ’s words or a dialogue between Christ and the lucky Thief, the rune can be read seamlessly as Will’s “renunciation,” addressed as usual to the unnamed friend. As such its consciously strained logic relies on paradox and the puns in “faults” (7), a word whose root sense—things cracked or fissured and thus imperfect—allows the sun-like muse to be “faulty” for penetrating the clouds to dry up tears. Tenuously established, then, as an “offender,” the auditor needs “excusing” (14). The persona “forgives” him, and lets him go, to maintain a paradoxical truth: By living divided (11) and thus “faulted,” Will can still have a “gentle” lover worthy of pursuit (13), one who is “faulted” for not being “won” (or “one”). An eyepun in Q on “salts,” the word “faults” links this fragile logic to metaphors of clouds, tears, and weather (2-6). Almost every line cultivates diction, including many puns, about wholeness and duality, “one’s” and “two”s.”

        Read seriously, the rune develops familiar foils—perfection and faultiness, union and separation, having and lacking. The idea of being “fissured” or “breaking through” also allows homophile bawdry (on the order of “Awl-men make faults”) about creviced bottoms and fissures, with “salts” suggesting not just tears but body fluids and sex drive (1541). In this “faulty” text, a gamy overlay of references to the bifurcated Q project also accumulates.

        The linepun “Even forty-five [s = 5], let us divided live” (11) suggests a play on 44, Will’s own ageca. 1608. Age 44 is one of the “even forties” that the line puns on, and the number of the rune plus the number of the line (33 + 11) equals 44. Part of the joke is that 44 can be divided, but 45 can’t. The poet’s consciousness that he is 44, going on 45, is set against the fact that Christ died at 33, and he himself in 1608 is 11 years past that point. The opening pun “Wishing me like 21, more rich in hope” asserts, “I wish I were younger.”

Sample Puns

          1) Wife, “hinge” me; wand Moor, reaching up; Whiffing melée (m’ lackey), get on a Moor; Wishing Malachi tone more rich in hope; one amour, Arisen Hope
          1-2) betting (bedding, petting) scene (seen)
          2) Then see Annie drown, Annie, unused to “flow”; I’d rown (I drown) Annie; cunt-wife did awe Shakespeare [= st], O; our own Annie, unused to flow [i.e.,post-menopausal]; Hen, see a night-rown; a Nicean vice
          2-3) Th’ Nicean I drown, a Nicean verse did Oslo hum; Wow, m’ Annie, aye holy Anne, obsequious t’ hear; ear [pudendal]
          3) Hominy, ale, you end up sick; Home, Annie—a holy end, abyss, quest eerie; holey
          3-4) f--k you, Jews tearsome; Harry compared ham with the batter ingested aye; pared ham, witty batter ingested I; Ham, witty pater, in jest hid I
          4) See homme, party muted; battering of the time [metrical]; thyme
          4-5) Amen
          5) Anne-O, in, peer; base Shakespeare [st] see, ludus torrid; satyr eyed; satire; odes t’ orate; Dis derided
          5-6) A nun, th’ [= p] hermit, Thebes is tickled, a story, deeds note
          6) ’Tis knotty note; an oat, Hat., th’ rudest lauded; clawed, thou bear ache; Judy; Judas
          6-7) naughty Hath-her-way thick lauded Hebraic awl-men; Hymen [l = I]
          7) Alum enema keys a faulty scene; kiss a vault; Hall; Awl-men make faults; salts; Anne; even “I” (phallic); m’ Calf Evil ’tis
          7-8) sinned Eve and Anne, this I know
          8) John; An hour (whore) to wallow used here; butt honor’s (onerous) pieced; olives
          9) bawdy be earth, “O” ruleth our wit ; Sue, ruder beauty, be earthier; oriel
        10-11) Thor-wit owe; widow Judy ye feel; Jew; O Judy S., elf that Anne kisses, ought I name, evince
        11-12) Even is our thistled verse, divided, livid; evaded, lived-in eye-sore, my lofty (loved) home ye’ll oversee aye, west         12-13) my lower sieve (lore safe) eased genital Howard and dead Hereford
        13) how hard; Anne; hairy ass
        13-14) red (read) “O” be wan, low
        14) Low-inch, hose, endorse; Loving ghost in Dorset, huss, I will excuse ye; Loving goes indoors; in Dorset huss, I, Will, excuse ye; you, Sue, I’ll excuse; Lowing of Endor, Southy, Saul; Endor’s hue swill; you helix [i.e., spiral] see, use ye

Acrostic Wit

        The downward acrostic codeline—WTH CAT AI FOET GL—suggests, e.g., “With a cat I (he) fought jail,” “With a kitty fight jail,” “Witty kitty food chill ,” “Wit Hecate, foe agile,” “With Hecate, Virgil,” and “Withe [cf. “stick” = acrostic line] caught effete glee (gull).” The codeline form of Hecate—HCATAI—along with CAT and FOE all insist that we find manipulation in the codestring.

        In fact, this acrostic manages fairly convincing variant puns (the first two above, for example) about Southampton in The Tower, where (as history records and one portrait shows) he kept a CAT as company.

        The upward codelineLGT EOF IAT ACH TW—can be decoded, e.g., to read, “Let Eve eat a cheetah [OED 1781, from Hind. chita],” “Legate [i.e., papal envoy] Eve eyed a cheetah,” “Legged Eve I touched. W.,” “Leg tough I attached (attacked)…,” and “Large Thief I attach, too.”

        Taking their cues from such letterstrings as FIAT here, Latinists are likely to find whole sets of alternative readings, possibly routinely conscious encodings drawn from the “small Latin” that the Bard is said to have had.

Proceed to Rune 34
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