Set III, Runes 29-42: Texts and Comments
(Tenth lines, Set III: Sonnets 29-42)
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
And heavily from woe to woe tell oer,
Hung with the trophies of My lovers gone!
4 Had my friends muse grown with this growing age!
With all triumphant splendor on my brow,
Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss.
Thy adverse party is thy advocate;
8 Least my bewailèd guilt should do thee shame.
Whilst that this shadow doth such substance give
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate,
Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave?
12 Although thou steal thee all my poverty,
And chide thy beauty and thy straying youth
And losing her, my friend hath found that loss.
Glosses: 1) Q Haplye = Perchance; state = condition, estate, printed works; 4) ...muse = this poet, I; this...age = the Renaissance, my own aging; 8) Q Least = Least of all (eyepun: leaft, i.e., published); 10) Q Then = Than (a customary emendation in the Sonnets) = As, More than; old nine = the Muses, with a numeric gesture toward lines 1-9 in this text; 11) leave puns on leaf, page; 13) chide puns on see hide, i.e., look at parchment and see hiding; 14) her (ambig.) = beauty, youth (see 13), suggesting also the Dark Lady; my friend puns ms., runed (i.e., runic text) and on ...reigned, ...ruined, misery end, and my S. [ass] , wry end.
38. Trophies of Loss: Another Woe
I happen to think about you and then about my own conditionmy estate in Stratford, my isolation, my literary estate including the state of this eternally unpublished work
and gloomily repeat myself in this list of woes, from wo- to present woe,
my losers trophies all proclaiming My lovers gone!
4 Would that my inspiration had matured in concert with my own yearsand this great Age.
Were I decorated with the laurels of great triumphs,
my losses would still be realities, even if you changed your mind.
Your estranged adversary, I also here argue your case;
8 least of all should these guilty laments bring shame to you. (Published, they would do that.)
As long as this crafty writer and these shadowy compositions convey content finer
than what the nine muses whom poets always invoke can produce,
isnt it true that your sour manner not only has made my departure sweet but should also be said to have produced these sugared pages?
12 Even though you take my property, which is negligible, for yourself
and nag and harp on lost beauty and straying youth
and on losing one who is unnamed here, my friend has claimed that ms. for himself as he reads these texts, rediscovering all those other lost things, too, as fresh as ever.
38 is another bemused complaint about Wills state
(perhaps a printing pun) and his loss (partly that of these
buried texts). Like others of the 154 overt Sonnets and 154 buried Runes
in Q, this number comments on the poets distance from his lover
and friend (3-4), suggesting some real-life situation but
also masking it thoroughly.
A good bit of wit and bawdry in the rune does make sense if “Anne”
is the riddle’s “an-swer”—puns such as “Ha-plight
in cunt,” “He plied [played} in cunt,” “Help lighten
cunty Anne” (1); ”From wo- to woe” (2); “Thy adverse
party” (7); and “Leased, my…guilt showed dowdy S.-home”
(8). “My [es]state” (1) suggests home and family property,
while line 3 adumbrates the Stratford house with a sign announcing the
poet’s departure. The comic stuff in 11-14 sketches both a nagging
wife whose “fore-leisure” once “gave sweet leave”
and a son-in-law “friend” who’s inherited “poverty”
while gaining a woman now lost to Will—Susanna, but also the Perverse
Mistress whom Will and John will share when John visits the hidden texts.
Applied high in cunty Anne, thin my state; Apply ink on thee;
misty 8; ms.d 8 [cf. Sets IV-XI]; thin, muffed 8; Aye polite, incontent,
enemy Shakespeare [st] ate; Apple ye eye, thin content, then
misty ate; “Anne dead,” enemies state; Eye th’ ink on
thee and th’ enemy state; Apple ye eyed in Chianti [place name];
Happily Ethan contenting Miss Titty
As comments above suggest, the downward acrostic codeline—HAHHWTT LWT WAAA—may be an anagram for the name Hathaway. Additionally, the code may be interpreted to read, “Haughty, lewd way” (a nameplay on “Hathaway”), “Hath-‘Dull-wit’-way,” “Haughty lady weigh,” “Haughty lute weigh aye,” and “Howard’ll wed. Why?”
The upward reverse codeline—AA A WT WLT TW HHAH—suggests such readings as these: “I, aye a wit, will [Will] T.T. [i.e., printing agent Thomas Thorpe] weigh,” “Adult weigh (way),” “Aye I aught willed t’ weigh (Willed away),” “I, aye a wit, whiled away,” “Ode willed t’ weigh,” “Ode will T.T. weigh,” and “‘Aye, aye’ (I eye aye…) a widow lady—why?”
down/up hairpin code—HAHHWT T LWT WAAAAA AWT WLT TWHHAH—suggests
other potentialities: e.g., “Haughty, lewd, we ought wilt away”
and “Hot, low twat will T. T. weigh [i.e., analyze, consider, evaluate].”
The up/down hairpin—AA A WT WL T TW HHAHAA A
WT WLT TW HHAH—suggests, e.g., “A witty Will taught a
lewd way” and “Eye odd Will, too haughty, lewd. Why?”
“I ode will [intend, bring into being intentionally]...” is