Set IX, Runes 113-126: Texts and Comments
Fifth lines, Set IX (Sonnets 113-126)
(Fifth lines, Set IX: Sonnets 113-126)
For it no form delivers to the heart
To make of monsters and things indigest
But reckoning time, whos millioned accidents;
4 O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That I have frequent been with unknown minds.
Evn so, being full of your near-cloying sweetness,
What wretched errors hath my heart committed!
8 For if you were by my unkindness shaken
Fore, why should others? False, adulterate eyes,
Oer at the least, so long as brain and heart,
Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire.
12 No, it was builded far from accident.
Have I not seen dwellers on form and favor
(If Nature sovereign) mysteries over-wrack?
Glosses: 1) For it puns, Fart, If art...,; heart puns on art; 3) But = Merely; reckoning = marking, plodding through serially; 6) ...sweetness echoes things indigest in 2; 8) unkindness echoes monsters (2), things of another kind; 9) others puns on oathers, i.e., coterie members; 10) brain and heart echo minds (5), heart (1, 7); 11) dates echoes time in 3; admire = marvel, astonish; 12) No, it echoes it in 1 and O no, it in 4; builded reinforces make in 2 and dwellers in 13; it in 12, implying the entire Quarto structure, also points back to my unkindness in 8; 13) form (echoing 1) and favor suggest external appearance (shape) and positive recognition; 14) over-wrack = overthrow, torture excessively, wreck (see shaken in 8, contrast builded in 12); compare wreak (give vent to).
Now, it brings nothing stable or substantial
to the heart
This strong, appealing poem offers Will’s ironic aesthetic and discusses his medial position between the absent muse, whom he has “shaken with unkindness” (8), and the “unknown minds” (5) of “others” (9), future coterie players (or “oathers,” sworn into the brotherhood, so to speak) like us who by “dwell[ing] on form and favor” (13)—structure and substance—will “overthrow the mysteries.”
order and disorder, head and heart, the text implies that the torturous
conceits of Will’s lines are both “monstrous” and “unkind”
and consciously crafted to be so (12): Any reader is put over
the wrack as victim of Will’s “sovereign mysteries”—the
grotesque “Mistress” endemic in the Q texts. The poet’s
disavowal of “monstrous” activities is ironic, his mea
culpa and “repentance” are playfully hypocritical, and
his proud view of himself as an “ever-fixed mark” (4) is an
oblique admission of his shiftiness. In professing formlessness, Will
is in the process of showing the opposite true.
Fart know, our metal, averse to the art; Fart nose-harm delivers…;
toothy art; Forehead in O, somedeal averse…
downward codeline—FT BOTE WF FOON HI—can be
decoded in ways illustrated by these samples: “Fit [i.e., stanza]
bawdy whiff, fon [i.e., crazy] aye,” “Fit body whiff, foe
nigh,” “Fit Body whiff On High [sacrilege],” “If
it be ode, whiff fon high,” “Fit, bawdy wife, fon aye,”
and “Of ‘To be,’ oat, whiff fon aye.” Fon
seems likely to be allied to “fun” (v. to cheat, hoax
1685); and cf. “fon” (a fool 1595; v. to be foolish 1570;
adj. silly 1538).