Set I, Runes 1-14: Texts and Comments
Second lines, Set I (Sonnets 1-14)
That thereby beautys rose might never die
And dig deep trenches in thy beautys field,
Now is the time that face should form another
4 Upon thyself, thy beautys legacy
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell.
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distilled,
Lifts up his burning head: Each under eye,
8 Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
That thou consumst thyself in single life
Who for thyself art so unprovident,
In one of thine from that which thou departst
12 And see, the brave day sunk in hideous night,
No longer yours, then you yourself here live,
And yet: Methinks I have astronomy.
Glosses: 1) rose puns on rows [of text here]; 2) thy beautys field = your face, your domain; 4) Upon thyself = Patterned after you; 9) That = Because, Given that (ME); also, That thou consumstthyselfin...; 11) one of thine = the poet, this (still-extant) poem; 11-12) that which.../...see = the visible world; 14) astronomy = cosmic control (implied by the context); pun: Anne died, methinks. Eye half-assed rune. Oh, my!
2. Beautys Victory
In order that beautys fairest rose (and these my entrenched rows) may never die
etching your handsome face, leaving gashes in the field of beauty you command
its time now for your salient front to form another
4 modeled after you, perpetuating your beauty
as a lovely sight that catches every eye.
Your summer of beauty, its essence undiminished,
raises its radiant head: Eying each other,
8 fair ones dont attack the fair, and happiness enjoys happiness.
Given that you consume yourself in your unmarried years
you who are so little attentive to your own future
in the voice and through the action of one of your own men in this field you must leave
12 but can now still see, when the heroic day has sunk to terrible night
and is lost to you, even then you yourself will still live on in these rows of text
perpetually, as long as any reader reads this poem: It occurs to me that I control fates the way the stars are said to. I can make the eye of heaven stop at its zenith.
apostrophe the poet addresses the “unprovident” (10)
friend who consumes himself “in single life” (9), reminds
him of his mortality (11-13), and exhorts him to reproduce his own beauty
through procreation—to form another face based on his own (3-4)
so people can go on gazing in admiration. The friend will go on living
“here” (13)—in the person of the offspring but also
in this verse text; the “one of thine” (11) who will keep
beauty alive may be the poet or any of his texts, as well as a “real”
heir. Thus the poet can “make the sun stand still” (14), blocking
the onset of night. (The last lines in Rune 1 partake of the late sonnets
in Set I, where the theme moves progressively from the exhortation to
“marry and increase” to that of “immortality through
verse.”) Implicit is an allusion to the power of another
word-magician who made the sun and moon stand still (Joshua 10: 12-13).
A red-herring play on “Timothy” (14)—the “wrong
beauty’s Rose, my Judy new-heard
The downward acrostic code—T AN VTIL ST WI AN A—suggests, e.g., “Tan, vital Shakespeare-wine eye,” “T’ Anne victuals; t’ wine, I,” “T’ Anne, victuals twenty,” “T’ Anne, victuals twin aye,” “Tee! Anne, victuals’ twin, eye,” “Tan, vital is twin [cf. Judith, or the ‘dark’ runic companion here],” “T’ Anne wittols [contented cuckolds] wind [whine] aye,” “Tee! Anne-vitals [vital parts] twin eye [twenty],” “T’ Anne vital (utile) is twin aye,” “T’ a nut ill, Shakespeare, Wi., a neigh,” “Tan, vital ass t’ Iona,” “T’ [the] end you’d heal, St. W., Iona,” and “Ta’en victuals to Ioana.”
The upward acrostic code—A NAIWT S L IT V NAT—suggests, e.g., “A naughty ass’ll eat you, knight,” “Eye knight-slit, V naughty,” “Eye Nate-slit, veined,” “Aye Nate slit, vein ate,” “‘Aye night’s lit,’ you neighed,” “A knight-slit you nighed,” “A knight slit you, an 8,” and “Anne eye (Annie), hued, slit, veined.”
down/up and up/down “hairpin” codes offer further
possibilities for authorially manipulated wit.