Set I, Runes 1-14: Texts and Comments
Seventh lines, Set I (Sonnets 1-14)
Making a famine where abundance lies
To say within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Oer who is he so fond, Will be the tomb?
4 Profítless usurer, why do oft thou use
Sap, checkd with frost and lusty leaves quite gone,
Thats for thyself to breed another thee?
Yet mortal looks adore his beauty still.
8 They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
When every private widow well may keep,
Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate.
If all were minded so, the times should cease,
12 And summers green. All girded up in sheaves,
You selve again, after your selfs decease
Or fay with princes, if it shall go well.
Glosses: 2) say = express; 3) who = whom; fond = doting, foolish; Will = the poet; 4) do oft (also dost); 7) his points back to who...? in 3, but gone in 5 puns on John, suggesting Wills son-in-law, Dr. John Hall; 8) They = The eyes of mortals (see 7), punning on Th eye; 9) well (adj., sb.) = fit, a pudendum, an inkwell; 10) a quiet allusion to Xanthippe, who once emptied a pisspot on Socrates head; 14) fay = fit snugly; thus, Or fay with = or else fit snugly with; alternately, Oer, say, with princes, if....
7. Of Leaves and Wells
Creating little to consume in these buried texts, whereas an abundance lies
within the depths of your eyes for a writer to express,
who is this man whom Will is foolish enough over to become his tombor tome?
4 Why, bankrupt lender, do you so often misuse
the vital fluidstopped cold as you are, with no heir, and even bereft of the lusty leaves that a better poet might generate
thats for you to use to breed another likeness?
(Nonetheless, mortals still look adoringly on that inactive beauty.)
8 Admirers only gently criticize you, who resist and thwart
the hoard of reclusive widows and scribblers keeping their wells fit
to try to raze that handsome headand seat.
If everybody chose to act as you do (or as they do), the times would endor should
12 and all our green summers. Sheaved in Wills harvest of bound-up leaves,if not by virtue of your own productivity,
you appear again here as yourself, after your demise,
and may even find yourself niched in a snug little circle of princes, if my plan works.
to its set, this text encourages “increase” and,
in particular, stresses the poet’s role in maintaining his friend’s
post-mortem memory. If the poet is the friend’s “tomb”
(3), the friend himself, envisioned after the “self’s decease”
(13), seems corpselike, a “beauty still” who is now not “mortal”
but is observed by mortals (7), a man with “deep sunken eyes”
(2), one “check’d with frost” (5). “Beauteous
roof” (10) may mean the friend’s face or mind but also suggests
a gisant—a decorated tomb cover embossed with the friend’s
recumbent effigy. “If all were men dead so…,” the poet
puns. Since the poem’s “you” becomes “he”
(7) in one instance, maybe the “corpse” is a separate character
in the scenario.
1) Make inches, “I” m’ Annie, W., Harry, a
bound Anne silly is; fey [doomed] mine; Anne sly is; Mate Anne gave “Amen!”
downward acrostic code—M TOP STYT WS I A YO—suggests
such decodings as “My top (Mt. top…) staid [unchanging], W.S.
aye eye you,” “My top stayed wise, I owe [admit],” “Empty
‘up’ [the ‘up’ acrostic] sty t’ sigh, O,”
“Empty ‘up’ staid was, I owe,” “Mighty ‘ups’
tidy, W.S., aye eye you,” “Hymn tups Tommy T., wise, I ‘I’
you,” and “My ‘To pee’ state [punning on ‘To
be…’] we sigh, O.”