Set V, Runes 57-70: Texts and Comments
Fifth lines, Set V (Sonnets 57-70)
(Fifth lines, Set V: Sonnets 57-70)
Nor dare I chide the world. Without end hour,
Oh, let me suffer, being at your beck,
Oh, that recórd could, with a backward look
4 Nativity once in the main of light!
Is it thy spirit that thou sendst from thee?
Methinks no face so gracious is, as mine
Hath traveled on to ages steepy night
8 When I have seen the hungry ocean gain.
Oh, how shall summers honey breath hold out?
And, gilded honor shamefully misplaced,
Why should false painting imitate his cheek
12 Before the golden tresses of the dead?
Their outward thus with outward praise is crownd;
So thou be good, slander doth but approve.
Glosses: 1) Nor dare puns, In order, ...ardor, ...ordure; 2) beck (ambig.) = summons, rocky stream; 3) that = I who...; could is an eyepun on cold; 4) main = sea (pun: mane, m Annie); 4-5) Qs maine of light /Is it...puns, m Annie o slight eyesight; 5) suggesting expiration, breathing out, with a namepun on ...speare; that thou puns on Hath-o-V,i.e., Hathaway; 6-7) mine / Hath traveled puns, m Annie Hath-traveled [and is thus away]; 7) steepy suggests both precipitous and moist; 8) When I have seen the hungriest Anne gain... is a joke (one of hundreds) about Anns obesity; 9) summers (Q 9): Summer S. is an epithet for Will as an adder or numbers man, i.e., metricist or poet;10) gilded honor puns on a code of secrecy inside a guild or coterie; 11) his cheek echoes the image of summer breezes in 9; 12) tressesgolden and buriedis a conceit for the Runes, adumbrating braids and thus knots (and see the puns mane in 4, crownd in 13); 13) outward suggests both exterior and an outbound ship (echoing other nautical imagery) and alludes to the (overt) Sonnets; is crownd / so thou puns, e.g., I see Rune D..., I see (icy) rowing, DeSoto... (with lander and a prow in 14). Other family namepuns include Sue (so, in 6, 14) and S. Hall (9, 11); ...hold out / And...(9-10) puns, e.g., ...Hall, doubting; and Why should false painting (11) puns, Wise Hall defaults, panting....
61. Windy Puffery
I dont dare blame the world. Endlessly,
Oh, let me suffer here at the rocky stream of your bidding,
OhI who could look backward and recollect
4 a glorious birth once, bathed in the sea of light!
Is it your spirit that you radiate? (Do you send me away? Are you dying?)
I think there is no face so gracious as yours, since mine
has traveled on into the damp, precipitous darkness of advancing age
8 where I now observe huge losses to that hungry ocean.
Oh, how can I be confident that summers sweet breath will last?
And, in a shameful instance of pointless decoration,
why should one represent summers puffed cheeks
12 trying to stir the golden braids of the dead,
thus honoring lifeless appearances with purely superficial attention?
Trying to show your consummate goodness, one may assent to such things and thus speak slanderously by not telling the whole truth. One tries but fails to show your vitality. You are such a paragon that even your harshest critics cannot find fault.
“Oh’s” puff up this mock lament to help produce
“false panting” (pun, 11) expressing Will’s “suffering”
(2). (The inaugural pun “In order [ordure] I chide the world”
jokes, “I’m moving through this cycle” and “I’m
up to here in bullshit.”) “Summer’s [metricist’s]
honey breath” (9) describes these sweet, airy compliments, and “chide”
(1), “outward praise” (13), and “slander” (14)
are other variants of windy talk. The question in 5 alludes to oral expiration,
a soul leaving the body through the mouth, or breaking wind from “cheeks.”
Whether or not “cheek” (11) meant effrontery in l609, “his
cheek” suggests chatter.
In ordure I shit; Rune, dearest, hide the world; Know ready, rich idea
most visibly emphatic (i.e., the downward) acrostic codeline—NOON
I MH WO A WB TS—encodes such potentialities as these: “None
eye m’ woe, a web ‘tis,” “…a vapid ass,”
“Noon, eye m’ hue, O [a pictographic sun] beats,” “Know
nigh, Mab ’tis,” “Anon, eye m’ woe: Obits.,”
“Noon, 1 May, woe, I wept. S. (…woe awaits),” and “Noon,
1 May 08 ’tis [B=8].” The last possibility exemplifies a “dateline,”
intriguing but typically inconclusive.