Set V, Runes 57-70: Texts and Comments
Ninth lines, Set V (Sonnets 57-70)
(Ninth lines, Set V: Sonnets 57-70)
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought:
Be where you list, your charter is so strong
That I might see what the old world could say.
4 Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth.
O, know thy love, though much, is not so great
But when my glass shows me myself indeed.
For such a time do I now fortify
8 When I have seen such interchange of state.
O, fearful meditation! Where a lack
And art made tongue tied by authority,
Why should he live? Now nature bankrupt is,
12 In him those holy antique hours are seen.
They look into the beauty of thy mind;
Thou hast passed by the ambush of young days.
Glosses: 2) list = choose; your charter = our pact, your claim on me; 3) see = confront and accept; old world suggests The Globe; 4) transfix = cut through; flourish = rhet. or pen embellishment; 10) made tongue tied... = have made a tongue to be mute (as in the Runes); 11) he = that tongue (i.e., the poet); bankrupt (Q banckrout) = stript bare; 12) him = the poet (pun: hymn); holy antique hours puns, wholly antic whores; 14) Thou = The poet, addressing his own image.
65. Such Interchange of State
I should never be jealous nor insecure:
Wherever you choose to be, our bond is so strong
that I could stand to hear anything this old world might say.
4 Time (and also the meter here) cuts through the undue emphasis placed on youth.
Oh, be assured that our love, though strong, is strongest
when I face my aging self squarely in the mirror.
Right now I fortify myself against such a time
8 when I witness the reversed condition that time brings with age (and also when I contemplate the perversely interlocked condition of these texts).
Oh, what a terrible thought! Where loss
and cosmetics (or artful shrewdness, in the case of these texts) combine to authorize speechlessness,
why should ones voice go on? Now that nature lacks resources, is stript bare,
12 one sees in that voice times like those of oldan age worth revering.
Such times look into the beauty of your mind;
you, poet, have evaded the ambush of youth.
and age give this poem about mutability its thematic foils. “Old
world” (3), which seems pejorative, is transmuted in “holy
antique [wholly antic] hours” (12). Generally, aging is an “interchange
of state” (8) that brings “a lack” no artful makeup
can cover (6-10), proving “nature banckrout” (11). But the
closing turn disparages youth as something to be “cut through”
(4), an “ambush” to be escaped (14). “My glass”
(6)—a mirror, a timepiece—“measures” age.
In order (ordure); Know art, a rack, you Shakespeare own; nude image,
downward codeline—NB TT O B FWOAWITT [with B=8, F=S]—suggests,
e.g., “N.B., Thomas Thorpe, a white Swede,” “Knight
Tight-ass (Titus), Woe eye witty,” “N.B. t’ tup Swede,”
“Innate to wight is woe, oddity,” “Knight awaits wight,”
“N.B., Tidy ‘O” be fwawed [tongue-tied: ‘fraud,’
‘flawed’],” and “Anne Betty awaits woe, aye weighty.”