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Shakespeare’s Lost Sonnets: A Restoration of the Runes
by Roy Neil Graves, Professor of English
The University of Tennessee at Martin

Set VIII, Runes 99-112: Texts and Comments
Copyright © Roy Neil Graves 2003, All Rights Reserved        

             
Proceed to Rune 103
Return to the Index of Set VIII

Rune 102A,
Fourth lines in Set VIII (Sonnets 99-112)
Rune 102B, Fifth line in Sonnet 99
and Fourth lines in Sonnets 100-112
 
                         Rune 102A

      (Fourth lines, Set VIII: Sonnets 99-112)

     Which on thy soft cheek for complexion dwells,
     Dark’ning thy power to lend base subjects light,
     So dost thou too; and, therein dignified,
 4  The owner’s tongue doth publish everywhere.
     Then, when it hath, my added praise beside
     Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride—
     To one, of one, still such, and ever so,
 8  In praise—of ladies dead, and lovely knights
     Supposed, as forfeit, to a confined doom
     That may express my love, or thy dear merit,
     As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie.
12 
Made old offenses of affections new,
     Then public means, which public manners breeds—
     So you o’er-green my bad, my good allow.
__________
     Glosses: 1) Which = Whatever; soft cheek suggesting a buttock, may pun on “gentle effrontery”; 2) lend...light puns, “clarify low topics, lighten them with wit”; 3) too = anyway, still; therein puns “the rune”; 4) owner’s, punning on onerous = recipient’s (ambig; see lend in 2); 6) Have...forests puns, “Half from thesaurus[es],” “...Thesaurus S.”; three...pride puns, “t’ hear a summer’s [i.e., adder’s = numbers man’s = metricist’s] period [= sentence]”; 9) forfeit... is a metrical pun—e.g., “S. [ass], four-feet[ed]”; 12) Made = Constructed, Fashioned as; 13) Then = Then made...; 14) So = Thus; o’er-green = overshadow, vitalize (with a full pun on “R. [i.e., Robert] Greene,” an infamous detractor of Shakespeare’s whose actions are underscored by the phrase old offences in 12); line 14 puns: “Sir/Sour Greene may be odd, my good Hall owe [i.e., ...admit, acknowledge],” “Sewer R. Greene may be a damn wicked [code: y (as Y) good] hollow [i.e., a sinkhole, cesspool].” (See note below, Rune 106.6.)

                              Rune 102B

(Fifth line, Sonnet 99, + Fourth lines, Sonnets 100-112)

     In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly died,
     Dark’ning thy power to lend base subjects light,
     So dost thou too; and, therein dignified,
 4  The owner’s tongue doth publish everywhere.
     Then, when it hath, my added praise beside
     Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride—
     To one, of one, still such, and ever so,
 8  In praise—of ladies dead, and lovely knights
     Supposed, as forfeit, to a confined doom
     That may express my love, or thy dear merit,
     As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie.
12 
Made old offenses of affections new,
     Then public means, which public manners breeds—
     So you o’er-green my bad, my good allow.
__________
     Glosses: 1) grossly died puns on “...dyed,” anticipating Dark’ning (2), the pun “...man-arse be red ass”(13), and o’er-green (14); In my love's veins thou has too grossly died puns, e.g., “Enemy, low swines, thou hast took Wriothesley [pron. Roseley/Rizley, i.e., Southampton] deity (...dead)”; 2) lend...light puns, “clarify low topics, lighten them with wit”; 3) too = anyway, still; therein puns “the rune”; 4) owner’s, punning on onerous = recipient’s (ambig; see lend in 2); 6) Have...forests puns, “Half from thesaurus[es],” “...Thesaurus S.”; three...pride puns, “t’ hear a summer’s [i.e., adder’s = numbers man’s = metricist’s] period [= sentence]”; 9) forfeit... is a metrical pun—e.g., “S. [ass], four-feet[ed]”; 12) Made = Constructed, Fashioned as; 13) Then = Then made...; 14) So = Thus; o’er-green = overshadow, vitalize (with a full pun on “R. [i.e., Robert] Greene,” an infamous detractor of Shakespeare’s whose actions are underscored by the phrase old offences in 12); line 14 puns: “Sir/Sour Greene may be odd, my good Hall owe [i.e., ...admit, acknowledge],” “Sewer R. Greene may be a damn wicked [code: y (as Y) good] hollow [i.e., a sinkhole, cesspool].”


     102A. My Added Praise Beside: A Confined Doom (I)

     Whatever may cloud your gentle cheek,
     blocking the powerful rays you send down on base subjects,
     you shine on them anyway; and, thereby ennobled,
  4 the proud voice of the beneficiary publishes the news abroad.
     Thus, with an enlightened speech, my additional secondary praises (in these buried texts)
     have shaken down—like forest leaves—three summers’ assertions of worth
     (now and forever directed toward and concerned with only one,
  8 praising him) dealing with dead ladies, and handsome knights
     imagined as lovers, penalized, whose narrow fate
     is a conceit for my own love, and for your cherished worth,
     earnestly expressed, as if my soul, lying in your breast, were the speaker.
12 Fashioned as derivative tales about familiar problems but based on a current love
     and then couched in a public medium that imposes restraint and decorum—
     in these forms you overshadow and vitalize my failures and are the instrument of my successes.


     102B. My Added Praise Beside: A Confined Doom (II)

     Amid the flow of affection in these lines, you seem quite inconveniently to have died,
     an overshadowing occurrence to your lowly subjects and my lowly topics.
     But you manage to shine on them anyway; and, thereby ennobled,
  4 the proud voice of the beneficiary publishes the news abroad.
     Thus, with an enlightened speech, my additional secondary praises (in these buried texts)
     have shaken down—like forest leaves—three summers’ assertions of worth
     (now and forever directed toward and concerned with only one,
  8 praising him) dealing with dead ladies, and handsome knights
     imagined as lovers, penalized, whose narrow fate
     is a conceit for my own love, and for your cherished worth,
     earnestly expressed, as if my soul, lying in your breast, were the speaker.
12 Fashioned as derivative tales about familiar problems but based on a current love
     and then couched in a public medium that imposes restraint and decorum—
     in these forms you overshadow and vitalize my failures and are the instrument of my successes.


Comments: 102A

         Renewing “old offenses” (12), this rune is about illicit passion between poet and muse—gay necrophilia?—that must be hidden (13) in conceits of knights and dead ladies (8-12). The poet is the knight, the friend a dead lady in whose breast (11) Will “lies.” Like a death, the friend’s absence keeps Will enthralled in a “confined doom”—a conceit for the Q project (9-10). The play on Robert Greene here in 14 finds groundwork in Rune 101A 14: “For what care I who calls me well or ill?” Both end-lines occur in the problematic Sonnet 112 (see Booth’s edition of the Sonnets, p. 369).

         The initial figure (1-5) seems at first to say the sun-like friend sends down light to his “subjects” despite “clouds” covering his face; but unriddling the text shows in 1-3 a “dead lady” with a “soft cheek” who inspires and enlivens, even in that condition; she is “dignified” (ennobled—but echoing “deified”), and the poet “lies in her breast” (11), with a pun on “making up tales.” Will’s poems are “old offenses” (12) because their matter is traditional and clichéd and because they are “old lines” aimed at gaining ground with a lover. The first (implied) metaphor, the sun, helps explain “forest leaves” (6) and “o’ergreening my bad” (14). The logic is that the sun-figure engenders pages that “allow [recognize, assert] the good.” “O’er-green” (14) means both “overshadow” and “vitalize by ‘greening over’” dead wood—with the overlaid joke “outdo by showing jealousy.” “You outdo Greene in criticizing me,” Will quips. Puns on “wood” (crazy) and “sawdust” expand Will’s woodsy motif.

          The text typically has overt details about writing. More subtly, “means” and “manners” (13) mean technique and decorum; “my added praise beside” (5) alludes to Runes; “summer’s period” (5) decodes as “metricist’s sentence”; and “shook” is a Willed nameplay. Despite OED, “soft cheek” (1) as “gentle effrontery” and the pun on “thesaurus(es)” (6) seem functional. “My bad, my good” means Runes/Sonnets—the Runes entombed and “o’er-greened,” the Sonnets “aloud.”

          One “stunning” pun is “The owner stun [i.e., astound]: ‘Judith [Q gue doth] publish everywhere” (4).

          “Knights” may pun on “Nate ƒ[ield].,” a boy actor who would’ve done female roles; if so, 8-9 suggests Juliet, line 1 jokes about make-up. The pun “sawdust” (3) also smells like The Globe.

          Rhymes include so / allow; died / dignified / beside / pride, and light / Knight(s).

Comments: 102B

          The first line seems beratingly sarcastic if it addresses the inspiring friend and means “You’ve gone and died on me!” So one reads my love’s veins (1) as “the lines (of thought) in this love poem.” Line 1 here houses functional organic puns (“vines,” “grows”) that anticipate a naturalistic conceit that is amplified by such elements as forests (6), o’er-green (14), and “dust” and “dig” (puns, 3). “Dyed” (pun, 1)

         
 The pun “too grossly dyed” (1) anticipates o’er-green at the end of the poem (14) with fitting nicely with the contiguous diction about “darkening” and “light” (2). Such instances of apparent craftiness help to offer convincing proof that the B variants in Set VIII are as carefully calculated as their A siblings.

          As one moves
into the poem, my comments above about 102A begin to apply to 102B with equal (or unequal) relevance.


Sample Puns

102A

          1) Witch, Auntie S., oft checks whores’ amply actioned wells (…checks sores, source); teach a kisser come-pile action dual; eye jaunty ass, hostess hacks whore’s homme, play-action
          1-2) I seed slight sow; satyr kin eye in jet; Will S. (Will’s) darkening thy portal and debases you by sea; porthole


102B

          1) In my loss of Anne S., thou hast took her off elated; John, my love, is vain; John, mellow, Sue-anus tossed T.T., ogre silly died; gruff Ely died; G-row elided; two grow elated; error, fellati(o); Enemy, low swine, is Thos. T—too, Ogre of Ely
          1-3) Thos. T (too, ogre silly) died; darkening, Thorpe-whore, tolling, debases you beasts, legates odious

102A and 102B

          2) our kenning: Thorpe-whore tolling
          2-3)
’tis light sawdust thou, too, eye; subject is light, Sue
          3) Sod owe, Shakespeare, thou, too, Anne—death a rune dignified
          3-4) twin dead here I end, aging I fight you; eye city hue in arse, too
          4) T’ Henry S., tongued oath publish everywhere; …doth publish your Y [a pictographic groin] weary (W., Harry); nurse tongue doth pee, you blush; onerous; stone Jew
          4-5) if Eve roared, He knew; bullish, you’re wiry, thin, W.H.
          5) T’ Hen., W., Hen., I thought him yet dead, peer; praise beef-hide; a theme ye add, a dipper; Ed Paris beef eyed
          5-6) W.H., knight, hate hymn yet did praise pieced half, formed half o’er (whore); eye devious Rome, the sorriest tease
          6) Half from thesaurus(es); sorry Shakespeare is f--ked, Harry S. (hairy ass), immerse pee, ride (red, read); f--ked Harry some arse, period
          6-7) you Meres’ pirate tunes wan fiddle
          7) Twins, one still, such and ever so [cf. Hamnet, the Runes]; I’ll f--k Anne, diverse “O”
          7-8) you Raven praise of late; f--k endeavor fon [i.e., silly] praise; Twins, one still f--king—diverse “O,” John, praise
          8) In Paris lay Dis, dead-end; In th’ [p = th] rows (ruse), Eve, Lady, is dead; Anne, dull of licking “I,” jets; laddie’s dead-end; nights
          8-9) dandy, low, lick knight’s ass
          9) you puffed Deus’s whore; I toast on sand-dome
          9-10) meated make’s [i.e., mate is...] Paris, my love; Sue puffed ass, sore is it, too, a cunt scent emitted may express my love earthy
        10-11) hid ear my rites from my soul
        11) Asses Rome may foul; Asses roam, may foul W.H.; W.H. I see end Hebrew fit; Ass form, my foul witch, John, thy bare Shakespeare doth lie
        11-12) the limy idol offends asses
        12) Maid old; My odd, old “O” scene seize, ass, see signs anew; oaf-affections in ewe; My deal [i.e., cheap wood] dolphin see; Middle (My dull) Dauphin see; sin see, sophist’s Zion sinew
        12-13) sate Ion, sinew thin; eye on ass nude in public
        13) Thin, public, m’ Annie S., Witch; lick man-arse bared
        13-14) pube lick, man arse breeds Sue, you whore; my nurse bared ass’s “O”, you’re agreeing, maybe—a damn (dim) Y [i.e., crotch] good, aye, low; my nurse breeds Sue
        14) Ass, owe you R. Greene my bad, my good Hall owe; Sue, your gray name, ibidem, why God allow? Sue, you owe R. Greene my bad; Sore (Soar, Sewer), Greene [pointing to Robert Greene’s “upstart crow” attack]; Soar…aye low; Sue, you owe rigor in my bed, my good awl owe [acknowledge]; so you’re green, maybe Adam?


Acrostic Wit

102A

          The downward acrostic codeline—WD ST TH T I ST A MTS—may encode such messages as these: “Wood, St. Titus tempts,” “Wed Shakespeare, Th. T. aye, Shakespeare aye mounts,” “Wood [Crazy] Shakespeare—thought esteemed ass,” “Woods [&] Thetis tamed ass [S.],” “Wouldst Th. T. aye stay m’ tease,” “Wood saint, that I stamped, [signed] S.,” “Would ass, titties, tempt S.?” and “Wouldst T.T. aye stay amounts [cf. the printing deal]?” TAMT S suggests a squeezed-down form of the title The Taming of the Shrew; TISTAM suggests “Tristram,” Mallory’s Morte d’Arthur.

          The upward (reverse) codeline—STMAT SITHT TS DW—admits these sample readings: “Stemmed Southy ’tis, dew,” “St. Matthew’s saith, ‘T.T. is due’,” “…T.T. is deux [i.e., double letters],” “Statement sayeth, ’Tis due,” “St. Matthew seeth titties deux,” and “Stem aye teaseth Hat., teased you [10].” Here TT and T TH (and even TAM[I]S, because T and I are similar in their arrangements of minims) suggests Thomas Thorpe, Will’s known printing agent, a man whom (I deduce) must have collaborated closely in the Q project in order to effect its jot-and-tittle wit at the printing stage.

          The down/up hairpin suggests, e.g., “Wood saint thy Testament is: St. Matthew 5 is Titus 2 [=deux].”

102B

          The downward acrostic codeline—ID S TTH TIS TAM T S—may mean, e.g., “‘I’d’, St. Titus tempts,” “It’s T.Th.,’tis Tom T., ass,” “Eyed is T. Thorpe…,” “‘I’d’ [i.e., phallically equipped] ass T. Th, ’tis tamed ass,” “Idea’s Thetis tamed ass,” and/or “Ides Thetis tamed, ass.”

          The upward codelineST MAT SITH TT S DI—suggests, e.g., “St. Matthew saith, ‘T.T., ass, die,” “St. Matthew saith, ‘ ’Tis Dei’,” “…saith, T.T. sad eye,” “…saith, ‘Titus die!’” and “Saint [Shakespeare] mates eye: Thetis, Di[ana?].”

          The up/down hairpin suggests, e.g., “St. Matthew saith, ‘T.T. has died—ass T.Th. ’tis, Tom T., ass’” and/or “St. Matthew saith, ‘Titus died, St. Titus t’ empty Cross is’.”

             
Proceed to Rune 103
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