Shakespeares Lost Sonnets: A Restoration
of the Runes
Set X, Runes 127-140: Texts and Comments
(First lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)
In the old age, black was not counted fair.
How oft when thou, my music, music playest
Th expense of spirit in a waste of shame
4 My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun.
Thou art as tyrannous, so, as thou art,
Thine eyes I love, and theyas pitying me
Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan.
8 So now I have confessed that he is thine:
Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will ,
If thy soul check thee that I come so near.
Thou blind fool, love, what dost thou to mine eyes
12 When my love swears that she is made of truth?
O, call not me to justify the wrong;
Be wise as thou art cruel: Do not press.
Glosses: 1) counted (a pudendal pun) suggests metered; 3) spirit (Q Spirit) is a namepun on ....speare; waste puns on waist; shame puns visually on fame; 4) mistress eyes puns on mystery-sighs and on printed mss. Is; nothing puns on the pudendum; sun puns on son; 5) so suggests Sue (i.e., Susanna, Wills daughter); 7) Beshrew = Curse; heart puns on art (see 5, twice in both lines); 8) So (again) puns on Sue; he = my heart (see 7, 5); the line may joke that Dr. John Hall is Sues; 9) Whoever hath her wish puns, Whore Hath-her-wi[fe], with a nameplay on Will; hast puns on haste; 10) If = Even if; check = may rebuke (suggesting, Checkmate!); 11) mine eyes puns on m Annie S.; 12) made puns on maid; 13) justify is a printing term; 14) wise is an eyepun on wife; do not press suggests, Dont print [this]!
127. A Waste of Shame
In times gone by, dark features were not
thought attractive, black ink was not always beautifully metered, illuminated
books were valued more highly than those in black ink, and halftones got
omitted in the mathematics of musical scales.
Addressing his non-specific friend/musehis music
(2), sun (4), tormentor (7), and gaming opponent (10)Will
speaks anew of his mistress, the perverse poems (see the introduction
to Set X). The first line, which floats (like Rune 1), hints
about mutability, black ink, a swarthy mistress, and counted
metrics; it also suggests that old mss. used illumination while Wills
modern textscripted and printedwill be black and white. The
first line, with a pudendal pun counted fair that makes us
think black [hair], combines a bawdy joke about a swarthy,
dark-eyed, or brunette woman with a pun on smooth metrics: Black
ink was metrically irregular a long time ago. The last
line returns us to the first, obliquely, in a pun about a woman doing
her hair: Be, wife, as thou art, crewel [i.e., curly, with art
crewel suggesting a thing decoratively twisted in a circular shape,
a round or rune]; do not press [i.e., add waves to your hair, or flatten
the curls, or add wrinkles to the ms.].
John, the old, I jab, Jack, weigh snot, cunted, sour; was not
cunted, S., Harry; Joined Hall ditch black; John T. Hall dodge [i.e.,
trick] be, Jack was no deacon t Ed; In the hole, ditch black, queue
eye; count head of hair
usual in first-line runes in the sets, the visible downward (i.e.,
the down/down) acrostic codeline is a double-columned “ladder”:
IHTM TT B SWIT WO B NOHYHHEOHF HHCE[.] Overall, the double-columned
arrangement in these first-line runes (where the lines in Q show enlarged
capitals plus secondary capitals that are emphat) permits more permutations
that a single-line acrostic code does.
“hairpin” variants of the codeline (i.e., the two
down/up codelines beginning, respectively, at the two different top hooks
of the ladder, and the two up/down codelines beginning at the
two different bottom feet of the ladder) allow alternates in
which reader/players may attempt to find wit and meaning.