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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 X, Runes 127-140: Texts and Comments 
Copyright © Roy Neil Graves 2004, All Rights Reserved        

Proceed to Rune 134
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Rune 133
Seventh lines, Set X (Sonnets 127-140)

                      Rune 133
     (Seventh lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)

Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
     Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest, reap
     Past reason, hated as a swallowed bait,
 4  And in some perfumes is there more delight.
     To say they err, I dare not be so bold,
     Nor that full star that ushers in the even;
     Of him, myself, and thee I am forsaken.
 8  He learned but surety-like to write for me:
     Shall Will in others seem right gracious?
     In things of great receipt with ease we prove.
     Why of eyes’ falsehood hast thou forgèd hooks?
12 Simply, I credit her false-speaking tongue.
     What? Need’st thou wound with cunning when thy might
     (As testy sick men, when their death’s) be near?
     Glosses: 2) should that harvest = should “harvest” that (i.e., what is mentioned in 1); 3) Past reason suggests “Passed-down lore” and something “beyond reason,” punning on “paste” (any soft and plastic composition or mixture [OED 1604]), a reference to the “pliable” mix of Sonnets/Runes in Q, suggesting “fluid ideas”; 5) they = my...lips (see 2); they err, I puns on “theory”; so bold puns on “sibyl” (i.e., prophetess); 6) is Hesperus; 7) thee I am puns on “theme”; 8) surety-like = as a guarantor or proxy; 9) Shall puns on S[ue] Hall, Will’s daughter; in others = as represented by any other, punning on “oathers,” sworn coterie members; right echoes write (in 8); 10) great receipt = importance; 12) her = eyes’ falsehood (see 11); her false-speaking in Q is an eyepun on “heresy, laughs peaking”; tongue puns on “town Jew”; 13) when thy might puns on “windy midget, jet” (etc.); 14) when their death’s = “when their death is [i.e., comes],” punning, “winter deaths.”

     133. Forgèd Hooks and Swallowed Bait

     Sweet beauty will lack a name and shrine
     as long as my ineffective voice, which should be reaping the havest that comes from singling out and honoring beauty, instead gathers into this storehouse
     outdated and arcane lore that exceeds the bounds of logic, amorphous ideas generally despised in just the way that any fish hates swallowed bait—
  4 and as long as some perfumes (to say the least) exude more delight than my breath does.
     I won’t go so far as to say that my lips utter error
     any more than I would say that Hesperus errs in ushering in the night.
     Now I feel isolated from that evening star, from myself, and from you.
  8 That star, initiator of the melancholy dark, has learned to set down my thoughts, but only as a dependable proxy.
     Will Will, presented secondhand, seem “right gracious”?
     We show our capability easily in matters of great import.
     Why have you snared me with hooks forged from something as trivial and unreliable as a glance?
12 In a nutshell, all our eyes are always playing deceptive games, and that is the problem.
     What? Do you need to wound me with cleverness when your physical strength—
     like that of boldly rash old men who show defiance as death comes—is handily available?


          Like many apparent and hidden texts in Q—Sonnets and Runes—Rune 133 is one of Will’s apologies for the inadequacies of the concurrent cycles. Here the poet’s tributes are said to move “beyond reason” and induce a gag reflex in readers who get hooked on them (see 3). The “thou” of the poem (see 13) is ambiguous but may be the beautiful friend/muse whom the poet says he fails to identify and honor (see 1). But maybe the poet is addressing himself in 13-14, chiding himself for overingenuity and for sacrificing the poetic power that a more straightforward composition could convey.

           In any case, the text identifies Will with Hesperus—a melancholy star (6-9)—and implies that somehow the muse’s wounding “falsehoods” have hurt his verses (12-13), even though he’ll not go so far as to say that he himself is lying in his tributes.

           Together, “swallowed bait” (3) and “forgèd hooks” (11) underscore a “lips” motif (see 1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 13). As a foil to speaking, Will’s “surety” (8) is writing. To “write gray shows” (pun 9) is to “create dim entertainments,” texts that the evening star (the poet’s proxy) might figuratively generate. Falsehood (11-12) and cleverness (13) apply alike to speech or verse.

           Legal terms generate one motif: e.g., “surety-like,” “will,” “receipt,” “prove,” “credit,” “usher in,” “oathers,” “testy,” “forged,” and “cunning whine.”

           The “Edenic” element “no holy bower” (1) also gestures toward the fabled Garden of the Hesperides, linked mythically with Hesperus. Q’s Eauen (6) puns on Eve, a topic cultivated in the puns “with Eve, weep, rove, / Wisest Fall see...,” “her false speaking tongue,” and “Simply I created [Q credit ] her Fall...” (10-12). The “bait” and its “harvest” here (1-2) also suggest The Fall. The complex personal pun “Pastor Avon hated a safe wold. O, wed be I yet...” (3) links with the poet’s refusal “to say they err.” “To say the year, I dare not be sibyl...” (5) is a pun (well before Bishop Ussher) about trying to “date” Eden.

           Bawdily, the “sweet beauty” that “hath no name [non-aim], no holey bower / Whilst [the persona’s] poor lips” glean its “harvest” (1ff.) may be an ejaculating penis. (Sonnets editor Stephen Booth suggests the pun “holey” in line 1.)

           The insistent namepun on Will (9) calls attention to other family-centered wordplay. “Hath-no-name” (1) and “Hated ass” (3) suggest “Hathaway.” One linepun is “Sweaty Body Hath-no-name know, holy boor” (1). Another is “ ‘Witch,’ ‘fool,’ did Hathaway [code hath-ar-ve] fit, or ‘ape’” (2). (Much of the “Anne-wit” lurking in the Q letterstrings is derogatory, suggesting that she’s fat, simple, and pious.)

           Further, “Whilst” (2) puns on Will Shakespeare, using the “long s + t” digraph as the family name cipher that I have deduced: An S “holding” a spear-shaped t by the hilt as if to “shake” it. “Shall” (9) encodes “S[ue] Hall,” i.e., Mrs. John Hall, Will’s daughter. Line 9, in fact, puns, “S. Hall, Will, John [= in], [...Anne,] others seem right gracious.” The line may also pun, “Sue Hall, Will, John [Hall], oathers, see me write gray shows [i.e., dim entertainments—the Runes],” hinting at sworn membership in the poet’s coterie.

           Other namepuns also focus on Will’s family: “That full star that ushers in the even / Of Hammy S., alive and dead, Ham S., ( our fey kin...” (6-7) is a fully developed pun linking the melancholy of evening with thoughts of the poet’s dead son, Hamnet. The letterstring “...hy might / As...” (13) also encodes “Ham’et S.,” while “...gue, / Wha t” (12-13) encodes “Judy,” suggesting the poet’s other daughter, Judith, in the context of such puns as “Judy needs T.Th. [i.e., Thomas Thorpe, Will’s printing agent]. O, you wound with cunning when Tommy jets tough tease...” (12-14).

           Still other puns quietly asserted in the Q letterstrings make wide-ranging jokes:

           “S. Hall, did Hat. harass teary papist (...or Eve)?’ resonated Isaiah” (2-3);
           “m’ ‘O’ seize, there my ‘O’ riddle eye, jet [i.e., black]” (4);
           “Andean foam appears. You miss history immured. I jet tough idea...” (4-5);
           “redolent, tough idea, reader, note, be sibyl” (4-5);
           “...few’ll Astarte tough here see in the heavens” (6-7);
           “ ‘O,’ sham, ye see Livy and theme-sources eye” (7);
           “ Helen-début fertile, eye caryatid form” (7-8);
           “Did Ham S. our f--king Hell earn?” (7-8);
           “My right (...rigid,) gracious John, thin Jesus greet (...thinks Sue’s great)” (9-10);
           “With ease we Peru-oases sail” (10-11);
           “I see our editor is Hall, see his pique (...his Peking tongue)” (12);
           “Icy our editor’s awl, see his peak” (12); and
           “Windy, hardy, Athos be near” (14).

           See below for fuller exploration of implicit meanings in the letterstring lines.

Sample Puns

           1) Sweaty body Hath-no-name know; Sue; Anne [et]; nun, Amen (…eye menial); know holy boor; be whore; you Titan owe in a man-hole; Soo-ee [a hog call], Tybalt!
           1-2) none eye manna o’ liberal Shakespeare [ft]; no “O-labor” will Shakespeare hymn; o’er, W.H., I left my pearly piss
           2) Whales to my purpose (porpoise), W.H., eye (witches hauled); real Ipswich folded; “W.H.” I chiseled t’ Hat-her-way; My pearl I piss, W.H., I see his hole; Will Shakespeare may be ore, lapis; Witch S., Hall did Hat. harvest, rape; witch folded her vest—or ape; witch lips show you: Lady Hat. arose; S. Hall thought Horace teary ape
           2-3) “Peep-eye’s” [St.] Theresa neighed; arose teary papist, her ass-O knighted as a foul O, Ed-bait; teary papist resonated a sigh
           3) Paste raven, hie t’ Ed; Past reason, hate a daisy; eye, in Dan, O fon; a safe wold low Ed bade; low we debate
           3-4) Asses wallowed; ass aye swallowed Betty Anne (baton), then some; biting dense homme, peers amaze eyes
           4) Andean foam appears; foamy pier; moored light
           4-5) peer, if you miss, eye Southy rim whore, delight to satyr (sate her); foamy, pierce homme-ass aye, Southy rim whored Eli, jet tough 8, Harry (jet of 8 hairy); ready laid, to father idea, a rune odd (ode); t’ Harry I jet, t’ satyr I dare not be so bold (sibyl); riddle I jet, too satired a rune; redolent, tough idea, reader, note
           5) To Father, I dare not be foe bold (foibled); Too, Southy read a rune, aught, be so bold; To sate Herod, a rune!
           5-6) a rune ought be sup, old (supple, subtle) dinner t’ Hat full
           6) North eyed Folly’s tirret at wife, here sent t’ heaven
           6-7) North eyed soul-stirred Hat., wife, (whiff) her scent (,) heaven’s hymn, missal’s ended, hymn’s o’er; few’ll Astarte tough here see in the heavens; know femme, Miss Lizzie Ann; …my sleazy Anne; Eve gnaws hymn’s elfan ditty
           7) Of hymn, ye see Livy and theme-sources eye
           7-8) in Helen-début fertile, eye caryatid form; my fore-f--k anneal (anal), “urned” butt is your idol; did Ham S. our f--king Hell earn?
           8) hurdle eye: ghetto
           8-9) tesser[a] may shallow ill in oat hearse if he mirrored Grey; fertile, I get rid o’ form’s hollow ill in ode here; fertile aye Cato writ, he’s o’er missal, willing ode
           9) S.Hall will, in oathers, see mirrored gray shows (…m’ rite, gray shows); know (in O) th’ hearse-fee merry I jet; Shall Willy know th’ hearse-fee?
           9-10) a sigh, housing thin Jesus; seize end, inches, “O,” suck writer-seed with ease; see my right gracious John thin Jesus greet (…then Jesus great, recite Webber)
         10) tear, see it, with Eve weep; John thinks O’s greater sight witty, easy
         10-11) In th’ inch soft, greater seed wait, heavy weigh, peruse (bruise) ass, Hall; wipe her (our) oozy ass saucy; few ape Rizzy; weep, Rizzy is false; rosy Syphilis who’d have? T.T. How? sore; with ease we prow Rizzy’s ass, awl seeds th’ “O,” use our rigid hook, ass; witty, a few P-row view; peer, OO [= eyes], use eyes of Hall, see Hood halved tough whore, get Hook; with ease we (Esau) Peru-oases sail
         10-12) weep, Rizzy syphilis-hood has, T.T. house-orgy dogs him
         11) orgy do kiss; T.T., house our ghetto
         11-12) t’ hover, ghetto keys simply eye; ghetto casa implies red-eyed heresy; fore “God-hook” is simple; kiss ample, wiser editor’s hole
         11-13) kiss him, please, our editor false is begging t’ own Judah
         12) I see our editor is Hall, see his pique; As hymn plies ready tears, Hall sees peak: John, jet on Jew; Simple, wiser editor is Hall; Sam, pee-licker, died here, salts, ass, piquing tongue; is Peking jetting, Jew?
         12-13) t’ own Judah, needs T.T. Hindu-eyed, hissing Nine
         13) “wound [up]” wit, hissing Nine, go into hymn I jet; W.H., a tense T.T. hound with cunning; their deaths be “in ear”
         13-14) ye my tasty ass tease, I seek men, W.H., enter; in June, thy Midas tough teases key men, W.H. and Harry windier; W.H. intimate aye is (ass) t’ hefty Sikh
         14) debts; Ass, testy f--k, came in, windier did hiss bean eerie; readied, “edge” Sabina ear (here); interdicts be near (…bene hear); I seek Minoan turd at His Bene heir; eye ready Athos be near; Harry did itch Spain e’er; Harry dyed each spanner here; winter did hiss, “Benare[s]”; assy Sikh, Minoan turd, adds “Benares”

Acrostic Wit

          The downward codeline—SW PATN OH SIW SW A—insistently focuses on Susannah Hall, Will’s daughter, suggesting, e.g., “Sue patent: O, Sue, Sue eye,” “Spite know, Sue’s way,” “Spate in O, ‘Sue’s’ weigh [i.e., evaluate],” “Sue-pate [i.e.,brain] know…,” “Sue-bait nose…,” “Sue, patent O’s you saw aye,” “…patents use, weigh,” and “Swept Noah (…an ‘O’) Sue’s way.” Here O’s suggest pictographic rounds or runes.

          Will’s reversed initials, WS, encode “Sue,” the daughter.         

           The upward (reverse)
codeline—A WS WISH ON TAP WS—concentrates on the poet’s initials, suggesting such decodings as these samples: “Eye W.S., Wi. Sh.—on tap, W.S.,” “A W[m?], Sue, (A wise W....) I show in topaz,” “A ‘W.S.’ wish, on tap—W.S,”and “O’s wish (O-swish) on tap. [Signed] W.S.”

          SHON (cf. “shown”) and WISH intersects the textual line about Hesperus (6); the pun “moored light” (4) suggests “darkened star.” “On tap,” “swish,” and the “Noah” conceit suggest rushes of liquid (cf. “foam” [4]).

           The down/up hairpin codeline (with S=F) encodes “Sue patent, O, Sue, Sue, I owe, Sue I show in topaz (…[o]n tap. W.S.).”

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