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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 137
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Rune 136
Tenth lines, Set X (Sonnets 127-140)

                         Rune 136

     (Tenth lines, Set X: Sonnets 127-140)

     Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem;
     And situation with those, dancing chips—
     Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme.
 4  That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
     A thousand groans! But thinking on thy face,
     O, let it then as well beseem thy heart.
     But then, my friend’s heart, let my poor heart bail,
 8  Thou usurer that put’st forth all to use
      And in abundance addeth to his store,
     Though in thy store’s account I one must be—
     Which my heart knows. The wide world’s commonplace;
12 And wherefore say not I that I am old,
     Her pretty? Looks have been mine enemies,
     And, in my madness, might speak ill of thee.
     Glosses: 1) Her points to my poor heart/art (7, see 11); 2) chips (v.) = reduces to bits, i.e., cuts down (on dancing); 4) puns: “a farmer-pleasing sound; sour, Moor-pleasing...”;5) pun: growings, groins; 6) beseem puns on beseam (compare suited, seem/seam in 1); 7) let = lend; 8) all puns on awl (phallic); 9) his store puns on history; 10) pun: e.g., “into hissed whore’s assy-cunt [a phallic] ‘I’ wan muffed be”; 11) my heart encodes puns on art (see 6, 7), hard, merd; 13) pretty may denote clever, crafty (adj.), pretty one (sb.); 14) pun: e.g., “End in my maiden ass, midget’s pickle lofty.”

     136. I One Must Be

     Her eyes—or printed “I’s,” or “Aaaay’s”—garbed so in black look like mourners,
     and closeness to them cuts down on dancing—
     immoderately affecting anyone who knows or has known or seeks to know them, seeming remote from any position one takes toward them.
  4 A far more musical sound comes from
     a thousand groans! But, remembering your face,
     Oh, let me imagine it congruent with your heartfelt sentiments toward me, and let me imagine those feelings as a wellspring of generosity.
     Next, at that point your dear heart could post the money to bail out my poor one,
  8 you usurer, one who lends everything
     and, already rich, earns further interest—
     even though I must remain only one name in your ledger,
     a fact my heart accepts. The whole world is ordinary,
12 so why do I not admit the physical decline of myself,
     the world’s plaything? Appearances have worked against me
     and, with me reduced to madness, might do the same to you.


          Will’s “she” (1-5), identifiable with his “heart/art” (7, 11), is doleful, discourages dancing, is something to escape from, makes him feel old, and pushes him to the point of madness. Since “her eyes” (1) puns on “i’s,” “dancing chips” (2) are the jots that dot “i’s” in “mournful” black ink; similarly, the pun “in thy history’s account ‘I’ one [i.e., ‘1’] must be” reminds the printer that “I” and “l” look alike. (Q seems to make an I/1 interchange in line 12, punning, “say not 1, that ‘I’ I mold.”)

           The rune uses the diction of moneylending (7-10, and see “cheaps”[ 2]) and a “madhouse” conceit. The auditor and potential rescuer—a foil to Will’s “art”—has a sympathetic face (5-6) but a usurer’s heart, so Will’s “art” deteriorates, as if in a madhouse where one hears “a thousand groans” (5, see 14) and needs the muse’s bail to effect a release (7-9). “I one must be” (10) suggests “Make me whole again!”

           Will’s aging “looks” suggest that he’s “nobody special” to the auditor (10-13). Finally, Will implies that the auditor’s “looks” (14, see 5) may also fail in time.

          Writing and printing terms include “X’d ream [suggesting ‘obliterated acrostic papers’]” (3); plays on “ink” (2, 3, 4, 5); those that suggest “additive” or secret composition (e.g., “art bale,” “addeth,” “abundance,” “pretty” [ME crafty]); “history,” “account” (9, 10); and “commonplace” (11), suggesting a notebook entry (OED 1561). A “numbers” motif comprises “had, having,…to have extreme”; “far more”; “thousand”; “usurer,” “fourth,” “all”; “abundance,” “addeth,” “store”; “store’s account,” “one”; the pun “hear four” (12); and numerical wit in the acrostic codeline (see below).

Sample Puns

          1) Harry S. (hairy ass), O, suited Anne; Anne dead, eye my “urn,” arse seamy; Harass faucet, Ed; Eden did hymn our nurse
          1-2) …our inner (near) cement-site you eyed, John; “Harry’s sauce you eyed, Ed, handy theme, our nearest semen; “Erase his foes! You did handy theme earn ere asses emend fit; arse see (fee), m’ Anne dies, eye twat I own, witty th’ O’s (hose); see me, Anne—decide
          2) cheaps (v.) puts on the market; witty, thou Satan see; see Dan’s inches, hips
          2-3) see in cheesy piss a don gaunt, inky; Eye in th’ situation witty Ovid, Anne see, and (Jeez! I pissed, halving Anne); see hip shit hound gaunt; shade of John Gaunt inquest [see Wyckham, line 11, in listed sources]
          3-4) tough, extra, immediate muff I see; end inquest to halve X’d, reamed Hat.-Music; in gaunt, inky fit to vex teary, mated homme you see sick Hath-afar [suggesting“Hath-away”]; Eye meaty Hat., Muse’s key hath a farmer-pleasing sound; …a sour, Moor-pleasing sound
          4) Thomas aye Sikh hates; a sorry marble ease inches owned; Hath. evermore be laughing; I seek hideous armor; Muse aye seeketh Asser; my whore peals; a serum horriblest, John, give
          4-5) Horeb (lazy inch) found Athos, aye, and dug row nice; laughing founded heaven; ripples eye in Jason dead; That Muse f--keth a farmer, plays “Inch’s Hound,” “A Thousand Groans,” “Butt Thinking on Thy Face”; Moor police I in Jason did house
          5) dick (our own) is bawdy; an ass bawdy, inking John (jaunty face); grow Anne’s butt in kin John; inky engine—this aye see
          5-6) eye silly Titan; eye sealed aye T.T., Hen as well; Eye sealed the nice Willobie fey, metier hard; in jaunty facility T.T. (Hen as well) be; butt, inking on the Y-sauce [i.e., groin-fluid], Ol’ teat-thin, ass-well Bessie, meaty, hard
          5-7) jaunty Cecil hated (heeded) the nice well, Bessie, meaty her tipped enemy
          6-7) see meteor, Tybalt enemies ruined his heart
          7-8) …the nice Will; runes hurdled may be our arty ballet (Bailey, ballad); Bawdy in my ms., Rune D is hard, let my poor art be aye ladders [acrostics; letters] you reared; ale th’ hose, ureter, had
          8) house you reared had put Shakespeare sword, hall (whored, horrid hall) to use; Hat puts forth alto verse; putas divert Hall to vice; …put’st forth awl to wife (whiff); Thou wife (vice, verse), you erred, Hat.-puta hissed forth, awl to use (Hall to wife, halt verse); Shakespeare 4th awl [cf. 4th Earl] to use
          8-9) Wife Anne in abundance addeth to history; you fiend eye in a boon; you fiend John eye
          9) in din abounding, see a death; abounding seed did hit oasis; Indian I bound incited it
          9-10) To historied Hugh-John, to history’s account, I one must be
        10) T’ huge end, history, asses, cunt, aye one must be; …aye wan, muffed be; “I,” wan, muffed be (muse to be); as Count, I own my “used-to-be”
        10-11) Aye wan must be Wyckham, ye heard; To Hugh-John, thy story, Second John, must be witch-merd
        11) my hearty (merdy) kin of West you eyed, world; W.H., I come here t’ kin o’ West
        11-12) the W eye, dour Eld’s commonplace endure; Hugh eye, dour lads, see omen, please, endure Saracen ode, eye the time old
        12) Anne, do herefore say an ode, “I that aye am old”; fey knot eye t’ Hat-I-am; naughty thought eye, a mold; undo Harry S., our fey naughty though eye
        12-13) that [phallic] “I,” a mold, here pretty looks, half being mine, in my ass; Adam old hear pray, T.T.; t’ Hat., I aye molder, pardie!
        13) Eye locusts helping m’ Annie in a maze; Here pretty loo kiss, half be enemas in enemy ass; I’ll oaks half; her pretty teal OO [eyes] kiss; Harbored I loo-keys, half-beany m’ Annie enema is
        13-14) name I assigned, John, may maiden ass seamy jet…in enemy’s hand; mine enemies eye in din Myrmidons mighty
        14) Anne-din [see 3], my madness, my jet’s pique, ill o’ Southy; mite (my jet) speak ill o’ Southy; eye jet of pickles, tea; my jet speckles thee; an ass might speckle, lofty; eye jet’s peak, aye lusty; midden of Semite speckles tea; Endymion I add

Acrostic Wit

          The downward acrostic codeline insists on being read as some kind of play on Hathaway, since the letterstring—HAHTA OBTAT WAH A—includes the suggestive elements HAHTAO and WAH. Possible readings include these: “Hatha…(Up-Tight)…way, A[nne],” “…eye,” “…aye,” “Hatha… (‘O’-bed-8)…way,” “Hatha…—up to 8 [AT = the 9th/10th letters in the down string]—…way, aye.” The intrusive middle (OBT AT) encodes “Obit eyed” and “Obit, 80,” humor about Anne’s death, obituary, and age of death; “…obit 80 weigh” is concurrent. Cf. also obiter (adv. “on the way [sic],” “incidentally”)—and thus “Hatha… (on the way t’…) way.” With B=8, the codeline suggests “Hatha-weighty Hathaway eye.”

           The upward (reverse) codeline—A HAWTA T BOAT HAH—suggests these sample readings: “Audit both [hear Sonnets / Runes] aye,” “Eye haughty Tybalt high,” and “A. Hatha… to boot, ha!”

          The down/up hairpin codeline suggests, e.g., “Haughty ‘O’ bedded white (wide) 8, bawdy, high,” “…T. Wyatt, eyed, bawdy, high,” and “Eye a white ‘I,’ to boot ( body). Ha!” The last joke may connect with phallic wit about “Moors.”

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