“Strange Shadows on You Tend” – Sonnet 53 – The Living Record – Chapter 48

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: SOUTHAMPTON IN THE TOWER
Sonnet 53
Strange Shadows On You Tend
6 March 1601

Now, with Essex dead and the other conspirators also condemned, time grows short for Southampton’s fate to be decided.  The great shadow of Elizabeth Regina’s imperial frown, the “region cloud” of Sonnet 33, spreads over Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton in the Tower.  The tone of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford is of increasing worry even as he writes in praise of his son, whom he likens to Adonis of “Venus and Adonis,” the 1593 poem dedicated to him by “Shakespeare.”

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

What is your substance, whereof are you made,
That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
Since every one hath, every one, one shade,

And you, but one, can every shadow lend.
Describe Adonis and the counterfeit
Is poorly imitated after you;
On Helen’s cheek all art of beauty set,
And you in Grecian tires are painted new.

Speak of the spring and foison of the year,
The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
The other as your bounty doth appear,
And you in every blessed shape we know.

In all external grace you have some part,
But you like none, none you, for constant heart.

(Following is an edited “short” version of the treatment of Sonnet 53 in my edition THE MONUMENT):

The Tower of London, where Southampton was held captive until James of Scotland became King James I of England

1 WHAT IS YOUR SUBSTANCE, WHEREOF ARE YOU MADE,
YOUR SUBSTANCE = your inner reality, i.e., your royal blood; “No, no, I am but a shadow of myself: you are deceived, my substance is not here” – 1 Henry VI, 2.3.49-50;

2 THAT MILLIONS OF STRANGE SHADOWS ON YOU TEND?
MILLIONS = countless; expressing, by exaggeration, the outrageousness of the “stain” or “disgrace” that has covered his royal son; SHADOWS = the darkness cast by the Queen’s dark cloud or negative view; (“But the world is so cunning, as of a shadow they can make a substance, and of a likelihood a truth” – Oxford to Burghley, July 1581); “Which, being but the shadow of your son, becomes a sun and makes your son a shadow” – King John, 2.1.499-500; TEND = “attend” or wait upon him as those who attend upon a king; “They ‘tend the crown” – Richard II, 4.1.199; echoing the “tender” (or offer) for acceptance by which Oxford has offered to pay “ransom” for his son’s life.

Title Page of "Venus and Adonis" (1593), by which "Shakespeare" entered the stage of history by his dedication to Southampton inside the book

3 SINCE EVERY ONE HATH, EVERY ONE, ONE SHADE,
EVERY = E. Ver, Edward de Vere; ONE = Southampton, his motto One for All, All for One; EVERY ONE = father and son together; EVERY ONE, ONE SHADE = you and I suffer together under the shadow that is cast over you; Note: “one” occurs six times in this sonnet, “every” occurs three times, “none” twice.

4 AND YOU, BUT ONE, CAN EVERY SHADOW LEND.
AND YOU, BUT ONE = and you, Southampton; ““Since all alike my songs and praises be/ To one, of one, still such, and ever so” – Sonnet 105, lines 3-4; EVERY = E. Ver; “But Henry now shall wear the English crown and be true King indeed; thou but the shadow” – 3 Henry VI, 4.3.49-50

5 DESCRIBE ADONIS AND THE COUNTERFEIT
ADONIS: the young god of Venus and Adonis, i.e., Oxford is referring to his own narrative poem  that he dedicated (as “William Shakespeare”) to Southampton in 1593; Adonis (symbol of male beauty) was once Oxford’s self-portrait (based on the Queen’s attempts to seduce him as a young man in 1571-73, if not earlier); but now Henry Wriothesley is the young Adonis in relation to his mother, Elizabeth, who remains Venus, goddess of Love and Beauty; COUNTERFEIT = likeness; that which is made in imitation of him; portrait of him; “But who can leave to look on Venus’ face … These virtues rare, eche gods did yield a mate./ Save her alone, who yet on th’earth doth reign,/ Whose beauty’s string no god can well distrain” – Oxford poem, published in 1576, writing of Elizabeth, who “doth reign” on earth as Beauty

6 IS POORLY IMITATED AFTER YOU:
POORLY IMITATED = inadequately portraying you

7 ON HELEN’S CHEEK ALL ART OF BEAUTY SET,

Southampton in the Tower (with his cat)

HELEN’S CHEEK = Elizabeth, pictured as Helen of Troy, most beautiful of women; “Within this there is a red/ Exceeds the damask rose;/ Which in her cheeks is spread,/ Whence every favor grows” – Oxford poem in The Phoenix Nest, 1593, writing of Elizabeth; ALL = Southampton; OF BEAUTY SET = expressing your “beauty” or blood from Elizabeth;“What thing doth please thee most?/ To gaze on beauty still” – Oxford poem, part of which appeared in The Arte of English Poesie, 1589

8 AND YOU IN GRECIAN TIRES ARE PAINTED NEW:
GRECIAN TIRES = Greek headdresses or attire; PAINTED NEW = recreated (given new birth) in these private sonnets

9 SPEAK OF THE SPRING AND FOISON OF THE YEAR,
SPRING = time of royal hope; Ver; FOISON = abundant royal blood, kingly bounty

10 THE ONE DOTH SHADOW OF YOUR BEAUTY SHOW,
ONE = Southampton, his motto; SHADOW OF YOUR BEAUTY = the ghostlike appearance of your royal blood from the Queen

11 THE OTHER AS YOUR BOUNTY DOTH APPEAR,
YOUR BOUNTY = your royal bounty; “I thank thee, King, for thy great bounty” – Richard II, 4.1.300; “

12 AND YOU IN EVERY BLESSED SHAPE WE KNOW.
EVERY = E. Ver, Edward de Vere; BLESSED = divine, sacred, godlike, royal; “Look down, you gods, and on this couple drop a blessed crown” – The Tempest, 5.1.201-202;  “A God in love” – Sonnet 110, line 12; “Likely in time to bless a regal throne” – 3 Henry VI, 4.6.74;

Secretary Robert Cecil, who agreed to spare Southampton and release him with a royal pardon -- once James was securely on the throne and he, Cecil, retained his power; the price, for Oxford, was loss of his son's crown and loss of his identity as "Shakespeare"

13 IN ALL EXTERNAL GRACE YOU HAVE SOME PART,
ALL = Southampton, One for All, All for One; EXTERNAL GRACE = show of royalty; “The king is full of grace and fair regard … this grace of kings” – Henry V, 1.1.22, 2 Prologue. 28;

14 BUT YOU LIKE NONE, NONE YOU, FOR CONSTANT HEART.
NONE = opposite of “one” for Southampton; LIKE NONE = like no other; NONE YOU = none like you; also, you are now a nobody; CONSTANT HEART = eternal royal power, with a heart that pumps your royal blood; always noble and royal; “our friends are true and constant” – 1 Henry IV, 2.3.17; “Crowned with faith and constant loyalty … constant in spirit, not swerving with the blood” – Henry V, 2.2., 5, 133; “Therefore my verse to constancy confined,/ One thing expressing, leaves out difference” – Sonnet 105, lines 5-8; “In constant truth to bide so firm and sure” – Oxford’s sonnet in “Shakespearean” form, to Queen Elizabeth, early 1570s

As you can see, Oxford does not use a “code” or any other kind of obscure language.  The words related to royalty and kingship are drawn from his own plays of English royal history, plays issued under the “Shakespeare” name; seeing them clearly in these lines is a matter of perception; and once you see them, you know that their presence in the Sonnets cannot be accidental.

Emmerich and “Shake-speare” and Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford

Earlier this month Kellvin Chavez at LATINO REVIEW asked filmmaker Roland Emmerich to discuss his movie project ANONYMOUS (formerly SOUL OF THE AGE) about Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford as “William Shakespeare” and he replied:

“Well, for me there was an incredible script that I bought eight years ago.  It was called ‘Soul of the Age,’ which pretty much is the heart of the movie still.  It’s three characters. It’s like Ben Jonson, who was a playwright then.  William Shakespeare who was an actor.  It’s like the 17th Earl of Oxford who is the true author of all these plays.  We see how, through these three people, it happens that all of these plays get credited to Shakespeare.  I kind of found it as too much like ‘Amadeus’ to me.  It was about jealousy, about genius against end (sic?), so I proposed to make this a movie about political things, which is about succession.  Succession, the monarchy, was absolute monarchy, and the most important political thing was who would be the next King.  Then we incorporated that idea into that story line.  It has all the elements of a Shakespeare play.  It’s about Kings, Queens, and Princes.  It’s about illegitimate children, it’s about incest, it’s about all of these elements which Shakespeare plays have.  And it’s overall a tragedy.  That was the way and I’m really excited to make this movie.”

Last I heard, the cameras are expected to roll next March in Germany.  Oh, Roland, you may have been controversial before, but just wait!  As they say, you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!  What will the Folger do?  How will the Stratford tourism industry react?  The Birthplace Trust!  How will teachers and professors handle the upcoming generation and its students who will be eager to investigate one of the great stories of history yet to be told?

I predict that once those floodgates open, there will be more material about this subject matter over the coming years, in print and on video or film, than on virtually any other topic.  Why?  Because much of the history of the modern world over the past four centuries will have to be re-written!  Just think, for example, of all the biographies of other figures — such as Ben Jonson or Philip Sidney  — that will have to be drastically revised to make room for the Earl of Oxford as the single greatest force behind the evolution of English literature and drama, not to mention the English language itself.

In the end, it’s not just the Literature and Drama departments that will need to change; even moreso, the History Department will be where the action is.

Onward with those floodgates!

Justices Stevens and O’Connor Agree: Reason to Doubt!

Great news today from John Shahan, chairman of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC), that two Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have signed the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt that William Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon was “William Shakespeare” the great poet-dramatist:

Claremont, California, November 16, 2009 The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition announced today that U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor (retired) have added their names to a growing list of prominent signatories to the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare .   At least three other U.S. Supreme Court Justices – Harry A. Blackmun, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and Antonin Scalia – have also expressed doubts about the identity of   the author “Shakespeare,” but Stevens and O’Connor are the first to sign the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt.

oconner

Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (retired)

The Declaration was first issued on April 14, 2007, in same-day signing ceremonies at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Five months later, on September 8, 2007, actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, took the lead in promulgating the Declaration in the U.K. in a signing ceremony at the Chichester Festival Theatre in Chichester, West Sussex.

Over 1,660 people have now signed the Declaration. Nearly 80% are college graduates, and 595 have advanced degrees – 347 master’s degrees and 248 doctoral degrees. A total of 295 are current or former college or university faculty members . Of these, the largest number were in English literature (62, 21%), followed by those in theatre arts (35), the arts (24), natural sciences (23), math, engineering and computers (20), other humanities (20), medicine and health care (19), education (16), social sciences (17), history (13), management (12), law (11), psychology (9), and library science (6). With the addition of Justices Stevens and O’Connor, nineteen names now appear on the separate list of notable signatories on the SAC website.

jpstevens

U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

The Declaration is neutral about the true identity of the author. Rather than seeking to resolve the long-standing controversy outright, it aims to legitimize the issue by calling attention to the many reasons for doubt about the Stratford man’s authorship.

Not one play, not one poem, not one letter in his own hand has ever been found. This is remarkable for such a prolific writer. His six surviving signatures, each spelled differently, are all poorly executed, suggesting he had difficulty signing his own name. His detailed will contains no Shakespearean turn of phrase and mentions no books, manuscripts or literary effects of any kind. Nothing about it suggests a man with a cultivated mind — no writing materials or furniture, no art works or musical instruments. Nor did he leave any bequest for education — not to the Stratford grammar school, or even to educate his own grandchildren.

Many people in Stratford and London who knew the Stratford man seem not to have associated him with the poet-playwright; and when he died in 1616, no one seemed to notice. Not until seven years after he died did anyone suggest he was the author. Orthodox scholars tend to assume that all references to “Shakespeare” mean the Stratford man, but this is never made explicit during his lifetime. Contemporary comments are mostly about the works. Nobody seems to have known the author personally. Certainly there is no evidence that the Stratford man ever claimed to have written the works, contrary to what people assume.

“The subject of Shakespeare’s identity is fascinating to students,” said SAC Chairman John Shahan, “but the great majority of orthodox Shakespeare scholars deny that it has any legitimacy, and many actively seek to suppress the question in academia.”  “But with increasing numbers of prominent signatories like Justices Stevens and O’Connor, this may become difficult,” he said.

The SAC is a private, non-profit charity founded to advocate for recognition of the legitimacy of the Authorship Controversy.       The Declaration of Reasonable Doubt can be read and signed online at the website of the SAC at: http://www.doubtaboutwill.org

Contact person: SAC Chairman John Shahan at: (909) 896-2006.

“My Grief Lies Onward … From Where Thou Art … Up-Locked … Imprisoned” – Sonnets 51, 52, 53 – The Living Record, Chapter 47

I include Shakespeare’s Sonnets 50-51-52 all at once because of their obvious relationship to each other, like successive chapters of a novel — as set forth in my edition of the sonnets THE MONUMENT and dramatized in the 90-minute solo show SHAKE-SPEARE’S TREASON.

THE PRISON YEARS
OXFORD VISITS SOUTHAMPTON IN PRISON
DAY TWENTY-FOUR IN THE TOWER

141-tower-of-london

Southampton was lodged in the White Tower (1601-1603)

Sonnet 50
My Grief Lies Onward
3 March 1601

Oxford rides away from the Tower of London and back to his home in Hackney, knowing he will grieve over Southampton’s execution or, even if he lives, over his loss of the throne.  His joy lies behind him, in past times, and literally in the prison.  In this sonnet Oxford describes his five-mile journey on horseback from the Tower and from a crucial visit with Southampton, to whom he would have explained the “league” or agreement to spare him from execution, requiring a forfeiture of any claim as King Henry IX.

How heavy do I journey on the way
When what I seek (my weary travel’s end)
Doth teach that ease and that repose to say,
“Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend.”

The beast that bears me, tired with my woe,
Plods duly on to bear that weight in me,
As if by some instinct the wretch did know
His rider loved not speed being made from thee:

The bloody spur cannot provoke him on
That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide,
Which heavily he answers with a groan,
More sharp to me than spurring to his side;

For that same groan doth put this in my mind:
My grief lies onward and my joy behind.

Heavy … Woe … Bloody … Groan … Groan … Grief – Anticipating the death of Southampton, his royal son, by bloody execution.  (Meanwhile the young earl is “supposed as forfeit to a confined doom” – Sonnet 107)

OXFORD RETURNS FROM THE PRISON
DAY TWENTY-FIVE IN THE TOWER

illus-323favoritetower

Oxford, as Lord Great Chamberlain, would have had access to Southampton in the Tower

Sonnet 51
From Where Thou Art
4 March 1601

Oxford again describes his return home, to King’s Place in Hackney, after visiting with Southampton in the Tower – undoubtedly to discuss details of the bargain he has been making for him, involving the “excuse” for his “offence” being argued on his behalf.

Thus can my love excuse the slow offence
Of my dull bearer, when from thee I speed:
From where thou art, why should I haste me thence?
Till I return, of posting is no need.

O what excuse will my poor beast then find,
When swift extremity can seem but slow?
Then should I spur, though mounted on the wind;
In winged speed no motion shall I know;

Then can no horse with my desire keep pace;
Therefore desire (of perfect’st love being made)
Shall neigh no dull flesh in his fiery race,
But love, for love, thus shall excuse my jade:

Since from thee going he went willful slow,
Towards thee I’ll run, and give him leave to go.

Offence … Excuse … Excuse – legal terms echoing Oxford’s attempts behind the scenes to act as Southampton’s legal counsel

TRIAL OF OTHER CONSPIRATORS
DAY TWENTY-SIX IN THE TOWER

Cecil,Robert(1ESalisbury)01

Robert Cecil would have wanted Oxford to visit Southampton, to persuade him to give up any royal claim in return for the promise of freedom once James of Scotland became King of England

Sonnet 52
“Up-Locked … Imprisoned”
5 March 1601

Oxford recalls his visit to Southampton in the Tower.

An Elizabethan Chronicle, March 5, 1601“Today Sir Christopher Blount, Sir Charles Danvers, Sir John Davis, Sir Gelly Merrick and Henry Cuffe were arraigned at Westminster for high treason before the commissioners … They pleaded not guilty to the indictment as a whole, and a substantial jury was impanelled which consisted of aldermen of London and other gentlemen of good credit.  They confessed indeed that it was their design to come to the Queen with so strong a force that they might not be resisted, and to require of her divers conditions and alterations of government; nevertheless they intended no personal harm to the Queen herself … When all the evidence was done, the jury went out to agree upon their verdict, which after half an hour’s time and more they brought in and found every man of the five prisoners severally guilty of high treason.”

The “up-locked” treasure is his son’s royal blood, imprisoned.

So am I as the rich, whose blessed key
Can bring him to his sweet up-locked treasure,
The which he will not every hour survey,
For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure;

Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare,
Since seldom coming in the long year set,
Like stones of worth they thinly placed are,
Or captain Jewels in the carcanet.

So is the time that keeps you as my chest,
Or as the wardrobe which the robe doth hide,
To make some special instant special blest
By new unfolding his imprisoned pride.

Blessed are you, whose worthiness gives scope,
Being had, to triumph; being lacked, to hope.

“Thus did I keep my person fresh and new,
My presence, like a robe pontifical,
Ne’er seen but wondered at, and so my state,
Seldom, but sumptuous, show’d like a feast,
And wan by rareness such solemnity
– The King in 1 Henry IV, 3.2.53-59

“To Guard the Lawful Reasons” – The Living Record – Chapter 46

Here’s my treatment of Sonnet 49 in The Monument:

SOUTHAMPTON IN THE TOWER

DAY TWENTY-THREE

Sonnet 49
To Guard the Lawful Reasons on Thy Part
2 March 1601

Having made a bargain with [Robert] Cecil for the life of Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton, Oxford knows his royal son will “frown on my defects” for also being forced to forfeit any claim to the throne.  Their public separation as father and son now has “the strength of laws” – at least, it will have such strength if and when Elizabeth is persuaded to spare her son from execution.

Sonnet 49

Against that time (if ever that time come)
When I shall see thee frown on my defects,
When as thy love hath cast his utmost sum,
Called to that audit by advised respects;
Against that time when thou shalt strangely pass,
And scarcely greet me with that sunne thine eye;
When love converted from the thing it was
Shall reasons find of settled gravity;
Against that time do I ensconce me here,
Within the knowledge of mine own desert,
And this my hand against myself uprear,
To guard the lawful reasons on thy part:
To leave poor me, thou hast the strength of laws,
Since why to love, I can allege no cause.

1 AGAINST THAT TIME (IF EVER THAT TIME COME)

AGAINST THAT TIME = in anticipation of; fortifying for; EVER = E. Ver, Edward de Vere

2 WHEN I SHALL SEE THEE FROWN ON MY DEFECTS,

FROWN = the royal frown of his son, a prince; “Great Princes’ favorites their fair leaves spread,/ But as the Marigold at the sun’s eye,/ And in themselves their pride lies buried,/ For at a frown they in their glory die” – Sonnet 25, lines 5-8

MY DEFECTS = my inability to have made you king; defection from my purpose for you; (“The king … made a defect from his purpose” – OED, 1540; the word “defect” was “used like Latin defectus to mean ‘eclipse,’ ‘failure (of a heavenly body) to shine” – Booth); “That thou art blamed shall not be thy defect” – Sonnet 70, line 1, to his son; “When all my best doth worship thy defect,/ Commanded by the motion of thine eyes” – Sonnet 149, lines 11-12, to Queen Elizabeth, who commands with her imperial eyes or viewpoint and condemns with her frown; “Our will became the servant to defect” – Macbeth, 2.1.18

3 WHEN AS THY LOVE HATH CAST HIS UTMOST SUM,

THY LOVE = your royal blood; HATH CAST HIS UTMOST SUM = has reached its final accounting, with the determination as to whether you are to be a King of England; “has closed his account and cast up the sum total” – Dowden; “Profitless usurer, why dost thou use/ So great a sum of sums yet canst not live?” – Sonnet 4, lines 7-8, i.e., his abundant royal blood and right to claim to the throne; “To leave for nothing all thy sum of good” – Sonnet 109, line 12

4 CALLED TO THAT AUDIT BY ADVISED RESPECTS;

AUDIT = final accounting; “Then how when nature calls thee to be gone,/ What acceptable Audit canst thou leave?” – Sonnet 4, lines 11-12; “Her Audit (though delayed) answered must be,/ And her Quietus is to render thee” – Sonnet 126, lines 11-12

ADVISED RESPECTS = “Marks of deference for high rank” – Booth, citing Willen & Reed; “Deliberate, well-considered reasons” – Dowden;

The King:
And on the winking of authority
To understand a law, to know the meaning
Of dangerous majesty, when perchance it frowns
More upon humour than advised respect.

Hubert:
Here is your hand and seal for what I did.

The King:
O, when the last accompt ‘twixt heaven and earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
Witness against us to damnation!
King John, 4.2.211-218

5 AGAINST THAT TIME WHEN THOU SHALT STRANGELY PASS

AGAINST THAT TIME = (see line 1 above); STRANGELY PASS = walk by without acknowledging me, i.e., specifically without acknowledging me as your father; go past me as a stranger; (“I will acquaintance strangle and look strange” – Sonnet 89)

6 AND SCARCELY GREET ME WITH THAT SUNNE THINE EYE,

THAT SUNNE THINE EYE = that royal eye of yours, which is a star or sun; (“Seek the King.  That sun, I pray, may never set” – Henry VIII, 3.2.414); “Full many a glorious morning have I seen/ Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye” – Sonnet 33, lines 1-2, when Oxford goes on to describe the birth of his royal son: “Even so my Sunne one early morn did shine” – line 9; “Lo in the Orient when the gracious light/ Lifts up his burning head, each under eye/ Doth homage to his new-appearing sight,/ Serving with looks his sacred majesty” – Sonnet 6, lines 1-4; “For as the Sun is daily new and old,/ So is my love still telling what is told” – Sonnet 76, lines 13-14, linking his royal son with “the sun” and “my love”; “Making a couplement of proud compare/ With Sunne and Moon” – Sonnet 21, lines 5-6, speaking of Southampton, the royal son, and Elizabeth, goddess of the Moon, as son and mother;  “And truly not the morning Sun of Heaven” – Sonnet 132, line 5; “Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,/ Clouds and eclipses stain both Moone and Sunne” – Sonnet 35, lines 2-3; i.e., Elizabeth and her royal son (whose eye is a sun) are being eclipsed in terms of the inability of their Tudor Rose blood to continue on the throne: “Crooked eclipses ‘gainst his glory fight” – Sonnet 60, line 7; glancing at the hunched or crooked back of Robert Cecil, who has “eclipsed his glory.”

73332~Portrait-of-Sir-Robert-Cecil-1st-Viscount-Cranborne-and-1st-Earl-of-Salisbury-Posters

Robert Cecil had orchestrated the trial of Essex and Southampton, a travesty of justice that led to a unanimous verdict of guilt - high treason - and a sentence of death "at her Majesty's pleasure"

7 WHEN LOVE CONVERTED FROM THE THING IT WAS

LOVE = your royal blood; when royal blood, transformed from its golden time of hope for your succession to the throne; CONVERTED = a nod to Ver, E. Ver (“conVerted”) and as the “gaudy spring” (“Ver” in French) of Sonnet 1; turned away from, as the sun might turn from the planets and no longer shine

8 SHALL REASONS FIND OF SETTLED GRAVITY;

REASONS = echoing legal arguments; related to equity, fairness, justice; (see line 12); SETTLED GRAVITY = sober judgment; related to the grave; when your royal blood is converted from its right to the throne, for legal reasons that are agreed upon by those in power, with my help and consent

9 AGAINST THAT TIME DO I ENSCONCE ME HERE

AGAINST THAT TIME = (the third usage in this verse); ENSCONCE ME = fortify myself, as you are ensconced within the fortress of the Tower; “protect or cover as with a sconce or fort” – Dyce, cited by Dowden

10 WITHIN THE KNOWLEDGE OF MINE OWN DESERT,

Within the knowledge of the truth, i.e., of my fatherhood of you; knowing what I deserve as the father of a king; MINE OWN = related to his own son; “a son of mine own” – Oxford to Burghley, March 17, 1575; Sonnets 23, 39, 49, 61, 62, 72, 88, 107, 110; DESERT = “Who will believe my verse in time to come/ If it were filled with your most high deserts?” – Sonnet 17, line 1-2; in this case Oxford’s desert is his fatherhood, which he has only within his “knowledge” of it, but not in reality.

MINE OWN:
I am Launcelot, your boy that was, your son that is, your child that shall be…I’ll be sworn if thou be Launcelot, thou art mine own flesh and blood
Merchant of Venice, 2.2.80-88

11 AND THIS MY HAND AGAINST MYSELF UPREAR

And for this I raise up my hand in court to testify against myself; go against my own guilty verdict at the trial; but more importantly, according to the bargain to save Southampton’s life, his willingness to raise his hand as witness to the lie that must be perpetrated, i.e., to pretend that Southampton should not be king; (by the same token, Oxford’s son must be a “suborned informer” against his own truth: “Hence, thou suborned Informer, a true soul/ When most impeached stands least in thy control” – Sonnet 125, lines 13-14, the final words to Southampton before the farewell envoy of Sonnet 126, ending the dynastic diary); HAND = “If this right hand would buy but two hours’ life” – 3 Henry VI, 2.6.80; “Or what strong hand can hold his (Time’s) swift book back” – Sonnet 65, the final verse before word arrives that Southampton’s life has been spared

12 TO GUARD THE LAWFUL REASONS ON THY PART.

To protect the legal reasons being put forth in order to save your life (the forthcoming answer is “misprision” of treason, Sonnet 87, line 11); GUARD = echoing the prison guards at the Tower; “To guard a title that was rich before” – King John, 4.2.10; “Ay, wherefore else guard we his royal tent but to defend his person from night-foes?” – 3 Henry VI, 4.3.21-22

lElizabeth_I old black and white

Queen Elizabeth I had been trapped by her own image as the Virgin Queen

LAWFUL = “Let it be lawful” – King John, 3.1.112; “Edward’s son, the first-begotten, and the lawful heir of Edward king” – 1 Henry VI, 2.5.64-66; “And ‘gainst myself a lawful plea commence” – Sonnet 35, line 11; “lawful = rightful, legitimate” – Schmidt; “lays most lawful claim to this fair island and the territories” – King John, 1.1.9-10; “That thou hast underwrought his lawful king, cut off the sequence of posterity” – King John, 2.1.95-96

REASONS = playing off “reasons” in line 8; “And yet his trespass, in our common reason … is not, almost, a fault” – Othello, 3.3.64-66; ON THY PART = on your side, legally, to save you from the consequences of your treason, trespass, fault

13 TO LEAVE POOR ME THOU HAST THE STRENGTH OF LAWS,

TO LEAVE POOR ME = to separate from me as my son, leaving me empty; “Suppose by right and equity thou be king, think’st thou that I will leave my kingly throne, wherein my grandsire and my father sat?” – 1 Henry VI, 1.1.127-129

THOU HAST THE STRENGTH OF LAWS = you have a legal basis upon which to be saved, but that bargain forces you to abandon your claim to the throne; STRENGTH = royal power, Elizabeth’s and your own; “If thou wouldst use the strength of all thy state” – Sonnet 96, line 12; strength of legal argument on your behalf; “And strength by limping sway disabled” – Sonnet 66, line 8, referring to the limping, swaying Robert Cecil, Secretary of State, who disabled Southampton’s royal power; “In the very refuse of thy deeds/ There is such strength and warranties of skill” – Sonnet 150, lines 6-7, to Elizabeth as absolute monarch with royal power and authority

14 SINCE WHY TO LOVE I CAN ALLEGE NO CAUSE.

Since I cannot testify to why I love you; because I cannot reveal you are my son by the Queen; ALLEGE = echoing the allegations at the trial; CAUSE = motive, i.e., as your father (“allege” and “cause” are both legal terms; a “cause” is an adequate ground for action, as in “upon good cause shown to the court” – Tucker); “The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,/ And so my patent back again is swerving” – Sonnet 87, lines 7-8; “The more I hear and see just cause of hate” – Sonnet 150, line 10

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