Sonnet 145 as in “The Monument” .. No … “Hate Away” ain’t “Hathaway” … NO way!

Sonnet 145 contains the famous line “I hate from hate away she threw,” which some Stratfodians view as an allusion by William Shakspere of Stratford to his wife Anne Hathaway.  Here’s from Wikipedia:

“The words ‘hate away’ may be a pun (in Elizabethan pronunciation) on ‘Hathaway’. It has also been suggested that the next words, ‘And saved my life’, would have been indistinguishable in pronunciation from ‘Anne saved my life.’  The sonnet differs from all the others in the length of the lines.  Its fairly simple language and syntax have led to suggestions that it was written much earlier than the other, more mature, sonnets.”

Anne Hathaway's cottage in Stratford upon Avon

Well, I disagree.  In my view the “Hathaway” interpretation is beyond laughable.  [And don’t those same scholars scoff whenever Oxfordians suggest possible word-clues pointing to Edward de Vere?  Isn’t this a case of changing the rules to suit the player?]  I believe Sonnet 145 has been entirely misunderstood, and, as a result, grossly underrated — by all traditional scholars and even by many or most Oxfordians.  When Shakespeare does something different, or unusual, be on the alert.  Rather than cast it aside as “written much earlier” and less mature, be open to the possibility that it’s quite the opposite.  In this case, what appears to be a misshapen sonnet (or just a “pretty little love song,” as Paul McCartney might say) is in my view actually a verse carrying enormous emotional power — akin to the explosive feelings that lay beneath The Phoenix and Turtle of 1601, a tightly compressed poem written in reaction to Southampton’s imprisonment because of the failed Essex Rebellion.

Here below is what I included in The Monument:

 THE DARK LADY: ELIZABETH

THE QUEEN SPARES SOUTHAMPTON’S LIFE

 Sonnet 145

 “Straight In Her Heart Did Mercy Come”

 “And Saved My Life”

 19 March 1601

This verse corresponds in time to Sonnet 66 of the Fair Youth series to Southampton, when Oxford reacts to Elizabeth’s order to spare the life of Henry Wriothesley by recording a virtual suicide note, filled with relief and sorrow.  Here he responds to the Queen’s act of mercy with a show of gratitude for sparing their royal son from execution.  He breaks with his usual sonnet form, employing eight rather than ten beats per line.  Just as Sonnet 66 is different from all other verses, the form of this verse marks it also as special.  Throughout Oxford speaks in both his own and his son’s voice, i.e., speaking as one.[“But here’s the joy, my friend and I are one” – Sonnet 42]  “Straight in her heart did mercy come,” he reports, adding that Elizabeth “saved my life.” 

 Sonnet 145

Those lips that Love’s own hand did make

Breathed forth the sound that said, “I hate,”

To me that languished for her sake.

But when she saw my woeful state,

Straight in her heart did mercy come,

Chiding that tongue that ever sweet

Was used in giving gentle doom:

And taught it thus anew to greet:

“I hate” she altered with an end

That followed it as gentle day

Doth follow night, who like a fiend

From heaven to hell is flown away.

“I hate” from hate away she threw,

And saved my life, saying, “Not you.”

Note: The story that’s “below the surface” is being preserved for posterity, for readers of the future, like us; but in no way does this preclude or nullify all the other various interpretations to be found “on” the surface.   As usual, there are multiple meanings and allusions to be found and savored.  The follow “translation” (not really a paraphrase) therefore can be regarded as but an attempt to comprehend the all-important meaning below the line.

Translation

Elizabeth’s command by her royal authority

Was that our son should be executed,

Telling me, who feared for his death by her,

But when she saw my/his woeful state,

Straight in her heart she found mercy,

Rebuking her own command that royally

Was used in ordering his royal death:

And instructed her own decree to change:

“He must die” she changed, with a result

That followed as a royal golden time

Follows royal death, which like a fiend

Was overturned fromElizabethto hell.

“He must die” she removed from herself,

And saved my/his life, saying, “Not him!”

Sonnet 145

“My lords, I must say for my part as I have said before, that since the ignorance of the law hath made me incur the danger of the law, I humbly submit myself to her Majesty’s mercy … I pray you truly to inform the Queen of my penitence, and be a means for me to her Majesty to grant me her gracious pardon.  I know I have offended her; yet if it please her to be merciful unto me, I may, by my future service, deserve my life.” – Southampton at the Trial on February 19, 1601

1 THOSE LIPS THAT LOVE’S OWN HAND DID MAKE

THOSE LIPS = Elizabeth’s voice, her decree; “And mercy then will breathe within your lips” – Measure for Measure, 2.2.78; LOVE = royal blood; LOVE’S OWN HAND = the Queen’s power; the Queen’s own hand also created “love” within her son, Southampton, who was “the little Love-God” of Sonnet 154, line 1; the boy (“Cupid” of Sonnet 153, line 1) was given “A Woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted” – Sonnet 20, line 1, i.e., he had Elizabeth’s face because she was his natural mother who gave birth to him; and Southampton as an infant was “sleeping by a Virgin hand disarmed” – Sonnet 154, line 8; “A heavy sentence … at your Highness’ hands” – Richard II, 1.3.154-158

For love is worse than hate, and eke more harm hath done,

Record I take of those that read ofParis, Priam’s son.

Finis.  E. O. (Earl of Oxford, Paradise of Dainty Devices, 1576)

2 BREATHED FORTH THE SOUND THAT SAID, “I HATE”

BREATHED FORTH THE SOUND = decreed that Southampton should follow Essex to his execution; “And mercy then will breathe within your lips” – Measure for Measure, 2.2.78; “Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse, a mother’s curse, on her revolting son” – King John, 3.1.182-183; “By all the blood that every fury breathed” – King John, 5.2.127; “Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom, which I with some unwillingness pronounce … The hopeless word of ‘never to return’ breathe I against thee, upon pain of life” – the King in Richard II, 1.3.148-153, followed by: “A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege, and all unlook’d for from your Highness’ mouth” – Richard II, 1.3.154-155

Come hither, Harry, sit by my bed,

And hear, I think, the very latest counsel

That ever I shall breathe.

2 Henry IV, 4.5.181-183, the King to his son

 “I HATE” = Elizabeth’s initial reaction to the Rebellion, determining to execute Southampton; also, her refusal to acknowledge their son’s “love” or royal blood, turning it into its opposite, “hate”; Southampton also  expressed his “hate” toward Oxford, for his bargain requiring him to give up any claim to the crown: “For thee against my self I’ll vow debate,/ For I must ne’er love him whom thou dost hate” – Sonnet 89, lines 13-14; “Then hate me when thou wilt, if ever, now” – Sonnet 90, line 1, referring also to Southampton’s threat to break out of the Tower and lead another Rebellion against Robert Cecil and the Queen

Besides, our nearness to the king in love

Is near the hate of those love not the king

Richard II, 2.2.126-127

The King: Rivers and Hastings, take each other’s hand;

Dissemble not your hatred: swear your love.

Rivers: By heaven, my soul is purged from grudging hate,

And with my hand I seal my true heart’s love

Buckingham: Whenever Buckingham doth turn his hate

Upon your Grace, but with all duteous love

Doth cherish you and yours, God punish me

With hate in those where I expect most love.

Richard III, 2.1.9-35

3 TO ME THAT LANGUISHED FOR HER SAKE:

TO ME = to Oxford, who stands in for Southampton, since he and his son are one and the same; therefore, the Queen uttered this decree to Southampton; THAT LANGUISHED FOR HER SAKE = who has been languishing in the Tower, in expectation of being executed according to the Queen’ imperial will; HER SAKE = the Queen’s pleasure

4 BUT WHEN SHE SAW MY WOEFUL STATE,

But when Elizabeth realized our woeful state; i.e., the ruined royal state of my son, and therefore my own state; WOEFUL = “heavy tears, badges of either’s woe” – Sonnet 44, line 14; “To weigh how once I suffered in your crime./ O that our night of woe might have rememb’red/ My deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits” – Sonnet 120, lines 8-10; STATE = his situation, but actually his son’s royal state; “When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes,/ I all alone beweep my outcast state” – Sonnet 29, line 1-2; “How many gazers mightst thou lead away,/ If thou wouldst use the strength of all thy state” – Sonnet 96, lines 11-12

5 STRAIGHT IN HER HEART DID MERCY COME,

Elizabeth found mercy in her heart, the source of her royal blood; MERCY = the same “mercy” fromElizabeth for whichSouthampton pleaded at the trial:

“My lords, I must say for my part as I have said before, that since the ignorance of the law hath made me incur the danger of the law, I humbly submit myself to her Majesty’s mercy …  I pray you truly to inform the Queen of my penitence, and be a means for me to her Majesty to grant me her gracious pardon.  I know I have offended her; yet if it please her to be merciful unto me, I may, by my future service, deserve my life.  I have been brought up under Her Majesty.  I have spent the best part of my patrimony in Her Majesty’s service, with frequent danger of my life, as your Lordships well know…  But since I am found guilty by the law, I do submit myself to death, yet not despairing of Her Majesty’s mercy.  For I know she is merciful, and if she please to extend mercy to me, I shall with all humility receive it.” -Southampton,February 19, 1601, at the Trial

Unto the sovereign mercy of the King

Richard II, 2.3.156

And mercy then will breathe within your lips

Measure for Measure, 2.2.78

Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?

Draw near them then in being merciful.

Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge:

Thrice noble Titus, spare my first-born son.

Titus Andronicus, 1.1.120-123

Cambridge:  I do confess my fault

And do submit me to your highness’ mercy.

Grey, Scoop: To which we all appeal.

King Henry:  The mercy that was quick in us but late

By your own counsel is suppressed and killed:

You must not dare, for shame, to talk of mercy

Henry V, 2.2.77-81, the King to nobles turned traitors

The quality of mercy is not strained,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest,

It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes,

‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown.

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.

But mercy is above this sceptred sway,

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

An earthly power doth then show like God’s

When mercy seasons justice.

The Merchant of Venice, 4.1.182-195

Nothing adorns a King more than justice, nor in anything doth a King more resemble God than in justice, which is the head of all virtue, and he that is endued therewith hath all the rest.

– Oxford to Robert Cecil, May 7, 1603

Not the King’s crown, nor the deputed sword,

The marshal’s truncheon, nor the judge’s robe,

Become them with one half so good a grace

As mercy does.

Measure for Measure, 2.2.60-63

6 CHIDING THAT TONGUE THAT EVER SWEET

CHIDING THAT TONGUE = rebuking her own previous command; EVER = Ever = Edward de Vere, Ever or Never; SWEET = royal, with sovereign power

7 WAS USED IN GIVING GENTLE DOOM;

Had sentenced Southampton to be executed; has nevertheless confined him in the Tower for a term of life; GENTLE = royal; “The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven” – The Merchant of Venice, 4.1.182-183; DOOM = sentence or judgment; “Thy end is Truth’s and Beauty’s doom and date” – Sonnet 14, line 14; “Supposed as forfeit to a confined doom” – Sonnet 107, line 4, i.e., the expected fate of Southampton; “Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom, which I with some unwillingness pronounce.  The sly slow hours shall not determinate the dateless limit of thy dear exile” – Richard II, 1.3.148-151

8 AND TAUGHT IT THUS ANEW TO GREET:

And instructed her own decree to change; THUS = in the following way; TO GREET: to address, i.e., the Queen addressing Southampton and, therefore, addressing Oxford; the King of England “greets” the King of France: “…and thus he greets your Majesty: He wills you, in the name of God Almighty” – Henry V, 2.4.76-77

9 “I HATE” SHE ALTERED WITH AN END

She changed her order for Southampton’s execution; HATE = the opposite of expressing or showing love for her son; ALTERED = the same as Oxford reports in the Fair Youth series: “But reckoning time, whose millioned accidents/ Creep in twixt vows, and change decrees of Kings,/ Tan sacred beauty, blunt the shap’st intents,/ Divert strong minds to th’course of alt’ring things” – Sonnet 115, lines 5-8, immediately followed by: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ Admit impediments.  Love is not love/ Which alters when it alteration finds” – Sonnet 116, lines 1-3, in this case referring to the alteration of succession to the throne from Southampton to someone else, i.e., to King James; AN END = a purpose and/or a result

10 THAT FOLLOWED IT AS GENTLE DAY

THAT FOLLOWED IT = that replaced it; GENTLE = royal; DAY = royalty; “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?” – Sonnet 18, line 1; “Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day” – Sonnet 34, line 1

11 DOTH FOLLOW NIGHT, WHO LIKE A FIEND

Replaces the death of Southampton’s royalty; NIGHT = (“like a jewel hung in ghastly night/ Makes black night beauteous” – Sonnet 27, lines 11-12; “And night doth nightly make grief’s length seem stronger” – Sonnet 28, line 14; “For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night” – Sonnet 30, line 6)

12 FROM HEAVEN TO HELL IS FLOWN AWAY.

FROM HEAVEN = from Elizabeth, his mother; (It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven” – The Merchant of Venice, 4.1.182); TO HELL = to the various stages of hell (loss of royal claim) he has endured, from bastardy to prison to conviction of treason to sentence of death; IS FLOWN AWAY = is overturned; i.e., one decree has been replaced by the other; literally, the dark night of Southampton’s possible execution has fled

13 “I HATE” FROM HATE AWAY SHE THREW

Elizabethremoved her previous command from its source, i.e., from “hate” or lack of care for her own royal blood in her son…

14 AND SAVED MY LIFE, SAYING, “NOT YOU”

AND SAVED MY LIFE = and sparedSouthampton’s life from the executioner’s axe, thereby savingOxford’s life as well

 In fine, she hath both the hand and knife,

That may both save and end my life.

Finis.  E. O. (Earl of Oxford, Paradise of Dainty Devices, 1576)

“I know I have offended her; yet if it please her to be merciful unto me, I may, by my future service, deserve my life.”

– Southamptonat the Trial

SAYING, “NOT YOU” = saying to Southampton, “I executed Essex and other conspirators, but not you”; YOU = “But he that writes of you, if he can tell/ That you are you, so dignifies his story./ Let him but copy what in you is writ” – Sonnet 84, lines 7-9

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