William Shakespeare’s – Sonnet 133. (Analysis)
Once again we find the content of this sonnet heavily influenced by the sonnet number in which our great author sees both division and unity between the numbers ‘one’ and ‘thirty-three’.
The theme of it though is not too difficult to comprehend as the language used overwhelmingly relates to imprisonment and suffering, consequently his mind conjures up allusions between his son ‘1’ and Jesus Christ ‘33’ as we remember our saviour was thirty three years old when crucified – a hypothesis receiving a significant helping hand because it appears in line ‘8’ and the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet is ‘Theta’ its ancient meaning being (death) which is what came to Christ (9) when he was ‘crossed’.
“A torment thrice threefold thus to be crossed”.
This language of Shake-speare’s alludes to the ‘Triple Tau’ which ‘Alexander Waugh’ with his brilliant deciphering of Shake-speare’s dedication to his sonnets has helped the world begin to understand in Shakespearean terms. The ‘Triple Tau’ can be represented by the words “thrice threefold” or ‘Three Times Three’, it is a symbol venerated by the Knights Templar and the Royal Arch Freemasons who our great author was closely associated with.
In (S.154) we find our author’s son (three months old at the time) described as “The little love God” he has one ‘Hew’ and it is gold (S.33) our author aware in (S.105) that the great love he has for Henry Wriothesley is dangerously close to idolatry – while remembering his son was previously described:
“Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy”. (S.33)
“Thrice threefold” equally translates to number ‘9’ in Roman numerals ‘IX’ while in Greek the ‘I’ stands for Iesous and the ‘X’ for Christos. While in line ‘9’ of (S.33) we find our author’s son termed “my Son one”.
As a child our polyglot author had been taught the Hebrew language by his tutor the acclaimed intellectual and lecturer Sir Thomas Smith. (While if you have ever wondered why our author was so well educated this is part of the reason).
The Hebrew word for God is ‘one’
“The Lord will be king over all the land, In that day the Lord will be one and his name is one.”(Zechariah 14:9)
Our author loves his son ’one’ beyond all things; seeing the two of them as one-entity, so upon his imprisonment for crimes against the state he not only felt partially responsible (as he was) but torn-apart, tortured and crucified – as he says:
“Of him, myself and thee, I am forsaken.”
“Thee” refers to Henry Wriothesley’s mother Queen Elizabeth I. She is one third of our author’s royal family – who I like to call ‘The Tudor Trinity’ because as they are all princes (Gods on earth) he sees an allusion to ‘The Holy Trinity’.
Like many royal dynasties ‘incest’ lay at the heart of this Tudor royal family and although I believe Edward de Vere to be the greatest Englishman ever born, he perhaps ‘unwittingly’ (not knowing she was his mother at the time) became involved in a love affair with her which I have absolutely no doubt was instigated by her (I give evidence of this in my article – shortly alluded to.) Elizabeth had five sons (her ‘store’ of princes) while “The first” of these decided rather late in the day (following prophesies by Dr John Dee C.1600 predicting the year of Elizabeth’s death, the year of our author’s death and the year the Globe Theatre would burn to the ground) to write a poem called “The first” in which ‘Phoebe’ is an allegory of ‘Elizabeth’ a poem that presents a confession of startling consequences – conveyed by the sentiment:
‘Phoebe clouds the first son of Heaven’.
“Clouds” referring to the lack of poetic freedom and general suppression our author felt he was subjected to by her majesty, while I must stress there is a significant difference between “Son of Heaven” (a prince) and ‘Son of God’.
The poem “The first” our author signed “Ignoto” (the unknown) which is rather ironic since to the greater populace of G.B. i.e. 99.9% he still remains unknown. Rather tellingly though; found within the poem there is a more revealing second signature anagrammatically spelling the name ‘E de Vere’ in a triangular formulation – which invites the most pertinent of questions:
Why in ‘Loves Martyr’ on the previous page to William Shake-speare’s monumental metaphysical masterpiece “The Phoenix and the Turtle” does there exist a poem signed by Edward de Vere?
“The first” which along with other highly important historical poems such as his ‘INVOCATIO’ and his ‘NARRATION’ are located either side of “The Phoenix and the Turtle” poems that are found analysed in detail in my work:
“With the Breath Thou Giv’st and Tak’st”.
“The Phoenix and the Turtle” is an allegory about our lovers who procreate without actually doing the terrible deed! They create an heir to the throne (H.W.) by immolation – as they throw themselves upon a funeral pyre, as our author (the Turtle) says in Love’s Martyr:
“And of their ashes by my doome shall rise, Another Phoenix her to equalize”.
While we also find:
“Accept into your ever hallowed flame,
Two bodies, from the which may spring ‘one’ name”.
We therefor find in ‘Love’s Martyr’ fundamentally the same tale told as in ‘Venus & Adonis’ where without the indignity of any rumpy-pumpy taking place – a new heir to the throne is almost magically begotten:
“A purple flower sprung up check’red with white”.(Venus & Adonis)
These words are of course an allusion to the Tudor colours red & white and the royal colour purple, three colours which symbolise and help identify the Tudor prince Henry Wriothesley – a deity we see in two separate works born by ‘miraculous conception’, our author twice chivalrous – as the purpose of these works is to save the virgin Queen’s blushes.
Edward de Vere’s great problem was Elizabeth wasn’t just his lover and mother to his son – but also his own mother. The problem being for him – that although you can physically divorced yourself from a lover or a wife, you can’t divorce a mother (an even greater problem if she is the monarch). Therefore almost throughout the entirety of his adult existence he was maternally bound not just to his mother but to the omnipotent Tudor Goddess Elizabeth, the reason he describes himself in line thirteen as being “pent” in her, meaning he was not only ‘confined’ to her but also ‘repressed’ by her.
My personnel opinion of Elizabeth is that she was very much her father’s daughter and the epithet ‘virgin Queen,’ could not have been further from the truth. Her attitude to incest was possibly that she considered it aligned her more closely with the Gods, while I also believe she took another of her sons ‘Robert Devereux’ 2nd Earl of Essex as a lover. It is Interesting that Elizabeth who considered herself ‘handmaid’ to her ‘God & King’ at thirty years of age decided to published some of her prayers – of which one in particular is very revealing:
From my secret sins cleanse me;
From the sins of others spare your handmaid.
Many sins have been forgiven her because
She has loved too much.
A prayer that rather implies that secretly loving too much is somehow ‘sinful.’ While we remember that Henry Wriothesley was incarcerated in the tower by the state following his conviction for treason – finding himself “slave to slavery” which implies his confinement at her Majesty’s ‘pleasure’ to be something greater than mere slavery, the question that consequently needs asking (bearing in mind Elizabeth’s ‘track record’ in respect of conventional morality) is to what degree did this pleasure extend?
Did Wriothesley find himself “harder engrossed” in her “deep wound” and did his father perhaps find the thought of history repeating itself in this way “torture”.
Ostensibly the “deep wound” allusion (line 2) actually relates to Christ’s own torture by the blind Roman centurion ‘Longinus’, who as he was being crucified pierced his side with a lance, while in ‘Pentecost’ we find the holy spirit of God descended amongst the disciples of Jesus and was ‘pent’ within the son of God’s followers – as inextricably as Edward de Vere was ‘pent’ within his mother.
It seems interesting to me that both ‘Jesus Christ’ and ‘Robert Devereux’ a half-brother to both Edward de Vere and his son Henry Wriothesley both died at the age of 33 (while remembering all illegitimate princes had official & unofficial birthdays).
How very appropriate then; that Essex carried the name ‘De-vere-ux’ though in reality in terms of D.N.A Edward de Vere was not related to the De Vere family any more than Robert Devereux was related to the Devereux family, ‘Oxford’s father was Lord Admiral Thomas Seymour brother of ‘Jane Seymour’, whereas Essex’s father was Robert Dudley. (Elizabeth was responsible for five princes (all males) whom I name in my article) “With the breath thou Givst and Tak’st”.
Now; in looking at the conclusion of the previous sonnet to (S.133) we discover an aspect of ‘The Dark Lady’ our author emphatically did approve of.
As those two mourning eyes become thy face,
O, let it then as well beseem thy heart
To mourn for me, since mourning doth thee grace,
And suit thy pity like in every part.
Then will I swear beauty herself is black,
And all they foul that thy complexion lack.(S.132)
Primarily Elizabeth mourns the execution of ‘Essex’ but ‘Oxford’ suggests she should also mourn for him, because their son (H.W.) had also been convicted of treason and stripped of all his titles – subsequently to be known as plain Mr.
The imprisonment of Wriothesley and Robert Cecil’s successful disbanding of the ‘Essex Faction’ and its three leading protagonists gave him a great victory ultimately leading to James VI accession to the English throne, while ‘Oxford’ considered anyone ‘foul’ who failed to mourn the death of Essex, as Elizabeth succumbed to grief and old age (describing her as “one sick Phoebe”) while in the struggle for power that “shrieking harbinger” (Robert Cecil) “foul procurer of the fiend” (James VI) became the power-broker who triumphed.
In the greater scenario – Elizabeth drifted into madness – while we find at the end of her life in line twenty of “The Phoenix and the Turtle” that she received from an empathetic son an invitation:
“Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.”
This symbolic invitation by our great author to his mother – is an invitation to her son’s funeral, an invitation he knew she could not possibly accept because her son the 2nd Earl of Essex had been convicted of crimes against the state.
While what I personal admire immensely in this gesture – is that it represents one of the most difficult virtues – that of forgiveness, our author realising that his mother (although she reluctantly had signed Essex’s death warrant) was not to blame for his execution, because she had come under an inordinate amount of pressure to do so from that toady-megalomaniac Robert Cecil, who considered the world with one less prince in it would be a better place.
Looking at the first line of (S.133) perhaps the dual heartache of losing both Essex (executed) and VVriothesley (imprisoned) is what makes ‘Oxford’ curse “that heart”. This is language we must recognise in terms of endearment – for even as he curses his mother – he still refers to her using the word “heart”.
“Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan”.
Our author chooses the number ‘one’ when alluding to Wriothesley, while for himself he uses the numbers ‘1740’. I have taken the liberty of giving (S.144) a title, first published in “The Passionate Pilgrim” and signed several times by Edward de Vere, wistfully on one occasion with the following words: “Vere – a word for ‘shadowes’ like myself”, while line ‘144’ of ‘Lucrece’ spells Wriothesley’s motto (in full) from which I deduce that he is “The better angel”.
‘Two Loves Sugiest Me’ (original spelling).
Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still:
The better angel is a man right faire,
The worser spirit a woman coloured ill,
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And whether that my angel be turned fiend
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell:
But being both from me, both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another’s hell,
Yet this shall I ne’er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.
In the fifth line of (S.133) we find
“Me from myself thy cruel eye hath taken”.
The obvious meaning we may extract is that our author has been parted from his senses, though more likely it alludes to the separation of father and son – a relationship logically defined by the words “every-one” words elaborated upon in (S.53). While the ‘Quarto’ starts with Edward de Vere’s ‘double V V insignia’ – derived from his personal motto ‘Vero Nihil Verius’.
1. VVHat is your substance, whereof are you made
2. That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
3. Since every one hath, every one, one shade,
4. And you, but one, can every shadow lend
5. Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit
6. Is poorly imitated after you.(S.53)
The merging together of the words ‘every’ & ‘one’ is a very simple allusion identifying our author and son (‘Edward de Vere’ and ‘Henry Wriothesley’) while in line six of (S.133) he speaks of ‘my next self’ words surely representing a biological duplicate of himself, as we remember the dedication to Henry Wriothesley in ‘Venus & Adonis’ also speaks in princely language:
“The first heir of my invention.”
The words “my invention” also appear in (S.105) preceding the “wondrous scope” that our author’s royal family potentially offered him – at a time before the dark and shadowy period of imprisonment we find encompassing (S.133).
We find our author increasingly reflects upon a sense of loss and isolation from familiarity as he approaches the ‘Will Sonnets’ (S.135 & 136) which identify an even greater sense of alienation and nothingness, a deep resentment and feeling of disenfranchisement that inevitably came to all illegitimate princes, which were of course precisely the ingredients in February 1601 leading princes “Kind, Learned & Envious” to irrational actions.
“Prison my heart in thy steel bosom’s ward”.
This is ironic because in the year 1562 when Oxford’s step father ‘Earl-John’ mysteriously died (possibly murdered) as he was a minor he became a ward to her Majesty – so in the previous line he seemingly requests a renaissance of that very ward-ship, asking her to take ‘his heart’ prisoner in her cold bosom and pleading for Wriothesley’s release (his poor heart) by petitioning the Queen in wanting to personally guard Wriothesley.
“Thou canst not then use rigour in my jail”.
Oxford offers surety for his son suggesting the Queen could not be over severe in her restraint of them for fear of harming them both, though inevitably as she is their mother their confinement will appear to them both rigorous and harsh.
“And yet thou wilt, for I being pent in thee,
Perforce am thine and all that is in me.”
A sense of hopelessness prevails in the final rhyming couplet and by using the word “all” (an allusion to Wriothesley’s motto) our author invokes his son, while “every-one” of them is found in desperate straits.
Philip Cooper fecit: © 11th August 2020.
N.B. “Kind Learned Envious” explained:
(We find these allusions in the penultimate line of the final illustration of this article – dedicated by our author “To the Worthily Honoured Knight Sir John Salisburie”).
Our great author always keen to identify himself, is found quite easily in the ‘very first’ poem found in the ‘quarto’ (first edition) of “Loves Martyr” illustrated in this brief excerpt:
(5) Accept my home-writ praises of thy love,
(6) And kind acceptance of thy Turtle-dove.
(7) Some deepe-read scholler fam’d for Poetrie,
(8) Whose wit-enchanting verse deserveth fame.
At the end of this poem; in signing it – our author pretends to be the fictitious character ‘Robert Chester’ describing himself as “the least and meanest in degree”, while he includes allusions at the beginnings of lines five and six to ‘Apollo & Athena’ before with his terribly dense-brain describing the author as a “deepe-read scholler” words composed of ‘17 letters’. Who the heck could this be?
While if we look at the eighth line; we find through utter ineptitude and lack of education his name contained within the word ‘de-s erve-th’ = de vere.
The poets who contributed to “Diverse Poeticall Essaies” at the conclusion of “Loves Martyr” ‘John Marston, George Chapman & Ben Johnson’ I am sure were all of a like mind – followers of ‘The Essex Faction’ who individually are identified by our great author in ‘line 17’ of the poem (illustrated below) signed “Vatum Chorus”.
My thoughts here are that “Vatum Chorus” and the three leading lights of the ‘Essex Faction’ (one of them deceased at the time of his writing) are precisely and exactly the same thing: “Kind, Learned, Envious” are allusions to the three princes ‘Wriothesley, Oxford & Essex’.