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De Vere Poem 10: Fain Would I Sing, But Fury Makes Me Fret

The Introduction to this new Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship edition of the known poems of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604), explaining their text, format, annotations, and historical background, with key to abbreviations and works cited, is available here (see copyright notice therein, note 1). The other de Vere poems published in this edition (and a printable and citable pdf version of the entire article, including all 20 poems with annotations) may be accessed from the Introduction.

Poem No. 10: “Fain Would I Sing, But Fury Makes Me Fret”

(May #10: 6 x 3)

 

1            Fain would I sing, but fury makes me fret

2            And rage hath sworn to seek revenge of wrong;

3            My mazed mind in malice so is set

4            As death shall daunt my deadly dolours long;

5            Patience perforce is such a pinching pain

6            As die I will, or suffer wrong again.

 

7            I am no sot to suffer such abuse

8            As doth bereave my heart of his delight,

9            Nor will I frame myself to such as use

10          With calm consent to suffer such despite;

11          No quiet sleep shall once possess mine eye

12          Till wit have wrought his will on injury.

 

13          My heart shall fail and hand shall lose his force,

14          But some device shall pay despite his due,

15          And fury shall consume my careful corse,

16          Or raze the ground whereon my sorrow grew;

17          Lo, thus in rage of ruthful mind refused,

18          I rest revenged of whom I am abused.

 

(1) Fain would I sing, but fury makes me fret

Fain would I woo her, yet I dare not speak’ (1 Hen. VI, 5.3.65); ‘And with the wind in greater fury fret’ (Lucrece, 648).

The latter not only includes the curiously idiomatic phrase, fury … fret, but is another instance of the wide range of emotional expression in both samples.

(2) rage hath sworn to seek revenge of wrong

‘you both have vow’d revenge On him’ (3 Hen. VI, 1.1.55); ‘I will revenge his wrong’ (3 Hen. VI, 3.3.197); ‘seek not t’allay My rages and revenges’ (Cor., 5.3.85).

(4) my deadly dolours long

 ‘As ending anthem of my endless dolour’ (Two Gent., 3.1.242); ‘To think their dolour others have endured’ (Lucrece, 1582). Dolour refers to pain.

(5) Patience perforce is such a pinching pain

Patience perforce with willful choler meeting’ (R&J, 1.5.89).

(6-7) As die I will, or suffer wrong again. I am no sot to suffer such abuse

‘what wrongs we suffer’ (2 Hen. VI, 4.1.68); ‘the wrongs I suffer’ (Errors, 3.1.16); ‘Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong?’ (Rich. II, 2.1.164); ‘such suffering souls That welcome wrongs’ (Caes., 2.1.140); ‘he shall not suffer indignity’ (Tem., 3.2.37); ‘[Malvolio:] Why have you suffered me to be imprisoned … And made the most notorious geck and gull …? … [Olivia:] He hath been most notoriously abused’ (Twelfth, 5.1.331, 333, 368).

See also lines 9-10 below (suffer such despite).

(9-10) Nor will I frame myself to such as use … to suffer such despite

‘she fram’d thee in high heaven’s despite’ (Venus, 731); ‘And frame my face to all occasions’ (3 Hen. VI, 3.2.185); ‘That she preparedly may frame herself To the way she’s forc’d to’ (A&C, 5.1.55); ‘Frame yourself to orderly soliciting’ (Cym., 2.3.46); ‘thrown such despite and heavy terms upon her’ (Oth., 4.2.116).

See also lines 6-7 above (suffer wrong … abuse). The idea of “framing” oneself for a particular social expectation belongs to the dissimulation topos. Again, we see the same idea expressed in what appears to be highly idiomatic language.

See also Nos. 6.4, 9.2, 12.16, and 18.40.

(11) No quiet sleep shall once possess mine eye

‘Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye’ (Sonnets, 62.1); ‘What a strange drowsiness possesses them!’ (Tem., 2.1.199).

There are two distinct ideas in the Oxford lyric, the idea of something possessing the eye, and the idea that sleep possesses a person. Both are developed in Shakespeare.

(14) some device

‘Every day thou daff’st me with some device’ (Oth., 4.2.175); ‘plot some device of further misery’ (Titus, 3.1.134); ‘by some device or other’ (Errors, 1.2.95); ‘entrap thee by some treacherous device’ (As You, 1.1.151); ‘I think by some odd gimmors or device’ (1 Hen. VI, 1.2.41).

(14) pay despite his due

‘More is thy due than more than all can pay’ (Mac., 1.4.21); ‘Pay him the due of honey-tongued Boyet’ (LLL, 5.2.334); ‘be spent, And as his due writ in my testament’ (Lucrece, 1183).

(16) raze the ground

raze the sanctuary’ (Meas., 2.2.170); ‘Raze out the written troubles of the brain’ (Mac., 5.3.49); ‘To raze one title of your honour out’ (Rich. II, 2.3.76); ‘raz’d oblivion’ (Sonnets, 122.7).

Once again the Shakespearean equivalents are figurative elaborations of their lyric antecedent in de Vere, illustrating the Bloomian principle that Shakespeare grew by “overhearing himself.”

See also No. 5.6-8 (As Hannibal, that saw … defaced down).

(17) in rage of ruthful mind refused

in rage With their refusal’ (Cor., 2.3.259); cf. ‘Complots of mischief, treason, villainies Ruthful to hear’ (Titus, 5.1.65-66); ‘ruthful deeds’ (3 Hen. VI, 2.5.95); ‘ruthful work’ (Troil., 5.3.48).

[posted January 22, 2018]

About Bryan Wildenthal

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