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De Vere Poem 7: What Wonders Love Hath Wrought

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 7: “What Wonders Love Hath Wrought”

(May #7: 4 x 2 with terminal couplet)

1            My meaning is to work what wonders love hath wrought,

2            Wherewith I muse why men of wit have love so dearly bought;

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

4            Record I take of those that rede of Paris, Priam’s son.

 

5            It seemed the god of sleep had mazed so much his wits

6            When he refused wit for love, which cometh but by fits;

7            But why accuse I him, who earth hath covered long?

8            There be of his posterity alive, I do him wrong.

 

9            Whom I might well condemn to be a cruel judge

10          Unto myself, who hath the crime in others that I grudge.

 

(1) what wonders love hath wrought

Love wrought these miracles’ (Shrew, 5.1.124).

The locution hath wrought occurs at least six times in Shakespeare.

(4) Paris, Priam’s son

This is a very common mythological point of reference throughout the Shakespeare plays. E.g.:

‘As Priam was for all his valiant sons’ (3 Hen. VI, 2.5.120); ‘sons, Half of the number that King Priam had’ (Titus, 1.1.80); ‘Had doting Priam check’d his son’s desire’ (Lucrece, 1490); ‘all Priam’s sons’ (Troil., 2.2.126); ‘You valiant offspring of great Priamus’ (Troil., 2.2.207); ‘a son of Priam’ (Troil., 3.3.26); ‘One of Priam’s daughters’ (Troil., 3.3.194); ‘the youngest son of Priam’ (Troil., 4.5.96); ‘great Priam’s seed’ (Troil., 4.5.121); ‘A bastard son of Priam’s’ (Troil., 5.7.15).

(5) It seemed the god of sleep had mazed so much his wits

‘on your eyelids crown the god of sleep, Charming your blood with pleasing heaviness’ (1 Hen. IV, 3.1.214).

An interest in the curative powers of sleep (and here, the bewitching powers of this deity) is another motif in Shakespeare’s variegated study of psychology.

Neither Shakespeare nor Oxford uses the god’s proper name, Hypnos or Somnus.

(6) love, which cometh but by fits

‘a woman’s fitness comes by fits’ (Cym., 4.1.6).

[posted January 22, 2018]

About Bryan Wildenthal

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