Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
"My Days Among The Dead Are Past"
My days among the Dead are past;
Around me I behold,
Where'er these casual eyes are cast,
The mighty minds of old;
My never-failing friends are they
With whom I converse day by day.
With them I take delight in weal,
And seek relief in woe;
And while I understand and feel
How much to them I owe,
My cheeks have often been bedew'd
With tears of thoughtful gratitude. lines 1-12
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
"The Art of Reading Poetry" was a small to digest 82 pages, but the book had several big words that I had to use a dictionary on. I learned that Poetry is a figurative language, so that it will be expressive. There are 4 essential types of poetry; irony, synecdoche, metonymy, and metaphor.
Irony means a method of expressing something that means the opposite of what is it's usual intended meaning. Robert Frost was a poet of irony. Synecdoche is a symbol in the poem that stands for something outside of the poem.Walt Whitman was a poet of synecdoche. Metonymy is a figure of speech in which the name of one thing is used in place of that of another associated with or suggested by it. The poem "Childe Roland" by Robert Browning would be an example. Metaphor means a figure of speech containing an implied comparison, in which a word or phrase ordinarily and primarily used of one thing is applied to another. Hart Crane would be an example of using metaphor in his poetry. This book was a quick read, packed full of information, with also a listing of recommended poems to read in the back of the book.
"The Making of the Poets Byron and Shelley in Their Time" is an exhaustive and thorough book of research on the lives of George Gordon Byron the 6th Baron Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Both men were major English Romantic poets. I received a thorough enlightment on their lives with much information on who they had sex with and even who they wanted to have sex with. The book goes back further in giving information about each of their lineages. The book stops about 1812 shortly before Shelley met Mary Godwin, he ran off with her and her step-sister Claire. Mary Godwin would later become his wife and she wrote the story of Frankenstein. Both men could be selfish, cold, neglectful. Byron had a fiery temper, both men were thought to be manic-depressive. This book was a good read, very thorough, I was disapointed that it stoped short of Shelley's relationship with Mary, and did not continue until they both died, young tragic deaths.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I Heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair words did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thought I cannot measure:--
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?
edited by Christopher Ricks
I admit that I speed read this library book, because it was 690 pages. But I was successful in that I was introduced to several other poets; Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Carew, William Wordsworth, Edmund Spenser, Robert Southey, and T.S. Eliot.
Christopher Marlowe 1564-1593
Come live with mee, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That Vallies, groves, hills, and fieldes,
Woods, or steepie mountaine yieldes.
Thomas Carew 1594-1640
Ask me no more where love bestowes,
When June is past , the fading rose:
For in your beauties orient deep,
These Flowers as in their causes sleep.
Ask me no more whither doe stray
The golden Atomes of the day:
For in pure love heaven did prepare
Those powders to inrich your hair.
Ask me no more whither doth hast
The Nightingdale, when May is past:
For in your sweet dividing throat
She winters, and keeps warm her note.
Ask me no more where those starres light,
That downwards fall in dead of night:
For in your eyes they sit, and there,
Fixed, become as in their sphere.
Ask me no more if East or West,
The Phenix builds her spicy nest:
For unto you at last she flyes,
And in your fragrant bosome dies.
"The Secret Rose"
Far off, most secret, and inviolate Rose,
Enfold me in my hour of hours; where those
Who sought thee in the Holy Sepulchre,
Or in the wine vat, dwell beyond the stir
And tumult of defeated dreams, and deep
Among pale eyelids, heavy with sleep
Men have named beauty. Thy great leaves enfold
The ancient beards, the helms of ruby and gold
Of the crowned Magi, and the king whose eyes
Saw the Pierced Hands and Rood of elder rise
In druid vapour and make the torches dim;
Till vain frenzy awoke and he died; and him
Who met Fand walking among flaming dew
By a gray shore where the wind never blew,
And lost the world and Emer for a kiss;
And him who drove the gods out of their liss,
And till a hundred morns had flowered red,
Feasted and wept the barrows of his dead;
And the proud dreaming king who flung the crown
And sorrow away, and calling bard and clown
Dwelt among wine-stained wanderers in deep woods;
And him who sold tillage, and house, and goods,
And sought through lands and islands numberless years,
Until he found with laughter and with tears,
A woman, of so shining loveliness,
That men threshed corn at midnight by a tress,
A little stolen tress. I, too, await
The hour of thy great wind of love and hate.
When shall the stars be blown about the sky
Like the sparks blown out of a smithy, and die?
Surely thine hour has come, thy great wind blows,
Far off, most secret, and inviolate Rose?
Monday, July 9, 2007
"I Stood Tip Toe Upon a Little Hill"
I stood tip-toe upon a little hill,
The air was cooling, and so very still,
That the sweet buds which with a modest pride
Pull droopingly, in slanting curve aside,
Their scantly leav'd, and finely tapering stems,
Had not yet lost those starry diadems
Caught from the early sobbing of the morn.
The clouds were pure and white as flocks new shorn,
And fresh from the clear brook'sweetly they slept
On the blue fields of heaven and then there crept
A little noiseless noise among the leaves,
Born of the very sigh that silence heaves:
For not the faintest motion could be seen
Of all the shades that slanted o'er the green. lines 1-14
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Holy like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;-then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
Can death be sleep, when life is but a dream,
And scenes of bliss pass as a phantom by?
The transient pleasures as a vision seem,
And yet we think the greatest pain's to die.
How strange it is that man on earth should roam,
And lead a life of woe, but not forsake
His rugged path; nor dare he view alone
His future doom which is but to awake.
"La Belle Dame Sans Merci"
She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she gaz'd and sighed deep,
And there I shut her wild sad eyes-
So kiss'd to sleep.
And there we slumber'd on the moss
And there I dream'd ah woe betide,
The latest dream I ever dream'd
On the cold hill side.
And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.
"The Complete Poems of John Keats" from the Modern library
John Keats was born in London 31 October 1795; he was the oldest of 5 children. He was 8 when his father was killed in a riding accident, his grand-father died 1 year later and his mother died of Tb when he was 14. He had a very good education at the Clarke school a private academy and he had a reputation at this time as a fighter. He studied to be a surgeons apprentice, he did pass the exam. At this time he started reading and writing poetry. His first poem was "An Imitation of Spencer", he then wrote the 4000 line "Endymion". His friends encouraged him but he was also criticized, the magazine entitiled "Blackwood's" said "he was ignorant and an unsettled pretender, he had no right to aspire to poetry." Keats traveled to Scotland continuing to write poetry, writing "Hyperion." His brother Tom died also of Tb. He fell in love with a Fanny Brawne, and was betrothed to her, but on the 3rd of February 1820 he suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage, this meant he had an advanced stage of Tb. He broke off his engagement, and then sailed to Italy hoping the milder climate would help. He died on 23rd February 1821 and was buried in Rome. On his tombstone at his request was written "here lies one whose name was writ in water."
John Keats was a principal poet of the English Romantic movement. After his death he was a great influence on Tennyson and others. Keats wrote with elaborate word choices, sensuality, and great imagery.
I consider this a very interesting book; I'm always curious of how other people lived in the past. This book gives a great education on how people in the 19th century in England lived; what they ate, what they wore, their customs, their different jobs, diseases, the functions of doctors and surgeons, education, money, houses and furnishings, and domestic help. I have though decided after reading this book that I have no interest in eating black pudding. Black pudding was a dish made with a sausage and with blood and various other ingredients, the blood was spread on the outside giving it its name. The book gives many definitions of words that were used then, a reticule was a small bag to carry ladies personal articles, a faggot was a group of sticks tied together to be used for fuel, bedlam was an insane asylum that was run by the city of London, and arabs were street children.
I am still reading "The Canterbury Tales", I am now reading "The Nuns Priests Tale". "The Canterbury Tales" was written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 1300's, the story is about 29 travelers on a journey during the spring time to Canterbury. Each of these travelers are to tell a story while they are traveling and the best tale wins. The tales are all of various kinds, some with much wit, some a little cheeky, all entertaining, but some of the tales Chaucer did not finish. I read a book recently entitled "The Life and Times of Chaucer" by John Gardner, very good book. I received an education of Geoffrey Chaucer, but also on life in the 1300's in England. The author of this book wrote about the wars that went on between the Scots and the English, the monarchy during that time, how women were looked upon, what the people ate, what they wore, the black plague, and how Jews were looked upon in Europe. The book of course gave a very good biography of Chaucer. Geoffrey Chaucer was born about 1340, and maybe as late as 1343, his formal schooling was probably in the vestry of the church by a clerical tutor. He would have been taught in French, by 1385 students would then be taught in English. He was taught in French but this was not the language of the streets. He would have studied Latin, reading, and writing. In his teen years he became a page in the service of Prince Lionel and his wife Elizabeth Countess of Ulster, Prince Lionel was the 2nd son of King Edward III. Chaucer later married Philippa, the sister of Katherine Sywnford who was the famous mistress, and later wife, of John of Gaunt, the 3rd son of King Edward III. Geoffrey and Philippa had 2 children Thomas and Elizabeth. There is much debate on whether Chaucer is the biological father of these 2 children, they may have been the children of John of Gaunt. John of Gaunt and Geoffrey Chaucer were friends; Chaucer may have married Philippa to help out John of Gaunt and to give the children ligitimacy. Chaucer had a full life, he went off to war, to France, went to law school, maybe studied at Oxford, but he did not become a full sergeant of the law. He was made controller of customs and subsidies of the port of London. As a writer Chaucer "wrote in a mimicry impression of people." His poems were written in a way "to see people more clearly," and most of all to "feel emotionally" with the poem. He was the first author to write in the native language of the people rather than French or Latin. Chaucer is considered the father of English poetry. He died 25 October 1400. I have given only a short synopsis of Geoffrey Chaucer, I had taken several pages of notes on the books I've read on him.