The Readers Review: Literature from 1800 to 1910 discussion

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Poets' Corner > A Poem for The Day

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message 1: by Christopher (last edited Sep 28, 2010 08:08PM) (new)

Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
Here is the place to post a poem that you would like to share with us. The only rule is that your poem generally falls within the group's time-period. Have fun, and share your favorites with all of us!

To introduce 'A Poem for The Day' I am posting one of Keats' beautiful poem. This poem speaks to the love he held in his heart for Fanny Brawne.

'Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art'

Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleeping Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round the earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft swell and fall,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

(Thought to have been written in late-1818, or early-1819)

If you haven't seen it already, I highly recommend the Jane Campion-directed film, Bright Star!


message 2: by MadgeUK (last edited Aug 31, 2010 08:44PM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments How coincidental Chris - I have just posted another poem by Keats in Poetry Corner! This is another which makes full use of alliteration to create memorable lines like '...the new soft-fallen mask/Of snow upon the mountains and the moors'. Fanny Brawne was a lucky woman to have inspired such sentiments and theirs is a strange story:-

http://englishhistory.net/keats/fanny...

Readers may also be interested to know that at the Keats' House museum, a lovely Victorian house in Hampstead (near London), there is a book containing a collection of Fanny's fashion plates, as well as many other artefacts recollecting Keat's life:-

http://www.keatshouse.cityoflondon.go...

I haven't seen Bright Star but have now ordered the DVD - thanks for the recommendation.


Leslie (lesslie) Well I have just read the page from the link you posted about Keats and Fanny. What a story! I must rush off now to dust off my Keats collection and reread it all with this new insight. Oh, and the picture of his death maks gave me such a chill! Thanks for posting the link.


MadgeUK | 5214 comments Thanks. It is such a tragic story:(. So many people died of TB in those days - like the Brontes:(. Such a waste of life:(. Thank goodness Fanny did not get it.

I watched a DVD of Bright Star at the weekend and like Chris, can now highly recommend it.


Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
MadgeUK wrote: "Thanks. It is such a tragic story:(. So many people died of TB in those days - like the Brontes:(. Such a waste of life:(. Thank goodness Fanny did not get it.

I watched a DVD of Bright Star at t..."


Oh, Madge, I'm so glad that you had the chance to see that movie. I really thought Campion did such a fabulous job with portraying that great love. I had really hoped that it would do better in the annual awards, but it was probably a bit to esoteric for much of the American audience. The cinematography was simply exquisite...Fanny and Keats in the field of bluebells!


MadgeUK | 5214 comments Yes, it was very sympathetically and artistically filmed although I wondered if Campion had portrayed Keat's friend Brown as too much of an ogre?


Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
MadgeUK wrote: "Yes, it was very sympathetically and artistically filmed although I wondered if Campion had portrayed Keat's friend Brown as too much of an ogre?"

I agree with you about Brown too. I recall a biography of Keats that I read that Brown and Keats seemed to be very close. Campion seemed to make Brown out as the sole protector of John.


David I thought some of you might be interested in this editorial from one of Britain's better quality newspapers, The Guardian.


MadgeUK | 5214 comments Thanks David - Autumn is one of my favourites and has such beautiful alliteration. Although as a gardener, I regret that it is such a messy time of year!:)


Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
Thank you for sharing that beautiful bit of prose, David. I agree with Madge too, Keats' Autumn has always been one of my favorite poems too. Cheers!


Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
At Lulworth Cove a Century Back

HAD I but lived a hundred years ago
I might have gone, as I have gone this year,
By Warmwell Cross on to a Cove I know,
And Time have placed his finger on me there:

"You see that man?" -- I might have looked, and said,
"O yes: I see him. One that boat has brought
Which dropped down Channel round Saint Alban's Head.
So commonplace a youth calls not my thought."

"You see that man?" -- "Why yes; I told you; yes:
Of an idling town-sort; thin; hair brown in hue;
And as the evening light scants less and less
He looks up at a star, as many do."

"You see that man?" -- "Nay, leave me!" then I plead,
"I have fifteen miles to vamp across the lea,
And it grows dark, and I am weary-kneed:
I have said the third time; yes, that man I see!"

"Good. That man goes to Rome -- to death, despair;
And no one notes him now but you and I:
A hundred years, and the world will follow him there,
And bend with reverence where his ashes lie."

***

The following is the note appended to the poem by Thomas Hardy--

"NOTE. -- In September 1820 Keats, on his way to Rome, landed one day on the Dorset coast, and composed the sonnet, "Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art." The spot of his landing is judged to have been Lulworth Cove."


Everyman | 1319 comments Christopher wrote: "AAnd Time have placed his finger on me there:"

I don't understand this line. Is it typed in correctly? What do you take it to mean?


message 13: by Christopher (last edited Sep 28, 2010 08:54PM) (new)

Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Christopher wrote: "AAnd Time have placed his finger on me there:"

I don't understand this line. Is it typed in correctly? What do you take it to mean?"


So, one-hundred years earlier, if Hardy had gone to the Cove, 'Father Time' would have touched him and said, as he pointed over to Keats climbing out of a boat on the beach, "Do you see that man?"

Does that help?


Everyman | 1319 comments Christopher wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Christopher wrote: "AAnd Time have placed his finger on me there:"

I don't understand this line. Is it typed in correctly? What do you take it to mean?"

So, one-hundred years e..."


So you're saying that there's an implied "would" -- "Time would have placed..." ?

But I have a bit of trouble seeing Time in that role. But at least with the missing "would" the grammar becomes clearer.


message 15: by Christopher (last edited Sep 28, 2010 09:09PM) (new)

Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Christopher wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Christopher wrote: "AAnd Time have placed his finger on me there:"

I don't understand this line. Is it typed in correctly? What do you take it to mean?"

So,..."


Yes, I think at first the mind wants to insert that "would", but it does mess up the metre. I read it out loud with the emphasis on the line preceding and then the last line in the stanza seems to 'pop' in place.

Interesting, Everyman, I don't disagree that that precise spot is a little bit of an awkward blip--yet, the rest of the poem flows forth quite freely.


Jan (Auntyjan) | 479 comments I presume the 'might' from I might have gone...is meant to carry its meaning forward

I might have gone

...and Time have placed


Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
You know, Jan, I think you have the right of it there. It is the word "might" that does it, isn't it? I should have seen that too. Well done!

Read it out loud, it works, it really does!

Good catch, Jan!


Jan (Auntyjan) | 479 comments When I read poetry, I 'hear' it, even if I'm not actually reading it aloud. The same happens with dialect in Adam Bede, or when reading Chaucer. When I write a poem I'm often saying it quietly, or even singing it.
Hardy composed a number of songs.(so labelled in his collected poetry) Do you know if any of the tunes are available?


Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
Jan wrote: "When I read poetry, I 'hear' it, even if I'm not actually reading it aloud. The same happens with dialect in Adam Bede, or when reading Chaucer. When I write a poem I'm often saying it quietly, or ..."

Gosh, I don't, Jan. But if you come across any music do let me know; because I have tried to mate up his poetry with music that I love (with some success). I have even thought of writing to Loreena McKennitt and asking her to do some of Hardy's poetry. She has put some of William Butler Yeats to music with amazing results. She's Canadian, by the way.

I have to say that you and I really are quite a lot alike! I am a 'sound poet'--I love hearing the beat, the metre, the rhyme, the lyricism--I like hearing it out loud. It drives my family crazy [but I don't care!].


Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
Jan wrote: "When I read poetry, I 'hear' it, even if I'm not actually reading it aloud. The same happens with dialect in Adam Bede, or when reading Chaucer. When I write a poem I'm often saying it quietly, or ..."

And I very much like dialect in the novels I read too. You're quite right, the lilt and rhythm, and phonetic feel of the speech patterns is so important to the overall impression I take in from the novel.


MadgeUK | 5214 comments John Ireland composed some music for Thomas Hardy songs Jan - here are a few of them as MP3s:-

http://www.emusic.com/album/Benjamin-...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0...


message 22: by MadgeUK (last edited Oct 01, 2010 04:17AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Meant to post this on the 1st October:-

To Chrysanthemums

Late comers! Ye, when autumn's wealth is past;
When pale October strips the yellowing leaves;
When on our garden lawns and dripping eaves
The rain-soaked foliage of the elm is cast.
When 'neath grey skies the wild Atlantic blast
Searches the flowerbed for each bloom that cleaves
To blackening tendrils; when November weaves
Fretwork of frost, and winter frowns at last!
Ye in the year's decay and death of hope
Dawn with your hues auroral, hues of rose,
Saffron and ivory, amber, amethyst;
More delicate, more dear, more true than those
Gay blossoms which the July sunbeams kissed,
Purer of scent than honey heliotrope.

(John Addington Symonds 1840-1893.)


http://cdn2.ioffer.com/img2/item/136/...


Rochelle (Rochelle2) | 2609 comments That's lovely. :)

Not here yet. The trees are starting to turn, but we're getting the fall rains, mostly the tail ends of hurricanes hitting farther south.


MadgeUK | 5214 comments You have a much more spectacular fall than we do because of your land mass but ours can be quite beautiful in some areas. Lots of rain here too - every day this week:(:( And I have to go to London tomorrow to meet my GR friend - it will be train and taxi I think.

Jan, of course, is in midsummer so she will have to give us a summer poem:). I wonder what time of year Sandybanks is in?


Rochelle (Rochelle2) | 2609 comments Jan is at the beginning of spring. Sandybanks is in Indonesia?


MadgeUK | 5214 comments I thought Jan posted she was in summer? Yes Sandybanks is in Indonesia - not sure where that leaves her weatherwise.


message 27: by MadgeUK (last edited Oct 01, 2010 10:47AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments What about this one for those still in sunny climes:-

Peaches by Leonard Clark (1905-1981)

The house, Regency,
the walled garden hushed in the sun,
tidy and formal as a page of Bach
a few old peach trees
espaliered on the warm brick,
a line of little crucifixions facing south,
with victoria plums, comice pears,
Each velvet globe plucked from the branch,
precious as jewels, held to the cheek,
downy, softer than a fawn's coat,
young girl's bloom, gently placed
in chip basket, still holding the day's heat.
And then the teeth sinking into firm flesh
deep to the furrowed stone,
honey juice dribbling down.
Think then of California, Virginia,
prodigal orchards ripening there,
peaches common as crab apples
littering the countryside all the days of fall,
feeding gross pigs, sweetening their hams,
trucks spilling over, or casually tossed to rot in wasp-hunted heaps,
the air thick with smell of decay.
But here are rare and serenely beautiful,
the household glad and grateful at the sight
of twenty peaches on a September morning,
a child proud to be chosen for the first bite,
the garden sighing in the sun.


message 28: by Rochelle (last edited Oct 01, 2010 10:17AM) (new)

Rochelle (Rochelle2) | 2609 comments MadgeUK wrote: "I thought Jan posted she was in summer? Yes Sandybanks is in Indonesia - not sure where that leaves her weatherwise."

Jan would have her seasons in perfect inverse to us.


Jan (Auntyjan) | 479 comments I posted a September poem in my poetry notebook. We did have 30C (about 88 F) one day this week, but not summer yet.


Rochelle (Rochelle2) | 2609 comments Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog, 1808 Lord Byron

When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe
And storied urns record who rest below:
When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have
been:
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first of welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master's own
Who labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone
Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.
Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship is all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye! who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on - it honors none you wish to mourn:
To mark a friend's remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one, - and here he lies.


message 31: by MadgeUK (last edited Oct 04, 2010 11:39AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Ah - I know that monument well. I was a fan of Lord Byron in my youf and often cycled up to Newstead Abbey, his home in Nottinghamshire, to swim in the lake he and his dogs swam in:-

http://www.flickr.com/photos/carldavi...

http://www.praxxis.co.uk/credebyron/m...


Rochelle (Rochelle2) | 2609 comments Did you meet Byron and his dog while swimming? :)


Jan (Auntyjan) | 479 comments "I never knew but one and here he lies."
Do you think it's possible that a menagerie which included a bear and a wolf amongst many others, might have deterred friends of his own species? I mean, it's a great tribute to a dog, but it certainly makes one wonder whether the owner may not have gone out of his way to make friends with people.


Rochelle (Rochelle2) | 2609 comments On the contrary, he had many lovers of both sexes and many friends, including Shelley and his future wife Mary.

At various times, Byron also kept a fox, monkeys, a parrot, cats, an eagle, a crow, a crocodile, a falcon, peacocks, guinea hens, an Egyptian crane, a badger, geese, and a heron.


Jan (Auntyjan) | 479 comments Rochelle wrote: "On the contrary, he had many lovers of both sexes and many friends, including Shelley and his future wife Mary.

At various times, Byron also kept a fox, monkeys, a parrot, cats, an eagle, a crow,..."

They might have been a little miffed when they found that they weren't regarded as friends, then.


Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
You know who else was an unabashed fan of Shelley's poetry? One of my favorite authors--Thomas Hardy. Shelley was clearly unorthodox, but there are some elements in his thinking that certainly strike a chord. Shelley's view of the world crops up in just about all, if not all, of Hardy's novels. For example, his characters: Damon Wildeve, Eustacia Vye, Edred Fitzpiers, Alec d'Urberville, and even Sue Bridehead, all express Shelleyan traits.

I would actually love to have this specific topic--i.e., the Shelleyan perspective and influence on the character development in Thomas Hardy's novels as a stand-alone discussion topic sometime. This could be mined for weeks. Toward this end, read Shelley's poem Epipsychidion.


Jan (Auntyjan) | 479 comments Or you could broaden it to references and influences of other poets and authors in a writer's work...the possibilities would be endless, but it would certainly be very informative to understand their mutual influences.


Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
Jan wrote: "Or you could broaden it to references and influences of other poets and authors in a writer's work...the possibilities would be endless, but it would certainly be very informative to understand the..."

Oh, I don't disagree at all, Jan. My point was that I would love to work through the Shelley-Hardy relationship with all of you. I think it would be great fun.


MadgeUK | 5214 comments Jan wrote: "Rochelle wrote: "On the contrary, he had many lovers of both sexes and many friends, including Shelley and his future wife Mary.

At various times, Byron also kept a fox, monkeys, a parrot, cats, ..."


Why does keeping animals deter you from making friends Jan? I don't understand your reasoning here? Byron not only had many personal friends, he was the Elvis Presley of his day with a huge fan base both sides of the Atlantic and of course he became a national hero to the Greeks (still is).


Jan (Auntyjan) | 479 comments In his poem he stated he had only one friend...the dog...so I was speculating on why he might have had only that one...then Rochelle pointed out there were many friends, so I thought they might be a bit upset when they found out that their friendship didn't count, that's all.


MadgeUK | 5214 comments Rochelle wrote: "Did you meet Byron and his dog while swimming? :)"

No ghosts that I knew of:D.


message 42: by MadgeUK (last edited Oct 05, 2010 05:00AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Jan wrote: "In his poem he stated he had only one friend...the dog...so I was speculating on why he might have had only that one...then Rochelle pointed out there were many friends, so I thought they might be ..."

As a bohemian bisexual he suffered quite a lot of approbation in his life so I suppose there were times when he felt friendless. He also had a poor relationship with his mother; his father deserted them and died young. Perhaps at the time he wrote the poem he was going through one of his melancholic phases.


Historybuff93 | 287 comments The first stanza of Poe's The Raven:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —
Only this, and nothing more."


Jan (Auntyjan) | 479 comments Historybuff93 wrote: "The first stanza of Poe's The Raven:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, sud..."

"...gently rapping..." oh yes, that kind of rapping, the modern kind of rapping is not so gentle...funny how words can mean different things.


Rochelle (Rochelle2) | 2609 comments Jan wrote: "In his poem he stated he had only one friend...the dog...so I was speculating on why he might have had only that one...then Rochelle pointed out there were many friends, so I thought they might be ..."

For you, Jan:

http://www.notablebiographies.com/Br-...


Rochelle (Rochelle2) | 2609 comments Jan wrote: "Historybuff93 wrote: "The first stanza of Poe's The Raven:
"


Now there's another neurotic poet who committed incest and died young. Hardy seems stable by comparison.


Historybuff93 | 287 comments Old Edgar was a little nuts!


message 48: by Rochelle (last edited Oct 07, 2010 10:32PM) (new)

Rochelle (Rochelle2) | 2609 comments Today is National Poetry Day, or rather YESTERDAY WAS National Poetry Day:

http://xrl.in/6h5w


MadgeUK | 5214 comments You beat me to it Rochelle! Here is more about Erasmus Darwin, including some verses from his poems - I was particularly struck by the ones about slavery:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/...


Christopher H. (christopher_h) | 1483 comments Mod
Regarding Poe--

I went through a period, in my twenties, when I really admired Poe, the poet. I must confess that now I do not think all that much of his poetic skills. Now mind you, this is just me, but I really find his poetry quite superficial and excessively maudlin; maybe plumbing the depths of bathos is a more apt description. It continually amazes me that he is included in the American Canon of Poetry.


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The Readers Review: Literature from 1800 to 1910

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Books mentioned in this topic

Ilium (other topics)
The Book of the New Sun (other topics)
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