[Allen, turning on and off the tape of the Bunting’s lecture recording, searches on the tape-recorder] – “Well, let’s see what he says about it – He was using records too – It’ll be clear in a minute..”
[At approximately thirty-two-and a quarter minutes in (and concluding at approximately thirty-four-and-a-quarter minutes in), Allen plays a recording of Bunting reading Campion’s “Follow Thy Sun…” – “Follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow/Tough thou be black as night/And she made all of light….”…”Follow still since so thy fates ordained,/The Sun must have his shade,/Till both at once do fade,/The Sun still proved, the shadow still disdained”]
AG: He said “disdain-ed” but he didn’t say “scorch-ed”, but he made it sound right so, – “That so have scorched thee/As thou still black must be” – I think that’s “scorch-ed”, actually. Does anybody know?
Student: It sounds like it should be, from the rhythm of the..tune.
AG: “That so have scorched thee/As thou still black must be” – Yes. If it’s six syllables for each line, then it would be “scorch-ed” – “There comes a luckless night/That will dim all her light” – That’s six-six, six-six, So.. The construction of the poem, as you notice, is probably an even number of syllables in the middle – “The sun must have its shade/To both at once do fade” – “There comes a luckless night/That will dim all her light” – So he’s counting syllables. The long lines are – “Follow..” – “Follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow” – ten! – “Yet follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow” – ten. So it’s all ten and six, all the way through. But the ear here is definitely… It has nothing to do with accent at this point.
If you realize how far we’ve come away from counting it by traditional accentual meters, stress meters. Is that clear? That the sound of this comes from somewhere else entirely than a count of da-da da-da da-da da-da-da-da. It isn’t like that at all. It’s… even as (Basil) Bunting pronounces it, you can.. It’s the mind and the mouth dwelling on the long aall sounds. Yeah, a continuity, a tonal continuity, or a syllabic continuity (I don’t know how you would define it) , (the) continuity is good though.
So for those of you who are not familiar with the concept of quantitative measure of a line, the count of the length of syllable, this, then, is, like, a perfect object to learn the lesson on. (Is that making sense at all?) – to hear the.. that there’s just another body English being used, besides rhythm, there’s another.. there’s another measure, another kind, that’s very deep inside the body and inside the mind but it has nothing to do with.. (I don’t know if it has nothing, but it has less to do with).. accent than most measures, and has more to do with the continuity of the syllables and the length of the syllables. And it is called quantitative meter.
Student: What do they call it when they endow Nature with human attributes?
Student: Something like that..it seems that he does something like that in the poem. It’s more..there’s just really a natural, you know, Nature thing that we’ve encountered so far. The rest of the stuff seems about people, and stuff, you know..
AG: You mean (in) this? Follow Thy Fair Sun?
Student: Yeah, but this is a Nature thing, it seems…
AG: Well, it seems, partly, maybe Nature, but here, actually, it’s more, more about the character, like their relations, and so on, like, she’s light, he’s dark, (or he feels dark and shadowy), following her around, following this sun around, But he’s asking for it, because then, when she gets to shades of underground, he can boast about how she kicked him in the face.
[Audio for the above may be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-one-and-three-quarters minutes in and concluding at approximately thirty-eight minutes in]