“Corinna’s Going A-Maying” – continued

[“Come, let us goe, while we are in our prime;/ And take the harmlesse follie of the time….”]

Student (reading Robert Herrick): “There’s not a budding Boy, or Girle, this day,/But is got up, and gone to bring in May..”.

AG; I like that line – “There’s not a budding Boy, or Girle, this day,/ But is got up, and gone to bring in May” – It’s so.. healthy. It’s such a healthy idea, I mean, such a sweet, nice poem

Student: (continues)  “A deale of Youth, ere this, is come/ Back, and with White-thorn laden home./Some have dispatcht their Cakes and Creame,/ Before that we have left to dreame..”

AG: Wait a minute, you know this is ironic – “Some have dispatcht their Cakes and Creame” – “,..Cakes and Creame,/ Before that we have left to dreame” – Before we have..

Student: Before we had breakfast? – Would that be better?

AG: Ah! – left off dreaming -“Some have dispatcht their Cakes and Creame” meaning eaten them – Some have eaten their cakes and cream before they’ve left off – “Some have dispatched their Cakes and Cream/Before they have been left to dream” Yeah – Ah!, Go on.

Student (continues reading) : ” And some have wept, and woo’d, and plighted Troth/, And chose their Priest, ere we can cast off sloth:/

AG: “Ere we can cast…

Student: (continues) “…ere we can cast off sloth:/Many a green-gown has been given;/ Many a kisse, both odde and even: /Many a glance too has been sent/ From out the eye, Loves Firmament: /Many a jest told of the Keyes betraying/ This night, and Locks pickt, yet w’are not a Maying.”

AG: “Come.. (turns to another student)

Student (2): “Come, let us goe, while we are in our prime;/ And take the harmlesse follie of the time….”

AG: “Harmless folly” – oh, that’s good, you can’t beat that.

Student (2): “We shall grow old apace, and die /Before we know our liberty./ Our life is short; and our dayes run/ As fast away as do’s the Sunne:/ And as a vapour, or a drop of raine/ Once lost, can ne’r be found againe: /So when or you or I are made/ A fable, song, or fleeting shade;/ All love, all liking, all delight/Lies drown’d with us in endlesse night./ Then while time serves, and we are but decaying…”

AG: You know it’s.. and.. it’s such a happy poem but at the end you get the axe! – and a really sad axe, enough to make you cry, because the cadence there also is beautiful, really beautiful when he says – “And as a vapour, or a drop of raine/ Once lost, can ne’r be found againe:/ So when or you or I are made/ A fable, song, or fleeting shade;/ All love, all liking, all delight” – ” So when or you or I are made/ A fable, song, or fleeting shade;/ All love, all liking, all delight/Lies drown’d with us in endlesse night.” – that’s suddenly so sad, and iron-like, real, right out of Roman poetry and Horace [editorial note – Catullus]  – that the line that he’s imitating is nox est una perpetua dormienda, once we’re dead, “night is a perpetual sleep” – what’s he got? – “Lies drown’d with us in endlesse night.” – That nox est una perpetua dormienda is a classical take on death, which is to say, not heaven and not hell, nor after-life, not pie-in-the-sky, not river, just stoic night is a perpetual sleep, no more.

{Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately sixty-three-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately sixty-seven-and-a-quarter minutes in]

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