Herrick and Tom o’ Bedlam

[“All the sprites that stands by the naked man/In the book of moons, defend ye” – Zodiac Man (illustration from a 1580 Almanac)]

AG: Then, I don’t know if you remember,.. there’s an interesting rhythm here, like the “Tom o’ Bedlam” lyric that I read last year – “From the hag and hungry goblin/ that into rags would rend ye/ All the sprites that stands by the naked man/ In the book of moons, defend ye”, “That of your five sound senses/ You never be forsaken/ Nor wander from your selves with Tom/ Abroad to beg your bacon.” – “Her eyes the glow worm lend thee,/The shooting stars attend thee/And the elves also/Whose little eyes glow/Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee!” – (it’s a famous.. I don’t know the name of this verse-form but it’s an interesting one (like the Tom o’ Bedlam lyric – and it’s also just like the (Herrick – “Prayer to Ben) Jonson, I notice – “The fairy beam upon you…” (page two sixty seven) – “The fairy beam upon you,/The stars to glister on you,/A moon of light/In the noon of night,/Till the firedrake hath o’er-gone you.” (that’s (page) two sixty seven) –

And then back to (page) two seventy eight with “Night Piece to Julia” – “Her eyes the glow worm lend thee,/The shooting stars attend thee/And the elves also/Whose little eyes glow.Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee!” – (two seventy eight) – “No Will-o’- th’-Wisp mis-light thee./Nor snake or slow-worm bite thee./But on, on thy way./Not making a stay/Since ghost there’s none to affright thee / Let not the dark thee cumber,/ What though the moon does slumber?/ The stars of the night /Will lend you their light/Like tapers clear without number./ Then Julia let me woo thee,/ Thus, thus to come unto me; /And when I shall meet/ Thy silv’ry feet,/My soul I’ll pour into thee.” (“into thee” – ” sperm, I guess, “Thy silv’ry feet”) – That’s a funny, funny meter, funny stanza form – not far from the limerick – “little eyes glow…/befriend thee” – “There was a young man from St Ives”? – It’s like the limerick form, actually. It’s slightly different because it’s used for very beautiful elegant, silvery ghostly music sometimes,like in this. of… “From the hag and hungry goblin/ That into rags would rend ye/ The spirit that stands by the naked man/In the Book of Moons defend ye “. – A bit like Yeats, ghostly Yeats, sort of..

Student: What’s it called, Allen?

AGL I don’t know, the Tom o’ Bedlam song I like. And then I noticed “The Gypsy Song” was like that, and I noticed the “Night Piece to Julia” was like that, and the Tom o’ Bedlam song is of that time too – (so that would be.. Elizabethan?…)

Student; Was that the time of Shakespeare?

AG: I wonder if Shakespeare.. did Shakespeare ever write a measure like that ( da-da da da da da da da da?)

Student: It’s kind of weirdly like “Tom O’ Bedlam”

AG: Oh, it’s the same figure. Archetype it seems like, frankly, like Dracula – you know Warhol and Dracula? – Nosferatu? (Everybody’s got their own) –  (“Bedlam” is a mad-house. Tom from Bethlehem Hospital )

{Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately eighty-one minutes in  and concluding at approximately  eighty-four-and=a-quarter minutes in}

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