Herrick’s Ode To Ben Jonson

AG: Then this Ode for him (Ben Jonson),  [by Robert Herrick] (on page two seventy-nine), is in an even funnier little stanza-form, and it’s real down-home, mentioning the bars that they drink at and the places that they went to to make their poetry. – “Ah Ben! / Say how, or when/ Shall we thy guests/Meet at those lyric feasts/ Made at the Sun,/ The Dog, the Triple Tun?/Where we such clusters had/ As made us nobly wild, not mad” – (“nobly wild not mad”, that’s a good definition – “crazy wisdom” – “nobly wild … Read More

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.” – … Read More

Robert Herrick – Prayer to Ben Jonson



Robert Herrick (1591-1674) and Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

AG; “Prayer to Ben Jonson” –  6-5 6-5, 6-5 6-5 syllables. all about syllables and verse – “When I a verse…” (that’s page 277) – “When I a verse shall make,/Know I have pray’d thee, (not “to thee”, he didn’t want six-six, he wanted six-five)

“When I a verse shall make,/Know I have pray’d thee/For old religion’s sake,/Saint Ben to aid me. ” – (see what you can get if you just cut out a syllable, I mean, a funny syncopation) -“For old religion’s sake,/Saint Ben to aid me. ” … Read More

More Metrics

[The Foot]

[Human Spine Anatomy]

AG: .Well, the feet would be the… well, basically, the number of stresses in a line would be the number of feet, basically, number of stresses, as distinct from syllables. And a foot would be a varied kind of feet (da-da, da-da, da-da, da-da) – Tyger, Tyger ( da-da, da-da – da-da da) – So there’s four feet in “Tyger, Tyger burning bright” (that’s four feet -right?) – I think the Greek word is “metron” maybe for measure..I don’t know, I’ll have to check that out – hard to find a Greek nomenclature … Read More

Syllabic Poems – 4 (Herrick)

[“Water, water, I desire/Here’s a house of flesh on fire..”]

AG: (returning to an analysis of Robert Herrick)  – “The Scare-fire” (on page two seventy four) – That’s all seven syllables – “Water, water, I desire/Here’s a house of flesh on fire/Ope the fountains and the springs,/And come all to bucketings /What ye cannot quench pull down /Spoil a house to save a town /Better ’tis that one should fall,/Than by one to hazard all. ” – (da-da da-da da-da da, da-da da-da da-da da, da,-da da-da da-da da, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7,)

Now, the weird thing is, … Read More

Some Elizabethan & Jacobean Recommendations

AG: Okay I would like to move.. I would recommend reading that through (Jonson on Shakespeare). I just don’t want to take up our time now. I’m going to go back to later to Edmund Bolton’s “Palinode” (on page 270) [sic],  but I want to pair it with another poem later, so please read that some time . We’ll get to John Webster‘s, a couple of little lyrics, because they’re really beautiful (that’s on page 272) , But I want to go straight to (Robert) Herrick, to.. in order to “strike the second heat/ Upon Read More

Ben Jonson on Shakespeare

AG: Well ,  I think people should go ahead and read the thing on Shakespeare      [Ben Jonson’s “To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr William Shakespeare”] by yourselves,

I won’t go over it, except a couple of phrases in here – (page 260)  [sic] -It’s a real good poem. It’s an interesting poem, and it’s well-written, and it’s very.. it’s full of energy, at a certain point – “I therefore will begin. Soul of the age!/ The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!” – (he really gets with it)

But.. later on, he has a … Read More

Jonson’s Lucius Cary & Henry Morison

[ Two Young Men – (ca. 1590) – by Crispin van den Broeck (1523-ca.1591) – oil on panel – 44.5 cm × 60 cm –  Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England]

AG: This (poem) [Ben Jonson’s “To The Immortal Memory and Friendship of That Noble Pair, Sir Lucius Cary and Sir Henry Morison“- is about two young fellows who are really good friends, maybe lovers (there’s some slight suggestion of “heart-love” between them), who died young. As the last line says, on page two-sixty-five, “Who ere the first down bloomèd on the chin/Had sowed these fruits, and got the harvest … Read More

The Structure of the Ode

Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Basic Poetics class continues

AG: Strophe (is that pronounced strophee or strophe?)

Student: Strophee, I think

AG: Strophee – or Strophee/Antistrophee maybe – and  Epode. So the anti-strophe or antistrophe would be simply a mirror image of it, perhaps responding, responding to the first statement, and then the epode would be a variation on the form, (not necessarily the same but making use of the similar kinds of lines). And it’s good for certain kinds of formal poems, or occasional poems, or political poems. Like, I wrote Plutonian Ode (but I wasn’t paying attention to the … Read More

Pindaric Odes

[ Pindar (c. 522 – c. 443 BC)]

AG:  So, “..since our dainty age/ Cannot endure reproof,/Make not thyself a page/To that strumpet, the stage/But sing high and aloof,/Safe from the wolf’s black jaw and the dull ass’s hoof “ (that’s the end of that poem (by Ben Jonson) “On Himself” – Ode to Himself) – “Safe from the wolf’s black jaw and the dull ass’s hoof” (A lot of elitist poets have always liked that line as being an acme of put-down of vulgar public – it’s on page two-six-two of the..

Then  you studied … Read More