Sir John Suckling – 5 (Suckling and Jonson)

[“Or hast thou viewed the peacock in his pride”]  

Then he [John Suckling]  also was quite a scholar and was interested in the same things we are in poetics so he did a little imitation of (Ben) Jonson’s poem on page two-sixty, the “Oh so white…” – remember that one that we went over so much. – from “The Triumph of Charis?

“Have you seen but a bright lily grow/Before rude hands have touched it/Have you marked but the fall of snow/Before the soil hath smutched it?/Have you felt the wool of beaver,/Or swan’s down ever?/Or have … Read More

A Brief Anthology of English Lyric

Allen at Naropa on “Basic Poetics” continuing from here
AG: So we’ll go back to Edmund Waller or do a bit more of (John) Milton. But I would like to get to Edmund Waller for a while, for a brief while. Is that alright? Is that… “Go, lovely rose”  (on page three-oh-five). And I’ll read that, and see how it works. I think of all the little lyrics we’ve gone over, this was the one like “Ask Me No More..” and “scepter and crown” (“Ask me no more..” was Carew)  – “Scepter and crown/Must crumble down/ And … Read More

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