Allen Ginsberg and Tom Schwartz on John Milton – 5

[“Priscian, or the Grammarian”  (the Latin teacher) – marble cameo panel (dated 1437-1439), from the bell tower of Florence, Italy. – Luca della Robbia – Museo dell’Opera del Duomo]

Allen Ginsberg and Tom Schwartz on John Milton’s poetry continues 

AG: So, the other thing is, do you know anything about the syntax?  the Latin, the effect of Latin on his (Milton’s) syntax?

TS: No not really, except for a (quality) of many of these versions.

AG: Well, do you know Latin at all?

TS: No.

AG: Has anybody studied Latin? – Could you explain Latin? ..oh – {to two students] … Read More

Allen Ginsberg and Tom Schwartz on John Milton – 4

Allen Ginsberg and Tom Schwartz 1980 Naropa class on John Milton continuing from here

TS: Let’s see …”But oh the heavy change, now thou art gone -/Now thou art gone and never must return!” }  –   If you can find those lines..  I’m not sure if it’s that…

AG: In Lycidas?

TS; In “Lycidas”.  This passage may be choral or chanted.as a Greek chorus, there’s no specific indication that it is solo, and there’s,,

AG: Okay, that’s line thirty..  that’s page three oh seven, line thirty-seven –  “But oh the heavy change, now thou art gone -/Now … Read More

Allen Ginsberg and Tom Schwartz on John Milton – 3

[Bartholomeo Better (1639-1699) – oil on canvas – “Still Life With Instruments and Books”]

Allen Ginsberg’s 1980 Naropa class on John Milton (with assistance from Tom Schwartz) continues from here.

AG: I want to read one thing I’ve got here – [reads] –  “One needs scarcely elaborate on Milton’s use of music or on his father’s musical accomplishment, He had contact with the most prominent musicians in England (both in English and Italian) through his father with Nicholas Lanier,  (Thomas) Ravenscroft, (Alfonso) Ferrabosco, through the Comus production with Henry Lawes‘  – (he one long…he made … Read More

Allen Ginsberg and Tom Schwartz on John Milton – 2

[William Blake – The Temptation and Fall of Eve. (1808) – illustration of Milton’s Paradise Lost]

Allen’s 1980 Naropa Basic Poetry class continues – {Allen is joined by his friend Tom Schwartz in a discussion of the poetics of John Milton and the opening of Paradise Lost]

AG: So..what’s it? – the first lines are. “Of Man’s first Dis-“, – (that’s.., the accent falls on the fourth syllable)  – Then  “Of that forbid-den tree”- (four syllables)  – “Brought death into the World” – (six. syllables) – “With loss of E-den” – (four syllables) – till one greater Man/Restore us, and … Read More

Allen Ginsberg & Tom Schwartz on John Milton

Tom Schwartz: There’s a very good book by F.T.PrinceThe Italian Element in Milton’s Verse which is a nice short book which gets to the heart of the matter. Milton was very fascinated with Italian poets of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, just before him, Tasso, in particular, and the standard Italian line contained eleven syllables, and for various reasons, a ten-syllable line works in English (mainly because we don’t have so many vowels and we have heavier consonants) and, basically, wnat Milton prosody comes down to in the  … Read More

Allen Ginsberg on the Opening of Paradise Lost

[William Blake – The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (1808)]
Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion Hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa‘s brook that flow’d… Read More

Ginsberg Reads Milton

Student: Has he (Milton)  (argued) to drop rhymes?
AG: No, but we’re talking… he’s talking about Paradise Lost,  His earlier works he had rhymes (and some not-rhymes). He’s a great rhymer, he knows how to rhyme.
Student:  (A fifty-percent thing, you know  – he doesn’t, and then he follows it with rhymes)
AG: Me too, yeah, my first book (The Gates of Wrath)  is all rhymes, and I go back to it occasionally. But he’s saying for heroic verse. For heroic verse, heroic rhetorical verse, that rhyme
Read More

Milton’s Poetic Measure

AG: Now how dare we assume that it’s meant for speaking aloud anyway? (aside from all the evidence that I’ve been producing in the last four months, three months). Well, what we have is (John) Milton’s own book on that. And so, he’s got for Paradise Lost  (not in your book but in a complete Paradise Lost),  there’s a thing, a little preface he gives to Paradise Lost called “The Verse” – (and he’s telling about the verse-forms). So this was his particular scheme. Now he did Greek and Latin and he knew it real well and he wrote … Read More

“Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song..”

[John Milton (1608-1674)]

[Henry Lawes (1596-1662)]

Allen Ginsberg’s 1990 Basic Poetics class at Naropa,  continuing from last week.

AG: On page three-two-four – “To Mr Henry Lawes on His Airs” – “Airs” – tomb – “Lawes and Jenkyns be thy guest…” – remember from Ezra Pound? Pisan Cantos? – “Lawes and Jenkyns guard thy rest/Dolmetsch ever be thy guest” – same  Henry Lawes, the musician – “Harry..”  (Henry Lawes)  (hey! Harry!)

“Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song/First taught our English music how to span/Words with just note and accents, not to scab/With Midas’ ears, committing  short … Read More

The Decline of English Poetry

[William Cowper (1731-1800) – “… William Cowper, who was completely crazy …”]

Allen’s been discussing the poems of Robert Herrick

AG: There’s a nice, … but then, something that happens now, from here on out. It started. You got a shot of it in (John) Donne with that masochistic religion, and the interiorization of the spirit into some kind of deus ex machina outside, on the other side of the clouds, that’s supposed to come and rape your mind. And then, from then on, there’s all these different varieties..it gets squeezed..English poetry gets squeezed more and more into this … Read More