George Herbert Selections

A little out-of-order this – but here’s Allen’s George Herbert selection – remember George Herbert?)  (and some concluding remarks to his (April 1980) Naropa class)

AG: Okay, so next, I would have… (George) Herbert (page 285), check out Mr Herbert, similar to Herrick, as interesting as Herrick, but it’s a little more laden with God there, but some very amazing emotions come through, particularly, “The Collar”‘ (check out “The Collar”, the form), Check out the form of “Easter Wings” on page 285 as a precursor of shaped poetry, of what do you call it nowadays?  the…Concrete…pardon me? – … 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

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

Herrick’s Daffodils

AG: And then there’s a very nice one “To Daffodils”.. in term of the meter count, no, in terms of the syllable count. Dig what he’s got there –

“Fair Daffodils, we weep to see (eight syllables) /You haste away so soon (six syllables)/ As yet the early-rising sun (eight syllables)/Has not attain’d his noon (six syllables)/ Stay, stay, (two syllables)/ Until the hasting day (six syllables)/Has run (two syllables)/ But to the even-song (six syllables) / And, having pray’d together, we (eight syllables)/Will go with you along. (six (syllables)

We have short time to stay, as you, (eight)/ … Read More

Robert Herrick – “To The Virgins To Make Much of Time”

Three Graces – (detail from The Primavera (or The Allegory of Spring)) by Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), in the collection of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

AG: So therefore the next poem [to Student] – you want to read that please? – Gather.. To The Virgins! – “To The Virgins, To Make Much of Time

Student: “To The Virgins, To Make Much of Time”

AG: How many people have read this poem before? – only five? six? – okay, half the class. This is the poem in the English language that everybody knows as the lightest, brightest, sweetest, nicest … Read More

“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 … Read More

Robert Herrick – (Corinna’s Going A-Maying)

[Village Scene With Dance Around the Maypole – Pieter Bruegel, the Elder  (1634)]

AG: And “Corinna’s Gone A-Maying” (page two seventy-five) – It’s real pretty for.. as a Mayday thing. It’s a beautiful poem and I don’t want to go through it but..like the Shakespeare poem (of Ben Jonson) I think you ought to read it

Student: She’s Going-A-Maying

AG: What?

Student; Going-A-Maying

AG: Gone-A-Maying. She’s going out maying, she’s going out to… well, he describes it – getting up in the morning and going out and getting the dew on her hair and gathering hawthorne, white hawthorne, to … Read More

Herrick continues (Delight in Disorder)

[Portrait of Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth and the King’s Mistress by Sir Peter Lely -c. 1671 – oil on canvas – 125.1 × 101.6 cm – collectionof the J. Paul Getty Museum]

AG: “Delight in Disorder” is a very famous poem (on page two seven four). I think underneath there’s a little S & M shot there.

“A sweet disorder in the dress/Kindles in clothes a wantonness:—/A lawn about the shoulders thrown/Into a fine distrac-ti-ón,”— (he wants that eight syllables, this is eight syllables – because the only way he’s going to make that “distraction”, he … Read More