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

W.B.Yeats’ Crazy Jane

AG: (George Herbert’s) “Love” next – “Love – 3” . I thought maybe, in some of his most amazing .. It’s a little bit like the famous “Crazy Jane” poem by William Butler Yeats?, you know? ( I think I recited it in the last class) – “I met the bishop on the road” – Does everybody know that? – Anybody not know “I met the Bishop on the road”.. ? –

{Allen reads the poem in its entirety]

I met the Bishop on the road And much said he and I. `Those breasts are flat and fallen now … Read More

From The Elizabethan Songbook (Breath & Air)

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 [ The Fool’s costume (the jester’s costume) – cap ‘n bells]

Student: Yeats wrote a poem called “The Cap and Bells

AG: Well (W.B.) Yeats did.. (that’s more) Irish..This is Cap and Bells too. I just (give you) that – but I wanted to get back into the breath into the open space. So it’s sort of insubstantial breath finally, So we can go back to Samuel Daniel. where we were,  on page one-hundred-and-ninety, can sort of get back into…

Peter Orlovsky: Which page?

Student: One-ninety

AG: Oh yes, before.. yes, one-ninety. Before we get there, … Read More

December 1st – William Blake’s Mental Traveller

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Manuscript of William Blake – The Mental Traveller

THE  MENTAL TRAVELLER

I travell’d thro’ a land of men, A land of men and women too; And heard and saw such dreadful things As cold earth-wanderers never knew.

For there the Babe is born in joy That was begotten in dire woe; Just as we reap in joy the fruit Which we in bitter tears did sow.

And if the Babe is born a boy He’s given to a Woman Old, Who nails him down upon a rock, Catches his shrieks in cups of gold.

She binds iron thorns around his … Read More

The Burning Babe & Intro to The Mental Traveler

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[Holy Poet-martyr St Robert Southwell And The Burning Babe (detail), William Hart McNichols 2015]

AG: How many were not here last time?. Well, okay.. Gordon Ball’s here and wants to take some pictures so if you don’t mind flashing.. lightning-bolts.. .burning babes… The last time, we dealt with “The Burning Babe”Robert Southwell’s poem, (page) 186. I think I had assigned it so for those of you who haven’t read it, you can read it later, but the idea was that there was this weird image of a burning babe (how many were here then?), burning babe, … Read More