Spontaneous Poetics – (Marlowe & Raleigh and Campion)

Shepherd and Shepherdess Reposing – Fran├žois Boucher, 1761


[The tape begins in media res, Allen is reciting Christopher Marlowe’s “A Passionate Shepherd To His Love”]

AG: “…Fair lined skippers for the cold/ With buckles of the purest gold,/ A belt of straw and ivy buds,/ With coral clasps and amber studs;/ And if these pictures may thee move,/ Come live with me and be my love… ” –

And then Sir Walter Ralegh, about a year later registered a reply and answered (with) “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” [Allen recites this poem, in its entirety – “If all the world and love were young..”]

It’s, like, really cynical but much more realistic. It was nice that they had that much poetic telepathy with each other to lay it back and forth.

Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

I’m going to continue just a little bit more with song. I had spoken of song written for music. The great singer that (Ezra) Pound points attention to is (Thomas) Campion. When he’s read aloud, the time in his poetry is very slow and clear, almost clearer than anybody else’s time, just for where you have caesuras, and where you have rests, if you hear it aloud. I want to read a couple of poems and then we’ll have one song sung aloud. The one (that) I like most is pretty well-known – “Rose-cheek’d Laura, come” (first line, “Rose-cheek’d Laura – comma – come – comma. So it isn’t “Rose-cheek’d Laura come”, as it normally would be read by a high-school teacher. It’s [Allen sings on a descending scale, ending with “come”] – or [sings on an ascending scale] – “Rose-cheek’d Laura, come” – well, anyway, there’s a break, there’s a halt. [Allen reads, in its entirety, the poem] – The first lines, I’ll just read (you) the first lines of each of the four stanzas – ” “Rose-cheek’d Laura, come” , “Lovely formes do flow”, “These dull notes we sing”, “But still mooves delight” – What he’s counting there are the vowel-lengths, incidentally, because he’s making song, and he was especially interested in making vowel-lengths. Pound was interested in Campion because Campion was one of the rare English song men that had developed an ear for classical measure, for vowel-length measure.
“Follow thy fair sun” (is) also Thomas Campion, if you listen to it, those of you who know accentual measure, counting accents, if you listen to it and see how different it is when pronounced aloud from anything that would be counted by accent, you’ll get some ear for the quantitative verse we’ve been talking about .We’re on Thomas Campion, (for the new arrivals), the great pop singer of the beginning of the 17th century! – [Allen proceeds to read “Follow thy fair sun..” in its entirety] – In five short verses it actually builds up a strong rhythmic pulsation. “Follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow”, “Follow her whose light thy light depriveth”, “Follow those pure beams who’s beauty burneth”, “Follow her while yet her glory shineth”, “Follow still since so thy fates ordained”. Those are the first lines so, if you hear them in sequence, you see how he builds it up.

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