AG: So what’s next? – Another funny thing.. Well, there’s some (Sir Thomas) Wyatt here. Let’s just take one bit – a fast-forward look at Wyatt, find something of Wyatt that sounds good, way on ahead (rustling through anthology) but Wyatt is what? seventeenth-century? – Page 150? – 115 – yeah – no, he’s much earlier. We’ll get to Wyatt later. I just wanted to find one sing-song poem of Wyatt’s… Well, for his.. for a.. that same tetrameter, iambic tetrameter –
“My Lute Awake” page 117 (which I’ll read aloud in sing-song, because Wyatt is one of the most brilliant sing-song metric masters – he sort of perfected it, I think,and is, for me, almost the ideal, acme. It influenced a lot of my early poetry because it was such strong sing-song, that was like real clear to the ear, real precise and clear to the ear. So I found him immediately.. I found myself immediately attracted to his rhythms because they were so perfect and so clear, and once in a while there’d be something I would stumble on and I’d finally unravel it and figure out what accent he had, it would fall into place so smoothly, I realized what a strange genius he was for that sing-song.
My lute awake! perform the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And end that I have now begun;
My lute be still, for I have done.
That’s so pretty. That regularity (and what variations there are) and once you understand where to lay your accent.
Another similar(ly) perfect by Wyatt is “Forget Not Yet..”, which I think is a variant, using.. I guess some suggestion from old Greek prosody (Sapphic or Alcaic), where you have this little tag line at the end, three lines and a tag line that echoes and repeats and isn’t the complete line but just sort of like locks the rhythm in.
Forget not yet the tried intent
It’s pretty funny because all the little simple syntax words – the “this”, the “that”, you know, going back and forth – “Forget not yet”, “Forget not this”, “How long ago”, “and is” – just the funny little syntactical tricks he pulls, just to get.. getting right into the rhythmic perfect thing.
[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-nine minutes in and concluding at approximately twenty-nine minutes in]