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RVP, Week Five Poetry-reading techniques: managing blank verse Wordsworth, Prelude Barbauld, Beachy Head.

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Presentation on theme: "RVP, Week Five Poetry-reading techniques: managing blank verse Wordsworth, Prelude Barbauld, Beachy Head."— Presentation transcript:

1 RVP, Week Five Poetry-reading techniques: managing blank verse Wordsworth, Prelude Barbauld, Beachy Head

2 Poetry reading: “Blank verse” Name for unrhymed iambic pentameter “Blank Verse,” Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics “Clearly verse without rhyme is esp. suited to long works, permitting an idea to be expressed at whatever length is appropriate, not imposing on the lang. a repeated structure of couplet or stanza which would tend to produce conformity in syntactic structures as well.” (138) “The omission of rhyme promoted continuity, sustained articulation, enjambment, and relatively natural word order.” (138) “it is a fact that all b. v. after Milton became essentially a romantic form-no longer epic, and no longer dramatic, but the vehicle of rumination and recollection.” (140)

3 Initial questions How are WW and Barbauld’s poems different from epics? How are they similar?

4 From epic to romantic Epic poetry: Potential source of national values Generally happens at temporal remove from present-day events—Age of Heroes, etc. Romantic redirections Still thought of as source of national values Often meant to apply directly to present day Romantic hero as hero of an individual sensibility

5 How reflective? How organized? Are events happening… In past (reflective, recollective) In an ongoing present tense (natural or human processes addressed as general) In a possible future (prophecy) How is an epic organized? How do these poems differ—and what similarities might we posit?

6 Here must we pause: this only let me add, From heart-experience, and in humblest sense Of modesty, that he, who in his youth A daily wanderer among woods and fields With living Nature hath been intimate, Not only in that raw unpractised time Is stirred to ecstasy, as others are, 590 By glittering verse; but further, doth receive, In measure only dealt out to himself, Knowledge and increase of enduring joy From the great Nature that exists in works Of mighty Poets. Visionary power Attends the motions of the viewless winds, Embodied in the mystery of words: There, darkness makes abode, and all the host Of shadowy things work endless changes,--there, As in a mansion like their proper home, 600 Even forms and substances are circumfused By that transparent veil with light divine, And, through the turnings intricate of verse, Present themselves as objects recognised, In flashes, and with glory not their own.

7 When the third summer freed us from restraint, A youthful friend, he too a mountaineer, Not slow to share my wishes, took his staff, And sallying forth, we journeyed side by side, Bound to the distant Alps. A hardy slight Did this unprecedented course imply Of college studies and their set rewards; Nor had, in truth, the scheme been formed by me Without uneasy forethought of the pain, The censures, and ill-omening of those To whom my worldly interests were dear. But Nature then was sovereign in my mind, And mighty forms, seizing a youthful fancy, Had given a charter to irregular hopes. In any age of uneventful calm Among the nations, surely would my heart Have been possessed by similar desire; But Europe at that time was thrilled with joy, France standing on the top of golden hours, And human nature seeming born again.

8 That very day, From a bare ridge we also first beheld Unveiled the summit of Mont Blanc, and grieved To have a soulless image on the eye That had usurped upon a living thought That never more could be. The wondrous Vale Of Chamouny stretched far below, and soon With its dumb cataracts and streams of ice, 530 A motionless array of mighty waves, Five rivers broad and vast, made rich amends, And reconciled us to realities; There small birds warble from the leafy trees, The eagle soars high in the element, There doth the reaper bind the yellow sheaf, The maiden spread the haycock in the sun, While Winter like a well-tamed lion walks, Descending from the mountain to make sport Among the cottages by beds of flowers.

9 Imagination--here the Power so called Through sad incompetence of human speech, That awful Power rose from the mind's abyss Like an unfathered vapour that enwraps, At once, some lonely traveller. I was lost; Halted without an effort to break through; But to my conscious soul I now can say-- "I recognise thy glory:" in such strength Of usurpation, when the light of sense 600 Goes out, but with a flash that has revealed The invisible world, doth greatness make abode, There harbours; whether we be young or old, Our destiny, our being's heart and home, Is with infinitude, and only there; With hope it is, hope that can never die, Effort, and expectation, and desire, And something evermore about to be. Under such banners militant, the soul Seeks for no trophies, struggles for no spoils 610 That may attest her prowess, blest in thoughts That are their own perfection and reward, Strong in herself and in beatitude That hides her, like the mighty flood of Nile Poured from his fount of Abyssinian clouds To fertilise the whole Egyptian plain.

10 Poetic reading technique: Poem-within- poem Any time a structure analogous to the poem’s relation to its audience appears within a poem, this is worth noting and commenting on Poem may be giving a clue to how to read its own poem by dramatizing a relationship between poet/poem and audience

11 Initial questions: Smith How is Smith’s blank verse different from Wordsworth’s? In some ways, the key question of this week’s class How is the poem divided? What is Fancy? What is Smith doing with her footnotes? How is “Beachy Head” also about the growth of a poet’s mind? How does this different figure allow us to think about gender?

12 Screen text from: orks/SmitCBeach.htm ON thy stupendous summit, rock sublime ! (1)

13 from the continent (9) Eternally divided this green isle. Imperial lord of the high southern coast ! From thy projecting head-land I would mark Far in the east the shades of night disperse, Melting and thinned, as from the dark blue wave Emerging, brilliant rays of arrowy light Dart from the horizon; when the glorious sun Just lifts above it his resplendent orb.

14 The mariner at early morning hails, (3) I would recline; while Fancy should go forth, And represent the strange and awful hour Of vast concussion;

15 Afar off, (37) And just emerging from the arch immense Where seem to part the elements, a fleet Of fishing vessels stretch their lesser sails; While more remote, and like a dubious spot Just hanging in the horizon, laden deep, The ship of commerce richly freighted, makes Her slower progress, on her distant voyage, Bound to the orient climates, where the sun Matures the spice within its odorous shell, And, rivalling the gray worm's filmy toil, Bursts from its pod the vegetable down; Which in long turban'd wreaths, from torrid heat Defends the brows of Asia's countless casts. There the Earth hides within her glowing breast The beamy adamant, and the round pearl Enchased in rugged covering; which the slave, With perilous and breathless toil, tears off From the rough sea-rock, deep beneath the waves. These are the toys of Nature; and her sport Of little estimate in Reason's eye: And they who reason, with abhorrence see Man, for such gaudes and baubles, violate The sacred freedom of his fellow man-- Erroneous estimate !

16 There, transparent gold (81) Mingles with ruby tints, and sapphire gleams, And colours, such as Nature through her works Shews only in the ethereal canopy. Thither aspiring Fancy fondly soars, Wandering sublime thro' visionary vales, Where bright pavilions rise, and trophies, fann'd By airs celestial; and adorn'd with wreaths Of flowers that bloom amid elysian bowers.

17 Contemplation here, (117) High on her throne of rock, aloof may sit, And bid recording Memory unfold Her scroll voluminous--bid her retrace The period, when from Neustria's hostile shore The Norman launch'd his galleys, and the bay O'er which that mass of ruin frowns even now In vain and sullen menace, then received The new invaders; a proud martial race, Of Scandinavia the undaunted sons, Whom Dogon, Fier-a-bras, and Humfroi led To conquest:

18 But let not modern Gallia form from hence (143) Presumptuous hopes, that ever thou again, Queen of the isles ! shalt crouch to foreign arms. The enervate sons of Italy may yield; And the Iberian, all his trophies torn And wrapp'd in Superstition's monkish weed, May shelter his abasement, and put on Degrading fetters. Never, never thou ! Imperial mistress of the obedient sea; But thou, in thy integrity secure, Shalt now undaunted meet a world in arms.

19 From even the proudest roll by glory fill'd, (167) How gladly the reflecting mind returns To simple scenes of peace and industry, Where, bosom'd in some valley of the hills Stands the lone farm; its gate with tawny ricks Surrounded, and with granaries and sheds, Roof'd with green mosses, and by elms and ash Partially shaded; and not far remov'd The hut of sea-flints built; the humble home Of one, who sometimes watches on the heights, When hid in the cold mist of passing clouds, The flock, with dripping fleeces, are dispers'd O'er the wide down; then from some ridged point That overlooks the sea, his eager eye Watches the bark that for his signal waits To land its merchandize:

20 I once was happy, when while yet a child, 282 I learn'd to love these upland solitudes, And, when elastic as the mountain air, To my light spirit, care was yet unknown And evil unforeseen:--Early it came, And childhood scarcely passed, I was condemned, A guiltless exile, silently to sigh, While Memory, with faithful pencil, drew The contrast; and regretting, I compar'd With the polluted smoky atmosphere And dark and stifling streets, the southern hills That to the setting Sun, their graceful heads Rearing, o'erlook the frith, where Vecta breaks With her white rocks, the strong impetuous tide, When western winds the vast Atlantic urge To thunder on the coast--Haunts of my youth !

21 In such a castellated mansion once (506) A stranger chose his home; and where hard by In rude disorder fallen, and hid with brushwood Lay fragments gray of towers and buttresses, Among the ruins, often he would muse-- His rustic meal soon ended, he was wont To wander forth, listening the evening sounds Of rushing milldam, or the distant team, Or night-jar, chasing fern-flies: the tir'd hind Pass'd him at nightfall, wondering he should sit On the hill top so late: they from the coast Who sought bye paths with their clandestine load, Saw with suspicious doubt, the lonely man Cross on their way: but village maidens thought His senses injur'd; and with pity say That he, poor youth ! must have been cross'd in love--

22 The peasant girls (528) These plaintive sounds remember, and even now Among them may be heard the stranger's songs. Were I a Shepherd on the hill And ever as the mists withdrew Could see the willows of the rill Shading the footway to the mill Where once I walk'd with you— And as away Night's shadows sail, And sounds of birds and brooks arise, Believe, that from the woody vale I hear your voice upon the gale In soothing melodies; And viewing from the Alpine height, The prospect dress'd in hues of air, Could say, while transient colours bright Touch'd the fair scene with dewy light, 'Tis, that her eyes are there !


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