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BS: Anyone for Keats?

keberoxu 07 Aug 18 - 01:23 PM
MikeL2 27 Jul 18 - 09:51 AM
beardedbruce 24 Jul 18 - 10:37 PM
keberoxu 24 Jul 18 - 08:23 PM
KarenH 23 Jul 18 - 06:22 AM
keberoxu 22 Jul 18 - 11:02 PM
keberoxu 22 Jul 18 - 10:49 PM
Rapparee 22 Jul 18 - 09:47 PM
keberoxu 22 Jul 18 - 09:02 PM
Rapparee 21 Jul 18 - 08:47 PM
KarenH 21 Jul 18 - 10:14 AM
KarenH 21 Jul 18 - 09:27 AM
Rapparee 20 Jul 18 - 08:54 PM
Rapparee 20 Jul 18 - 08:51 PM
KarenH 20 Jul 18 - 06:59 PM
Big Al Whittle 20 Jul 18 - 05:46 PM
keberoxu 20 Jul 18 - 03:53 PM
keberoxu 20 Jul 18 - 03:52 PM
keberoxu 20 Jul 18 - 03:24 PM
keberoxu 20 Jul 18 - 03:08 PM
keberoxu 19 Jul 18 - 09:11 PM
Rapparee 19 Jul 18 - 08:54 PM
Rapparee 19 Jul 18 - 08:53 PM
banjoman 19 Jul 18 - 06:17 AM
Senoufou 18 Jul 18 - 08:52 AM
Will Fly 18 Jul 18 - 08:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jul 18 - 08:01 AM
olddude 17 Jul 18 - 08:46 PM
Senoufou 17 Jul 18 - 02:57 PM
Jos 17 Jul 18 - 02:19 PM
Senoufou 17 Jul 18 - 12:55 PM
beardedbruce 17 Jul 18 - 12:34 PM
beardedbruce 17 Jul 18 - 12:23 PM
beardedbruce 17 Jul 18 - 12:17 PM
Steve Shaw 17 Jul 18 - 04:33 AM
olddude 16 Jul 18 - 10:59 PM
Will Fly 16 Jul 18 - 06:15 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Jul 18 - 06:08 PM
olddude 16 Jul 18 - 05:08 PM
olddude 16 Jul 18 - 05:05 PM
Senoufou 16 Jul 18 - 03:25 PM
Dave the Gnome 16 Jul 18 - 03:00 PM
olddude 16 Jul 18 - 11:21 AM
Senoufou 16 Jul 18 - 08:40 AM
Jos 16 Jul 18 - 08:02 AM
Senoufou 16 Jul 18 - 07:03 AM
Roger the Skiffler 16 Jul 18 - 06:59 AM
gillymor 16 Jul 18 - 06:14 AM
Raedwulf 16 Jul 18 - 05:31 AM
Senoufou 16 Jul 18 - 04:23 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: keberoxu
Date: 07 Aug 18 - 01:23 PM

Sonnet

Written in Disgust of Vulgar Superstition [you have been warned. -keb.]

The church bells toll a melancholy round,
Calling the people to some other prayers,
Some other gloominess, more dreadful cares,
More hearkening to the sermon's horrid sound.
Surely the mind of man is closely bound
In some black spell; seeing that each one tears
Himself from fireside joys, and Lydian airs,
And converse high of those with glory crown'd.
Still, still they toll, and I should feel a damp, --
A chill as from a tomb, did I not know
That they are dying like an outburnt lamp;
That 'tis their sighing, wailing ere they go
Into oblivion; -- that fresh flowers will grow,
And many glories of immortal stamp.

-- Sunday evening, Dec. 24, 1816, according to Tom Keats' copy-book.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: MikeL2
Date: 27 Jul 18 - 09:51 AM

Hi

Many years ago when I was in the 6th Form We had to study John Keats' Ode to Autumn for English Lit in the School Certificate as it was then.

All I can remember is

   Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
    With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run

Amazingly I actually passed....the book we had to study was Pride & Prejudice Again I scraped through. I have read the book again recently and watched a video of it. Did enjoy it then and still don't.

Cheers

Mike


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 10:37 PM

Actually:

"THIS GRAVE CONTAINS ALL THAT WAS MORTAL OF A YOUNG ENGLISH
POET WHO ON HIS DEATH BED IN THE BITTERNESS OF HIS HEART
AT THE MALICIOUS POWER OF HIS ENEMIES DESIRED THESE
WORDS TO BE ENGRAVEN ON HIS TOMB STONE

"Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water"


The intent was to indicate that once the water dried up, he would be nameless and forgotten, IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 08:23 PM

And what does anyone/everyone believe
Keats meant by the words in his epitaph:

"writ on water" ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: KarenH
Date: 23 Jul 18 - 06:22 AM

The 'romantic' poets had a thing about nature: they felt that it could give you the experience of 'the sublime', a mixture of fear and awe. The feeling of the 'sublime' was said to be a powerful feeling. Writers and artists tried to evoke it.


It comes into Frankenstein in the scenes high up in the mountains, a fine place for experiencing the sublime.

For some this feeling about reflected the fact that God made nature (especially Gerard Manley Hopkins mentioned above). Sometimes it had more of a pagan feel.

Wordsworth's 'Daffodils' is an example of this romantic sensibility towards nature, perhaps.

Is there something of all this in Keats? Ode to a Nightingale, perhaps? The song of the nightingale (itself perhaps a symbol for poetry as well as a natural phenomenon) transports the poet into to a particular psychological state, which he describes for us. Though it doesn't last.

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness,---
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provencal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new love pine at them beyond tomorrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Clustered around by all her starry fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain---
To thy high requiem become a sod

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:---do I wake or sleep?


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: keberoxu
Date: 22 Jul 18 - 11:02 PM

Steve Shaw pointed out something apropos,
in quoting Wordsworth.

Wordsworth was initially of importance to Keats.
But Keats, maturing at frightening speed beyond his years
(at moments he reminds me of Mozart),
not only outgrew Leigh Hunt (who remained his friend)
but he had second thoughts about Wordsworth as well.

And Big Al Whittle put his finger on something.
Keats came of age during the Regency era
when the English were congratulating themselves
on succeeding where the French aristocracy had failed,
in keeping entire classes of their fellow men
from getting ideas above their station.
Keats was not only a humanist
but in his own way someone who rebelled against the status quo.
Now, THAT might get young people's attention.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: keberoxu
Date: 22 Jul 18 - 10:49 PM

Does that include, I wonder, the afore-mentioned
Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton?
Regarding Keats,
we have Milnes to thank for writing something
like a biography --
and for cementing, as it were,
the Doomed Romantic Poet thing for Keats.

A mixed blessing, the Milnes gesture.
Anyone who works, as Keats did,
as a "dresser" preparatory to working as a "surgeon"
(a Regency-era "surgeon" is NOT a physician with an MD)
is made of sterner stuff
than his early death would lead one to believe.
The fellow must have been a fighter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Rapparee
Date: 22 Jul 18 - 09:47 PM

They spent too much time with things like Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel (not what you think and you have a dirty mind!) and Radcliffe's The Italian, or, The Confessional of the Black Penitents -- not to mention Mary Shelley and Jane Austen and Fanny Burney! Of course, Chatterton (the "Marvelous Boy") had all the Romantic trappings, including suicide.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: keberoxu
Date: 22 Jul 18 - 09:02 PM

The Robin Hood ditty
demonstrates that it is possible
to take a break from emulating the ancient classics
and indulge in wit and irony for a while.
Even if you have observers and confidantes
thinking of you as a doomed romantic poet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 08:47 PM

Oh! My last two posts were by Keats.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: KarenH
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 10:14 AM

Here's a nicer poem, Seamus Heaney, about a kid facing mortality and various other things about life, rather as Keats does in some of his poems:

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: KarenH
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 09:27 AM

Since we are quoting poems; the last poetry book I bought was by Attila the Stockbroker.

This one's called "Farageland". It appears to be linked to a song I don't know called 'Garageland' by a band I have at least heard of called 'The Clash'. It is set to a tune by 'Strummer'. I'll give you a brief taster:


Bol***** to Farage and that Tory defector

Two pinstriped ba****** from the stockbroking sector.


Working folk get conned, they think UKIP are all right


But Nigel and his friends woud p*** on them from a great height.


A short piece by Attila called 'A Tale of Three Bushes' may amuse some, if not, I apologise:

Thatcher met Bush senior
Blair met Bush no hoper
But May has drawn the short straw
She just met Bush groper.

Sorry, no tune indicated for that one.

I should add, for fear of giving a wrong impression, that I like other types of poetry too: the Metaphysicals, some Larkin, some Emily Dickinson.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Jul 18 - 08:54 PM

No! those days are gone away
And their hours are old and gray,
And their minutes buried all
Under the down-trodden pall
Of the leaves of many years:
Many times have winter's shears,
Frozen North, and chilling East,
Sounded tempests to the feast
Of the forest's whispering fleeces,
Since men knew nor rent nor leases.

         No, the bugle sounds no more,
And the twanging bow no more;
Silent is the ivory shrill
Past the heath and up the hill;
There is no mid-forest laugh,
Where lone Echo gives the half
To some wight, amaz'd to hear
Jesting, deep in forest drear.

         On the fairest time of June
You may go, with sun or moon,
Or the seven stars to light you,
Or the polar ray to right you;
But you never may behold
Little John, or Robin bold;
Never one, of all the clan,
Thrumming on an empty can
Some old hunting ditty, while
He doth his green way beguile
To fair hostess Merriment,
Down beside the pasture Trent;
For he left the merry tale
Messenger for spicy ale.

         Gone, the merry morris din;
Gone, the song of Gamelyn;
Gone, the tough-belted outlaw
Idling in the "grenè shawe";
All are gone away and past!
And if Robin should be cast
Sudden from his turfed grave,
And if Marian should have
Once again her forest days,
She would weep, and he would craze:
He would swear, for all his oaks,
Fall'n beneath the dockyard strokes,
Have rotted on the briny seas;
She would weep that her wild bees
Sang not to her—strange! that honey
Can't be got without hard money!

         So it is: yet let us sing,
Honour to the old bow-string!
Honour to the bugle-horn!
Honour to the woods unshorn!
Honour to the Lincoln green!
Honour to the archer keen!
Honour to tight little John,
And the horse he rode upon!
Honour to bold Robin Hood,
Sleeping in the underwood!
Honour to maid Marian,
And to all the Sherwood-clan!
Though their days have hurried by
Let us two a burden try.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 Jul 18 - 08:51 PM

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host's Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of venison? O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.

I have heard that on a day
Mine host's sign-board flew away,
Nobody knew whither, till
An astrologer's old quill
To a sheepskin gave the story,
Said he saw you in your glory,
Underneath a new old sign
Sipping beverage divine,
And pledging with contented smack
The Mermaid in the Zodiac.

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: KarenH
Date: 20 Jul 18 - 06:59 PM

Tempted to comment because somebody said nobody is trying to help with the original question.


"Anyone got any smart ideas for getting a surefire grip on what the buggers on about?"

I studied some of Keats's poems at A-Level and can still quote chunks of some of them. I quite enjoyed some of them.

Maybe try some of the more famous shorter ones first:

Ode to Nightingale, Ode to Autumn, Ode on Grecian Urn.

But I can't help with the original question as phrased, I don't think. Not least because I don't know whether you can get a 'surefire' grip on what any poem is about.

All you can do is arrive at an interpretation.

You may be asking too much of yourself in setting out to like or appreciate all of his poetry, if that is what is on your bucket list, or to get definite answers to questions like 'what is this poem about? if that is what you are doing. Maybe it is best to find a few poems of his that do appeal, and then try to work out what it is about them that appeals.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Jul 18 - 05:46 PM

Well I don't have a great acquaintance with John Keats's poetry.

But certain things occur to me just by thinking about the nature of the beast.

First of all he didn't live very long and left a large amount of work. If you think about musicians who die early very much the same applies.

To produce that amount of work implies a certain kind of personality. Enormous dedication, and a certain committment to working that achieves masterpieces every so often, but more frequently is engaged in a desperate search for inspiration. Not every Hendrix solo is genius.

I think also the one thing everyone seems to agree on is that he was a humanist. This is in an age when human life (in his own family particularly) is often shortened by vile living conditions, ignorance of how disease spreads, and terrible diseases for which there was no treatment.
So how can the the artist express gravity , substance to human life - - meaning to human passion without a religious context. I think all the classical allusions are possibly an attempt to imbue and add loftiness to a perspective of human life.

At the moment I am only fumbling around with ideas. If you feel I am mistaken or getting it totally wrong, feel free to contradict...


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jul 18 - 03:53 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jul 18 - 03:52 PM

Yeats,
opinionated, blunt-spoken William Butler Years,
wrote of John Keats:


What portion in the world can the artist have
Who has awakened from the common dream
Of dissipation and despair?
                              And yet
No one denies to Keats love of the world:
Remember his deliberate happiness.

His art is happy, but who knows his mind?
I see a schoolboy when I think of him,
With face and nose pressed to a sweet-shop window,
For certainly he sank into his grave
His senses and his heart unsatisfied,
And made -- being poor, ailing, and ignorant,
Shut out from all the luxury of the world,
The coarse-bred son of a livery-stable keeper --
Luxuriant song.
-- from The Wild Swans at Coole, 1919
(Yeats was some 54 years of age
and that was one heck of a year for
his beloved Ireland...
let's allow that his mind and soul were preoccupied.)

I can just picture John Keats's loyal and devoted friends
springing up and crying, "Them's fightin' words,"
or something like.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jul 18 - 03:24 PM

This is for Mudcatter Big Al Whittle. Goodness!
It's about time someone else on this thread
attempted to respond to the OP question,
which is an important one indeed.

Typical of me, I look for answers superior to my own
(don't have to look very far, do I).

I like this one.
how do I find out who wrote this essay?


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Jul 18 - 03:08 PM

All right, everybody. Let's get seriously Keats-focused here.

[...]It was a poet's house who keeps the keys
Of pleasure's temple. Round about were hung
The glorious features of the bards who sung
In other ages -- cold and sacred busts
Smiled at each other. [...]
Sappho's meek head was there half smiling down
At nothing; just as though the earnest frown
Of over-thinking had that moment gone
From off her brow, and left her all alone.

[...]
Petrarch, outstepping from the shady green,
Starts at the sight of Laura; nor can wean
His eyes from her sweet face. Most happy they!
For over them was seen a free display
Of outspread wings; and from between them shone
The face of Poesy: from off her throne
She overlook'd things that I scarce could tell.
The very sense of where I was might well
Keep Sleep aloof: but more than that there came
Thought after thought to nourish up the flame
Within my breast; so that the morning light
Surprised me even from a sleepless night;
And up I rose refresh'd, and glad, and gay,
Resolving to begin that very day
These lines; and howsoever they be done,
I leave them as a father does his son.

-from "Sleep and Poetry"
written December 1816 (he was 21!),
published the following year


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: keberoxu
Date: 19 Jul 18 - 09:11 PM

Well,
that last poem, if memory serves, is by Hardy.
Channel Firing, is that the name of it?

Nice musical setting by Gerald Finzi, for voice and piano.

And "Dover Beach," before that, is by Matthew Arnold.
Classic setting for baritone voice and string quartet,
by Samuel Barber.
In fact, Barber sang on the earliest recording of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Jul 18 - 08:54 PM

That night your great guns, unawares,
Shook all our coffins as we lay,
And broke the chancel window-squares,
We thought it was the Judgment-day

And sat upright. While drearisome
Arose the howl of wakened hounds:
The mouse let fall the altar-crumb,
The worms drew back into the mounds,

The glebe cow drooled. Till God called, “No;
It’s gunnery practice out at sea
Just as before you went below;
The world is as it used to be:

“All nations striving strong to make
Red war yet redder. Mad as hatters
They do no more for Christés sake
Than you who are helpless in such matters.

“That this is not the judgment-hour
For some of them’s a blessed thing,
For if it were they’d have to scour
Hell’s floor for so much threatening....

“Ha, ha. It will be warmer when
I blow the trumpet (if indeed
I ever do; for you are men,
And rest eternal sorely need).”

So down we lay again. “I wonder,
Will the world ever saner be,”
Said one, “than when He sent us under
In our indifferent century!”

And many a skeleton shook his head.
“Instead of preaching forty year,”
My neighbour Parson Thirdly said,
“I wish I had stuck to pipes and beer.”

Again the guns disturbed the hour,
Roaring their readiness to avenge,
As far inland as Stourton Tower,
And Camelot, and starlit Stonehenge.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Jul 18 - 08:53 PM

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: banjoman
Date: 19 Jul 18 - 06:17 AM

Reminds me of the old joke about the colonel who told his Sergeant Major to assemble the men as he was going to give a lecture on Keats. The Sergeant Major addressed the man stating " It has come to the colonels attention that some of you idiots don't know what a Keats is"


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Senoufou
Date: 18 Jul 18 - 08:52 AM

The problem with trying to get young students nowadays to enjoy and understand classical poetry is that their culture is so very different from that of the early nineteenth century.

Although Keats was a young man (he tragically died at the age of 25) his language and themes were fairly irrelevant to teenagers/young folk today.

I reckon it would be better for teachers to focus first on modern compositions (for example the words of modern pop songs, which can be very poignant and expressive). They could then help their students to compose their own poetry, showing them structures and word ideas (similes,metaphors etc)

Once they had had a go at that, maybe they'd be more receptive to poems from another age.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Jul 18 - 08:15 AM

"Hi kids - 'The Eve of St. Agnes' is all about a Peeping Tom and lust. Any questions?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jul 18 - 08:01 AM

Let me explain my starting point. A while back (1992) I workede with a very good teacher who said he couldn't find a way to explain Keats to 17 and 18 year old kids.

The idea of being able to bring Keats to a young audience has always intrigued and challenged my thoughts.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: olddude
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 08:46 PM

Sea fever

By John Masefield

        
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Senoufou
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 02:57 PM

Jos, that's absolutely lovely!
And you're right, the sound of the waves advancing and retreating can be heard.
I've just copied this poem into my exercise book of treasured quotes. The truth is something very important to me too - I can't abide lying and dishonesty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Jos
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 02:19 PM

Some years ago when I was struggling with life with someone who seemed incapable of saying anything that wasn't pure invention, I came across this, by Coventry Patmore:

"Magna Est Veritas"

Here, in this little Bay,

Full of tumultuous life and great repose,

Where, twice a day,

The purposeless, glad ocean comes and goes,

Under high cliffs, and far from the huge town,

I sit me down.

For want of me the world's course will not fail:

When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;

The truth is great, and shall prevail,

When none cares whether it prevail or not.


It wasn't just the reassurance about truth that appealed to me, but the way you can hear the waves coming up the beach and retreating, in the rhythm of the lines.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Senoufou
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 12:55 PM

I love that Abou Ben Adhem poem, beardedbruce! I learned to recite it from my mother.
(My favourite brother-in-law is called Abou, but it's short for Aboudramane.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 12:34 PM

And there is something to be said for Leigh Hunt.


Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still, and said "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.


( Technically, a variant caudated sonnet)


and his

Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
Say that health and wealth have missed me,
Say I'm growing old, but add,
Jenny kissed me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 12:23 PM

But Shelley is not so bad...


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 12:17 PM

WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,      
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,         
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 04:33 AM

Depends who pays for the fence...


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: olddude
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 10:59 PM

Exactly what a great line


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 06:15 PM

There's a great line in Frost's "Mending Wall":

"Good fences make good neighbors."


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 06:08 PM

"I took the one less traveled by"

A fabulous line and a good one to inform the way we should live.

That line hits the spot, cuts to the chase, expressed so trippingly in the context of the poem. For me, unfortunately, that happens all too rarely in poetry. I think I have a bit of a blind spot, probably due to having the heavy romantics (mostly Wordsworth) forced down my throat at school. I thought their poetry was terrible, something inward-looking and slightly unhealthy about it, and not a lot's happened to change my mind. What I want from poetry is ideas that are inchoate in my mind that I can't quite articulate for myself, but which the poet can. It only has to be one line, one little spark of an idea, expressed lyrically, a notion that I wasn't able to express for myself. What I don't like is a sense of linguistic strain, all wordy colour but with only shallow ideas.

"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze."

Doggerel!


I don't really get poetry, do I! I'm ok with Mozart and Beethoven though...


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: olddude
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 05:08 PM

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: olddude
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 05:05 PM

My favorite I committed it to memory


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Senoufou
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 03:25 PM

Ah olddude, Robert Frost! 'Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening'. Gorgeous poem. Whenever I read the last two lines I have tears in my eyes, (no idea why really):

'And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.'


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 03:00 PM

I thought he said that Gaul was quartered into three separate halves.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: olddude
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 11:21 AM

Robert Frost for me actually but I love all poetry Keats is wonderful and so is yeats


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Senoufou
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 08:40 AM

I agree Jos. At least Eugénie ended up a rich widow and, as I understood it, was perfectly contented with her lot.
The scenes described by Balzac of her life in her miserly father's house used to make me hungry. Our school dinners were pretty horrible and I felt for the poor lass.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Jos
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 08:02 AM

For Latin I opted for free translation as I thought it involved less work, leaving me free for other things while most of the rest of the class were struggling to learn the translations of set texts by heart.

I did Eugénie Grandet as well, probably at school for A-level, but it could have been university (it's all so long ago). I found it really depressing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Senoufou
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 07:03 AM

Quite correct Raedwulf. But frankly I couldn't have cared less if Caesar (bless his little cotton socks) had divided his underpants into three parts. Boring old fart!

Our lovely posh teacher Miss Bailey-Reynolds (Oxford 1st class degree and a 'rowing blue') got us all 'cribs' in English to help us wade through it all in two years flat.

Now I did quite like Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem 'The Windhover'.I seem to remember it began, "I saw this morning morning's minion..." I always think of those lines when I spot a kestrel hovering over a hedgerow (lots of them here in Norfolk)


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 06:59 AM

I would say I prefer Kipling but then we all know that it's ruddy 'ard kipling.

RtS
(I'll get me Golden Treasury...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: gillymor
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 06:14 AM

I seem to read mostly modern poetry nowadays but those famous lines from Ode on a Grecian Urn have always stuck with me, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 05:31 AM

'Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres'

'Gaul is divided into 3 parts'? I have no Latin at all, beyond what may be picked up in general life... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Anyone for Keats?
From: Senoufou
Date: 16 Jul 18 - 04:23 AM

Ah, Chaucer! I liked him a lot (and we giggled like anything over 'The Miller's Tale' etc - our textbook obligingly contained the complete works!)
As with all the literature,I liked to read it out loud. I can still remember the opening lines to The Knight's Tale -
'Whilom as olde stories tellen us,
There was a duc that highte Theseus...'
(Of course we deliberately pronounced it 'duck' and made surreptitious quacks during the lesson. We were all as daft as brushes!)

I was burdened with German literature too (blasted Goethe - loathed him) and Latin ('Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres'... yawn)

Then there was practically the whole of Shakespoke and Dickens.
I was only sixteen when I sat my A levels (I was younger than the other pupils) and the amount of literature I must have absorbed still amazes me.
Once at Edinburgh Uni I had to wade through blooming Rabbie Burns. All those apostrophes and 'foreign' words. Not to mention 'Les Lais de Marie de France'. (12th Century stuff)

My brain must have been made of elastic in those days!


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