thumbnail of A nest of singing birds; Introduction; 1
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
A nest of singing there. Three centuries of English verse with a doctorate from Jos. It is occurred to me that you may be wondering why I decided to call this series of programs a nest of singing birds. Here's my reason. I'm plagiarizing a worthy Elizabethan writer who congratulates himself on the glorious development of the art of poetry in 16th century England. He said that there was so many poets in the island at that time that it might well be likened to a nest of singing birds. I decided to go further than this Elizabeth can and say there was so much good in melodious verse written in England between about fifteen hundred and about eighteen hundred that we have every reason to say that for the whole of that period the country was still a nest of singing birds. What songs did they sing. We shan't be able to hear more than a very small percentage of that total output. But I'm really in a very good position. I can hardly go wrong if I have any difficulty it's not what to put in but what to leave out.
So I've decided to enjoy myself and listen to a verse which I want to hear first which I love and admire. So I should be talking about what I enjoy. Who's my favorite of these poets among the non-dramatic writers. Who could it be but Milton hears his courageous sensitive moving beginning to book 9 of Paradise Lost if answerable styli can obtain of my celestial patroness. Who during her nightly visitation and implored him dictates to me slumbering for inspirers easy my unpremeditated verse we shall return to that in one of the three programmes on Milton. He was old he was blind. He should have been broken by misfortune and defeat by the collapse of so many hopes. But with the humble faith of a religious man and the humble confidence of a true artist he sat
himself down and wrote one of the great poems of the language. I obviously mustn't spend all the time on my favorite. What other principles could guide me. Well I like this one because I like it. Say that I should say I love you. Would you say it is butter saying that much by Elizabeth and Nicholas Breton. A very delicate piece of work very skilled and intricate in what the Elizabethans called figures of words that is patterns of sound made by repeating the same vowels or consonants as well as actual words. A well-known figure of words is of course rhyme. In this case we have four stanzas each of four lines rhyming A B A B for instance the first stanza goes. Say that I should say I love thee. Would you say tis but a saying. But if love in prayers move you will you not be moved with praying.
In each stanza we have some comparatively obvious repetition. Say that I should say would you say I think I think where you think right that I do right. Will you write. And the main words or parts of them are repeated. But as saying but thinking but writing in other words something you say think write but don't do the first stanza starts with these ideas all pulled together. No I say and think and write it in the line will you lose your eyes with winking winking means closing. Will you make yourself blind by closing your eyes. Say that I should say I love you. Would you say it is but a saying. But if love in prayers move you. Will you not be moved with praying. Think eyes
think that love should know you. Will you think it is better thinking. I do love the thought DO show you where you lose your eyes with a winking right that I do write you bless it. Will you write tis but a writing. But if truth and love confess it will you doubt the true indicting. No I say and think and write it right and think and say your pleasure. Love and Truth and I indicted you our blessid out of measure the rhythms of this poem developed so pleasantly only when we speak the meaning of the words. Then an intricacy of verbal patterning becomes a delicate expression of what is to me at least a delightful sentiment. While we are on the theme of love What about this well-known one.
Come live with me and be my love and we will all the pleasures prove that heroes and valleys Dales and fields and all the Crag a mountain sea. There we will sit upon the rocks and see the shepherds feed their flocks by shallow rivers to whose falls melodious birds sing madrigals. And I will make the beds of roses with a thousand fragrant posies a cap of flowers and a kirtle embroidered all with leaves of myrtle a gown made of the finest wool which from our pretty lambs we call their line and slippers for the cold with buckles of the purest gold. A belt of straw and ivory backed with coral clasped an amber studs. And if these pleasures made the move COME LIVE WITH ME AND BE MY LOVE. This happened and seeing what I don't like each
May morning. If there is the light may move and live with me and be mine if only the world and love were young and true in every Shepherdstown these pretty pleasures might mean to live with thee and be thy love. Time drives the flocks from field to food. When Rivers range and rocks grow cold and M.L. become a dung the rest complains of cares to come. The flowers do fade and wanton fields to where world winter reckoning a honey tongue a heart of gold is fancy spring but sorrows fall guy down shoes dyed beds of roses that I kept by her to a land that I posses
so break soon wither soon forgotten in folly right in reason rotten thy belt of straw and Ivy buds clasps and Amber studs is in me no means can move to come to thee and be love. You asked and labs still had joys no date no age no need then these delights my mind might have to live with and be the first of those two of course was the passionate shepherd to his love by Christopher Marlowe. The lady's Pokemon imps reply which was written by the world to rally the man who took potatoes and tobacco back to England with him from the Americas. One of our later programs will let us hear these again with another variation written by John Donne and perhaps I shall dare to include a better version written by C. Day-Lewis in 1935 during the Depression in
England. There's an old chestnut to the effect that like the Bible Shakespeare is too full of quotations. Another English poet who is found to be full of quotations is Alexander Pope. Hope springs eternal in the human breast and that of course comes from his Essay on Man. Here is the entire passage. Heaven from all creatures hides the Book of Fate all but the page prescribed their present state from brutes what men from men what spirits know or who could suffer. Being here below. The Lamb via riot dooms to bleed today had he lived I reasoned would he skip and play. Pleased to the last he crops the flowery food and licks the hand just raised to shed his blood. Oh blindness to the future. Kindly given that
each may fill the circle marked by heaven. Who sees with equal eye. I was God of all I hear a parish or a sparrow fall atoms or systems into ruin heard and now a bubble burst and now a word hope humbly then with trembling pinions or wait the great teacher. Death and God adore. What future bliss he gives not the to know but gives that hope to be thy blessing now. Hope springs eternal in the human breast. Man never is but always to be blessed. The soul uneasy and confined at home rests and expatiate in a life to come.
Some three quarters of a century earlier Abraham Cowley a contemporary of Milton's had a different view of hope hope whose week being ruined is alike if it succeeds and the fitness guru good or ill does equally confound and both the horns of the AIDS dilemma will they shadow which doesn't vanish quite both at full noon and perfect night. The stars have not a possibility of blessing the if thens them from the end we happy cause it is how is the most hopeless thing of all. Carly was a friend an admirer of William Harvey who discovered the circulation of the blood. Here's a part of his poem on the death of Mr. William Harvey large was his as largest so was submitted to inform a body here. How is the place. Why shortly in heaven to have. But lo and humble as his grave.
So how that all the virtues there did come as to their chiefest seat conspicuous and great so low that for me to need a room some of that poem anticipates in tone and in vocabulary. One of the last stanzas of Gray's Elegy large was his as largest so was submitted to inform a body here. How is the place. Why shortly in heaven to have large was found and this is where the recompense was largely set. We should treat the energy fully later. Here are the first three stanzas. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day the lowing herd winds slowly over the leaves. The ploughman homeward plod and his weary way and leaves the world to darkness and to me
now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight and all the solemn stillness save where the beetle wheels his droning flight and drowsy tingling love the distant phone. Save that from yonder Ivy mantled tower. The moping Now those to the moon complain of such as wondering near her secret Bower molest ancient solitary reign. Now let's leave grey out there with the dead in the darkness into the churchyard and turn to another eighteenth century poet who was in this case very much concerned with the living. Edward Young isn't often known to be the author of a quotation which has become a household word. Procrastination is the thief of time. Here's the passage in which that line appears. We wise today. Tis madness to defer next
today the fatal precedent will plea by song till wisdom is pushed out of life. Procrastination is the thief of time. Year after year it steals till all our flag and to the mercies of a moment leave the vast concerns of an eternal seeing if not so frequent Would not this be strange but frequent stranger still of man's miraculous mistakes this is the part that all men are about to live for ever on the brink of being born. All pay themselves the complement to think they one day shall not drivel and their pride on this reversion takes up ready praise. At least their own their future selves applauds how excellent that life they now will leave time
largely in their own hands these follies veils that lodged in fates to wisdom they can sign the thing they can't but purpose. They postpone Tis not in folly not to scorn of food and scarce in human wisdom to do more. The promise is poor dilatory him out and that through every stage when young indeed in full content we sometimes know rest and anxious for ourselves and only wish as duty as sons our fathers were more wise that a man suspects him self of now is it at forty and reforms his plan at fifty chides his infamous delay proces his prudent purpose to resolve in all the magnanimity of thought resolves and re resolves. Then dies the Young wrote the famous night thoughts
which are often referred to as showing qualities which were to be typical of English romantic poetry. Although he lived in what we call the August age as a satirist However Young was a typical August listen to these three characters of women. The Languid lady next appears in state who was not born to carry her own weight. She loves real staggers till some foreign aid to her own stature lifts the feeble maid. Then if a danger so severe she by just stage journeys round the room. But knowing her own weakness she despairs to scale the Alps that is ascend the stairs. My family let others say who laugh at toil fans who would love scotch is hella comic style and that is spoke with such a dying fall that Betty rather sees them hears the call. The motion of her lips and meaning eye piece out the idea of faint words deny.
O listen with attention most profound Her voice is but the shadow of a sound. And help or help her spirits are so dead one hand scarce lifts the other to her head. If they're a stubborn pin a triumph. She plans. She sinks away and there's no more. Let the robust and the gigantic car life is not worth so much. She'd rather starve. But she must herself cruel fate that Rosalind can't by proxy eat in the eighteenth century heat was pronounced eight. This last couplet had a perfect rhyme but too she must herself cruel fate that Rosalind can't by proxy. Eight. That was the language lady. Next comes the manly lady.
The less stress triumphs in a manly mean loud in her accent and her phrase obscene in fair and open dealing Where's the shame. What nature dares to give a name. This honest fellow is sincere and plain and justly gives the jealous husband pain. Vain is the task the petticoats assigned of wanton language shows a naked mind. A man then to grace her eloquence supplies the Vacances of sense. Och the shrill notes Franz pierce the Ealing air and teach the neighboring echoes how to swear by Jove is faint and for the simple swaying she on the Christian system is professing but there are the valley rattles in your ear believe her dress she's not a granite ear if Gunders awful how much more dread when drove a lady and a lady. Pardon my mistake I'm pen a shameless woman is the worst of men. Now the mountain made a
few too good breeding make a just pretense good breeding is the blossom of good sense. The last result of accomplished mind without would grace the body's virtue joined a violated decency in our aims and nymphs for failings take peculiar pains with Indian painters modern toasts agree the point then that is deformity. They throw their persons with a hoyden air across the room and toss into the chair. So far their calmness with mankind is gone they for our manners have exchanged their own. The modest look the castigated grace the gentle movement and slow measured pace for which lovers died. Her parents paid indecorum CSE with the modern made stiff forms are bad but let not worse intrude nor conquer art and nature to be rude.
After that how can I resist asking you to listen to something from Raipur belong in this parody of a Homeric struggle. Pope didn't mock home but members of 18th century society who made as much fuss about a lock of hair as if it had been Troy. Here is a proponent of good sense who tells Belinda The lady who has lost the lock to the Baron not to lose her sense of proportion. So why are beauties praised and honored most the wise man's passion and the vain man's toast. Why object with all that land and sea afford private angels called an angel like adored while round our coaches crowd the white blood those are vows the side box from its inmost rows how vain are all these glories all our pains unless good sense preserve what beauty gaze that men may say when we the front box grace the home of the first in virtue as in
face. Oh if the dance all night and dress all day charm the small parks or chased our old age away who would not scorn what Housewives cares produce or who would learn one earthly thing of use to passion a ogle might become a Saint. Not sure be such a saint to paint but sense alas frail beauty must decay uncurled since locks will turn to grey since painted or not painted all and she who scolds a man must die a maid. What then remains but well our power to use and keep good humor still. What ever we lose. And trust me dear good humor can prevail. When the flights and screams and scolding fail beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll charms strikes the sight but merit wins the soul.
And as human beings are acutely aware of their mortality and of the shortness of life it is not surprising that the poets Express for us what we feel on these matters. One of Shakespeare's most famous sonnets treats the fact that a man is renewed in his child when forty winters show besieged a brothel and dig deep trenches in night beauties field by youths proud livery so gazed on now will be a tattered we have small worth then being asked where all by beauty lies where all the treasure of the last eight days to search within Dian own deep sunken eyes where and in eating shame and thriftless praise how much more our praise deserved that I will be able to use it if the hour could star in this fair child of mine shall some my count and make my old excuse.
Proving his beauty by a succession of dying. This road to a green room made when our art and see blood war went out of the state code. You know just because I like them. Here are three sonnets in the sequence Delia by Samuel Daniel writer of plays and poems as well as of much verse of the time of Shakespeare. I should content myself with saying nothing about them except notice how the last line of one sonnet becomes the first line of the next. But love wiles to be loved again. Now whilst I may have filled my lap with flowers now whilst I beauty bears without a stain now use the summer smiles or winter flowers and whiles those spreads down to the rising sun the fairest flower that ever saw the light. Now
joys I had time before was I sweet to be done. And Delia think my morning must have night and that my brightness sets at length to west window will close up that which now Dow shows and think the same becomes that I fading best which is then shall most innovative and Shadow most men do not waver stalk for that it was when once they find her flower her glory pass. When men shall find I flower thy glory pass and thou with careful brow sitting alone receive it has this message from bi glass that tells the truth and says that all is gone. Fresh shalt thou see in me the wounds of our midst those spent by flame in me the heat remaining
I that have loved with us before thou fades my face shall waxe when thou art in thy waning the world shall find this miracle in me that fire can burn. When all the maters spent then what my faith has been by self shall see that I was done kind. Now may strip and now may just repent that thou hast scorned my tears. When winter snows upon by sable hair. When winter snows upon by sable hairs and frost of age has nipped my beauties near when dark shall seem like a day that never clears and all lies with that was held so dear. Then take this picture which I here present the limbed with a pencil. Not all unworthy
here see the gifts that God and nature lent to the hearer read by self. And what I suffered for the verse may remain the lasting monument which happily posterity may cherish these colors with fading are not spent. These may remain when the hour and I shall perish if they remain. Then thou shalt live there by very will remain. And so canst not die. You have been listening to an introduction the first talk in a series of 26 programs on English verse from fifteen hundred to eighteen hundred. The verse was spoken by Barry Bowie's printing in the wind. The new discourse Elizabeth Shepherd
the Lesters triumphs in a man loud in her accent and phrase obscene Jonathan Farr will say that I should say I love you. Would you say it is but I say Charlotte do it in my mind to live with B and B. Alan Scott and I will make three paintings of roses with a thousand fragrant posies. Duncan Ross blood war fever state code. And welcome. If they then found that we happy to help is the most hopeless thing of all this is Bertram Joseph inviting you to be with us again next week. This programme was produced by Radio Broadcast Services of the University of Washington under a
grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This is the national educational radio network.
A nest of singing birds
Episode Number
Episode Number
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-7d2q935j).
No description available
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-3-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “A nest of singing birds; Introduction; 1,” 1970-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “A nest of singing birds; Introduction; 1.” 1970-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: A nest of singing birds; Introduction; 1. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from