A nest of singing birds; Patterns of Sound; 2
A nest of singing birds. Three centuries of English verse with a doctorate in just. Patterns of sound. This is a program devoted to some of the details of Elizabethan verbal technique. These details were taught to boys in school. They were known to actors in the theater and they had been mastered by the poets as we will see and hear in their verse. Here is one of the school masters on this subject. Let them also be taught carefully in what words the emphasis Liath and therefore which is to be elevated in for Nancy ation as namely those words in which the chief trope of figure is he is asking for boys between the ages of 10 and 12 to be taught not just to read verse but to act it. And here is a modern actor putting the Elizabethan precepts into practice with the Philip Sidney's first sonnet of astral and stellar.
Loving in truth and Fain in verse. I love to show that she dear she might take some pleasure of my pain pleasure might cause her read reading might make her know. Knowledge might pity win and pity Grace obtain. I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of world studying inventions fine her wits to entertain after turning others leaves to see if then else would flow some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburned brain. But words came halting for one thing inventions invention nature's child fled step Dame studies blows and others feet still
seemed but strangers in my way. Vance great with child to speak and helpless in my throes biting my truant pen beating myself for spite. Fool. Said my muse to me. Look in the heart and write. Our Elizabethan schoolmaster said that boys ought to learn in which words the emphasis Liath and therefore to be raised in pronunciation. He's saying that there are words whose meaning demands some special response in the speaker's voice. This makes them stand out from the context and then at the same time the relationship between those words and their context is more clear. That's what elevated means here. It doesn't mean spoken with a louder voice. Pleasure might cause her read reading might make her know.
Knowledge might pity win and pity Grace obtain Johnson filed what was reading those lines. He knew their meaning and he concentrated on communicating that meaning in the pattern of words in which Sidney has expressed it. Did you notice how each of the important words or part of each was repeated. Pleasure pleasure read reading. No knowledge pronounced then no new knowledge. So perhaps today we might say no knowledge without being accused of being too precious. And then comes pity pity. Sidney starts with her pleasure and ends with her pity. If he has her pity he might obtain her Grace knowledge might pity win and pity Grace. But in this particular pattern is constructed by repeating only in one unit of a statement a word or sound occurring near the end of the unit
immediately before it. Pleasure night cause read reading might make her know now in his art of English poesy Putnam and Elizabeth and calls this pattern the matching figure for after the first step. All the rest proceeded double the pace and so in our speech one word precedes double to the first that was spoken. He also calls it the latter more usually it is called climax. We are taught today about three of the many patterns used by the Elizabethans alliteration as we have it from bottom the weaver in the midsummer night's dream where with blade with baleful bloody blade he boldly broached his boiling bloody breast. Our second pattern is assonance. That is the rhyming of the vowels of words but not of their consonants as time and nine plain rhymes with nine. But time and nine have assonance.
So have a ball and take. Here's a line from Spencer to lend an ear and softly to relent. There the assonance is land and the Lent of relent to lend an ear and softly to relent and the third of the sound patterns with which we are familiar today is right I'm loving in truth and Fain in verse. I love to show that she Dia she might take some pleasure of my pain. Pleasure might cause her read. Reading might make her know knowledge might pity win and pity Grace obtain. Then the rhyme scheme of show pain. No obtain creates a framework within which occurs the other pattern of repeated sounds which we've been considering
but there's another pattern yet made by the repetition of might. Pleasure might cause a read reading might make and knowledge might pity win and pity Grace obtain. In fact all the various sound patterns which you can hear in this poem are written within the larger framework of its sonnet structure that is of three quatrains and a heroic couplet. Here is the last line of the third quatrain together with the couplet and in the second line of the couplet we get the resolution of the poems dialectic Vance great with child to speak and helpless in my throes biting my truant pen beating myself for spite. Said my muse to me. Look in the heart and right now here's a slightly different framework of rhyme. So well he would and so well he wrote with fair
entreaty and sweet blandishments that at the length unto a bay he brought her so a sheet to his speeches was content to lend an ear and softly to relent at last through many of ours which for people and many of us she yielded her consent to be his love and take him for her lord. Till the day with marriage means might finish that accord. That of course was a stanza from the Fairy Queen by Edmund Spencer the famous spend Sirian stanza of nine lines the first eight have ten syllables each but the last the ninth is in Alexandra in the line of twelve syllables which has an effect something like that of a change of gear or an overdrive. I find that the last line of a spent Sirian stanza is the equivalent of the couplet at the end of a sonnet. Here's one of those. These colors with fading are not spent. These may remain when thou and I shall perish
if they remain. Then thou shalt live thereby. They will remain and so canst not die. Now listen to the Alexander and again at last through many of ours which force people and many of us she yielded her consent to be his love and take him for her lord will vary with marriage means might finish that accord. We noticed how Sydney has a pattern of repetition inside his framework of a sonnet pattern. Spenser does the same thing inside his framework of his stanza rhyme scheme. Notice the rhyme scheme the joyous bird shrouded in cheerful shade their notes and to the voice a temperate suite the angelical soft trembling voice is made to the instruments divine respondants me the silver sounding instruments did meet with the base manner of the waters the waters fall with difference discreet now saw now
loud unto the wind did call the gentle warbling when lo and sorry to all. It wasn't hard to follow the rhyme scheme but did you notice the other patent birds voices voices instruments instruments waters waters for when wind there that makes up the figure of climax. I mentioned a few moments ago that Putnam in his art of English poesy called this the matching figure and another Elizabeth and Abraham from ZZ. A friend of the Phillips Sidney's describes this pattern as I read your play cation continued by diverse degrees in steps as it were of the same word or sound. For these to be of one kind I take it he means that the same word or sound are the two which be of one kind. Remember now our key words are birds. Voice voices. Instruments instruments. Waters for
waters with wind. The joyous bird shrouded in cheerful shade their notes into the voice are tempered sweet the angelical soft trembling voices made to the instruments divine respondants me the silver sounding instruments did meet with the base manner of the waters the waters for with difference discreet now saw now loud unto the wind did the gentle warbling Lo answer to all. Let's hear this stanza in its context in the poem that would be the sixth standers of canto 12 book two of the Faerie Queene stanza seventy two stanza 75 But first we need notes on some of the words. The first of these stanzas begins with the word F.. Soon it means soon after immediately after mote means might
is able to and white means man. The last three lines of the first stanza are very cleverly written. Here are the first two of these three. All that pleasing is to living here was their consorted in one harmony. Did you notice all that pleasing was is related to in one harmony all to one the last line of course. And Alexandra and collects together some of the details of all that pleasing was in that harmony. Voices instruments which waters all agree. Spencer now picks up birds as the first step in the ladder or climax of the next stanza. The joyous birds shrouded in cheerful shade. Before we hear more some more explanation in the fourth stanza toys means
trivial worthless behavior that ever makes her song with a light lascivious toys and sprite means spirit through his humid eyes did suck his right through his moist eyes. Sucked his spirit out in the sixth of the stanzas name more means no more and means earlier or first to direct means to cover that erst was sought to deck both bed and bower that earlier was in demand to cover both bed and Bower. Now let's have Spenser. Left soon they heard a most melodious sound of all that moat delight a dainty ear such as that once might not on living ground save in this paradise be heard elsewhere. Ride hard it was for white which did it here to read what manna music there will be for all that pleasing is to
living each year was their consorted in one harmony. Its voices instruments when its waters all agree. The joyous bird shrouded in cheerful shade their notes and to the voice of temperate sweet the angelical soft trembling voices made to the instruments divine respondants me the silver sounding instruments did meet with the bass murmur of the waters the waters fall with difference discreet now saw now loud unto the wind did call the gentle warbling when lo and sory too. There once that music scene it had to be was the affair with herself now solacing with a new lover who through sorcery and witchcraft she from far did their brain. There she had him now laid a slumbering in secret shade.
After long wanted Joyce whilst round about them pleasantly did saying many fair ladies and are serious boys that ever mix their song with delight lost interest toys and all that while right over him she hung with a world sized fast exit in his sight as seeking medicine when she was stung by a greedy leader pasturing delight and often quieting down with kisses light for fear of waking him. His lips. We do. And through his human eyes did suck his Sprite quite mold them into lust and pleasure Lou wherewith she sighed saw it as it is case she Rue. Though while someone did chant this lovely lady I see who so far thing thus fain to see and springing flower the image of died they see the Virgin Rose How
sweetly she dug the first peep forth with bashful modesty that fairer scenes the less you see her May lo see soon after. How more bold and free her buried bosom she doth broad display. Lo see soon after how she fails and falls away. So passive in the passing of a day of mortal life the leaf the bird the name or doth flourish after first decay that last was sought to deck both bed in the hour of many a lady and many of her. Gather there for the rose trials. Yeah he's primed for soon comes. That will help provide the flower gather the rose of love well for his time whilst loving the with each crime to get the best out of Elizabethan verse. We have to speak its meaning. This is the case with all verse of course but the Elizabethans
and the poets of the first two thirds of the 17th century suffer in our modern reading and criticism because we tend to overlook the relationship between their full meaning and their verbal plantains. They were able to write in Patton's without sacrificing the rhythms natural to human beings communicating with one another. The Elizabethans themselves denounced over elaborate and meaningless patterns and as a result they've encouraged us you know our incomplete understanding to denounce what is in fact perfectly competent artistry to us for instance this poem by Nicholas Breton seems at first an unjustifiable playing on repeated sounds as an end in itself. I say that I should say I love the word you say tis but as I say four times in fourteen words. But now listen to this. 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. That is what happens when to me obey the precepts of that old Elizabeth and schoolmaster and give attention to those words in which the emphasis is live. If we fail to do this we can deprive ourselves of much enjoyment and can also make surprising critical errors. C S Lewis was the great Oxford teacher of English who among other things wrote a large book on the literature of the 16th century in the Oxford History of English literature series. He was one of my own tutors and I have every regard for him as a great scholar and teacher. But his failure to appreciate the relation between meaning and sound in patterning led his judgment astray from time to time. He tells us that Sidney can his like a serpent and quotes this line sweet swelling lips. Well May starts Well not if you speak it or hear it like that but he does his like as if you read him or hear him like this.
Sweet swelling lips well may starts well. This line models such be wood Globes brings the comment that the poet gobbles like a turkey models such be what Globes. But what if you speak the meaning model such people would blow one more of these are critical assures us that Sydney quacks like a duck. But God what not what they mean. It means but God knows know not what they mean. But God what I want not what they mean. So speak the meaning. And this is what your listener will hear. But God wot what not what they mean. When we were working on this talk it struck us that C.S. Lewis or anybody else might be startled or amused to find what uncomprehending speaking can do to his own name. C. S. Lewis C. S. Lewis but listen to those lines again.
Each spoken properly. No there is no properly. There is only each spoken intelligently appropriately to communicate its meaning in the articulate sound used by the poet sweet swelling lips. Well May stars swell models such people the globe. But God wot what not what they mean. Of course if we are going to or rather if a poet's contemporaries are going to read and speak the precise sense of every word in his pattern then he needs to take great care to use his words very precisely to. After all that's the difference between good rhyme and dog. Dog really is. I am a poet and I saw it in which the rhyme is merely a matter of sound without sense. I am a poet and I know it is just a little bit. I know it has some sense even if it's tacked on. When you say I'm a poet. That statement itself expresses your knowledge. What about I'm a poet and
you must know it. Not very good but at least the rhyme is now part of a statement that conveys more meaning. Our poet has to rhyme with words which are exactly right for his meaning not just repetitions of the same sound. Test this one. 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. I think that love you should know here where you think it is but a thinking idea of love the thought DO show you where you lose your eyes with winking. Right that I do right you blessid. Will you write tis but a writing of 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 our love and truth and I indicted you our blessid out of measure. Now what is true of right holds good of the other patterns of sound. They have no justification unless they are the result of using words exactly in their normal precise senses to say exactly what is appropriate in the context. Sydney has a whole sonnet leading up to this line. I had been vexed if I had not been in the humor depends on the repetition of vexed and the balancing of. I had been and I had not been. Here's the whole sonnet without any comment from me. When I was forced from stellar ever dear stellar food of my thoughts. Heart of my heart Stella whose eyes make all my tempers clear by Stella's laws of beauty to depart Alas I found that she with me did smile and I saw
the tears did in her eyes appear. I saw that size her sweetest lips to hide and her sad words my sad he'd sent Steve here for me. I went to see Pearl scattering. I sighed his signs and waylaid for her world yet so I mean Joy such love was in her scene. Thus while the effect most bitter was to me and nothing then the cause more sweet could be. I had been vexed if a VAX had not been one sound pattern which persists throughout our three hundred years has not been mentioned antithesis. Now this differs from the other patterns or rather from the kind of pattern to which we have been listening. The other patterns are formed by a repetition of the same sound or sounds antithesis forms a pattern as the result of relating words of opposing senses.
Good have I done you much harm have I done you never good and harm are contraries when I spoke them. Might awareness of this made my voice inflict to communicate the fact so antithesis produces patent inflection in the voice. Listen to what it does to the actor's voice in Wyatt's sensitive poem. They flee from the why it reflects bitterly on the fact that the very people who force their company on him are the people who know him very flee from me that sometime did me seek with a naked Fort stalking me in my chamber. I have seen them gentle and meek. But now are wild and do not remember that some time they have put themselves in danger to take bread at my hand and now they range busily seeking with a
continual change. Thank before to night has been otherwise 20 times better but once in special in thin air after a pleasant guise when her loose garden from her shoulders did fall and she caught in her arms long and small. There was all sweetly did me kiss and softly said Dear heart how like you this. It was no dream. I lay broad waking. But always turned to throw my gentleness into a strange fashion of forsaking and I have leave to go of her goodness. And she also to use new fangled ness. But since that I was so kindly moved I would fain
know what she hath. The rhythms of that poem derived from the relationship of word to word as idea to idea. This is another point of importance for us. Very often what seems a dull piece of us comes to life with an antithetical relationship informs the speaking. Even if it is only our own mind speaking in our own minds. Here listen to what happens to verse which we already like. Here is the moment when Hero and Leander Fall In Love At First Sight from Marlow's poem hero and their hero sacrificing turtles blood veiled to the ground veiling her eyelids close and modestly they opened as she rose thence flew love's arrow with the golden head and thus Leander was enamored stone the steel he
stood and ever more he gazed till with the fire of it from his countenance blazed relenting hero's gentle heart was struck such force and virtue half an amorous look. It lies not in our power to love or hate for will in us is over ruled by fate. When two are stripped along of the course begin we wish that one should lose the other women and one especially do we effect of two gold ingots like in each respect the reason no man knows. Let it suffice. What we behold is by our eyes. We are both deliberate and love is light. Who ever loved that loved not at first sight. He kneeled but unto her devoutly prayed
- A nest of singing birds
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- Patterns of Sound
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-3-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “A nest of singing birds; Patterns of Sound; 2,” 1970-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-8c9r6018.
- MLA: “A nest of singing birds; Patterns of Sound; 2.” 1970-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-8c9r6018>.
- APA: A nest of singing birds; Patterns of Sound; 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-8c9r6018