A nest of singing birds; Blank Verse; 24
A nest of singing birds. Three centuries of English verse with a doctorate from just. Three centuries of blank verse. Obviously one short program cannot do justice to three centuries of blank verse instead of trying to do the impossible. I'm going to consider some characteristics of the blank verse of the 16th and 17th centuries. We should find that these characteristics disappear from the blank verse of the eighteenth century and are almost absent from that of Wordsworth. A number of generalities. Let's listen to this passage from Young's night thoughts in particular. It was published in 1740 to be wise. Today it is madness to defer the next day the federal president will plead that song until wisdom is pushed out of life. The question nation is the thief of time. Year after year it's
still all off lead. And into the messes of a moment leaves the vast concerns of an eternal sea. It's not so frequent Would not this be strange if it is so frequent. This is strangest. Man's miraculous mistakes this bares the power that all men are about to live forever on the brink of being born. All pay themselves the complement to think they one day shall not rebel and their pride in this reversion takes up ready praise. At least their own their future selves applauds how excellent that life they now will lead time lodged in their own hands is follies veils. That lodged in fades to wisdom they can side the thing they can't but purpose. They postpone Tis
not in folly not to scorn of food and scarce human wisdom to do more. All promise is poor Dillard and that through every stage when young indeed in full content we sometimes nobody rests and anxious for ourselves. And only wishes duty as sons our fathers were more wise. And thirty men suspects unself a fool knows it at forty and reforms his plan at fifty chides his infamous delay pushes his probable purpose to result. In all the magnanimity of thought. Resolved Andrey then dives the say that has one famous almost proverbial line. Procrastination is the thief of time that is crisp and
compressed. But notice how young becomes diffuse as he develops thought out of his image of the thief year after year. It steals too are all our flared. They spread the right word. The years do not free they are stolen. And notice how young things antithetical but in a diffuse not a compressed way. And to the mercies of a moment lives the vast concerns of an eternal sea. He wanted to say that enormously important issues involving human happiness or torment for eternity have to be decided in a short inadequate moment. Notice how compressed Young is when he writes in here a couplet few too good breeding make a just pretense good breeding is the blossom of good sense. The last result of an accomplished mind without would grace the body's virtue
joined a violated decency now reigns and nymphs for failings take peculiar pains with Indian painters modern toasts agree the point 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 but castigated grace the gentle movement and slow measured pace but which lovers died. Her parents paid all in the columns with the modern stiff forms are bad but let not worse intrude nor conquer art and nature to be rude. Now here's a well-known passage from Pope's essay on. And again here with couplets we have compression hope. Humbly then with trembling pinions or
wait. The great teacher. Death and God adore. What future bliss he gives not lead 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. It was so uneasy and confined at home rests and expatiate in our life to come. Now listen to Young's blank verse again spoken this time by Barry Boyce. We wise to the way it is madness to do next to the fatal precedent will plead. Pass on til wisdom is pushed out of life. Procrastination is the thief of time. Year after year it steals till all are fled 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 it is frequent. This is strangest of man's miraculous mistakes. This is the power that all men are about to live for ever on the brink of being blown. All pay themselves the complement to think that 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 lead time largely in their own hands these follies veils that lodged in fades to wisdom they can sighing. The thing they can't but purpose they postpone is not in folly not to scornful and scarce in human wisdom to do more or promise is
poorer deliberately and that through every stage when young indeed in full content we sometimes nobler rest and anxious for ourselves and only wish as duty as sons our fathers were more wise that a man suspects himself 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 than dies the same after that. Here's a passage from Book 4 of the task by William Cooper the blank verse poem published in 1785. Winter ruler of the inverted year that I scattered here with sleet like ashes filled
by breath congealed upon my lips I cheeks fringed with a beard made white with other snows than those of a huge life already wrapped in clouds. A leafless branches I scepter and I thrown a slighting indebted to know where he lives but urged by storms along that slippery way. I love thee or unlovely as thou seems to and rated as thou. That holds the son a prisoner in the yet under warning East shortening his journey between morning and noon and hurrying him impatient of his day down to the rosy West. But kindly still come pensar to his loss with added hours of social converse and instructive ease and gathering at short notice. In one group the family dispersed and fixing
thought not less dispersed by daylight and its cares. I crowned the king of intimate delights. Fireside enjoyment. Home on happiness. And all the comforts that the lowly roof of undisturbed retirement and the hours of long uninterrupted evening. I know there are two passions of the kind which we met so often in early a verse. I love the all on lovely as thou seems to and the diffuse antithesis and gathering in one group the family dispersed where we have gathering in antithesis to dispersed and in one group in antithesis to the family and gathering in one group the family dispersed. Milton's Brandt this is very different. Here's the opening of book 9 of Paradise Lost. No more talk with God or angel guest with me. And
I was with his friend Familia used to sit indulgent. And with him partake rural repast permitting him the wild venial discourse. I now am a strange those moments to tragic distrust and breach disloyal on the part of man revolt and disobedience on the part of heaven now alienated distance and distaste anger and just rebuke and judgment given the brought into this world a world of world sin and a shadow of death and misery death's harbinger. So I want to ask yanked argument not less but more heroic than the rock of storm Achilles on whose focus you'd thrice fugitive about Troy.
So you see Milton's verse has more structure to it. Notice these repetitions with man as with his friend and with him partake and then they him of with him partake permitting him the while. In the opening no more of talk is suspended until we reach. I now must change. And then we have the antithesis. Those notes tragic Here are some of the more obvious points on the part of man is related to on the part of heaven. The passage says instead of friendship of God or angel guest and man. We have a foul distrust breach disloyal revote and disobedience. The friendship of heaven becomes distance distaste anger and just rebuke and judgment given the opening lines tell us what happened in the past. But now Heaven is alienated. In all this Milton
writes with extreme precision sin you notice is followed by death and then misery precedes and announces death. Sin and her shadow death and misery death's harbinger. And notice how the rhythm comes from the meaning. Sad task is balanced against yet argument. And again we have balance here not less but more heroic. Milton is contrasting the anger and just rebuke of him with the themes or arguments of other epics such as the wrath of Achilles in Homer in my opinion. Note his music has been misunderstood. We sometimes hear of his so-called organ music and there used to be a school of criticism in England for all I know it may still be flourishing there which complained that Milton ignores the natural rhythms of colloquial English that he's stiff and anatomist in his constructions
in his syntax. Now one thing I am certain if you don't read a poet competently the result will not be competent but you mustn't blame the poet for that. Notice when I read Milton this way how inflexible he sounds. I now must change those notes to tragic foul distrust and breach disloyal on the part of man revolt and disobedience on the part of heaven now alienated distance and distaste anger and just rebuke and judgment given. But if I concentrate not on the paragraph all the sentence or the phrase but on the individual would related to the individual would to make up phrase sentence and paragraph. I think it's better I now must change those notes to tragic phone distrust and breach disloyal on the part of man revolt and disobedience on the part of him and now alienated
distance and distaste and anger and just rebuke and judgment given. Of course Barry Boyce does it much better. I now must change those notes to tragic foul distrust and breach disloyal on the part of man. Revote. Disobedience on the part of heaven now alienated distance and distaste anger and just rebuke judgment given the brought into this world world of world. Every syllable every word was spoken then to communicate its meaning for the actor in terms which are natural to him to communicate that meaning the tones are natural but they are arranged in an artificial pattern. We have an artificial organization of utterly natural tones
from dust distempered breast Adam Strange to look and altered styled speech intimated that us renewed. There the first dust looks back the second the US looks forward. And here is what the first person looks back to. That's fenced and as they thought their shape in part covered but not at rest or ease of mind they sat them down to weep. Nor only tears rain to their eyes but high winds worse within began to rise high passions anger hate mistrust suspicion discord and shock saw their inward state of mind. Carm region once full of peace now tossed and turbulent but understanding not the Will her not her law both in subjection to sense your will appetite who from beneath you observing over sovereign reason claimed superior sway.
Let's analyze that passage. No only tears is balanced against but high winds. Words are aimed at their eyes is balanced against within began to rise and come region once and full of peace against now tossed and turbulent. Those two words are important once and now calm region once and for all of peace now past and turbulent. When he deals with understanding and will they are both in subject now to sense your appetite. And this from beneath usurping over sovereign reason claim superior sway listen to the precise consistency of that appetite usurps seizes the power of the throne from sovereign reason appetite must do that from beneath and when the years are patient is complete
the inferior has superior sway room. So the first US reminds us of Adam's distempered breast the second looks forward to his speech. Welcome to my words and stayed with me as I best sought the when that strange design of wandering this unhappy I know not when we had then remained still happy not as now this shame make it miserable. Henceforth seek needless cause to approve when earnestly they seek such proof conclude. We have the same sort of structural elements here. We had then not as now we had then remained still unhappy not as now despoiled. And again notice when and then let none when earnestly they seek such proof
conclude. They then begin to fail. Now we can appreciate the importance of the two thus it is in the literal linking passage from Das distempered Brest Adam Strange to look and altered styled speech into me thus renewed Eve's answer to this is contrasted with Adam's too soon moved with touch of blame. The last e only a touch of blame quickly moves Eve. Now if you don't think each of Milton's words used by his rhythm to whom soon moved with touch of blame instead of two who soon moved with touch of blame. When she has finished her attack Milton has a line of never ration to thirsty incensed Adam replied Moten syntax is Latinized he does develop complex rhythms but when you know how to read him he sounds
clear and natural as well as artificial nature heightened into out. Let's look into Eve's speech more closely. Adam severe is a Latin construction but goes back far into English verse Chaucer also lets his adjective follow its now and here are the segments which give Milton's verse its delightful balance to my default against or will of wondering thou being by against or to the south and had been there against or here the attempt. And command me not to go. Balanced against going to such dangerous Dowsett and rust. Neither had I against nor that with me. What words have passed my lips Adam severe imputes that to my default all will of wondering as though caused it. Which who knows what might as ill have happened are being by myself perhaps. Has that been then. Here they attend the goods
not to discern fraud in the serpent. Speaking as he spake no ground of enmity between us know why you should mean me ill or seek to harm was I'd of never parted from my side. As good have grown they're still a lifeless rib being as I am. Why didst not thou the head come on me. Absolutely not to go going into such danger as I said to Fassel them God it's not much gain say permit approved unfair dismissal. Had they all been firm and fixed in my descent neither had I transgress in all of the with me. If we today resist our lazy 20th century tendencies not to read precisely if we read and think precisely then the very exact and complex verbal statements of Noachian Superbus mean and this music you cannot have the music without the meaning. And if you read the meaning you have the music. It will not surprise anybody who has listened to any of our programs on Shakespeare. If I remark here that
Shakespeare's blank verse resembles Milton's in its balancing of ideas and its patterns of sound. One of Shakespeare's most famous speeches is a bitch really spoke for me by actresses who ignore its structure in the Merchant of Venice. PUSHA works to convince Shylock that no one can force him to be most of all that missy is not squeezed forcibly out of anyone. It is not strained not wrung out by force. On the contrary Missy dropped both as the gentle rain rain can drop violently destroying plants beating down flooding but mercy drops like the gentle rain that drops from above upon whatever place happens to be beneath it drop with us the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. The rain doesn't drop upon a place which deserves it but upon whatever happens to be underneath when it falls it's the same with mercy.
Nobody deserves force from heaven as an act of grace it is not connected with deserving the quality of mercy is not strained it drop earth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. I don't think I need to call attention to the bottoms and patterning on these lines from Romeo and Juliet just the name that is my hand. Me a lot myself the most in Montague to you it is not Handel foot no face no idea long to him that would be some. That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So will he not Rumi you call it dear perfection which goes without that title. Around here the off time a. M for the name which is not part of the Tate.
Oh I thought I would call me about love and about time I was tense for I never will be Romeo. What man. Must be screened not so stunned based on my pants so don't marry him I know not how to tell you who I am. My name to say hateful to myself because it is an enemy to the had I written I would tear the world to my ears if he had not drunk a hundred words of the times out of the sound. And Montacute neither made either the decision came started telling him where after all. The orchard was a high and hard to climb and the priest. Death considering without any of my kinsmen find the here with gloves like wings do dial purged things will go stony limits cannot hold love about what love can do that does not attend. Therefore my kinsmen I know stopped me. You see they were mad at the fact that lies more peddling died 20 or it's
the habit suite and I'm proof against the heading that I would not for the world they saw with the here I have knights cloak to hide me from their eyes but the whole have me let them fight me here my life what better ended by their hate than death row row get one ting of the island was done action films the how these plays but I love the first to prod me to enquire. You let me counsel and I lend him I know I am nobody that you know what that I was 5 is that the astral washed with the father to see if I should adventure for such merchandise. In some ways blank verse and couplets before 17:00. Nearer to one another than the sixteenth and seventeenth century blank verse is to that of the 18th 19th or 20th centuries. In the blank verse and the couplets of the 16th and 17th centuries we find
the same structural elements. What is communicated is organized in patterns particularly in antithesis. Notice the pattern is in this speech by tourists which we've heard in other programs. All that I thought it could be in a woman as if it can. I would presume in you to feed for I had a lamp and flames of love to keep her constancy in flight and you outliving beauties outward with a mind that the three knew swifter than blood decay or that persuasion could. But that convinced me that my integrity in truth you might be affronted with the match and weight of such a winnowed purity and love. How would I then uplifted. But alas. I am as true as truth simplicity and simpler than the infancy of truth. Contrast this structure with that of COTA ridges.
Reflections on having left the place of retirement lowers our pretty caught our tallest Rose peeped at the chamber window we could hear that silent new and Eve and early morn to see some faint murmur. In the open air it was blossomed and across the porch thick Jasmine's twined the little landscape around was green and Woody and refresh the Now contrast that with a different kind of texture of this passage from book Age of Paradise Lost Adam's account of the creation of Eve under his forming a creature group man like but different sex. So lovely for what seemed fair in all the world seemed to mean more in her summed up in her contained and in her looks which from that time infused sweetness into my heart and fell before
and into all things from her inspired the spirit of love and amorous delight. She disappeared and left me on my way to find her or forever to deplore her loss and other pleasures all of sure went out of hope not for of such as I saw in my dream adorned with all heaven could be to make amiable on she came led by her heavenly make though unseen and guided by his voice nor uninformed of not to your sanctity and marriage rights. Grace was in all her steps haven't I. Every gesture dignity and love you have been listening to a program on blank this. The readers were Berry boy is Elizabeth Shepherd. Alan Scott and Jonathan this is Bertram Joseph inviting you to be with us again next week.
- A nest of singing birds
- Episode Number
- Blank Verse
- Episode Number
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- No description available
- Media type
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-3-24 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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; Blank Verse; 24,” 1970-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 23, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-cz32688h.
- MLA: “A nest of singing birds; Blank Verse; 24.” 1970-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 23, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-cz32688h>.
- APA: A nest of singing birds; Blank Verse; 24. 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-cz32688h