Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Archives Project: STL #47.7

Title: Test of Poetry
Description: TOP 3-10
Date: 25 May 2005
Let me say that my comparative reading of 3a&b yields nothing, but was a lot of fun. The previous entry has been edited so that all of #3 is together.
3a+b near contemporaneous versions (Elizabethan) of an ode to classical poets past and present. I feel I should know what it is but I just don’t. The vocabulary and structure are so close, that it’s only the fine details that a reading can focus on. For instance, the two first lines:
a) Envy why carpest thou my time is spent so ill, b)Envy, why twitst thou me, my Time’s spent ill?

so, the differences: one of vocabulary, carpest vs. twitst (not twists); three of punctuation, two commas for an inaccurate parenthetical phrase in b and a comma in a, which better joins the next line as a compound question; one additional word, “so” in A; and one of capitalization, Time is an abstraction in b. The score: A wins for the lower case t easily, and for the sentence construction. It’s a split for the commas: there really should be one comma, after Envy. The lexical substitution and added word leads to a much spritelier rhythm in B, which should count a bit more. So it’s a tie after line one.
line two differences: two of vocabulary termst vs. call’st, works vs. verse termst works better with “fruits” but it’s less direct. Another tie
Line 3: two differences of punctuation: comma at the end of the line in a, parentheses in b. The winner is b, for grammatical accuracy and the slight modulation of an otherwise too-regular line.
Line 4: one difference of phrasing: a says “Wars dusty honors are refused being young? but b says …I pursue not young? There’s a difference of sense here, so I will defer judgment until the end, though instinct says B.
Line 5 two lexical differences, Nor vs. Or, and brawling vs. tedious; and two of punctuation, a comma in the middle of b which also has a terminal semicolon. I’m familiar enough with Elizabethan diction to know that I can’t make a call on Or vs. Nor, and the other difference should resort to the original (“tedious” makes more sense), and like line 3, the punctuation complicates the rhythm in a nice way, as well as the sense “Or that I study not, the tedious laws;” “tedious laws” being both the object of study and the compelling custom that he should study. Slight edge to b

Line 6: one difference of phrasing “Nor set my voice to sale in every cause?” vs “And prostitute my voice…”The second is more incisive, and the first has too smooth a meter. “Prostitute” also uncannily echoes “study not” It goes to B

Line 7 one of punctuation, comma in A (who as is by now clear prefers fewer impediments) vs semicolon in B and a capital F for Fame in B. Maybe I’m misreading the capitals; these rules were less strict at the time. However, the semicolon is just misleading, so I’m awarding this line to A, his first win. (This is so fun, and so useless!)
Line 8 difference of phrasing “That all the world may ever chant my name” vs. “Which through the world shall…”Different subject, so Fame is being personified by B. “May” resonates nicely with “my name” and shall is stuffy anyway, so A wins two in a row.
Line 9: 2 lexical differences: shall vs. will, while vs. whilst; 1 punctuation difference of parenthetical commas added in B. edge to A b/cause the punctuation does not follow sense
Line 10: 2 lexical differences: into Sea vs. to the sea and swift vs. fleet, 1 capitalization: Sea in A; 1 punctuation, period vs. colon for end stop. I think “into” must be the correct sense, and I like the elided article. The period seems a better choice as well. A all the way
Line 11: greatest variation so far, but I guess I’ll categorize it as two differences of phrasing and one of lexicon: “Ascraeus lives,” vs “And so shall Hesiod too” and “while graps with new wine swell,” vs. while vines do bear,” First, I don’t have a handy reference to sort out the name difference. They’re all otherwise the same. Anyway, A is obviously more compact, and B calls on a verb from two lines back (that’s probably more faithful to the Latin) A choose to be brief for the first phrase and expand the second with commendable effect grapes picks up Asraeus, new wine swell is a nice run. the line to A, the comeback kid. Halfway through, the score is A 5, B 3, with two ties and one leaning to B
Line 12: another problematic diagnosis different actor men vs sickles, random cap of Sickle in A, corn down fell vs. crop the ripened ear. I’ve got to go with B in this case, as it’s less contorted. (A pays for the rhyme with swell)
Lines 13-14: “The world shall of Callimachus ever speak,/His art excelled, although his wit was weak.” vs. “Callimachus, though in Invention low,/Shall still be sung, since he in Art doth flowe.”
A is way, way better: the last phrase of b is an ugly solecism.

Line 15: different” “For ever lasts high Sophocles proud vaine” vs. No losse shall come to.Sophocles’...” Tiny advantage B ("high” is padding)
Line 16: no difference
Line 17: two differences of phrasing: "While bond-men cheat” vs. “Whilst Slaves be false,”; "bawds whorish,” vs. “Bawds be whorish,” w3 of capitalization in B. Both have problems of construction and scansion, so I’m calling a tie
Line 18: 2 lexical.cap difference: And vs Whilst; strumpets vs. Harlots. Tiny edge to B: by maintaining grammatic consistency in previous line he earns a little boost from a change
Line 19: “Till Cupid’s Bow and fiery Shafts be broken,” vs “Till Cupids fires be out, and his bow broken,” Edge to A for having a single concrete event
Line 20 1 diff of voca/punct : “Thy verses sweet Tibullus…” vs (neat Tibullus)” B is craftier: setting the addressee and not relying on the too poetic “sweet”
Line 21 1 difference of lexicon: And vs Our; one of punctuation comma vs colon Edge to B “Our” draws together speaker and Tibullus, the colon better for the concluding line
Line 22 One of punctuation, a comma in B and one verb tense: “whom he loved best.” vs “whom he now loves best.” This too you’d have to go to the Latin, but I’d lean to A
Final score: A 7, B 8. If I force a result on every non-identical line, its 10-10
Grades: After all the work, I’m giving both A’s (turns out it’s a: Marlowe and b:Jonson translating Ovid)

4a+b: I think we have Ovid again, Golding vs. Shakespeare. Once again, Golding comes out better, but then again this isn’t the best of Shax. Exhibits: “Ye Ayres and windes: ye Elves of Hilles, of Brookes, of Woods alone, / Of standing Lakes…” vs “Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves;” and “I call up dead men from their graves: and thee O lightsome Moone / I darken oft..” vs “…graves at my command/Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let ‘em forth/By my so potent art.” In the first case, Shakes version is a boring list: Golding’s seems like a charm. In the second, G’s first phrase makes Sh’s last totally unnecessary Grades Golding A Shakespeare A-

5a Some prosaic translation with senseless enjambments Grade D (Catullus C)
5b. from When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d. Grade: one supposes A
5c something Modernist, but classically influenced. Cummings? A nice mix of registers, very “Objectivist” construction A (Cummings, Is 5)
6a Again with the Gavin Douglass. In lieu of grading, a transliteral translation
Before his regal high magnificence,
Misty vapor up-sprang and, sweet as sense,
In smoky sop is of donc-do his wake
Mo ick hail some stoves our held and the slack;
The oreat fan is of his throne so very own
With glittering glans o’erspread the oak sheen
The large fluid is lemon All of licked
Bought with a blink of his supernal sicked.

For to behold it was a gloried Uzi
The stabbed wind is and the Comet sea,
The soft session, the firm amend “sir”-in
The loam illuminant air, and further men;
The silver-scalt fishes on the grate
Ortho’er clear stems sprinkling of the heat,
With fins skinned and brow as I know par,
And chisel tallies, stow ‘round here and there;
The new culler all icht-ing all the land is
For gain their standers skein the burial strand is,
Quill the reflex of the diurnal be miss
The being bone kiss kissed full of variant gleam is.

6b possibly another Aeneid, I guess Dryden, because it’s boring C (well, Milton anyway)

6c also maritime, Victorian I think. Nice detail with some beetles: B (how embarrassing: It’s Lear. (King, that is) That I leave this up should show I’m not faking. God I’m embarrassed) )
6d. Cummings, or Williams? Typographically the former, but sounds like the latter. A (Cummings)
7a. A parody or unorthodox pre-Modern translation of the invocation of the Muse from Virgil. I like the light-hearted tone, though might not through the whole epic. A- (It’s Whitman!)
7b. Modern plain spoken trans of same “Tell me, Muse, of that man who got around/ After sacred Troy fell” Undercover Zukofsky? Grade C (Odyssey “Adaptation”)
8a Chaucer? I like the simile: “Madame, ye ben of al beaute shrine,/ As fer as circled is the mappemounde/ For as the crystal glorious ye shyne,/ And lyke ruby ben your chekes round.” Why not finish the stanza: “Therewith ye ben so mery and so jocounde,/That at a revel whan that I see you daunce,/ It is a n oynement unto my wounde,/Thogh ye to me ne do no dalianunce,” Grade: A
8b I can’t say exactly what I mean, but it’s straining after the condition of folk-lyric C (Browning)
9a, Another Chaucer lyric, I think, which summarizes all the Classical, historical, and mythic lore knowable in a 21-line love lyric. Pretty good A (Chaucer, from Legend of Good Women)
9b. Similar to (if not the same) as the Douglass Old Scots “That wele is comen to welaway/To many harde stoundes” Maybe not (Southron)
9c A nice ubi sunt poem: “Hwer is Paris and Heleyne,/That weren so bryht and feyre on bleo.” Z says that last phrase, “on bleo” means literally dark bule, so mayb in bleak weather, in bleak times” “Heo beoth iglyden ut of the reyne, / So the scheft is of the cleo” Means They have glided out of the reins as the form is out of the clay (or sheaf is out of the steep hillside). Fascinating piece A (Thomas of Hales)
9d. Trans of Villon Not that interesting B- (Rosetti)
10a Petrachan sonnet. Rather dry C (Wyatt)
10b Shax sonnet. “the foison of the year” A (Shx 53)

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