Thursday, September 22, 2016
Campion's Rose-Cheek'd Laura - 2
["Rose-cheek'd Laura, come/Sing thou smoothly with thy beauty's/Silent music.." (Thomas Campion)]
AG: (Basil) Bunting would probably do it [Campion's "Rose-Cheek'd Laura"] much slower - "These dull notes we sing.." Discords need for helps to grace them" - The form here is.. what? Sapphic? Anacrenotic? - or something like that, some Greek form
Student (Pat): No this is what he calls the English iambic (curiously enough, since it's trochaic)
AG: ….da-data-data-data - counted by four, counted by accent..
Student (Pat): (These are) experimental.pieces from the Observations in the Art (of English Poesie)
AG: Okay, now. So this would be an iambic or trochaic, but based on a count of syllable rather than.. of quantity rather than accent, or is he still..
Student (Pat : No this would be definitely quantitative
AG: Okay, So here then.. Here's the crux piece that's explainable in both directions.. that he's trying to apply the count that we already know, iambic or trochaic, that we already know as accentual count, he's trying to apply that count to vowel length and construct a poem on the basis of length of syllable rather than accent length. So it irons down..it irons down the stress, to some extent, and by ironing out the stress, it lengthens and smooths out the tongue of the pronunciation. Yeah?
Student (Pat): But "either other/Sweetly gracing"..
AG: That's great
Student (Pat): ..seems a strange way to put it. Is that, like for construction of the poem or is that..?
AG: Well that would be a … I talked, I think earlier of Ezra Pound's division of melopoeia, thanopoeia, and logopoeia (thanopoeia, the picture). So this would be melapoeia - "Silent music, either other" - "Silent music, either other" (or) "Silent music, either other") - "Silent music, either other" - But it's also…
Student (Pat): I don't know what it means.. Seems a very strange way to…
AG: Yes, it is strange, purposefully, it's funny. So that would be melopoeia - the making of melody - but also logopoeia - the making of funny language work
Student (Pat): Is it the making of melody because "either other"..?
AG: "Either other" - It's some sort of assonance, internal rhyme? - "either other" - "Silent music either other" - Silent music either other" - See how funny that is! - And imagine singing it! - [AG attempts singing it- "Silent music either other"] - It's so funny. You've got the vowels for it.
Student:You've got the "i"s.
AG: Pardon me?
Student: Isn't there a breath in there, though?
AG: Yeah, sure. I was just emphasizing. I was just emphasizing there, not the rhythmic aspect but the..what do you call it?..melodical..melodical part.
Student: Would you mind telling us what the "either other" refers to?
Student 2: Each other.
AG: Each other. Each one graces the other one.
Student 2: Each one of…
Student 3: Laura and music.
AG: "Sing thou smoothly with thy beauty's" - her beauty..
Student 3: Beauty in the music.
Student 2: Oh, I thought Laura, Laura's beauty.
AG: No, Laura sings. It's actually all about our subject, singing, and music and poetry and art, and he's got this really beautiful girl who's singing, I think, here - Isn't that correct? - whose mind is so exquisite that it's trained in high art and delicacy of syllables as well as the beautiful music of her own person, that is, her "beauty's silent music" - and she's singing. So, the singing graces the physical beauty and the physical beauty graces the singing - "Rose-cheek'd Laura, come/Sing thou smoothly with thy beauty's/ Silent music , either other/Sweetly gracing"
"Grace notes". It's also a musical pun. In fact, all through it, we have - "Discords need for helps to grace them" (which) is also part of musical terminology - disc(h)ords and grace notes. What's a grace note?
Student: A grace note is a very quick note, I think, only a fraction of a second..
AG: Yeah, that was what I was saying - "revive" - da da-da - a little extra curlicue in the..pig-tail..
Student: He doesn't have any time
AG: Yeah, so " discords need.. " "These double-notes, we sing ""Discords need for helps to grace them"
Student: It just sounds like a discordant line.
AG: Well, that's it. He's doing what he's doing. This is considered, you know, one of the great lyrics of the language, because of all the internal wit, because of the pun on the subject, because it's like a diamond crystal with the subject and the doing of the subject are identical
Student: Yeah, amazing
AG: It's all about music and beauty - and is just pure beauty, actually
The poem.. I had one poem I tried taking off from this called "The Rune" (which I've been singing down here) - "Where the years have gone, where the clouds have flown/Where the rainbow shone/We vanish and make no moan" . It was just from that "Rose-cheek'd Laura, come", that caesura there, or that gap, that silent spot. "Rose-cheek'd Laura", that rest, that rest (would that be a rest?) - "Rose-cheek'd Laura, come" - and dig what that does to the rhythm - "Rose-cheek'd Laura - come". So there's that whole universe going on invisibly, a whole wheel of time moving in between, in between "Laura" "Lawra" (L-A-W-R-A) , "Laura come " - And, actually, if you hear it, there's not too much trouble in figuring out how long it should take.
[Audio for the above can be heard here, starting at approximately forty-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-six-and-a-quarter minutes in]