And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

fredag 30. november 2012

November Poetry - part III

While still labouring in the talons of post-thesis ennui I have been unable to summon sufficient strength of will to embark on a lengthy and scholarly blogpost, and as a consequence I present now the third installment in the series of November poetry. This time I give you an excerpt from Edmund Spenser's The Shepheardes Calender, which was his debut in the literary world. This cycle of twelve poems, one for each month, is modelled after Virgil's Eclogues and is exquisitely pastoral, each poem being a conversation between shepherds on subjects such as love, worldiness and death. The Shepheardes Calender is remarkable for its poetic range, encompassing a number of various rhyme scheme and verse forms.

The protagonist of the cycle is Colin Clout, a character taken from a poem by John Skelton (c.1460-1529), and he is widely agreed to serve as Edmund Spenser's persona. He also makes an appearance in the epic The Faerie Queene. In the 11th eclogue, the subject for Colin's mourning is a woman called Dido, and the eclogue itself is fashioned after a poem by Jean Marot (c.1450-c.1526). Since the poem is rather long, a present here only an excerpt from Colin's lament for Dido.

Shepheards, that by your flocks on Kentish downes abyde,
Waile ye this wofull waste of natures warke:
Wail we the wight, whose presence was our pryde:
Waile we the wight, whose absence is our carke.
The sonnne of all the world is dimme and darke:
The earth now lacks her wonted light,
And all we dwell in deadly night,
O heauie herse.
Breake we our pypes, that shrild as lowde as Larke,
O carefull verse.

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