7 nov. 2010

Take Campion's poem, "Rose cheek'd Laura"

Rose-cheek'd Laura, come,
Sing thou smoothly with thy beauty's
Silent music, either other
Sweetly gracing.

Lovely forms do flow
From concent divinely framed;
Heav'n is music, and thy beauty's
Birth is heavenly.

These dull notes we sing
Discords need for helps to grace them;
Only beauty purely loving
Knows no discord,

But still moves delight,
Like clear springs renew'd by flowing,
Ever perfect, ever in them-
Selves eternal.

A metrical tour-de-force. It seems inadequate to say that "the sound should seem an echo to the sense." Rather, the sense tells the reader how to hear the flowing sounds. The sense creates a kind of auditory hallucination, making the silent or dull notes into colorful sounds.

5 comentarios:

Sarang dijo...

I suppose this is the earliest example of someone adapting the sapphic -- or at least the essential structure of the sapphic -- to English. I assume "framed" is to be pronounced as disyllabic?

Jonathan dijo...

Not really a Sapphic Stanza, which would end with that signature five-syllable pattern rather than the four-syllable pattern we see here. I don't know what classical meter he was imitating here, but I don't think it was Sapphics.

And yes, it would be "framèd."

Sarang dijo...

Not sure how much validity that logic has: Milton, while translating Horace's Pyrrha ode as close to word-for-word as possible, still rendered the alcaic as an entirely iambic rhythm. Anyway all I meant to say was that Campion's stanza _feels_ like a sapphic, the fourth lines have the same minor-key, receding sense.

Jonathan dijo...

He does use this poem in close proximity to where he discusses the Sapphic in his treatise on prosody, so you may be on to something. The poem he offers as Sapphic is

"Faiths pure shield, the Christian Diana..."

He then goes on to explain "Rose cheek't Laura" as a combination of trochees and spondees.

Vance Maverick dijo...

Sidney apparently did some sapphics too, so Campion can't quite be the first. Hell of a poem, regardless. However you choose to analyze the meter, it has a very distinctive rocking movement.

Lines 9-10 are a lovely and concise expression of a key point about Western music that's often misunderstood.