?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Eroticdreambattle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Tony Grist

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Southey [May. 13th, 2014|09:45 am]
Tony Grist
I tracked down a poem by Southey last night. I needed it to bolster an argument I was having with myself about living too much in the past. I had thought the first line was "I have lived too much among the dead"; but it turned out to be "My days among the dead are passed"- and that instead of beating himself up for being unable to cope with modern life he's patting himself on the back for having his nose stuck in his Cicero.

It ends with him hoping- no false modesty about our Bob- that his own name will live for ever. When Shakespeare does that sort of thing he gets away with it. When Southey does it, well....

Poor Southey; he is remembered,  but it's mainly as the first generation romantic poet it's safe to disregard- or- in other words as the chap who isn't as good as Wordsworth and Coleridge. Byron took a terrific swipe at him for greasing up to royalty. Flytings are terrible things. The poet who loses is stuck in the shit forever.

He wasn't a bad poet, just a moderately decent one.  There's a poem about the Battle of Blenheim which- though rather heavy-handed- deserves to be read.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 09:24 am (UTC)
51 per cent of the population remember him for one thing only: his ghastly letter to Charlotte Bronte - "Literature cannot be the business of a woman's life".

Thankfully, after initially promising to, she took no notice of him.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-05-13 11:20 am (UTC)
I'd forgotten that.

It's the old, old story: he was a bright young radical who degenerated into a smug and very reactionary old fart.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: steepholm
2014-05-13 04:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, for that and writing the poem of which 'Old Father William' is a parody.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2014-05-13 12:19 pm (UTC)
I'm unable to forgive Southey for The Holly Tree:

"O READER! hast thou ever stood to see
The Holly Tree?
The eye that contemplates it well perceives
Its glossy leaves
Order’d by an intelligence so wise,
As might confound the Atheist’s sophistries."

*shudders*
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-05-13 01:35 pm (UTC)
That is outstandingly bad.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 03:18 pm (UTC)
I just read an article about Frieda Hughes on the BBC website, about her training to be a counselor. She's had a difficult life and I feel for her - but Christ, tin ear for poetry or what? Makes Southey look like Tennyson.

I have the lowest opinion of her father it's possible for anyone to have, but even I wouldn't say she takes after him in aptitude. He had an ear.

Edited at 2014-05-13 03:19 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-05-13 04:30 pm (UTC)
I don't like Hughes either- as a man or a poet- but I'll concede he had talent.

It must be tough having to carry Ted and Sylvia around as parents.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 04:35 pm (UTC)
Months later, my marriage/Already rotting on its acrimonious stalk/ Follows him into the ground/And my brother too, who couldn't wait to leave

Following this devastating series of events, she describes her inner life as a wasteland.

Now my internal landscape is little more/ Than a bone yard

Holy shit, that's really terrible. She should get a day job and never ever give it up. Hopefully counselling will work for her.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-05-13 04:42 pm (UTC)
I see she's had collections published. O dear :(

Poetry rarely runs in families. Coleridge had a son- Hartley- who wasn't bad. I can't think of any other example of a good poet who had a good poet among his/her offspring.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 04:46 pm (UTC)
Her brother "who couldn't wait to leave" had a very respectable career as a marine biologist. Sensible bloke. I was sorry to hear about his depression and suicide.

Hartley Coleridge knocked around with Branwell Bronte, or so I've heard, which brings us round back to Southey in a very large circle. Mind you with Hartley and Branwell, hard to know which was the worse influence on the other.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: cmcmck
2014-05-13 04:45 pm (UTC)
''When the rock was hid by the surges' swell,
The mariners heard the warning bell,
And then they knew the perilous rock,
And bless'd the Abbot of Aberbrothok.''

Oh, Mr Southey! Mr Southey, Oh!


Think I'll stick to being influenced by Hopkins.............
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 04:48 pm (UTC)
There's something so adamantine and steadfast and reassuring about thoroughly bad poetry, isn't there? I get the same feeling about this as from Frieda Hughes's little ditty above.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: cmcmck
2014-05-13 04:56 pm (UTC)
This may explain why I have had a lifelong love affair with the wonderfully execrable verse of William Topaz McGonagall! :o)


'The authorities of Berlin in honour of the Emperor considered it no sin,
To decorate with crape the beautiful city of Berlin;
Therefore Berlin I declare was a city of crape,
Because few buildings crape decoration did escape.'




Edited at 2014-05-13 04:56 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 04:58 pm (UTC)
You know, there's an internal rhyme scheme that prefigures Eminem. Maybe poor Mr McGonagall was just born in the wrong century...
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: cmcmck
2014-05-13 05:01 pm (UTC)
McGonagall as a rapper- now there's a thought!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: athenais
2014-05-14 06:40 am (UTC)
I am now unable to read/hear this as a hip-hop song. Respect!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: cmcmck
2014-05-14 07:41 am (UTC)
:o)

He was a stage performer after all- Shakespeare in the grand manner apparently.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: athenais
2014-05-15 04:28 pm (UTC)
Er, that was "not read/hear" but of course you got that. I had better look up McGonagall. :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: cmcmck
2014-05-15 05:00 pm (UTC)
I knew what you meant. :oD

McGonagall is heaps of fun if very groanworthy.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: cmcmck
2014-05-13 05:03 pm (UTC)
Just friended you btw- my blog's f-locked so I need to let folks in.

Edited at 2014-05-13 05:04 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 05:09 pm (UTC)
Jolly good! Come on in :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-05-13 05:17 pm (UTC)
McGonagall is in a class of his own. So bad he's sublime.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: rosamicula
2014-05-16 07:03 pm (UTC)
I got a complete works of SOuthey as a prize for 100% attendance in my first year of secondary school. I started playing truant the following year.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-05-16 08:54 pm (UTC)
How to turn a kid off poetry for life....

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)