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Tony Grist

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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.
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Comments:
[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.
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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)
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[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...
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From: cmcmck
2014-05-13 05:01 pm (UTC)
McGonagall as a rapper- now there's a thought!
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From: athenais
2014-05-14 06:40 am (UTC)
I am now unable to read/hear this as a hip-hop song. Respect!
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From: cmcmck
2014-05-14 07:41 am (UTC)
:o)

He was a stage performer after all- Shakespeare in the grand manner apparently.
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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. :)
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From: cmcmck
2014-05-15 05:00 pm (UTC)
I knew what you meant. :oD

McGonagall is heaps of fun if very groanworthy.
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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)
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[User Picture]From: ideealisme
2014-05-13 05:09 pm (UTC)
Jolly good! Come on in :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-05-13 05:17 pm (UTC)
McGonagall is in a class of his own. So bad he's sublime.
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