Thursday, June 22, 2017

Romantic Poets Session – Jun 15, 2017



It was a record attendance – all but one of our readers attended and we had a lovely guest, retired professor of English from St. Teresa's College, Betty Kuriyan.

Shoba, Betty, KumKum

We all enjoyed the occasion, which was celebrated with sandwiches and cakes with tea and coffee. Our special thanks go to KumKum who proposed the happy idea of a session of poetry devoted to the English Romantic poets. She then followed up with the readers to ensure attendance. Kudos to her; and to Priya for arranging the splendid refreshments.

Saras (back) Hemjith, Kavita, Shoba, Betty, Joe, KumKum, Zakia

Although Thommo and Ankush were recovering from medical issues, both participated with abandon.

Saras, Hemjith

In our family I am allowed to decide whether Keats or Shelley is the greater poet, but there is no evidence from this session for a conclusion either way. Other contenders among the Romantics seem equally eligible. What a marvellous group of poets to have arrived in one place within a generation and elevated poetry to Himalayan heights!

Priya, Saras, Hemjith, Kavita

This time Sunil was missing; his absence has a generally downhill influence on the gathering for lack of wisecracks and laughter. As we are reading a humorous novella next time (Pnin) his attendance is a must if we are to derive the full experience.

Betty, KumKum, Zakia


Zakia, who came but did not read, is missing from the group picture below.


Ankush, Saras, Thommo, Priya, KumKum, Shoba, Pamela, Betty Kavita, Preeti, Hemjith (seated)

Full Account and Record of the Romantic Poets Session Jun 15, 2017

The dates for the next readings are confirmed as follows:

Fri Jul 7, 2017, 5:30 pm – Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
Fri Aug 4, 2017, 5:30 pm – Poetry


Present: Zakia, Thommo, Hemjit, KumKum, Joe, Shoba, Saras, Priya, Pamela, Kavita, Ankush, Preeti
Guest: Betty Kuriyan
Absent: Sunil

KumKum asked Joe to go first with the reading.

1. Joe
George Gordon Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)


Lord Byron in Albanian dress, 1813 portrait by Thomas Phillips

Joe read excerpts from the major works of Byron but first gave this capsule summary of his eventful life.
Byron was an outsize figure, probably the celebrity of his age, the first pop-star of poetry. He was born in London in 1788 to a mother who was connected to the Gordon clan of Scotland. Though she had money it was wasted by her husband ('Mad Jack') who had to flee creditors for Europe. At age ten George inherited the title and estates of the fifth Lord Byron, his great uncle, on his death. It was a great manor, Abbey Newstead, in decay with hundreds of acres in Nottinghamshire. 
Lord Byron lived at Newstead Abbey at various times from the autumn of 1808 to the autumn of 1814

He went to Harrow school and picked up the love of fellow schoolboys younger than him. But bisexual as he was, he fell in love with young female cousins and left behind poems of his juvenilia, which show, if nothing else, that when it came to expressing his heart and soul, poetry was his natural medium, all self-taught.
In 1809 Byron went on his first European travel after his M.A. from Cambridge – Portugal, Spain, Albania, and Greece where he saw at first hand how the Greeks were oppressed by the Turks; the seeds of his desire to liberate Greece were sown then. When he returned to England he had written a long epic poem, Childe Harold, which made money for him and for his publisher John Murray — 3,000 copies were sold in the first week. 



It was full of adventures and narrative. He became famous overnight, a celebrity, and the toast of London society. Women began throwing themselves at him and he was an artful catcher, but the affairs were brief, except for one: his encounter with Annabella Millbanke which ended in marriage. It was ill-fated from the beginning, for it was filled with alternating fits of Byron’s rage and tenderness, and episodes of infidelity, including a scandalous one with his half-sister Augusta (by his father’s first marriage). 


Annabella Millbanke, Lady Byron

Augusta was the one constant love in his life to whom he wrote letters (and poems) from everywhere.


Augusta Leigh, half-sister of Byron

Annabella presented him with a daughter, Ada, later to become the famed mathematician Ada Lovelace and collaborator of Charles Babbage in building early computational machines. But soon after Annabella deemed Byron was mad, and skipped with their daughter to her parent’s home. She sued for divorce and Byron fled England and never saw his family again. He met up with Shelley and his entourage — live-in wife Mary, and Claire, step-sister of Mary, who had offered sex to Byron in London and begot an illegitimate daughter, Allegra, in result. Byron housed the young girl in a convent in Italy and she later died there at age five from typhus.
Byron moved to Venice, composing all the while, and this time when the Shelleys returned to England they carried the proofs of a new epic poem, Don Juan — the first two cantos of perhaps his most famous work. Because his publisher wanted cuts for indelicacies (there are none, by modern standards), Byron jumped to a new publisher, John Hunt, brother to the poet Leigh Hunt. Byron inverts the character of Don Juan from what he was known for in previous literature, for being a seducer and libertine, and transformed him into a genial, intelligent, courteous person who is a victim of temptresses. Ultimately there were 16 cantos totalling 16,000 lines and Byron was working on the 17th when he died.
In 1819 the final romance of his life happened when he met Countess Teresa Guiccioli a beautiful young woman married to a feeble old nobleman. 


Teresa Guiccioli, Byron’s last mistress

By the traditions of the permissive Italian society of the times, Byron could pay court and make out as he pleased with Teresa, so long as he maintained discretion outwardly. There are many poems describing his absorption with the Countess who heartily reciprocated his passion.
His final adventure, wanting to be a doer and not merely a writer, was to lead a rag-tag army, partly paid by him, to liberate Greece from the Ottoman Turks in 1824. He fired no bullet and fought no battle before he was stricken by a fever after the rains. An incompetent doctor bled him with leeches and after days of that treatment Byron went into a coma and died, aged 36, His body was brought back to England and buried in a church near Newstead Abbey, much-mourned. His collected poems amount to 800 pages or so. His hand-written memoir, meant for publication, was burnt by his publisher and friends, for fear its candour would ruin Byron's reputation, as well as the publisher’s prospect of profiting from the poet’s works.
There is an excellent BBC film of Byron in 10 parts each of 15 mins duration made in 2003:

The Complete Works of Lord Byron Including the Suppressed Poems, and Supplementary Pieces in one volume are found at


2. Thommo
Joanna Baillie, playwright and poet

Joanna Baillie (1762 – 1851)
Joanna Baillie was a Romantic poet and playwright of Scots extraction. She wrote a series of plays each to illustrate a particular passion of humans, Plays on the Passions. She was born into a pious Presbyterian family. She was an outdoors person, a close observer of nature, enjoyed riding, and had a natural gift for story-telling with which she entertained her school friends. She could not read until the age of nine. She attended a boarding school in Glasgow where she developed many interests – drawing, music, writing and acting in plays. She visited the theatre and it was the seed of a passion that would last for life as she wrote scores of plays.
JB's first poem, Winter Day, was a long poem evoking the sights and sound of winter in her neighbourhood, Long Calderwood. Thommo recited an excerpt. It is a dark and fearful night when a snowstorm is brewing:
Loud blows the northern blast--
He hears its hollow grumbling from afar,
Then, gath'ring strength, roll on with doubl'd might,
And break in dreadful bellowings o'er his head;
The farmer is glad to check on his poultry in the shed and hurry back to his bed.
KumKum noted that Joanna Baillie's plays were successful. Thommo remarked that in those days plays written by women were rarely staged, but Baillie maintained hers were meant for the stage, not the closet.
Joanna Baillie consigned half her writing income to charity and supported chimney sweeps. She helped many authors and poets down on their luck. She also corresponded extensively with Sir Walter Scott, and from it flowed a deep friendship.


3. Priya
Priya

William Blake (1757 – 1827)
William Blake was one of seven children born in a poor family. Apart from reading and writing which he learned in a school, he was tutored at home by his mother. He was sent to a drawing school and later apprenticed to an engraver for several years and and at age twenty-one became a professional engraver himself. He became a student at the Royal Academy but rebelled at the principles of its leading light, Joshua Reynolds. He married Catherine, a woman who though illiterate he was fond of. Later he taught her and they became collaborators.



William Blake by Thomas Phillips

Blake printed his first collection of poems, Poetical Sketches, around 1783. In 1788 Blake took to the process of relief etching. The printed pages from these etchings were later hand-coloured and that is how many of his famous illuminated works, including Songs of Innocence and of Experience, were produced. Here is a sample



Prints of the Chimney Sweeper poem, two parts 

He was a political radical and wrote seven volumes on the French Revolution, one of which has survived. He disapproved of institutionalised religion. He has written an epic poem Jerusalem which is often quoted. Another is The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. A segment of Jerusalem gave its name to a film, Chariots of Fire. Here is that splendid verse:
AND did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

The phrase “dark Satanic Mills” as a dismal symbol of the Industrial Revolution takes its origin from this verse.
The manner of his death is reported in a biography of Blake by Peter Ackroyd:
Eventually, he ceased working and turned to his wife, who was in tears by his bedside. Beholding her, Blake is said to have cried, "Stay Kate! Keep just as you are – I will draw your portrait – for you have ever been an angel to me." Having completed this portrait (now lost), Blake laid down his tools and began to sing hymns and verses. At six that evening, after promising his wife that he would be with her always, Blake died.


Monument near Blake's unmarked grave at Bunhill Fields in London

William Wordsworth said of Blake: "There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott."
Priya said Blake often had visions, which began at the age of eight and he thought of them as revelations of eternity. He was a poet of anti-Nature she said, whatever that means. In 1789 he published Songs of Innocence, and in 1794 he expanded it to Songs of Experience. The often anthologised poem The Tyger was in the first volume (Innocence).
Though Blake lived and died as a print-maker and engraver, he is today ranked among the poets of the Romantic period, a transformation that took a century. He is also regarded as a philosopher and symbolist.
Joe protested that the first poem's concluding line seems very reactionary:
So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.
This is one with St. Paul in Ephesians 6:5 exhorting slaves to be subservient to their masters:
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.
It justifies the revolutionary Marxist slogan, “Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!” and makes clear why religion was regarded as the opium of the people. In India the oppressive caste system (justified as a system by Mahatma Gandhi, even though he abhorred its cruelty) was based on a similar stupefaction of the minds of the lower castes.
An analysis offered of the Chimney Sweeper duo of poems indicates that Blake is actually criticising the view of the Church.


4. Saras
Saras

John Keats (1795 – 1821).
Keat was the oldest of four children. His father was a livery stable-keeper. Although Keats died in poverty he had money tied up in a trust set up by his grandmother, which was doled out in niggardly fashion by the trustee, a tea merchant. At age nine Keats entered Enfield Academy, whose headmaster was Clarke. He won prizes for essays and became a voracious reader. Cowden Clarke the son of the headmaster and he became friends and one night Cowden invited Keats over to read a classic volume, a translation of Homer by Chapman. They pored over it until six in the morning. Keats wrote the sonnet On first looking into Chapman's Homer within a few hours after he returned:
Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
...
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Quickness of composition was a hallmark of Keats throughout his life.


John Keats portrait by William Hilton. National Portrait Gallery, London

At age fifteen Keats was apprenticed as an apothecary surgeon and got his licence in 1816. Thereafter he made a life-decision to switch to poetry. He met Leigh Hunt, poet and publisher, who printed Chapman's Homer poem. Then he met Shelley who was known already in the world of poetry and the advice he got was to amass a body of verse. He wrote Endymion, a 1,000-line allegorical romance which begins in matchless style --
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness;

Keats - Life mask by Benjamin Haydon, 1816

Shelley wrote a favourable review. But Keats was the object of class vilification when an anonymous reviewer announced he belonged to the ‘Cockney school of poetry’, disparaging his humble origins. Keats was in despair, never feeling he would write great poetry. In 1818 he went on a walking tour of England, Ireland and the Lake District. The same year he tenderly nursed his brother Tom who was dying from TB. He was probably infected himself in the process.


Keats House, Wentworth Place, now the Keats House museum (left)

1818-19 was a year of creative fertility for Keats as he moved in with his friend Armitage Brown to his house, Wentworth Place (now the Keats Museum), near Hampstead Heath. In quick succession he wrote many of the odes for which he remains famous: Melancholy, Grecian Urn, Nightingale, Psyche. Brown wrote,
"In the spring of 1819 a nightingale had built her nest near my house. Keats felt a tranquil and continual joy in her song; and one morning he took his chair from the breakfast-table to the grass-plot under a plum-tree, where he sat for two or three hours. When he came into the house, I perceived he had some scraps of paper in his hand, and these he was quietly thrusting behind the books. On inquiry, I found those scraps, four or five in number, contained his poetic feelings on the song of our nightingale."
In 1819, Keats wrote The Eve of St. Agnes, La Belle Dame sans Merci, Hyperion, and Lamia. The first two are read to this day as masterly examples of a poet painting scenes in more vivid fashion than any painter could – with words. A 1962 book by Walter Jackson Bate, a biographer of Keats, is worth reading; it is called the The Stylistic Development of Keats.
In late 1818 Keats met Fanny Brawne. The meeting grew over time into an undying love on Keats’ side and a rather more tentative one on the girl’s side. They exchanged letters even when residing close by – imagine if Twitter or WhatsApp were the medium, nothing would have survived. But thanks to the prevalent habit of writing by hand, we have letters and poems to mark the ripening affair. At the end of a letter to Fanny Brawne, Keats inscribed a sonnet with these words saying “I cannot tell what I am writing,” then a breathless hope for complete union:
O! let me have thee whole,—all, all, be mine!
That shape, that fairness, that sweet minor zest
Of love, your kiss—those hands, those eyes divine,
That warm, white, lucent, million-pleasured breast 
Yourself — your soul—in pity give me all,
Withhold no atom’s atom or I die.


Fanny Brawne, whom Keats loved

This was the precursor to the much better known sonnet Bright Star which was also addressed to Fanny Brawne:
Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft swell and fall,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

The 2009 film ‘Bright Star’ focusses on the life of Keats from the angle of this love late in his life, and stars Ben Whishaw as John Keats, and Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne. When his doctor advised that he should move to a warmer climate as he was spitting blood, he and his wonderful friend Joseph Severn, an artist, left for Rome in 1820 and took up residence in a house which still stands, overlooking the Spanish Steps:

Keats-Shelly Museum, Spanish Steps, Rome

There even in his dying days he wrote verses, such as this:
Black the hue of mourning robes still drapes the air
Over the Spanish Steps, till dawn slips on marble
Lions aboard Bernini's broken boat
A white cloth they wrap the dead in;
Through this pallor a pink of conch shells seeps,
Then blue flames consume the whole of heaven.

Noon blasted by bolts of brass and gold
Steeps my brain in a dreamful fever-sleep
Wherein I labor beating out the links
Of fate, link after link, an endless chain
Of sorrows and sweats and nervous tossings.
When I have the strength to prop myself up

On Feb 21, 1821 he died in the arms of Severn whom he comforted even as he was expiring. He is buried in the Protestant cemetery in Rome near the baths of Caracalla and over his gravestone is this despairing epitaph he wrote:
Here lies one whose name was writ in water.

John Keats grave in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome

Severn who died in 1879 is buried next to him on the right with the inscription 
Devoted friend and deathbed companion of John Keats 

Shelley’s ashes are interred nearby.


5. Hemjith
Hemjith

William Wordsworth (1770 1850)
Wordsworth started The Prelude, an epic poem at the age of twenty-eight and worked on it until his death at age eighty. This work is considered as the outgrowth of his own mind. It was intended as the prelude of a three-part epic and philosophical poem, but remained incomplete and was published after his death. Teaming up with Coleridge it was their aim to surpass Milton’s Paradise Lost. The Boat Stealing episode depicts Wordsworth’s childhood interaction with nature where he experiences its different aspects – thrill, stealth, fear and foreboding.


William Wordsworth at 28 by William Shuter, about the time he began The Prelude

The poem expands on the childhood joy of doing a forbidden act: stealing a boat. Hemjith liked the line,
... lustily
 I dipped my oars into the silent lake,
And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat

Went heaving through the Water like a swan;

A huge ridge appears, posing a forbidding threat, as if the narrator had done something wrong. Wordsworth in this poem considers Nature as having a moralising influence on him. It was written at age twenty-eight but only published at age eighty. For further elaboration read Wordsworth's Prelude, the Boat-stealing episode.
Wordsworth, born in 1770, remained close to his four siblings, particularly his sister, Dorothy. They lived in a rural Arcadia during childhood whose scenes provide the Nature backdrop to his poetry. He had setbacks when his father died but went to Cambridge, attending St. John's College. It was an undistinguished college career followed by a tour of the Alps with a friend in 1790. He acquired a passion for democracy in France. His first published poems are from 1793, Descriptive Sketches. In 1795 he settled with his sister Dorothy in Dorset. Between 1797 and 1800 Wordsworth collaborated with Coleridge, and moved near him. At this time he wrote the poems that appeared later along with poems of Coleridge in the Lyrical Ballads. The critic Matthew Arnold admired Wordsworth for his reliance on feeling. The Preface to the volume sets out his ideas of poetics and poetic diction. He thought urban life degraded humans, and poets particularly need to rise above the frenetic pace of urban life to deal in the verities. In the years to follow he composed The Solitary Reaper, Resolution and Independence, and the Ode: Intimations of Immortality, perhaps the best poems of his maturity. There is a full-length BBC film on Coleridge and Wordsworth, featuring other poets like Byron too, free for viewing on youtube.


6. Kavita
Kavita

George Gordon Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)
She Walks in Beauty was written by Byron in response to seeing his cousin, Lady Wilmot Horton, in a mourning dress at a party of Lady Sitwell's on June 11, 1814. The poem was completed next morning. It was published in Hebrew Melodies in 1815. It is written in the smoothest of iambic tetrameters.
Kavita said nowadays kids don’t read. Ankush said at Valentine’s he read this poem to a girl-friend, but didn’t let on what the reaction was ... who would want innocent love, without a touch of mischief?


7. Shoba
Shoba

William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)
Shoba read a short poem by Wordsworth, the seminal poet of the Romantic Movement. It is the sort of poem someone dashes off on the back of an envelope, so light is the weight, and so faint the impression left when the last line has been read. It is a nature poem, exclaiming at the simple sounds and sights of nature, about a cock crowing, a stream flowing, birds that twitter and lakes that glitter – but far inferior to what Wordsworth could write when he was in his stride.
For a biography of Wordsworth the reader can consult the wikipedia link above.


8. Betty Kuriyan
Percy Bysshe Shelley, by Alfred Clint 

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)
Betty Kurian who was to read the poem Ode to the West Wind by Shelley, first gave an introduction to the reason they are called romantic poets. The Latin meaning of romance is a verse narrative based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural. Different trends marked the older romantics like Wordsworth, and the younger ones like Shelley and Keats. The older poets espoused Order and Form, the later poets thought Imagination was uppermost in a poet's repertory. Passion is mostly absent in Wordsworth. "A beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating in the void his luminous wings in vain," was how Matthew Arnold, also of the old guard, characterised Shelley. The full quote from Arnold's essay is:
The man Shelley, in very truth, is not entirely sane, and Shelley's poetry is not entirely sane either. The Shelley of actual life is a vision of beauty and radiance, indeed, but availing nothing, effecting nothing. And in poetry, no less than in life, he is ‘a beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating in the void his luminous wings in vain.’
When you contrast this with the energy and revolutionary activity that animated the young Shelley, the essays he wrote, and the political import of many of his poems, there is little doubt that Arnold was misguided, or perhaps had insufficient knowledge of Shelley's career. It strikes me that Matthew Arnold if he was living in modern India would say something like this about Arundhati Roy.
Betty mentioned the essay Shelley wrote on the Necessity of Atheism and his hatred of monarchy. He made speeches in Parliament demanding liberty for the Irish Catholics. She also told how Shelley rescued Harriet from a terrible situation by marrying her, though whether that was wise is debatable, seeing as how it worked out (not very well).
The poem is in terza rima with the 1st and 3rd line rhyming, the 2nd and 4th, and so on; the rhythm itself is iambic pentameter. An Ode is usually addressed to a person, but here the West Wind is personified. She mentioned each of the first three parts are addressed to the different elements of nature the wind interacts with as it passes over. First the wind sweeps away the autumn leaves and carries off seeds of vegetation. In the second stanza, the poet describes the clouds over the autumn sky. In the third stanza the impact of the wind on the Mediterranean coast and the Atlantic ocean is called out.
The fourth stanza is about how he could be transformed by the wind. It ends on a message of rebirth and hope.The West Wind, Betty clarified, is a fierce wind from the west that blows in autumn.
Ankush made a distinction between Wordsworth and Coleridge; for Wordsworth Nature was a solace, for Coleridge Nature is a heightened state of being. Kavita said Wordsworth is soothing to read. Regarding the 'ineffectual angel' calumny of Shelley, Joe thought writers are not meant to man the barricades of revolutions but their words can inspire people. You have to be a prose writer for that, said Betty. And so Shelley was in his long essay Defence of Poetry and the Necessity of Atheism. And Marx writing his dense tome Das Capital in the British Library provided the entire ideology behind the Russian, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Cuban, and numerous other revolutions, including one right here in Kerala.
Here now is a bio of Shelley put together from various sources by Joe. You may skip if such details are not of interest. Joe was piqued by a book his daughter presented him, Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives by Daisy Hay. The author provides an easy-to-read exploration of the intertwined lives of the poets in Shelley's orbit. It makes for engrossing reading.
Shelley in his personal life exemplified the ideals of rebelliousness against authority, of freedom, including free-love, and was a generous spirit toward his friends. He had great faith in the power of visionary imagination.
Shelley was born into nobility and by the laws of primogeniture stood to inherit the estate of his grandfather. His schooling was not a happy time, for he was bullied. He liked the science lectures and read widely, but not well. He entered Eton at age twelve, and there too he was made miserable by bullying and fagging for seniors. The only relief was a master whose library he had access to and this allowed him to read widely in literature and philosophy. At Eton he wrote some poems which were published as Original Poetry; by Victor and Cazire (1810) — with subjects such as love, sorrow, hope, nature, and politics. He also wrote a novel Zastrozzi (1810). Reviewers were not kind to either of these attempts.
Thus when he went up to University College, Oxford, it was as a published author. He kept up his catholic reading tastes in all manner of subjects. He made a great friend in Thomas Hogg at the university and there indulged in vigorous debates and reading. In his very first year Shelley published a pamphlet titled The Necessity of Atheism (1811) and sent it around to the deans of colleges. That cost him dear. Shelley was expelled, and his refusal to disavow the opinions (rather tame by modern standards, namely that proof of beliefs must come from sensory perception, reason, or testimony) ensured his expulsion stood, and he never went back. There was a falling out with pater which left him insecure financially until he came into majority at the age of twenty-one.
His first unfortunate love affair, if it can be called thus, was when he intervened to elope with a girl Harriet Westbrook. Shelley met Robert Southey the poet but did not take to his tame ways and patronising attitude. He then met William Godwin, whose book Political Justice (1793) set forth the principles he could live by. He put certain ideas of this into action by taking up the cause of emancipation of Irish Catholics from British rule by printing a pamphlet An Address, to the Irish People (1812), and distributing it in Dublin and giving talks. Shelley preached love for humankind and universal brotherhood. He wrote a fiery argument on freedom of the press when his pamphlets were confiscated. During this time he composed poems that were never published and only in the 1960s were they discovered, and published as The Esdaile Notebook by Harvard University Press and Knopf in 1964. Here is a poem from this early writing in the notebook, presented by Shelley to Harriet:
Written at Cwm Elian
1811
When the peasant hies him home, and the day planet reposes
Pillowed on the azure peaks that bound the western sight,
When each mountain flower its modest petal tremulously closes
And sombre shrouded twilight comes to lead her sister Night,
Vestal dark! how dear to me are then thy dews of lightness
That bathe my brow so withering scorched beneath the daybeam's brightness.
More dear to me, tho' day be robed in vest of dazzling whiteness,
Is one folding of the garment dusk that wraps thy form, O Night!


With thee I still delight to sit where dizzy Danger slumbers.
Where 'mid the rocks the fitful blast hath wak'd its wildest lay
Till beneath the yellow moonbeam decay the dying numbers
And silence, even in fancy's throne, hath seized again the sway.
Again she must resign it, hark! for wildest cadence pouring
Far, far amid the viewless glen beneath the Elian roaring
Mid tongued woods, and shapeless rocks with moonlight summits soaring
It mingles its magic murmuring with the blast that floats away.

In London Shelley met with William Godwin, an early ideal, but was disappointed by the real man. However in Godwin’s household lived three women, all of whom fell in love with him: Mary Godwin, Claire Clairmont, and Fanny Imlay. Shelley fell for Mary, who replaced Harriet in his affections. Harriet was quite upset although following his principles of free love he was willing to share the household with Mary and Harriet.
Shelley eloped with Mary to Europe, but came up short in funds and returned to London where he raised money against his future inheritance in 1815. In 1816, Alastor, or The Spirit of Solitude: and Other Poems, were published by Shelley containing many poems of solitude and nature following the one long poem, Alastor, about a poet’s veiled dream and ultimate nirvana.


Claire Clairmont by Amelia Curran

Claire had meanwhile thrown herself at Byron as his mistress and the Shelley household went to Geneva to meet up with Byron and his entourage. Shelley and Byron hit it off and had many conversations and exchanges. They went sailing together. Shelley influenced Byron’s poetry. One of Shelley’s fine poems, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, date from this time. It has a clear line of descent from Wordsworth.
Twin tragedies struck when Harriet, Shelley’s first wife, committed suicide, and then Fanny Imlay. Mary and Shelley would have felt responsible in part for the events. Free-love comes with unforeseeable pain, in the end. Shelley wrote a poem which in its second incarnation was called The Revolt of Islam (though whether it has anything to do with Islam is moot). It has glorious nature scenes like this:
Canto 12 Stanza 34
A scene of joy and wonder to behold
That river's shapes and shadows changing ever,
Where the broad sunrise filled with deepening gold
Its whirlpools, where all hues did spread and quiver;
And where melodious falls did burst and shiver
Among rocks clad with flowers, the foam and spray
Sparkled like stars upon the sunny river,
Or when the moonlight poured a holier day,
One vast and glittering lake around green islands lay.

In March 1818 Shelley and his women (Mary, and Claire who by now had a child, Allegra, by Byron) went to Italy. There in the sunshine he wrote several poems including, Julian and Maddalo. Here is an excerpt and it refers to the seaside rides on horseback with Byron:
A narrow space of level sand thereon,
Where 'twas our wont to ride while day went down.
This ride was my delight. I love all waste
And solitary places; where we taste
The pleasure of believing what we see
Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be:
And such was this wide ocean, and this shore
More barren than its billows; and yet more
Than all, with a remember'd friend I love
To ride as then I rode; for the winds drove
The living spray along the sunny air
Into our faces; the blue heavens were bare,
Stripp'd to their depths by the awakening north;
And, from the waves, sound like delight broke forth
Harmonising with solitude, and sent
Into our hearts aëreal merriment.

Julian is Shelley taking an optimistic view, and Maddalo is Byron with a darker view. The travels in Italy were a strong inspiration for Shelley and he wrote about it in letters to friends. One of Shelley’s mature masterpieces is Prometheus Unbound; the poet could not reconcile to Aeschylus in his play having Zeus condemn Prometheus, the Titan who defied the gods and gave fire to mankind, to eternal torture. In this lyrical drama Shelley has Zeus fall from power and Prometheus is released. It is full of speeches, therefore a closet drama not meant to be performed. When it was published in 1820 the volume included other fine lyric poems: Ode to the West Wind, The Cloud, To a Skylark, and Ode to Liberty.
The poem Ode to the West Wind, selected by our guest Betty Kurian, is written in terza rima, the well-known scheme of inter-locking tercets in which Dante composed The Divine Comedy: aba bcb cdc and so on for any number of tercets. It’s rather difficult to maintain in English compared with Italian, because of the paucity of rhymes in English. The Wind as destroyer and preserver becomes the metaphor for change that must be ushered in. Shelley saw events in the real world that compelled him as a poet to swing into action and advocate revolution. It is in five cantos, the first three describing the action of wind on the earth, the air, and the ocean. The next two has the poet addressing the wind invoking its power to uproot him and make him part of its forceful rush to change the world. This echoes a sentiment brought out in the famous lines from his Defence of Poetry:
The most unfailing herald, companion, and follower of the awakening of a great people to work a beneficial change in opinion or institution, is poetry … Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

Shelley’s lament on the death of Keats, Adonais, is the most touching tribute ever paid by one poet to another:
I weep for Adonais—he is dead!
Oh, weep for Adonais! though our tears
Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head!
...
But now, thy youngest, dearest one, has perish'd,
The nursling of thy widowhood, who grew,
Like a pale flower by some sad maiden cherish'd,
And fed with true-love tears, instead of dew;

But further on Shelley maintains Keats is alive:
Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep,
He hath awaken'd from the dream of life;
'Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,

and ends by saying,
The soul of Adonais, like a star,
Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.

Shelley had to mediate in the rifts between Claire Clairmont and Byron over their daughter Allegra and deal with a somewhat estranged Mary, saddened by the loss of her babies. Later Shelley moved to a seaside area of Italy in the north-west (the Italian Riviera) where he could sail his boat with Edward Trelawney in the Gulf of La Spezia. Trelawney was an adventurer, who later wrote a memoir, Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron. Shelley wrote his last long poem in 1822, called The Triumph of Life. Leigh Hunt and party had come over from England at his invitation to spend time in Italy and start a new magazine, and having settled Hunt in a house in Livorno, Shelley and Williams [Edward and Jane Williams were a happily married couple the Shelley’s met in Italy and took to seeing often] set back to sail to Lerici where they were staying, also on the bay of La Spezia. A storm arose unexpectedly and they were drowned; it was not until ten days later Shelley’s body was found, bloated and unrecognisable. A copy of Keats’s poems was found on his body. How lovely that the two were close in death!
Shelley’s body had to be cremated right away on the beach — Hunt, Byron, Mary, and Trelawney were present. There’s a painting by Fournier to commemorate the event

The Funeral of Shelley by Louis Édouard Fournier

Shelley’s ashes are buried in the Protestant cemetery in Rome near Keats’ grave with these words from The Tempest
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

Hunt inscribed one more epitaph: Cor Cordium (Heart of hearts)

There is more than one Keats-Shelley Association, one in UK and one in USA. Shelley’s poetry has been prized since the beginning, but critics have not always been kind to his work. I believe it is in smaller works you find Shelley unalloyed at his lyrical best, e.g. Love’s Philosophy, thus:
The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In another's being mingle--
Why not I with thine?

See, the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower could be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;--
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

University College, Oxford, which rusticated him now has a Shelley Memorial:

Shelley - Edward Onslow Ford's sculpture in the Shelley Memorial at University College, Oxford


9. KumKum
KumKum

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)
KumKum read this short bio of Shelley before launching into The Cloud. Shelley was born on August 4, 1792 in Sussex, England. He died by drowning in the sea on July 8, 1822, off the Gulf of La Spezia in NW Italy. As an adult Shelley inherited his grandfather's estate and a seat in Parliament. He attended Eton school, and briefly went up to Oxford but was sent down for expressing atheistic beliefs in pamphlets, and never graduated. Shelley was an intellectual, who read extensively. His real education took place outside of classrooms.
Shelley began to write poems and essays early in his life. But success did not come easily, because of his unyielding beliefs in atheism, free-love and a revolutionary philosophy.
Shelley was much ahead of his time. He talked about Freedom of Speech, and attacked organised religion, the monarchy and unearned wealth. He advocated free love and vegetarianism. Shelley's lifelong struggle against any form of authority, be it kingly, priestly or patriarchal, made him unique among his contemporaries.
Yet, Shelley, without doubt, was in the forefront of the Romantic movement that swept the literary scene in his time. It was a movement initiated by the poets Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge before him and carried on by his contemporaries, Byron and Keats, both of whom he befriended. Like a true romantic, Shelley paid tribute to Nature, to Beauty, and to Love in his poems.
The Cloud has a memorable galloping rhythm and features anapaests, a foot which has two unaccented syllables followed by an accented syllable. You can clearly hear one anapaest in the first line, two in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth of the opening lines:
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.

The rhythm parallels the frolicsome cloud as it goes about its multiple activities. Just as the West Wind, here too the Cloud is personified.


10. Pamela
Emily Jane Brontë (1818 – 1848)


Emily Brontë, as painted by her brother Patrick Branwell Brontë (died 1848), from a portrait with her sisters

Emily Brontë is best known for her only novel Wuthering Heights which we read last year. In the present poem we have a person expectantly waiting for a secret visitor who comes mysteriously at dead of night. The atmosphere is hushed and eerie and of such poems one must ask, not what they mean, but what they convey, and the poetic craft enlisted to attain the end of creating mystery. Here is Dame Peggy Ashcroft giving a reading in a low voice, quivering with a haunting tone.
A short biography taken from an edition by Chris Emery of The Visionary and Other Poems by Emily Brontë is subscribed:
Emily Brontë was born in 1818 in Thornton. She was the younger sister of Charlotte Brontë and the fifth of six children. In 1824, the family moved to Haworth, West Yorkshire in England, where Emily’s father was curate. It was in these new surroundings that her literary life began to flourish. She worked briefly as a governess near Halifax, but returned to Haworth due to homesickness. She later travelled to Brussels to attend a private school with her sister, Charlotte.
After Charlotte discovered her poetic talent, the sisters collaborated on a pseudonymous volume of poetry, published as Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (1846). The volume sold only two copies. The poems within it, and others collected later, have now achieved classic literary status. Virginia Woolf believed that Emily’s poetry would outlive her more famous novel. Emily published the first two volumes of Wuthering Heights in 1847. After catching a cold at her brother’s funeral, Emily developed tuberculosis and, after refusing medical help, she died in December 1848. She is buried in Haworth.


11. Preeti
Preeti

Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832)
Scott is better known as a novelist (The Waverley Novels) but he started out as a poet. Among the Romantics he must surely top as the best paid poet of the period, and even Byron acknowledged that. His father was a lawyer and mother, the daughter of a professor of medicine in Edinburgh. His childhood was partly spent in the Borders, away from the town, and there he picked up the traditions, the ballads and stories which were to figure later on in his poems. His first major work was The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802). It was full of ballads meant to be sung, and the language is Scots. As a young man he met leading figures of literature and was introduced to Robert Burns. He married a woman, Charlotte Carpenter, in 1797 and they lived happily until her death in 1826.


Walter Scott, portrait by Sir Henry Raeburn in 1822

The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) was a long narrative poem about a 16th century border feud and many adventures, featuring magic and a goblin; it is bolder verse, combining new forms with old. It was an instant success and brought Scott money and fame. These familiar lines are from Canto VI:
Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!

With that success Scott was offered an advance of 500 guineas for his next poem! That would be about USD 45,000 in today's money. The result was a poem called Marmion about the Battle of Flodden Field, which became a huge commercial success. This was followed by Lady of the Lake (1810). He wrote several more long poems but the first four were never surpassed in commercial success.
Then he turned to novels. His decision was motivated partly by the greater success of Byron's narrative verse, which he regarded as ‘more forcible and powerful’, so he said. He was offered the Poet Laureate's position in 1813, but declined, saying he could not ‘write to order.’ [The Poet Laureate has to compose verses on royal occasions]. Robert Southey assumed the laureateship.


Abbotsford, home of Walter Scott

Scott was a well-received figure at home, modest in his ways, and genial in writing and comportment. He was extremely well-read but you never would know talking to him. Scott was knighted by King George IV whose visit to Edinburgh Scott personally stage-managed with high ceremony; everyone including the King was dressed in tartan. Most of the account above is taken from a Walter Scott biography online.
Preeti who read Lochinvar (the name means a loch on the hilltop) said Edinburgh was a favourite city of hers. People there quote Walter Scott all the time, the guides even more so. She took a tour with Hansons touring company. 


The Scott Monument stands in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh - 287 steps to the top

Edinburgh Castle is built high on an impressive 700 million year old extinct volcano called Castle Rock, in the middle of what is now the city of Edinburgh. Preeti wanted Joe to read the ballad from having heard him recite the first two lines with gusto:
O young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;

But everyone said in unison she should recite the ballad of the knight, ‘So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war.’ The brisk pace of the poem ends with a galloping chase as the knight makes off with the bride:
There was mounting ’mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne’er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?


12. Ankush
Ankush

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
Coleridge is known in poetry for his longer poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, and Christabel. The first two have become canonical works and appear often in anthologies of verse. He is known as a friend of Wordsworth with whom he founded the Romantic Movement. He gave a course of lectures in London and Bristol on Shakespeare over a period of years, and those he delivered in 1810-11 in London were considered masterful contributions to Shakespeare criticism, most especially his lecture on Hamlet which ends:
Shakspeare wished to impress upon us the truth, that action is the chief end of existence — that no faculties of intellect, however brilliant, can be considered valuable, or indeed otherwise than as misfortunes, if they withdraw us from, or render us repugnant to action, and lead us to think and think of doing, until the time has elapsed when we can do anything effectually. In enforcing this moral truth, Shakespeare has shown the fulness and force of his powers : all that is amiable and excellent in nature is combined in Hamlet, with the exception of one quality. He is a man living in meditation, called upon to act by every motive human and divine, but the great object of his life is defeated by continually resolving to do, yet doing nothing but resolve.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge portrait

His other work Biographia Literaria purports to be a literary biography, but it ranges over many things besides his own work, with essays on philosophy, especially German philosophy (he was fluent in German from a long sojourn in Germany), the question of diction in Wordsworth, and the concept of a ‘willing suspension of disbelief.’
Coleridge suffered from anxiety and depression throughout his life, which could often cripple him. His use of opium (laudanum) was prescribed to mitigate this, but it made him an addict too. His father was a Reverend and he the youngest of ten children by the second wife. In childhood he was not into sports and games but read a great deal precociously. He credits one of his masters who was a devotee of plain words and sound sense in writing to the development of his own style. He went to Jesus College, Cambridge, and won prizes for essays and odes.
At Cambridge he became acquainted with Robert Southey and made plans for a commune in Pennsylvania with him. That led to them marrying two sisters, but the girl he wed, Sara, proved an unhappy match, leading to later separation. In 1795 he met Wordsworth and Dorothy, his sister. They lived near each other for a while and during this time he composed The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, the latter in an opium-induced haze, as Coleridge said. The latter poem is associated with the literary expression, Person from Porlock. He was interrupted during its composition by a tradesman from Porlock's shop and after the chap was sent off Coleridge could not access his dream state again, and so the poem remains incomplete, only 54 lines long. The story goes that Coleridge used to carry around the draft with him hoping on some occasion the neurons in his brain would align into the identical state and he could recommence. Once when Byron met him at a party he offered 100 guineas on the spot for the draft.


Draft of the poem Kubla Khan in Coleridge's hand

1798 saw the joint publication of the Lyrical Ballads with Wordsworth, which may be taken as the starting point for the Romantic Movement. Its purpose was to sweep away the cobwebs of high flown 18th century poetry and usher in new principles of versification. Wordsworth explained the poems “were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purpose of poetic pleasure.” Two of the best known poems are in this collection: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Coleridge) and Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey (Wordsworth). The former has yielded the much-quoted lines
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

And extraordinary images like this, as the air grew still and the ship hardly moved:
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean


and the closing lines of the poem,
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.

Coleridge went on a tour of Germany and returned with a fluent knowledge of German, having read major authors of German philosophy in the original. He went to the Lake District of Grasmere where Wordsworth had taken up residence with Dorothy, and for a while he stayed with them. As a guest he was on the high-maintenance side with all his idiosyncrasies.
In his declining years as an opium addict he stayed in a home belonging to a physician, Dr. Gillman. The good doctor tried to control his addiction and that may have enabled him to complete the Biographia Literaria while staying there; he also composed a number of other prose works, religious ones like the Lay Sermons, collections of his verse like the Sibylline Leaves, including this angelic short poem, a translation of the Latin verse under an engraving he encountered in Germany

The engraving by Hieronymus Wierix which Coleridge encountered in 1799 in Germany in a Catholic church

Dormi, Jesu! Mater ridet
Quae tam dulcem somnum videt,
Dormi, Jesu! blandule!
Si non-dormis, Mater plorat,
Inter fila cantans orat,
Blande, veni, somnule.
Latin original


Sleep, sweet babe! my cares beguiling:
Mother sits beside thee smiling;
Sleep, my darling, tenderly!
If thou sleep not, mother mourneth,
Singing as her wheel she turneth:
Come, soft slumber, balmily!
Translation by S. T. Coleridge


He published Aids to Reflection, a religious tract, which is thought to have had a significant impact on the Oxford Movement in the early twentieth century. This is argued at length by Christopher Snook in Romanticism and the Oxford Movement.
Coleridge died in July 1834 from a heart attack.
Ankush said The Rime of the Ancient Mariner reads like a fable, and it can be read as a metaphor. The phrase ‘albatross around one's neck’ is used as a metaphor for a psychological burden that persists, and a penance that must be carried out:
Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

Ankush quoted Julian Barnes from the novel Flaubert's Parrot:
(on grief) And you do come out of it, that’s true. After a year, after five. But you don’t come out of it like a train coming out of a tunnel, bursting through the downs into sunshine and that swift, rattling descent to the Channel; you come out of it as a gull comes out of an oil-slick. You are tarred and feathered for life.

In the process of getting over guilt some part of it stays with you. There are many themes in the poem, for example:
Sin and Redemption
After the mariner kills the albatross the guilt of the sin haunts him until he seeks absolution from the hermit.
Respect for Nature
We should respect all creatures, be it an albatross or the sea-snakes;
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.






The Poems


1. Joe
George Gordon Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)
(Byron in Albanian costume)
So We'll Go No More a Roving (written at age 29 after some dissipation in Venice at the Carnival before Lent, in a letter he wrote to Thomas Moore)
So, we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.


For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.


Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.


The Adieu (excerpt) — remembering Mary Chaworth, a distant cousin who refused his love
Yet, Mary, all thy beauties seem
Fresh as in Love’s bewitching dream,
To me in smiles display’d;
Till slow disease resigns his prey
To Death, the parent of decay,


To Anna (another of his early loves)
Oh! might I kiss those eyes of fire,
A million scarce would quench desire,
Still would I steep my lips in bliss,
And dwell an age on every kiss;
Nor then my soul should sated be,
Still would I kiss, and cling to thee,
Thine image cannot fade


Childe Harold Canto 4
Stanza I (CH reaches Venice)
I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand:
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying glory smiles
O'er the far times when many a subject land
Looked to the winged Lion's marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!


Stanza XXVI. (CH reaches Rome)
The commonwealth of kings, the men of Rome!
And even since, and now, fair Italy!
Thou art the garden of the world, the home
Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree;
Even in thy desert, what is like to thee?
Thy very weeds are beautiful, thy waste
More rich than other climes' fertility;
Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced
With an immaculate charm which cannot be defaced.


Stanza CLXXXIV. (CH confesses his delight in the ocean)
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror—'twas a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.


Stanza CLXXVIII. (CH takes pleasure in Nature)
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.


The Prisoner of Chillon (Byron begins the poem about 3 brothers imprisoned for their faith)
My hair is grey, but not with years,
Nor grew it white
In a single night,
As men's have grown from sudden fears:
My limbs are bow'd, though not with toil,
But rusted with a vile repose,
For they have been a dungeon's spoil,
And mine has been the fate of those
To whom the goodly earth and air
Are bann'd, and barr'd—forbidden fare;


(the youngest brother is described)
But he, the favourite and the flower,
Most cherish'd since his natal hour,
His mother's image in fair face
The infant love of all his race
His martyr'd father's dearest thought,
My latest care, for whom I sought
To hoard my life, that his might be
Less wretched now, and one day free;
He, too, who yet had held untired
A spirit natural or inspired—
He, too, was struck, and day by day
Was wither'd on the stalk away.


Don Juan Canto 1 (Byron’s most famous poem, an epic)
47
Sermons he read, and lectures he endured,
And homilies, and lives of all the saints;
To Jerome and to Chrysostom inured,
He did not take such studies for restraints;
But how faith is acquired, and then insured,
So well not one of the aforesaid paints
As Saint Augustine in his fine Confessions,
Which make the reader envy his transgressions.
48
This, too, was a seal'd book to little Juan—
I can't but say that his mamma was right,
If such an education was the true one.
She scarcely trusted him from out her sight;
Her maids were old, and if she took a new one
You might be sure she was a perfect fright,
She did this during even her husband's life—
I recommend as much to every wife.


Canto II Stanza CLXXXVI
A long, long kiss, a kiss of youth, and love,
And beauty, all concentrating like rays
Into one focus, kindled from above;
Such kisses as belong to early days,
Where heart, and soul, and sense, in concert move,
And the blood 's lava, and the pulse a blaze,
Each kiss a heart-quake,—for a kiss's strength,
I think, it must be reckon'd by its length.


By length I mean duration; theirs endured
Heaven knows how long—no doubt they never reckon'd;
And if they had, they could not have secured
The sum of their sensations to a second:
They had not spoken; but they felt allured,
As if their souls and lips each other beckon'd,
Which, being join'd, like swarming bees they clung—
Their hearts the flowers from whence the honey sprung.


Stanza CXCII
Alas! they were so young, so beautiful,
So lonely, loving, helpless, and the hour
Was that in which the heart is always full,
And, having o'er itself no further power,
Prompts deeds eternity can not annul,
But pays off moments in an endless shower
Of hell-fire—all prepared for people giving
Pleasure or pain to one another living.


Childe Harold
Stanza CXXXVII.
But I have lived, and have not lived in vain:
My mind may lose its force, my blood its fire,
And my frame perish even in conquering pain,
But there is that within me which shall tire
Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire:


2. Thommo
Joanna Baillie (1762 – 1851)
A Winter Day (excerpts)
The cock, warm roosting 'midst his feather'd dames,
Now lifts his beak and snuffs the morning air,
Stretches his neck and claps his heavy wings,
Gives three hoarse crows, and glad his talk is done;
Low, chuckling, turns himself upon the roost,
Then nestles down again amongst his mates.
The lab'ring hind, who on his bed of straw,
Beneath his home-made coverings, coarse, but warm,
Lock'd in the kindly arms of her who spun them,
Dreams of the gain that next year's crop should bring;
Or at some fair disposing of his wool,
Or by some lucky and unlook'd-for bargain.
Fills his skin purse with heaps of tempting gold,
Now wakes from sleep at the unwelcome call,
And finds himself but just the same poor man
As when he went to rest.-
He hears the blast against his window beat,
And wishes to himself he were a lord,
That he might lie a-bed.-
He rubs his eyes, and stretches out his arms;
Heigh ho! heigh ho! he drawls with gaping mouth,
Then most unwillingly creeps out of bed,
And without looking-glass puts on his clothes.
With rueful face he blows the smother'd fire,
And lights his candle at the red'ning coal;
First sees that all be right amongst his cattle,
Then hies him to the barn with heavy tread,
Printing his footsteps on the new fall'n snow.
From out the heap of corn he pulls his sheaves,
Dislodging the poor red-breast from his shelter,
Where all the live-long night he slept secure;
But now afrighted, with uncertain flight
He flutters round the walls, to seek some hole,
At which he may escape out to the frost.
And now the flail, high whirling o'er his head,
Descends with force upon the jumping sheave,
Whilst every rugged wall, and neighboring cot
Re-echoes back the noise of his strokes.


But long accustom'd to observe the weather,
The labourer cannot lay him down in peace
Till he has look'd to mark what bodes the night,
He turns the heavy door, thrusts out his head,
Sees wreathes of snow heap'd up on ev'ry side,
And black and grimily all above his head,
Save when a red gleam shoots along the waste
To make the gloomy night more terrible
Loud blows the northern blast--
He hears it hollow grumbling from afar,
Then, gath'ring strength, roll on with doubl'd might,
And break in dreadful bellowings o'er his head;
Like pithless saplings bend the vexed trees,
And their wide branches crack. He shuts the door,
And, thankful for the roof that covers him,
Hies him to bed.


3. Priya
William Blake (1757 – 1827)
The Chimney Sweeper: When my mother died I was very young
When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry " 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!"
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.


There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head
That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved, so I said,
"Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head's bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair."


And so he was quiet, & that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight!
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black;


And by came an Angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins & set them all free;
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run,
And wash in a river and shine in the Sun.


Then naked & white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind.
And the Angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy,
He'd have God for his father & never want joy.


And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark
And got with our bags & our brushes to work.
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm;
So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.


The Chimney Sweeper: A little black thing among the snow
A little black thing among the snow,
Crying 'weep! 'weep! in notes of woe!
"Where are thy father and mother, say?"
"They are both gone up to the church to pray.
Because I was happy upon the heath,
And smiled among the winter's snow,
They clothed me in the clothes of death,
And taught me to sing the notes of woe.
And because I am happy and dance and sing,
They think they have done me no injury,
And are gone to praise God and his Priest and King,
Who make up a heaven of our misery."


4. Saras
John Keats (1795 – 1821). 
Ode to a Nightingale
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains 
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, 
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains 
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, 
But being too happy in thine happiness,— 
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees 
In some melodious plot 
 Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, 
Singest of summer in full-throated ease. 

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been 
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth, 
Tasting of Flora and the country green, 
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth! 
O for a beaker full of the warm South, 
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, 
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, 
And purple-stained mouth; 
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, 
And with thee fade away into the forest dim: 

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget 
What thou among the leaves hast never known, 
The weariness, the fever, and the fret 
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; 
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs, 
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; 
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow 
And leaden-eyed despairs, 
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, 
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. 

Away! away! for I will fly to thee, 
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, 
But on the viewless wings of Poesy, 
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards: 
Already with thee! tender is the night, 
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, 
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays; 
But here there is no light, 
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown 
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. 

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, 
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, 
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet 
Wherewith the seasonable month endows 
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; 
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; 
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves; 
And mid-May's eldest child, 
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, 
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. 

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time 
I have been half in love with easeful Death, 
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme, 
To take into the air my quiet breath; 
Now more than ever seems it rich to die, 
To cease upon the midnight with no pain, 
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad 
In such an ecstasy! 
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain— 
To thy high requiem become a sod. 

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! 
No hungry generations tread thee down; 
The voice I hear this passing night was heard 
In ancient days by emperor and clown: 
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, 
She stood in tears amid the alien corn; 
The same that oft-times hath 
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam 
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. 

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell 
To toll me back from thee to my sole self! 
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well 
As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf. 
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades 
Past the near meadows, over the still stream, 
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep 
In the next valley-glades: 
Was it a vision, or a waking dream? 
Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?


5. Hemjith
William Wordsworth (1770 1850)
Excerpt from The Prelude.
Boat Stealing Episode l. 357 to 400
One summer evening (led by her) I found
A little Boat tied to a Willow-tree
Within a rocky cave, its usual home.
Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in
Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth
And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice
Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on,
Leaving behind her still, on either side,
Small circles glittering idly in the moon,
Until they melted all into one track
Of sparkling light. But now, like one who rows,
(Proud of his skill) to reach a chosen point
With an unswerving line, I fixed my view
Upon the summit of a craggy ridge,
The horizon's utmost boundary; far above
Was nothing but the stars and the grey sky.
She was an elfin Pinnace; lustily
I dipped my oars into the silent lake,
And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat
Went heaving through the Water like a swan;
When, from behind that craggy Steep till then
The horizon's bound, a huge peak, black and huge,
As if with voluntary power instinct,
Upreared its head.—I struck and struck again,
And growing still in stature the grim Shape
Towered up between me and the stars, and still,
For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
And measured motion like a living Thing,
Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned,
And through the silent water stole my way
Back to the Covert of the Willow-tree;
There in her mooring-place I left my Bark,—
And through the meadows homeward went, in grave
And serious mood; but after I had seen
That spectacle, for many days, my brain
Worked with a dim and undetermined sense
Of unknown modes of being; o'er my thoughts
There hung a darkness, call it solitude
Or blank desertion. No familiar Shapes
Remained, no pleasant images of trees,
Of sea or Sky, no colours of green fields;
But huge and mighty Forms, that do not live
Like living men, moved slowly through the mind
By day, and were a trouble to my dreams.


6. Kavita
George Gordon Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)
She Walks in Beauty
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.


One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.


And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!


7. Shoba
William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)
Written in March
The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter
The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising;
There are forty feeding like one!


Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The plowboy is whooping - anon-anon:
There's joy in the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!


8. Betty Kuriyan
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)
Ode to the West Wind
I
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,


Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed


The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow


Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:


Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!


II
Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,


Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine aëry surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head


Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge


Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might


Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh hear!


III
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lull'd by the coil of his crystalline streams,


Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,


All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers


Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know


Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh hear!


IV
If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share


The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be


The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seem'd a vision; I would ne'er have striven


As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!


A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.


V
Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies


Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!


Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,


Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth


The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


9. KumKum
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)
The Cloud
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.


I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning my pilot sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.


The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardours of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aëry nest,
As still as a brooding dove.


That orbèd maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till calm the rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.


I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-coloured bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.


I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.


10. Pamela
Emily Brontë (1818 – 1848)
The Visionary
Silent is the house: all are laid asleep:
One alone looks out o’er the snow-wreaths deep,
Watching every cloud, dreading every breeze
That whirls the wildering drift, and bends the groaning trees.


Cheerful is the hearth, soft the matted floor;
Not one shivering gust creeps through pane or door;
The little lamp burns straight, its rays shoot strong and far:
I trim it well, to be the wanderer’s guiding-star.


Frown, my haughty sire! chide, my angry dame!
Set your slaves to spy; threaten me with shame:
But neither sire nor dame nor prying serf shall know,
What angel nightly tracks that waste of frozen snow.


What I love shall come like visitant of air,
Safe in secret power from lurking human snare;
What loves me, no word of mine shall e’er betray,
Though for faith unstained my life must forfeit pay.


Burn, then, little lamp; glimmer straight and clear—
Hush! a rustling wing stirs, methinks, the air:
He for whom I wait, thus ever comes to me;
Strange Power! I trust thy might; trust thou my constancy.


11. Preeti
Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832)
Lochinvar
O young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none,
He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.


He staid not for brake, and he stopp’d not for stone,
He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;
But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late:
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.


So boldly he enter’d the Netherby Hall,
Among bride’s-men, and kinsmen, and brothers and all:
Then spoke the bride’s father, his hand on his sword,
(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,)
O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?”


I long woo’d your daughter, my suit you denied;—
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide—
And now I am come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.”


The bride kiss’d the goblet: the knight took it up,
He quaff’d off the wine, and he threw down the cup.
She look’d down to blush, and she look’d up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar,—
Now tread we a measure!” said young Lochinvar.


So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
And the bride-maidens whisper’d, “’twere better by far
To have match’d our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.”


One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
When they reach’d the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
They’ll have fleet steeds that follow,” quoth young Lochinvar.


There was mounting ’mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne’er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e’er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?


12. Ankush
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
Kubla Khan
Or, a vision in a dream. A Fragment.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.


But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!


A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

4 comments:

Shipra said...

That is a beautiful recounting of KRG's June 15, 2017 Session — when we celebrated The English Romantic Poets.

it was an enchanting evening when we read so many beautiful poems!
I am never tired of these Romantic poets and their wonderful poems. I now know that there are others in the group who share the same passion. Perhaps we can make this an Annual Event?

Thank you, Joe; you put in a lot of work to make this blog post one of your best. You managed to infuse depth into our Celebration!
And, a big Thank You to all our friendly readers in KRG for participating wholeheartedly.

KumKum

Hemjit Bharathan said...

Joe thank you so much. As Kumkum mentioned you must have put in a lot to compile this as there were a lot of poets this time. Appreciate it so much. Nobody but you can do this. Only sad part is in the final group photo you are not there.

Management - Learning from Experiences by Reflection said...

Thanks, KumKum. Yes, it was a good session and everyone tried to discover their favourite among the Romantics. Such diversity!

I’m open to having another session, but let some time pass.

- joe

Management - Learning from Experiences by Reflection said...

Hemjith, Glad you enjoyed the session and the post to record the event. It got delayed a bit since it needed work, but I am happy to put that in as I benefit most from the time spent. It’s like following a Litt course without ever leaving your home. I would have assigned some Diligent Reader Exercises, but people are too busy. One that I thought of was to add a reverie of 4 lines to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in the same style.

I am there in an earlier photo ...
regards,
joe