Posts Marcados Com: poetry

Gravy, by Raymond Carver


No other word will do. For that’s what it was.
Gravy.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. “Don’t weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.
I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don’t forget it”.

Anúncios
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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner


BY SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE
(text of 1834)

Argument

How a Ship having passed the Line was driven by storms to the cold Country towards the South Pole; and how from thence she made her course to the tropical Latitude of the Great Pacific Ocean; and of the strange things that befell; and in what manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his own Country.

PART I

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

The Bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May’st hear the merry din.’

He holds him with his skinny hand,
‘There was a ship,’ quoth he.
‘Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

He holds him with his glittering eye—
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

‘The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.

The Sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon—’
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.

The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

And now the STORM-BLAST came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o’ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And forward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—
The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name.

It ate the food it ne’er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner’s hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white Moon-shine.’

‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—
Why look’st thou so?’—With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.

PART II

The Sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.

And the good south wind still blew behind,
But no sweet bird did follow,
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariner’s hollo!

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work ‘em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow!

Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head,
The glorious Sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
‘Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white.

And some in dreams assurèd were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

PART III

There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye,

When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist;
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared:
As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in.
As they were drinking all.

See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal;
Without a breeze, without a tide,
She steadies with upright keel!

The western wave was all a-flame.
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright Sun;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the Sun.

And straight the Sun was flecked with bars,
(Heaven’s Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate he peered
With broad and burning face.

Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the Sun,
Like restless gossameres?

Are those her ribs through which the Sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that Woman all her crew?
Is that a DEATH? and are there two?
Is DEATH that woman’s mate?

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Night-mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she,
Who thicks man’s blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
‘The game is done! I’ve won! I’ve won!’
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.

The Sun’s rim dips; the stars rush out;
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper, o’er the sea,
Off shot the spectre-bark.

We listened and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman’s face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip—
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The hornèd Moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

One after one, by the star-dogged Moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.

The souls did from their bodies fly,—
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul, it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my cross-bow!

PART IV

‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand!
And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
As is the ribbed sea-sand.

I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand, so brown.’—
Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding-Guest!
This body dropt not down.

Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.

I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
But or ever a prayer had gusht,
A wicked whisper came, and made
My heart as dry as dust.

I closed my lids, and kept them close,
And the balls like pulses beat;
For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
Lay dead like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.

The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they:
The look with which they looked on me
Had never passed away.

An orphan’s curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man’s eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.

The moving Moon went up the sky,
And no where did abide:
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside—

Her beams bemocked the sultry main,
Like April hoar-frost spread;
But where the ship’s huge shadow lay,
The charmèd water burnt alway
A still and awful red.

Beyond the shadow of the ship,
I watched the water-snakes:
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.

The self-same moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.

PART V

Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven,
That slid into my soul.

The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remained,
I dreamt that they were filled with dew;
And when I awoke, it rained.

My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.

I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I was so light—almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed ghost.

And soon I heard a roaring wind:
It did not come anear;
But with its sound it shook the sails,
That were so thin and sere.

The upper air burst into life!
And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about!
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the sails did sigh like sedge,
And the rain poured down from one black cloud;
The Moon was at its edge.

The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The Moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.

The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up-blew;
The mariners all ‘gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools—
We were a ghastly crew.

The body of my brother’s son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me.

‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!’
Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!
‘Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:

For when it dawned—they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the Sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the sky-lark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!

And now ‘twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel’s song,
That makes the heavens be mute.

It ceased; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe:
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.

Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.

The Sun, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean:
But in a minute she ‘gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion—
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.

How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
But ere my living life returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.

‘Is it he?’ quoth one, ‘Is this the man?
By him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless Albatross.

The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.’

The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew:
Quoth he, ‘The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.’

PART VI

First Voice
‘But tell me, tell me! speak again,
Thy soft response renewing—
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
What is the ocean doing?’

Second Voice
Still as a slave before his lord,
The ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the Moon is cast—

If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously
She looketh down on him.’

First Voice
‘But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without or wave or wind?’

Second Voice
‘The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind.

Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
Or we shall be belated:
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the Mariner’s trance is abated.’

I woke, and we were sailing on
As in a gentle weather:
‘Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
The dead men stood together.

All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fixed on me their stony eyes,
That in the Moon did glitter.

The pang, the curse, with which they died,
Had never passed away:
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.

And now this spell was snapt: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen—

Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

But soon there breathed a wind on me,
Nor sound nor motion made:
Its path was not upon the sea,
In ripple or in shade.

It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
Like a meadow-gale of spring—
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze—
On me alone it blew.

Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The light-house top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own countree?

We drifted o’er the harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray—
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.

The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn!
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the Moon.

The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
That stands above the rock:
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.

And the bay was white with silent light,
Till rising from the same,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.

A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck—
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!

Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
And, by the holy rood!
A man all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.

This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light;

This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart—
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.

But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the Pilot’s cheer;
My head was turned perforce away
And I saw a boat appear.

The Pilot and the Pilot’s boy,
I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.

I saw a third—I heard his voice:
It is the Hermit good!
He singeth loud his godly hymns
That he makes in the wood.
He’ll shrieve my soul, he’ll wash away
The Albatross’s blood.

PART VII

This Hermit good lives in that wood
Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
He loves to talk with marineres
That come from a far countree.

He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve—
He hath a cushion plump:
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak-stump.

The skiff-boat neared: I heard them talk,
‘Why, this is strange, I trow!
Where are those lights so many and fair,
That signal made but now?’

‘Strange, by my faith!’ the Hermit said—
‘And they answered not our cheer!
The planks looked warped! and see those sails,
How thin they are and sere!
I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were

Brown skeletons of leaves that lag
My forest-brook along;
When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,
That eats the she-wolf’s young.’

‘Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look—
(The Pilot made reply)
I am a-feared’—’Push on, push on!’
Said the Hermit cheerily.

The boat came closer to the ship,
But I nor spake nor stirred;
The boat came close beneath the ship,
And straight a sound was heard.

Under the water it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread:
It reached the ship, it split the bay;
The ship went down like lead.

Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote,
Like one that hath been seven days drowned
My body lay afloat;
But swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the Pilot’s boat.

Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,
The boat spun round and round;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.

I moved my lips—the Pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.

I took the oars: the Pilot’s boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.
‘Ha! ha!’ quoth he, ‘full plain I see,
The Devil knows how to row.’

And now, all in my own countree,
I stood on the firm land!
The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
And scarcely he could stand.

‘O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!’
The Hermit crossed his brow.
‘Say quick,’ quoth he, ‘I bid thee say—
What manner of man art thou?’

Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.

Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns:
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.

I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.

What loud uproar bursts from that door!
The wedding-guests are there:
But in the garden-bower the bride
And bride-maids singing are:
And hark the little vesper bell,
Which biddeth me to prayer!

O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea:
So lonely ‘twas, that God himself
Scarce seemèd there to be.

O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
‘Tis sweeter far to me,
To walk together to the kirk
With a goodly company!—

To walk together to the kirk,
And all together pray,
While each to his great Father bends,
Old men, and babes, and loving friends
And youths and maidens gay!

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone: and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom’s door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.

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The philosophy of composition


by Edgar Allan Poe

CHARLES DICKENS, in a note now lying before me, alluding to an examination I once made of the mechanism of “Barnaby Rudge,” says — “By the way, are you aware that Godwin wrote his ‘Caleb Williams’ backwards? He first involved his hero in a web of difficulties, forming the second volume, and then, for the first, cast about him for some mode of accounting for what had been done.”

I cannot think this the precise mode of procedure on the part of Godwin — and indeed what he himself acknowledges, is not altogether in accordance with Mr. Dickens’ idea — but the author of “Caleb Williams” was too good an artist not to perceive the advantage derivable from at least a somewhat similar process. Nothing is more clear than that every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to its dénouement before any thing be attempted with the pen. It is only with the dénouement constantly in view that we can give a plot its indispensable air of consequence, or causation, by making the incidents, and especially the tone at all points, tend to the development of the intention.
There is a radical error, I think, in the usual mode of constructing a story. Either history affords a thesis — or one is suggested by an incident of the day — or, at best, the author sets himself to work in the combination of striking events to form merely the basis of his narrative — designing, generally, to fill in with description, dialogue, or autorial comment, whatever crevices of fact, or action, may, from page to page, render themselves apparent.

I prefer commencing with the consideration of an effect. Keeping originality always in view — for he is false to himself who ventures to dispense with so obvious and so easily attainable a source of interest — I say to myself, in the first place, “Of the innumerable effects, or impressions, of which the heart, the intellect, or (more generally) the soul is susceptible, what one shall I, on the present occasion, select?” Having chosen a novel, first, and secondly a vivid effect, I consider whether it can best be wrought by incident or tone — whether by ordinary incidents and peculiar tone, or the converse, or by peculiarity both of incident and tone — afterward looking about me (or rather within) for such combinations of event, or tone, as shall best aid me in the construction of the effect.

I have often thought how interesting a magazine paper might be written by any author who would — that is to say, who could — detail, step by step, the processes by which any one of his compositions attained its ultimate point of completion. Why such [column 2:] a paper has never been given to the world, I am much at a loss to say — but, perhaps, the autorial vanity has had more to do with the omission than any one other cause. Most writers — poets in especial — prefer having it understood that they compose by a species of fine frenzy — an ecstatic intuition — and would positively shudder at letting the public take a peep behind the scenes, at the elaborate and vacillating crudities of thought — at the true purposes seized only at the last moment — at the innumerable glimpses of idea that arrived not at the maturity of full view — at the fully matured fancies discarded in despair as unmanageable — at the cautious selections and rejections — at the painful erasures and interpolations — in a word, at the wheels and pinions — the tackle for scene-shifting — the step-ladders and demon-traps — the cock’s feathers, the red paint and the black patches, which, in ninety-nine cases out of the hundred, constitute the properties of the literary histrio.

I am aware, on the other hand, that the case is by no means common, in which an author is at all in condition to retrace the steps by which his conclusions have been attained. In general, suggestions, having arisen pell-mell, are pursued and forgotten in a similar manner.

For my own part, I have neither sympathy with the repugnance alluded to, nor, at any time, the least difficulty in recalling to mind the progressive steps of any of my compositions; and, since the interest of an analysis, or reconstruction, such as I have considered a desideratum, is quite independent of any real or fancied interest in the thing analyzed, it will not be regarded as a breach of decorum on my part to show the modus operandi by which some one of my own works was put together. I select “The Raven,” as most generally known. It is my design to render it manifest that no one point in its composition is referrible either to accident or intuition — that the work proceeded, step by step, to its completion with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem.
Let us dismiss, as irrelevant to the poem per se, the circumstance — or say the necessity — which, in the first place, gave rise to the intention of composing a poem that should suit at once the popular and the critical taste.
We commence, then, with this intention.

The initial consideration was that of extent. If any literary work is too long to be read at one sitting, we must be content to dispense with the immensely important effect derivable from unity of impression — [page 164:] for, if two sittings be required, the affairs of the world interfere, and every thing like totality is at once destroyed. But since, ceteris paribus, no poet can afford to dispense with any thing that may advance his design, it but remains to be seen whether there is, in extent, any advantage to counterbalance the loss of unity which attends it. Here I say no, at once. What we term a long poem is, in fact, merely a succession of brief ones — that is to say, of brief poetical effects. It is needless to demonstrate that a poem is such, only inasmuch as it intensely excites, by elevating, the soul; and all intense excitements are, through a psychal necessity, brief. For this reason, at least one half of the “Paradise Lost” is essentially prose — a succession of poetical excitements interspersed, inevitably, with corresponding depressions — the whole being deprived, through the extremeness of its length, of the vastly important artistic element, totality, or unity, of effect.

It appears evident, then, that there is a distinct limit, as regards length, to all works of literary art — the limit of a single sitting — and that, although in certain classes of prose composition, such as “Robinson Crusoe,” (demanding no unity,) this limit may be advantageously overpassed, it can never properly be overpassed in a poem. Within this limit, the extent of a poem may be made to bear mathematical relation to its merit — in other words, to the excitement or elevation — again in other words, to the degree of the true poetical effect which it is capable of inducing; for it is clear that the brevity must be in direct ratio of the intensity of the intended effect: — this, with one proviso — that a certain degree of duration is absolutely requisite for the production of any effect at all.

Holding in view these considerations, as well as that degree of excitement which I deemed not above the popular, while not below the critical, taste, I reached at once what I conceived the proper length for my intended poem — a length of about one hundred lines. It is, in fact, a hundred and eight.

My next thought concerned the choice of an impression, or effect, to be conveyed: and here I may as well observe that, throughout the construction, I kept steadily in view the design of rendering the work universally appreciable. I should be carried too far out of my immediate topic were I to demonstrate a point upon which I have repeatedly insisted, and which, with the poetical, stands not in the slightest need of demonstration — the point, I mean, that Beauty is the sole legitimate province of the poem.

A few words, however, in elucidation of my real meaning, which some of my friends have evinced a disposition to misrepresent. That pleasure which is at once the most intense, the most elevating, and the most pure, is, I believe, found in the contemplation of the beautiful. When, indeed, men speak of Beauty, they mean, precisely, not a quality, as is supposed, but an effect — they refer, in short, just to that intense and pure elevation of soul — not of intellect, or of heart — upon which I have commented, and which is experienced in consequence of contemplating “the beautiful.” Now I designate [column 2:] Beauty as the province of the poem, merely because it is an obvious rule of Art that effects should be made to spring from direct causes — that objects should be attained through means best adapted for their attainment — no one as yet having been weak enough to deny that the peculiar elevation alluded to, is most readily attained in the poem. Now the object, Truth, or the satisfaction of the intellect, and the object Passion, or the excitement of the heart, are, although attainable, to a certain extent, in poetry, far more readily attainable in prose. Truth, in fact, demands a precision, and Passion, a homeliness (the truly passionate will comprehend me) which are absolutely antagonistic to that Beauty which, I maintain, is the excitement, or pleasurable elevation, of the soul. It by no means follows from any thing here said, that passion, or even truth, may not be introduced, and even profitably introduced, into a poem — for they may serve in elucidation, or aid the general effect, as do discords in music, by contrast — but the true artist will always contrive, first, to tone them into proper subservience to the predominant aim, and, secondly, to enveil them, as far as possible, in that Beauty which is the atmosphere and the essence of the poem.

Regarding, then, Beauty as my province, my next question referred to the tone of its highest manifestation — and all experience has shown that this tone is one of sadness. Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. Melancholy is thus the most legitimate of all the poetical tones.
The length, the province, and the tone, being thus determined, I betook myself to ordinary induction, with the view of obtaining some artistic piquancy which might serve me as a key-note in the construction of the poem — some pivot upon which the whole structure might turn.

In carefully thinking over all the usual artistic effects — or more properly points, in the theatrical sense — I did not fail to perceive immediately that no one had been so universally employed as that of the refrain. The universality of its employment sufficed to assure me of its intrinsic value, and spared me the necessity of submitting it to analysis. I considered it, however, with regard to its susceptibility of improvement, and soon saw it to be in a primitive condition. As commonly used, the refrain, or burden, not only is limited to lyric verse, but depends for its impression upon the force of monotone — both in sound and thought. The pleasure is deduced solely from the sense of identity — of repetition. I resolved to diversify, and so vastly heighten, the effect, by adhering, in general, to the monotone of sound, while I continually varied that of thought: that is to say, I determined to produce continuously novel effects, by the variation of the application of the refrain — the refrain itself remaining, for the most part, unvaried.

These points being settled, I next bethought me of the nature of my refrain. Since its application was to be repeatedly varied, it was clear that the refrain itself must be brief, for there would have been an insurmountable difficulty in frequent variations of [page 165:] application in any sentence of length. In proportion to the brevity of the sentence, would, of course, be the facility of the variation. This led me at once to a single word as the best refrain.

The question now arose as to the character of the word. Having made up my mind to a refrain, the division of the poem into stanzas was, of course, a corollary: the refrain forming the close to each stanza. That such a close, to have force, must be sonorous and susceptible of protracted emphasis, admitted no doubt: and these considerations inevitably led me to the long o as the most sonorous vowel, in connection with r as the most producible consonant.
The sound of the refrain being thus determined, it became necessary to select a word embodying this sound, and at the same time in the fullest possible keeping with that melancholy which I had predetermined as the tone of the poem. In such a search it would have been absolutely impossible to overlook the word “Nevermore.” In fact, it was the very first which presented itself.

The next desideratum was a pretext for the continuous use of the one word “nevermore.” In observing the difficulty which I at once found in inventing a sufficiently plausible reason for its continuous repetition, I did not fail to perceive that this difficulty arose solely from the pre-assumption that the word was to be so continuously or monotonously spoken by a human being — I did not fail to perceive, in short, that the difficulty lay in the reconciliation of this monotony with the exercise of reason on the part of the creature repeating the word. Here, then, immediately arose the idea of a non -reasoning creature capable of speech; and, very naturally, a parrot, in the first instance, suggested itself, but was superseded forthwith by a Raven, as equally capable of speech, and infinitely more in keeping with the intended tone.

I had now gone so far as the conception of a Raven — the bird of ill omen — monotonously repeating the one word, “Nevermore,” at the conclusion of each stanza, in a poem of melancholy tone, and in length about one hundred lines. Now, never losing sight of the object supremeness, or perfection, at all points, I asked myself — “Of all melancholy topics, what, according to the universal understanding of mankind, is the most melancholy?” Death — was the obvious reply. “And when,” I said, “is this most melancholy of topics most poetical?” From what I have already explained at some length, the answer, here also, is obvious — “When it most closely allies itself to Beauty: the death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world — and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover.”

I had now to combine the two ideas, of a lover lamenting his deceased mistress and a Raven continuously repeating the word “Nevermore” — I had to combine these, bearing in mind my design of varying, at every turn, the application of the word repeated; but the only intelligible mode of such combination is that of imagining the Raven employing the word in [column 2:] answer to the queries of the lover.

And here it was that I saw at once the opportunity afforded for the effect on which I had been depending — that is to say, the effect of the variation of application. I saw that I could make the first query propounded by the lover — the first query to which the Raven should reply “Nevermore” — that I could make this first query a commonplace one — the second less so — the third still less, and so on — until at length the lover, startled from his original nonchalance by the melancholy character of the word itself — by its frequent repetition — and by a consideration of the ominous reputation of the fowl that uttered it — is at length excited to superstition, and wildly propounds queries of a far different character — queries whose solution he has passionately at heart — propounds them half in superstition and half in that species of despair which delights in self-torture — propounds them not altogether because he believes in the prophetic or demoniac character of the bird (which, reason assures him, is merely repeating a lesson learned by rote) but because he experiences a phrenzied pleasure in so modeling his questions as to receive from the expected “Nevermore” the most delicious because the most intolerable of sorrow.

Perceiving the opportunity thus afforded me — or, more strictly, thus forced upon me in the progress of the construction — I first established in mind the climax, or concluding query — that to which “Nevermore” should be in the last place an answer — that in reply to which this word “Nevermore” should involve the utmost conceivable amount of sorrow and despair.

Here then the poem may be said to have its beginning — at the end, where all works of art should begin — for it was here, at this point of my preconsiderations, that I first put pen to paper in the composition of the stanza:
“Prophet,” said I, “thing of evil! prophet still if bird or devil!
By that heaven that bends above us — by that God we both adore,
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the raven — “Nevermore.”

I composed this stanza, at this point, first that, by establishing the climax, I might the better vary and graduate, as regards seriousness and importance, the preceding queries of the lover — and, secondly, that I might definitely settle the rhythm, the metre, and the length and general arrangement of the stanza — as well as graduate the stanzas which were to precede, so that none of them might surpass this in rhythmical effect. Had I been able, in the subsequent composition, to construct more vigorous stanzas, I should, without scruple, have purposely enfeebled them, so as not to interfere with the climacteric effect.

And here I may as well say a few words of the versification. My first object (as usual) was originality. The extent to which this has been neglected, in versification, is one of the most unaccountable things in the world. Admitting that there is little [page 166:] possibility of variety in mere rhythm, it is still clear that the possible varieties of metre and stanza are absolutely infinite — and yet, for centuries, no man, in verse, has ever done, or ever seemed to think of doing, an original thing. The fact is, originality (unless in minds of very unusual force) is by no means a matter, as some suppose, of impulse or intuition. In general, to be found, it must be elaborately sought, and although a positive merit of the highest class, demands in its attainment less of invention than negation.

Of course, I pretend to no originality in either the rhythm or metre of the “Raven.” The former is trochaic — the latter is octametre acatalectic, alternating with heptameter catalectic repeated in the refrain of the fifth verse, and terminating with tetrameter catalectic. Less pedantically — the feet employed throughout (trochees) consist of a long syllable followed by a short: the first line of the stanza consists of eight of these feet — the second of seven and a half (in effect two-thirds) — the third of eight — the fourth of seven and a half — the fifth the same — the sixth three and a half. Now, each of these lines, taken individually, has been employed before, and what originality the “Raven” has, is in their combination into stanza; nothing even remotely approaching this combination has ever been attempted. The effect of this originality of combination is aided by other unusual, and some altogether novel effects, arising from an extension of the application of the principles of rhyme and alliteration.

The next point to be considered was the mode of bringing together the lover and the Raven — and the first branch of this consideration was the locale. For this the most natural suggestion might seem to be a forest, or the fields — but it has always appeared to me that a close circumscription of space is absolutely necessary to the effect of insulated incident: — it has the force of a frame to a picture. It has an indisputable moral power in keeping concentrated the attention, and, of course, must not be confounded with mere unity of place.
I determined, then, to place the lover in his chamber — in a chamber rendered sacred to him by memories of her who had frequented it. The room is represented as richly furnished — this in mere pursuance of the ideas I have already explained on the subject of Beauty, as the sole true poetical thesis.

The locale being thus determined, I had now to introduce the bird — and the thought of introducing him through the window, was inevitable. The idea of making the lover suppose, in the first instance, that the flapping of the wings of the bird against the shutter, is a “tapping” at the door, originated in a wish to increase, by prolonging, the reader’s curiosity, and in a desire to admit the incidental effect arising from the lover’s throwing open the door, finding all dark, and thence adopting the half-fancy that it was the spirit of his mistress that knocked.
I made the night tempestuous, first, to account for the Raven’s seeking admission, and secondly, for the effect of contrast with the (physical) serenity within the chamber.

I made the bird alight on the bust of Pallas, also for [column 2:] the effect of contrast between the marble and the plumage — it being understood that the bust was absolutely suggested by the bird — the bust of Pallas being chosen, first, as most in keeping with the scholarship of the lover, and, secondly, for the sonorousness of the word, Pallas, itself.

About the middle of the poem, also, I have availed myself of the force of contrast, with a view of deepening the ultimate impression. For example, an air of the fantastic — approaching as nearly to the ludicrous as was admissible — is given to the Raven’s entrance. He comes in “with many a flirt and flutter.
Not the least obeisance made he — not a moment stopped or stayed he,
But with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door.
In the two stanzas which follow, the design is more obviously carried out: —
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the nightly shore —
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
——
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning — little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door —
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”
——
The effect of the dénouement being thus provided for, I immediately drop the fantastic for a tone of the most profound seriousness: — this tone commencing in the stanza directly following the one last quoted, with the line,
But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only, etc.

From this epoch the lover no longer jests — no longer sees any thing even of the fantastic in the Raven’s demeanor. He speaks of him as a “grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore,” and feels the “fiery eyes” burning into his “bosom’s core.” This revolution of thought, or fancy, on the lover’s part, is intended to induce a similar one on the part of the reader — to bring the mind into a proper frame for the dénouement — which is now brought about as rapidly and as directly as possible.

With the dénouement proper — with the Raven’s reply, “Nevermore,” to the lover’s final demand if he shall meet his mistress in another world — the poem, in its obvious phase, that of a simple narrative, may be said to have its completion. So far, every thing is within the limits of the accountable — of the real.

A raven, having learned by rote the single word “Nevermore,” and having escaped from the custody of its owner, is driven, at midnight, through the violence of a storm, to seek admission at a window from which a light still gleams — the chamber-window of a student, occupied half in poring over a volume, half in dreaming of a beloved mistress deceased. [page 167:]

The casement being thrown open at the fluttering of the bird’s wings, the bird itself perches on the most convenient seat out of the immediate reach of the student, who, amused by the incident and the oddity of the visiter’s demeanor, demands of it, in jest and without looking for a reply, its name. The raven addressed, answers with its customary word, “Nevermore” — a word which finds immediate echo in the melancholy heart of the student, who, giving utterance aloud to certain thoughts suggested by the occasion, is again startled by the fowl’s repetition of “Nevermore.” The student now guesses the state of the case, but is impelled, as I have before explained, by the human thirst for self-torture, and in part by superstition, to propound such queries to the bird as will bring him, the lover, the most of the luxury of sorrow, through the anticipated answer “Nevermore.”

With the indulgence, to the utmost extreme, of this self-torture, the narration, in what I have termed its first or obvious phase, has a natural termination, and so far there has been no overstepping of the limits of the real.
But in subjects so handled, however skilfully, or with however vivid an array of incident, there is always a certain hardness or nakedness, which repels the artistical eye. Two things are invariably required — first, some amount of complexity, or more properly, adaptation; and, secondly, some amount of suggestiveness — some under[[-]]current, however indefinite of meaning. It is this latter, in especial, which imparts to a work of art so much of that richness (to [column 2:] borrow from colloquy a forcible term) which we are too fond of confounding with the ideal.It is the excess of the suggested meaning — it is the rendering this the upper instead of the under[[-]]current of the theme — which turns into prose (and that of the very flattest kind) the so called poetry of the so called transcendentalists.

Holding these opinions, I added the two concluding stanzas of the poem — their suggestiveness being thus made to pervade all the narrative which has preceded them. The under-current of meaning is rendered first apparent in the lines —
“Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore!”

It will be observed that the words, “from out my heart,” involve the first metaphorical expression in the poem. They, with the answer, “Nevermore,” dispose the mind to seek a moral in all that has been previously narrated. The reader begins now to regard the Raven as emblematical — but it is not until the very last line of the very last stanza, that the intention of making him emblematical of Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance is permitted distinctly to be seen:

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted — nevermore.

Notes:
The quotations from “The Raven” are centered here for the convenience of the reader. As the columns are rather narrow, these quotations are not centered, or even indented, in the original, but presumably would have been had space allowed.

Source: http://www.eapoe.org/works/essays/philcomp.htm

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Jack Prelutsky


Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place–
be glad your nose is on your face!

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Lindo lindo lindo


Song 1 (Op. 48, No. 1)

Im wunderschönen Monat Mai,
als alle Knospen sprangen,
da ist in meinem Herzen
die Liebe aufgegangen.

Im wunderschönen Monat Mai,
als alle Vögel sangen,
da hab' ich ihr gestanden
mein Sehnen und Verlangen.

Poem I

In the wonderfully fair month of May,
as all the flower-buds burst,
then in my heart
love arose.

In the wonderfully fair month of May,
as all the birds were singing,
then I confessed to her
my yearning and longing.

Song 2 (Op. 48, No. 2)

Aus meinen Tränen sprießen
viel blühende Blumen hervor,
und meine Seufzer werden
ein Nachtigallenchor,

und wenn du mich lieb hast, Kindchen,
schenk' ich dir die Blumen all',
und vor deinem Fenster soll klingen
das Lied der Nachtigall.

Poem II

From my tears spring
many blooming flowers forth,
and my sighs become
a nightingale choir,

and if you have love for me, child,
I'll give you all the flowers,
and before your window shall sound
the song of the nightingale.

Song 3 (Op. 48, No. 3)

Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne,
die liebt' ich einst alle in Liebeswonne.
Ich lieb' sie nicht mehr, ich liebe alleine
die Kleine, die Feine, die Reine, die Eine;
sie selber, aller Liebe Bronne,
ist Rose und Lilie und Taube und Sonne.

Poem III

The rose, the lily, the dove, the sun,
I once loved them all in love's bliss.
I love them no more, I love only
the small, the fine, the pure, the one;
she herself, source of all love,
is rose and lily and dove and sun.

Song 4 (Op. 48, No. 4)

Wenn ich in deine Augen seh',
so schwindet all' mein Leid und Weh!
Doch wenn ich küsse deinen Mund,
so werd' ich ganz und gar gesund.

Wenn ich mich lehn' an deine Brust,
kommt's über mich wie Himmelslust,
doch wenn du sprichst: Ich liebe dich!
so muß ich weinen bitterlich.

Poem IV

When I look into your eyes,
then vanish all my sorrow and pain!
Ah, but when I kiss your mouth,
then I will be wholly and completely healthy.

When I lean on your breast,
I am overcome with heavenly delight,
ah, but when you say, "I love you!"
then I must weep bitterly.

Song 5 (Op. 127, No. 2)

 

Dein Angesicht so lieb und schön,
das hab' ich jüngst im Traum geseh'n;
es ist so mild und engelgleich,
und doch so bleich, so schmerzenreich.

Und nur die Lippen, die sind rot;
bald aber küßt sie bleich der Tod.
Erlöschen wird das Himmelslicht,
das aus den frommen Augen bricht.

Poem V

Your face, so dear and fair,
that I have recently seen in a dream;
it is so mild and angelic,
and yet so pale, so rich in sorrow.

And only your lips are red;
but soon they will be kissed pale by death.
Extinguished shall be the heavenly light,
which streams from those innocent eyes.

Song 6 (Op. 142, No. 2)

 

Lehn deine Wang' an meine Wang',
dann fließen die Tränen zusammen;
und an mein Herz drück' fest dein Herz,
dann schlagen zusammen die Flammen!

Und wenn in die große Flamme fließt
der Strom von unsern Tränen,
und wenn dich mein Arm gewaltig umschließt -
sterb' ich vor Liebessehnen!

Poem VI

 

Rest your cheek against my cheek,
then shall our tears flow together;
and against my heart press firmly your heart,
then together shall our flames pulse!

And when into the great flame
flows the stream of our tears,
and when my arm holds you tight - 
I shall die of love's yearning!

Song 7 (Op. 48, No. 5)

Ich will meine Seele tauchen
in den Kelch der Lilie hinein;
die Lilie soll klingend hauchen
ein Lied von der Liebsten mein.

Das Lied soll schauern und beben,
wie der Kuß von ihrem Mund',
den sie mir einst gegeben
in wunderbar süßer Stund'!

Poem VII

I want to plunge my soul
into the chalice of the lily;
the lily shall resoundingly exhale
a song of my beloved.

The song shall quiver and tremble,
like the kiss from her mouth,
that she once gave me
in a wonderfully sweet hour!

Song 8 (Op. 48, No. 6)

Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome,
da spiegelt sich in den Well'n
mit seinem großen Dome
das große, heilige Köln.

Im Dom da steht ein Bildniß
auf goldenem Leder gemalt.
In meines Lebens Wildniß
hat's freundlich hineingestrahlt.

Es schweben Blumen und Eng'lein
um unsre liebe Frau;
die Augen, die Lippen, die Wänglein,
die gleichen der Liebsten genau.

Poem XI

In the Rhine, in the holy stream,
there is mirrored in the waves,
with its great cathedral,
great holy Cologne.

In the cathedral, there stands an image
on golden leather painted.
Into my life's wilderness
it has shined in amicably.

There hover flowers and little angels
around our beloved Lady,
the eyes, the lips, the little cheeks,
they match my beloved's exactly.

Song 9 (Op. 48, No. 7)

Ich grolle nicht, und wenn das Herz auch bricht,
ewig verlor'nes Lieb!  Ich grolle nicht.
Wie du auch strahlst in Diamantenpracht,
es fällt kein Strahl in deines Herzens Nacht,

das weiß ich längst.
Ich grolle nicht, und wenn das Herz auch bricht.
                     Ich sah dich ja im Traume,
und sah die Nacht in deines Herzens Raume,
und sah die Schlang', die dir am Herzen frißt,
ich sah, mein Lieb, wie sehr du elend bist.
Ich grolle nicht.

Poem XVIII

I bear no grudge, even as my heart is breaking,
eternally lost love!  I bear no grudge.
Even though you shine in diamond splendor,
there falls no light into your heart's night,

that I've known for a long time.
I bear no grudge, even as my heart is breaking.
                    I saw you, truly, in my dreams,
and saw the night in your heart's cavity,
and saw the serpent that feeds on your heart,
I saw, my love, how very miserable you are.
I bear no grudge.

Song 10 (Op. 48, No. 8)

Und wüßten's die Blumen, die kleinen,
wie tief verwundet mein Herz,
sie würden mit mir weinen
zu heilen meinen Schmerz.

Und wüßten's die Nachtigallen,
wie ich so traurig und krank,
sie ließen fröhlich erschallen
erquickenden Gesang.

Und wüßten sie mein Wehe,
die goldenen Sternelein,
sie kämen aus ihrer Höhe,
und sprächen Trost mir ein.

Die alle können's nicht wissen,
nur Eine kennt meinen Schmerz;
sie hat ja selbst zerrissen,
zerrissen mir das Herz.

Poem XXII

And if they knew it, the blooms, the little ones,
how deeply wounded my heart is,
they would weep with me
to heal my pain.

And if they knew it, the nightingales,
how I am so sad and sick,
they would merrily unleash
refreshing song.

And if they knew my pain,
the golden little stars,
they would descend from their heights
and would comfort me.

All of them cannot know it,
only one knows my pain,
she herself has indeed torn,
torn up my heart.

Song 11 (Op. 48, No. 9)

Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen,
Trompeten schmettern darein.
Da tanzt wohl den Hochzeitreigen
die Herzallerliebste mein.

Das ist ein Klingen und Dröhnen,
ein Pauken und ein Schalmei'n;
dazwischen schluchzen und stöhnen
die lieblichen Engelein.

Poem XX

There is a fluting and fiddling,
and trumpets blasting in.
Surely, there dancing the wedding dance
is my dearest beloved.

There is a ringing and roaring
of drums and shawms,
amidst it sobbing and moaning
are dear little angels.

Song 12 (Op. 48, No. 10)

Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen,
das einst die Liebste sang,
so will mir die Brust zerspringen
von wildem Schmerzendrang.

Es treibt mich ein dunkles Sehnen
hinauf zur Waldeshöh',
dort lös't sich auf in Tränen
mein übergroßes Weh'.

Poem XLI

I hear the little song sounding
that my beloved once sang,
and my heart wants to shatter
from savage pain's pressure.

I am driven by a dark longing
up to the wooded heights,
there is dissolved in tears
my supremely great pain.

Song 13 (Op. 48, No. 11)

Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen,
die hat einen Andern erwählt;
der Andre liebt' eine Andre,
und hat sich mit dieser vermählt.

Das Mädchen nimmt aus Ärger
den ersten besten Mann
der ihr in den Weg gelaufen;
der Jüngling ist übel dran.

Es ist eine alte Geschichte
doch bleibt sie immer neu;
und wem sie just passieret,
dem bricht das Herz entzwei.

Poem XL

A young man loves a girl,
who has chosen another man,
the other loves yet another
and has gotten married to her.

The girl takes out of resentment
the first, best man
who crosses her path;
the young man is badly off.

It is an old story
but remains eternally new,
and for him to whom it has just happened
it breaks his heart in two.

Song 14 (Op. 48, No. 12)

Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
geh' ich im Garten herum.
Es flüstern und sprechen die Blumen,
ich aber wandle stumm.

Es flüstern und sprechen die Blumen,
und schau'n mitleidig mich an:
Sei uns'rer Schwester nicht böse,
du trauriger, blasser Mann.

Poem XLVI

 On a shining summer morning
 I go about in the garden.
 The flowers are whispering and speaking,
 I however wander silently.

 The flowers are whispering and speaking,
 and look sympathetically at me:
"Do not be angry with our sister,
 you sad, pale man."

Song 15 (Op. 127, No. 3)

 

Es leuchtet meine Liebe,
in ihrer dunkeln Pracht,
wie'n Märchen traurig und trübe,
erzählt in der Sommernacht.

Im Zaubergarten wallen
zwei Buhlen, stumm und allein;
es singen die Nachtigallen,
es flimmert der Mondenschein.

Die Jungfrau steht still wie ein Bildnis,
der Ritter vor ihr kniet.
Da kommt der Riese der Wildnis,
die bange Jungfrau flieht.

Der Ritter sinkt blutend zur Erde,
es stolpert der Riese nach Haus.
Wenn ich begraben werde,
dann ist das Märchen aus.

Poem XLVII

 

My love, it shines
in its dark splendor,
like a fairy-tale, sad and bleak,
told on a summer night.

In a magic garden appear
two lovers, mute and alone;
the nightingales are singing,
the moonlight is shimmering.

The maiden stands still as a portrait,
the knight before her kneels.
Then comes the giant of the wilderness,
the fearful maiden flees.

The knight sinks, bleeding, to the earth,
then the giant stumbles home.
When I am buried,
then the fairy-tale is over.

Song 16 (Op. 142, No. 4)

 

Mein Wagen rollet langsam
durch lustiges Waldesgrün,
durch blumige Täler, die zaubrisch
im Sonnenglanze blüh'n.

Ich sitze und sinne und träume,
und denk' an die Liebste mein;
Da grüßen drei Schattengestalten
kopfnickend zum Wagen herein.

Sie hüpfen und schneiden Gesichter,
so spöttisch und doch so scheu,
und quirlen wie Nebel zusammen,
und kichern und huschen vorbei.

Poem LV

 

My coach rolls slowly
through the merry forest green,
through blooming valleys, which magically
bloom in the sun's gleam.

I sit and reflect and dream,
and think on my beloved;
then I am greeted by three shadowy forms
nodding at the coach.

They hop and make faces,
so mocking and yet so shy,
and whirl like mist together,
and snicker and scurry by.

Song 17 (Op. 48, No. 13)

Ich hab' im Traum geweinet,
mir träumte du lägest im Grab.
Ich wachte auf, und die Träne
floß noch von der Wange herab.

Ich hab' im Traum geweinet,
mir träumt' du verließest mich.
Ich wachte auf, und ich weinte
noch lange bitterlich.

Ich hab' im Traum geweinet,
mir träumte du wär'st mir noch gut.
Ich wachte auf, und noch immer
strömt meine Tränenflut.

Poem LVI

I have in my dreams wept,
I dreamed you lay in your grave.
I woke up and the tears
still flowed down from my cheeks.

I have in my dreams wept,
I dreamed you forsook me.
I woke up and I wept
for a long time and bitterly.

I have in my dreams wept,
I dreamed you still were good to me.
I woke up, and still now
streams my flood of tears.

Song 18 (Op. 48, No. 14)

Allnächtlich im Traume seh' ich dich,
und sehe dich freundlich grüßen,
und lautaufweinend stürz' ich mich
zu deinen süßen Füßen.

Du siehest mich an wehmütiglich,
und schüttelst das blonde Köpfchen;
aus deinen Augen schleichen sich
die Perlentränentröpfchen.

Du sagst mir heimlich ein leises Wort,
und gibst mir den Strauß von Zypressen.
Ich wache auf, und der Strauß ist fort,
und's Wort hab' ich vergessen.

Poem LVII

Every night in my dreams I see you,
and see your friendly greeting,
and loudly crying out, I throw myself
at your sweet feet.

You look at me wistfully
and shake your blond little head;
from your eyes steal forth
little pearly teardrops.

You say to me secretly a soft word,
and give me a garland of cypress.
I wake up, and the garland is gone,
and the word I have forgotten.

Song 19 (Op. 48, No. 15)

Aus alten Märchen winkt es
hervor mit weißer Hand,
da singt es und da klingt es
von einem Zauberland';

wo bunte Blumen blühen
im gold'nen Abendlicht,
und lieblich duftend glühen
mit bräutlichem Gesicht;

Und grüne Bäume singen
uralte Melodei'n,
die Lüfte heimlich klingen,
und Vögel schmettern drein;

Und Nebelbilder steigen
wohl aus der Erd' hervor,
und tanzen luft'gen Reigen
im wunderlichen Chor;

Und blaue Funken brennen
an jedem Blatt und Reis,
und rote Lichter rennen
im irren, wirren Kreis;

Und laute Quellen brechen
aus wildem Marmorstein,
und seltsam in den Bächen
strahlt fort der Widerschein.

Ach! könnt' ich dorthin kommen,
und dort mein Herz erfreu'n,
und aller Qual entnommen,
und frei und selig sein!

Ach! jenes Land der Wonne,
das seh' ich oft im Traum,
doch kommt die Morgensonne,
zerfließt's wie eitel Schaum.

Poem XLIV

From old fairy-tales it beckons
to me with a white hand,
there it sings and there it resounds
of a magic land,

where colorful flowers bloom
in the golden twilight,
and sweetly, fragrantly glow
with a bride-like face.

And green trees sing
primeval melodies,
the breezes secretly sound
and birds warble in them.

And misty images rise
indeed forth from the earth,
and dance airy reels
in fantastic chorus.

And blue sparks burn
on every leaf and twig,
and red lights run
in crazy, hazy rings.

And loud springs burst
out of wild marble stone,
and oddly in the brooks
shine forth the reflections.

Ah! If I could enter there
and there gladden my heart,
and have all anguish taken away,
and be free and blessed!

Oh, that land of bliss,
I see it often in dreams,
but come the morning sun,
and it melts away like mere froth.

Song 20 (Op. 48, No. 16)

Die alten, bösen Lieder,
die Träume bös' und arg,
die laßt uns jetzt begraben,
holt einen großen Sarg.

Hinein leg' ich gar manches,
doch sag' ich noch nicht was.
Der Sarg muß sein noch größer
wie's Heidelberger Faß.

Und holt eine Totenbahre,
von Bretter fest und dick;
auch muß sie sein noch länger
als wie zu Mainz die Brück'.

Und holt mir auch zwölf Riesen,
die müssen noch stärker sein
als wie der starke Christoph
im Dom zu Köln am Rhein.

Die sollen den Sarg forttragen,
und senken in's Meer hinab;
denn solchem großen Sarge
gebührt ein großes Grab.

Wißt ihr warum der Sarg wohl
so groß und schwer mag sein?
Ich senkt' auch meine Liebe
Und meinen Schmerz hinein.

Poem LXVI

The old, angry songs,
the dreams angry and nasty,
let us now bury them,
fetch a great coffin.

In it I will lay very many things,
though I shall not yet say what.
The coffin must be even larger
than the Heidelberg Tun.

And fetch a death-bier,
of boards firm and thick,
they also must be even longer
than Mainz's great bridge.

And fetch me also twelve giants,
who must be yet mightier
than mighty St. Christopher
in the Cathedral of Cologne on the Rhine.

They shall carry the coffin away,
and sink it down into the sea,
for such a great coffin
deserves a great grave.

How could the coffin
be so large and heavy?
I also sank my love
with my pain in it.

Poem I

In the wonderfully fair month of May,
as all the flower-buds burst,
then in my heart
love arose.

In the wonderfully fair month of May,
as all the birds were singing,
then I confessed to her
my yearning and longing.

Poem II

From my tears spring
many blooming flowers forth,
and my sighs become
a nightingale choir,

and if you have love for me, child,
I'll give you all the flowers,
and before your window shall sound
the song of the nightingale.

Poem III

The rose, the lily, the dove, the sun,
I once loved them all in love's bliss.
I love them no more, I love only
the small, the fine, the pure, the one;
she herself, source of all love,
is rose and lily and dove and sun.

Poem IV

When I look into your eyes,
then vanish all my sorrow and pain!
Ah, but when I kiss your mouth,
then I will be wholly and completely healthy.

When I lean on your breast,
I am overcome with heavenly delight,
ah, but when you say, "I love you!"
then I must weep bitterly.

Poem V

Your face, so dear and fair,
that I have recently seen in a dream;
it is so mild and angelic,
and yet so pale, so rich in sorrow.

And only your lips are red;
but soon they will be kissed pale by death.
Extinguished shall be the heavenly light,
which streams from those innocent eyes.

Poem VI

Rest your cheek against my cheek,
then shall our tears flow together;
and against my heart press firmly your heart,
then together shall our flames pulse!

And when into the great flame
flows the stream of our tears,
and when my arm holds you tight - 
I shall die of love's yearning!


Poem VII

I want to plunge my soul
into the chalice of the lily;
the lily shall resoundingly exhale
a song of my beloved.

The song shall quiver and tremble,
like the kiss from her mouth,
that she once gave me
in a wonderfully sweet hour!

Poem XI

In the Rhine, in the holy stream,
there is mirrored in the waves,
with its great cathedral,
great holy Cologne.

In the cathedral, there stands an image
on golden leather painted.
Into my life's wilderness
it has shined in amicably.

There hover flowers and little angels
around our beloved Lady,
the eyes, the lips, the little cheeks,
they match my beloved's exactly.

Poem XVIII

I bear no grudge, even as my heart is breaking,
eternally lost love!  I bear no grudge.
Even though you shine in diamond splendor,
there falls no light into your heart's night,

that I've known for a long time.
I bear no grudge, even as my heart is breaking.
                    I saw you, truly, in my dreams,
and saw the night in your heart's cavity,
and saw the serpent that feeds on your heart,
I saw, my love, how very miserable you are.
I bear no grudge.

Poem XXII

And if they knew it, the blooms, the little ones,
how deeply wounded my heart is,
they would weep with me
to heal my pain.

And if they knew it, the nightingales,
how I am so sad and sick,
they would merrily unleash
refreshing song.

And if they knew my pain,
the golden little stars,
they would descend from their heights
and would comfort me.

All of them cannot know it,
only one knows my pain,
she herself has indeed torn,
torn up my heart.

Poem XX

There is a fluting and fiddling,
and trumpets blasting in.
Surely, there dancing the wedding dance
is my dearest beloved.

There is a ringing and roaring
of drums and shawms,
amidst it sobbing and moaning
are dear little angels.

Poem XLI

I hear the little song sounding
that my beloved once sang,
and my heart wants to shatter
from savage pain's pressure.

I am driven by a dark longing
up to the wooded heights,
there is dissolved in tears
my supremely great pain.

Poem XL

A young man loves a girl,
who has chosen another man,
the other loves yet another
and has gotten married to her.

The girl takes out of resentment
the first, best man
who crosses her path;
the young man is badly off.

It is an old story
but remains eternally new,
and for him to whom it has just happened
it breaks his heart in two.

Poem XLVI

On a shining summer morning
 I go about in the garden.
 The flowers are whispering and speaking,
 I however wander silently.

 The flowers are whispering and speaking,
 and look sympathetically at me:
"Do not be angry with our sister,
 you sad, pale man."

Poem XLVII

My love, it shines
in its dark splendor,
like a fairy-tale, sad and bleak,
told on a summer night.

In a magic garden appear
two lovers, mute and alone;
the nightingales are singing,
the moonlight is shimmering.

The maiden stands still as a portrait,
the knight before her kneels.
Then comes the giant of the wilderness,
the fearful maiden flees.

The knight sinks, bleeding, to the earth,
then the giant stumbles home.
When I am buried,
then the fairy-tale is over.


Poem LV

My coach rolls slowly
through the merry forest green,
through blooming valleys, which magically
bloom in the sun's gleam.

I sit and reflect and dream,
and think on my beloved;
then I am greeted by three shadowy forms
nodding at the coach.

They hop and make faces,
so mocking and yet so shy,
and whirl like mist together,
and snicker and scurry by.


Poem LVI

I have in my dreams wept,
I dreamed you lay in your grave.
I woke up and the tears
still flowed down from my cheeks.

I have in my dreams wept,
I dreamed you forsook me.
I woke up and I wept
for a long time and bitterly.

I have in my dreams wept,
I dreamed you still were good to me.
I woke up, and still now
streams my flood of tears.

Poem LVII

Every night in my dreams I see you,
and see your friendly greeting,
and loudly crying out, I throw myself
at your sweet feet.

You look at me wistfully
and shake your blond little head;
from your eyes steal forth
little pearly teardrops.

You say to me secretly a soft word,
and give me a garland of cypress.
I wake up, and the garland is gone,
and the word I have forgotten.

Poem XLIV

From old fairy-tales it beckons
to me with a white hand,
there it sings and there it resounds
of a magic land,

where colorful flowers bloom
in the golden twilight,
and sweetly, fragrantly glow
with a bride-like face.

And green trees sing
primeval melodies,
the breezes secretly sound
and birds warble in them.

And misty images rise
indeed forth from the earth,
and dance airy reels
in fantastic chorus.

And blue sparks burn
on every leaf and twig,
and red lights run
in crazy, hazy rings.

And loud springs burst
out of wild marble stone,
and oddly in the brooks
shine forth the reflections.

Ah! If I could enter there
and there gladden my heart,
and have all anguish taken away,
and be free and blessed!

Oh, that land of bliss,
I see it often in dreams,
but come the morning sun,
and it melts away like mere froth.

Poem LXVI

The old, angry songs,
the dreams angry and nasty,
let us now bury them,
fetch a great coffin.

In it I will lay very many things,
though I shall not yet say what.
The coffin must be even larger
than the Heidelberg Tun.

And fetch a death-bier,
of boards firm and thick,
they also must be even longer
than Mainz's great bridge.

And fetch me also twelve giants,
who must be yet mightier
than mighty St. Christopher
in the Cathedral of Cologne on the Rhine.

They shall carry the coffin away,
and sink it down into the sea,
for such a great coffin
deserves a great grave.

How could the coffin
be so large and heavy?
I also sank my love
with my pain in it.

About Heinrich Heine (1797? – 1856) and the Poems

Chaim Harry Heine was born in Düsseldorf in western Germany in December of 1797 (or possibly 1799). He studied law in Göttingen, Bonn and Berlin, completing his degree in 1825. That same year, perhaps in an attempt to secure government employment or a stable university professorship, he converted to Christianity, renaming himself Christian Johann Heinrich Heine. But he had already published a volume of poetry as a student in 1821, and saw his future as a creative artist rather than a petty bureaucrat. Heine spent the remainder of his life writing poetry and prose. Some of his writing tended to be more radical and iconoclastic and ran afoul of German censors, causing Heine to accept self-exile to Paris in 1831. Heine continued to write in Paris, though in 1848 he began to suffer the effects of a painful paralyzing spinal illness that confined him to what he called his “mattress-grave.” Heine died in Paris in February 1856.

Heine found his voice as a poet very early in his career, establishing his reputation with his second volume, the Tragödien, nebst einem lyrischen Intermezzo (Tragedies with a Lyric Intermezzo) of 1823. Heine reworked the Lyric Intermezzo and republished it in his first anthology, the Buch der Lieder (Book of Songs) of 1827. This anthology became a classic of Romantic German literature and composers began setting his poems to music within a year of the book’s publication.

Heine’s poetry is rooted in riddles, allegories, allusions, dreams and above all ambivalences and contradictions. Heine mixed naked honesty with savage irony, constructed a folk-like simplicity with the keenest artifice, mingled autobiography with fantasy, comedy and tragedy, love and hate. The sixty-six poems of the Lyric Intermezzo explore the emotions of someone who has just lost a sweetheart, and often these conflicting emotions tangle in the same poem. The goal of these contradictions is to create a bridge to another world, though it is not clear if the ultimate aim is forgiveness and redemption or bitterness and isolation. Robert Schumann may have put it best when he wrote, “At certain points in time, (Heine’s) poetry dons the mask of irony in order to conceal its visage of pain; perhaps for a moment the friendly hand of a genius may lift that mask so that wild tears may be transformed into pearls.”

About Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856) and the Song Cycle

Schumann was born in June 1810 in the town of Zwickau in modern southeastern Germany. Like Heine, Schumann was pushed to study law (in his case at Leipzig and Heidelberg) and like Heine, Schumann abandoned a lawyer’s life to pursue a creative career, in his case as a composer, pianist and music critic. Schumann’s earliest compositions were collections of piano pieces that sought to incorporate literary ideas into the musical construction. His writing as early as 1831 also shows a split personality with two distinct dueling halves: Florestan, the representation of the active and passionate, and Eusebius, who was dreamy and contemplative.

Schumann fell in love with Clara Wieck, the pianist prodigy daughter of his piano teacher Friedrich Wieck. Wieck objected to Schumann as a potential son-in-law, and the stresses and roadblocks of a thwarted romance led Schumann to turn to poetry and song in the extraordinary “song-year” of 1840, when Schumann wrote over a third of all the songs he wrote in his lifetime.

In that oeuvre, the songs to texts by Heinrich Heine stand out. Perhaps Heine’s intrinsic contradictions appealed to Schumann’s split personalities. Maybe the cunnning craft of Heine’s poetry brought something out of Schumann the master miniaturist. In any event, many of Schumann’s most beloved songs are set to Heine texts. Schumann selected twenty of the sixty-six poems of Heine’s Lyric Intermezzo, rearranged poem order and altered some texts to create a cylical narrative. He fashioned music to match the poems in nine wonderfully fair days in the month of May 1840. The song cycle, titled “Twenty Songs from the Lyric Intermezzo in the Book of Songs for One Singer and Piano,” was rejected by at least three different publishers in 1840 and 1843. C.F. Peters accepted the set for publication in November 1843, but four songs would be removed from the cycle and someone (it is not known who) attached the title Dichterliebe to the cycle.

Schumann’s songs feel more like an extension of his earlier piano music than music conceived for the voice. The piano typically carries most of the melody, with extended preludes and postludes that comment on the poems and give voice to thoughts and feelings that the words only decorate. Schumann continues his knack for creating literary effects in music: the wistful, ambivalent longing of Im wunderschönen Monat Mai is expressed in unsteady harmony veering between major and relative minor before settling on an unresolved dominant seventh chord. For Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome, Schumann elicits the feel of Köln Cathedral, whose bells were the first in Christendom to sound out three consecutive notes of the scale, by playing a bell-like figure in the left hand while the right hand plays snatches of a Bach organ prelude. Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet evokes Heine’s nightmares with one of the sparest piano parts ever put into an art song, while the voice recalls melodic fragments from Wenn ich in deine Augen seh, casting the words of that poem in a new light. And Schumann uses common musical motifs between songs to pull ideas together, such as the disembodied melodies bringing forth painful memories in Hör ich das Liedchen klingen and Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen, and the parallel postludes of Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen, and the final Die alten, bösen Lieder. In this way, Schumann created a song cycle that remains a perennial favorite in the art song literature.

http://members.macconnect.com/users/j/jimbob/classical/Schumann_Op48_original.html#song09

Categorias: Música, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comentários

Quadro do dia: a queda de Ícaro


…acompanhado do poema do dia, claro:

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling
near

the edge of the sea
concerned 
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings' wax

unsignificantly
off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

Categorias: Imagens/Images, Sem categoria, Wallpapers/Papeis de parede | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Deixe um comentário

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