(Poem #530) A Sonnet
Two voices are there: one is of the deep; It learns the storm-cloud's thunderous melody, Now roars, now murmurs with the changing sea, Now bird-like pipes, now closes soft in sleep: And one is of an old half-witted sheep Which bleats articulate monotony, And indicates that two and one are three, That grass is green, lakes damp, and mountains steep: And, Wordsworth, both are thine: at certain times Forth from the heart of thy melodious rhymes, The form and pressure of high thoughts will burst: At other times--good Lord! I'd rather be Quite unacquainted with the ABC Than write such hopeless rubbish as thy worst.
What could I possibly add to today's poem, save applause? Stephen has perfectly captured my feelings about Wordsworth's poetry, the 'hopeless rubbish' all the more disappointing in contrast with the sublime poems he is capable of. Returning to Stephen (there are several discussions of Wordsworth in the archives already, without hijacking today's commentary to run another one <g>) - he's one of the many delightful discoveries I've made while browsing Steve Spanoudis' excellent 'Poet's Corner' website. Like many other deserving poets, he was not destined for immortality, but his verse is nonetheless well worth a read, and I'll certainly run a few more of his poems in the future. As for today's poem, while I have the vague feeling he's parodying something specific of Wordsworth's, I can't place it. The general feel of Wordsworth's poetry is certainly in evidence, especially in the first four lines. Biography: (1859-1892) English Poetic Parodist, Royal Tutor, and International Law Scholar -- Poets' Corner The youngest and the shortest-lived of the three, James Kenneth Stephen, who, like Calverley, established himself in literature by his initials, had his chances marred in a manner even worse than that from which Calverley suffered, by his early death and the illness which preceded it. The variety and brilliancy of the talent shown in Lapsus Calami and the other too rare waifs of J. K. S.'s short life were altogether exceptional. Time and chance, with which no man can strive, arrested their development, but not before they had shown themselves unmistakably. -- http://www.bartleby.com/223/0615.html Links: The J. K. Stephen poems at the Poets' Corner: [broken link] http://www.geocities.com/~spanoudi/poems/stephen2.html For another treatment of the two faces of Wordsworth, see Browning's brilliant 'The Lost Leader': poem #130 We've run several Wordsworth poems on Minstrels, but rather unsurprisingly concentrated on the good ones. However, I did use one of the other kind to make a point - see poem #411 And of course, if anyone has a good anti-Wordsworth rant just waiting to be unleashed (and preferably with examples to support it), feel free to send it in :) -martin