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  #11  
Unread 08-29-2019, 10:17 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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While we're at it, here's "The Stoutest Man in the Forty-Twa" - i.e., the Black Watch - sung by Robin Hall & Jimmy McGregor:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF5Ve500rFE

Cheers,
John
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  #12  
Unread 08-29-2019, 03:28 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Default The battle of the literature professors

What I'm trying to do here is not so much to get pretty links to oral music performances. Rather I want to elicit outstanding images and striking tropes that can transfer to the written page that are similar in quality to those that occur in the text(s) of Sir Patrick Spens, et al. It would help for the posters to explicitly identify and actually transcribe those images and passages that they have found that have comparable merit to the those in the best of the Child Ballad collection.

For example, one quatrain from Spens has several touches that are well above average, and it's not even the most graphic:

The King has written a broad letter,
And sealed it with his hand,
And sent it to Sir Patrick Spens,
Was walking on the strand.

I think this parallels the thoughts of Matthew Arnold, who, in an 1861 essay called “On Translating Homer,” enumerated what he saw as the four cardinal qualities of Homeric verse: [1] rapidity, [2] plainness of syntax and diction, [3] plainness of thought, and [4] nobility.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 08-29-2019 at 05:25 PM.
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  #13  
Unread 08-30-2019, 01:29 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Hi Allen,

This to me is better than anything in the famous "Sir Patrick Spens," except maybe the new moon/old moon image, which has had legs:

O, lang may his lady
Look frae the castle Doune,
Ere she see the Earl of Moray
Come soundin' through the toun.

It gets me every time and is why I posted it. OTOH, "The Stoutest Man in the Forty-Twa" is just a wonderfully told tale of a simple man's youthful faith in what God gave him, i.e, size. There is in consequence a certain fragility to the boasting which I find touching:

Behold I am a soldier bold
And only twenty-five years old
A finer warrior never was seen
From Inverness tae Gretna Green.

Cheers,
John
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  #14  
Unread 08-30-2019, 01:30 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hey Allen,

I understand. I do feel slightly guilty that I don't 'muse on mastery' enough and I think it would be a great thing if it saw a real Sphere revival. More so than the DE perhaps (ahem). The love of poetry is why we're all here after all. I apologise for descending to jokes about Jimi Hendrix. I'll try to come back.

Mark
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  #15  
Unread 08-30-2019, 10:43 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Mark, worry not.

John, that first is a nice quote indeed, but for me it’s a standard image whose magic hangs altogether on one phrase in the sweetly rhyming last line, in fact, on even one word, the verb: “soundin’ through the town”. I hear a horn, a snorting charger trotting, hallos and shouted responses, and then a lady’s window shutter banging open. Wonderful. What one exact word can do!

The “wee Geordie” in the second citation is also good if it has a frame. In isolation, but with a prose introduction, that quote could suggest “big and tall, that’s all” or the “sound of fat” from a sizable, doubt-ridden young Falstaff. A mellow fellow indeed and good pal, struggling to be fierce in a martial culture.

Now, I definitely don’t claim equivalence for the following with a selection that describes a storm at sea overwhelming a wooden ship from Pseudo-Longinus’ “On the Sublime”, but that does pop into my mind when I encounter these:

They had not sailed a league, a league,
A league but barely three,
When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud,
And gurly grew the sea.

The ankers brake and the top-masts lap,
It was such a deadly storm;
And the waves came o'er the broken ship
Till all her sides were torn.

"O where will I get a good sailor
Will take my helm in hand,
Till I get up to the tall top-mast
To see if I can spy land?"

"O here am I, a sailor good,
Will take the helm in hand,
Till you go up to the tall top-mast,
But I fear you'll ne'er spy land."

He had not gone a step, a step,
A step but barely ane,
When a bolt flew out of the good ship's side,
And the salt sea came in.
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  #16  
Unread 08-30-2019, 02:08 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Hi Allen,

I'm glad you pointed to the verb soundin'. I agree, it is just splendid and the image revolves around it. The earl won't be doing that any time soon, because he's dead.
I also agree, "Sir Patrick Spens" has better poetry than I allowed for in my point-making. But ballads tend to, I think. The whole sailing story reminds me of "The House Carpenter" in particular, in theme and in some specific detail.
I also like your remark that my stout soldier is "struggling to be fierce in a martial culture."

Cheers,
John
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