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Unread 05-23-2019, 05:02 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
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Default Castigat Ridendo Mores

Castigat Ridendo Mores

I settled wars,
I reached the stars,
I climbed The Tower of Babel.

I deciphered alone
the Rosetta Stone
and courted Betty Grable.

I sang Rigoletto*
in bass and falsetto
when Maria wasn’t able.

A three minute mile
I completed in style
to star in folk and fable.

From the High Street in Cork
I walked to New York
on a hundred-foot lightly-strung cable.

I wrote Schindler’s Twist
And Oliver’s Pissed
and ghosted Roxanne of Greengable.

When the King of Peru
was deposed in a coup
it was I made the Monarchy stable.

All the Court was impressed-
I had the Queen dressed
in knickers of ermine and sable.

My design was so good
that Dior said it would
be marketed under his label.

There’s nothing (it’s true,)
that I couldn’t do
from underneath a table.

A.A. Mulligan (1905- )

*Figlia, Mio Padre

Originally Caro Nome

Last edited by Jim Hayes; 05-23-2019 at 06:43 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 05-23-2019, 05:49 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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First line "wars"?

And I thought Caro Nome was a soprano solo; more appropriate if you took both parts in Figlia! Mio Padre!
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Unread 05-23-2019, 06:00 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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(cross-posted with Ann)

Hi Jim,

This fun. I'm trying to work out what tune I'm singing it to. From the last line, I wonder if this was sparked by Sam's comment on the Jim Harrison thread.

S1: "I settled wears" -- I don't understand this. Is it a typo for 'wars'?

S4, "to star in folk and fable" reads rather like he did the 3-minute mile in order to star in folk and fable. Was that his intent, or was just a consequence? I guess either works. More problematically for me though, what does it mean to "star in folk"? Maybe you mean "folk tales", but that's not what it says. Or maybe "folk and fable" is a genre, or just a phrase I'm not familiar with?

You could maybe have instead:

A three minute mile
I completed in style,
I'm a star of folk and fable.

To mean something like, very popular with the people and the hero of fables, but I'm still not sure 'folk' completely works.

In S5: "on a hundred-foot lightly strung cable. If you're going hyphenate "hundred-foot" then I'd hyphenate "lightly-strung" too, both for consistency, and because I think it helps parsing/seeing the metre. I'd also suggest "three-minute mile" back in S4

S6: Not sure if this is:
and GHOSTed ROXanne of GREENgable
or
and GHOSTed RoxANNE of GREENgable
or the more fully anapaestic:
and GHOSTed RoxANNE of GreenGABLE

With the first two, a more strongly anapaestic beat might be preferable, whereas these have the same number of anapaests as iambs. The stressing of the last is problematic if "Greengable" is one word, since the stress would then fall on the first syllable, as opposed to how it appears in the actual title being spoofed, which is "Anne of Green Gables". If you want the last three of the above, then I'd separate "Green Gables". Anyway, to my ear at least, the line is a little ambiguous metrically, and some way of making it clearer would be worth considering.

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 05-23-2019 at 06:10 AM.
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Unread 05-23-2019, 06:15 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
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Corrected typo Ann, thanks.
Yes, Caro Nome is a soprano role famously sung by Maria Callas, but Mulligan, improbably, could sing it in bass as well as falsetto.

Matt many thanks also, and you’re suggestions are very welcome, I’ll address them shortly.
As a ballad, it could be sung to the ‘Irish Rover’

To return, I’m going with the fully anapestic. GHOS/ted rox /ANNE of green/GABLE , I think it’s ok to break the regularity a little.
Yes hyphenating lightly-strung is good.


I could introduce an anapest to resolve ‘folk’ if as you feel it’s problematic,
to STAR /in FOLK/lore. and FABLE

Jim

Last edited by Jim Hayes; 05-23-2019 at 06:35 AM.
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  #5  
Unread 05-23-2019, 06:32 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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But you said "bass and falsetto" and, in the duet I suggested, he could do both. It wouldn't affect the poem, just the footnote.

(I speak as one who has attempted Bella Figlia Dell'Amore all by herself.)
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Unread 05-23-2019, 06:41 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
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Ann, yes, indeed, very good, one has to recognize the voice of experience,.
I like it and will emend the footnote.
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Unread 05-23-2019, 03:06 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hello Jim,

Thanks for suggesting The Irish Rover, I can only hear it to that tune now and thinking of this as a song covers any metrical anomalies I suppose, as the singing voice can elongate and pause as it sees fit. It does feel like a drinking song, particularly with the kicker at the end, which is quite fun and which I didn't see coming.

Sonically, I think it's a shame that you start with an eye rhyme essentially (wars/stars), the only one in the poem.

I agree with Matt's concerns about 'to star in folk and fable' sounding awkward. What about 'and passed into folklore and fable' ? It feels better suited to the metre of the 3rd lines, too.

Is 'ghosted Roxanne of Greengable' a Cyrano de Bergerac joke? As in ghost-wrote?

The title is a Latin phrase meaning 'one corrects customs/morals by laughing at them' and is usually credited as embodying the essence of satire (I admit I looked all this up). I don't see this as satire really, more rambunctious frivolity, so I'm not sure it's the right title.

Overall, though there's some jolliness here, I'm not sure it adds up to much. The examples are all silly enough, but none are hilarious and they're maybe a bit too random, like they could have been anything until you ran out of 'able' rhymes. I suppose that might be the point.

Mark
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Unread 05-23-2019, 03:34 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Hi Jim,

I like it. I would drop the italics for Rosetta Stone and Tower of Babel - those are the things' names, not their titles. Also maybe for Roxanne of Green Gable(s), if you're referring to a person there, not a book. I too wondered if that was a Cyrano reference.
The Irish Rover is apt, since it's from the town of Cork that she sails as well.

Cheers,
John
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Unread 05-24-2019, 05:57 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
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Thanks for coming to this Mark, your comments are much appreciated,
I attributed this to Mulligan with the intention that it should be read in his voice, or brogue, if you will. Therein, there’s not a lot of difference in the pronunciation of stars/wars although you are indeed correct that in conventional usage it is an eye/rhyme .

I wasn’t aiming for hilarity here but for a sense of the absurd or the ridiculous.
It is not hilarious to decipher the Rosetta Stone or reach for the stars-but for Mulligan, under the table in his cups they are absurd.
The Queen in her knickers of ermine and sable, does verge on the hilarious particularly for kids, who I hope will find this appealing although in this regard I have a slight concern about the mildly scatalogical ‘pissed’

I was also hoping to encourage kids to explore the references a little, what is the Rosetta Stone, the Tower of Babel, was there ever a King of Peru, why not? where is Cork, who is Rigoletto, Maria, Dior and so on.

The Cyrano also, I was pleased to have picked up on, hence the Roxanne spoof,
And the Latin phrase is applicable not just to broad political satire but also to rule makers and those hide-bound by convention and in this sense I consider it aposite.

John, thank you for liking this, I am happy to accept your corrections, I hope you find my further explanations to Mark above of interest,

Thanks again

Jim
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Unread 05-24-2019, 06:59 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Hi Jim,

Yes I did enjoy this and I do also find your above comments of interest. I think kids might enjoy it too, as you intimate. :-)

Cheers,
John
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