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Old 03-31-2001, 12:16 PM
MacArthur MacArthur is offline
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(If Yeats thought he was good...how bad could he be?)

Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae
("I am not quite as I was under the rule of the beautiful Cynara")

Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine
There fell thy shadow, Cynara! Thy breath was shed
Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine;
And I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! In my fashion.

All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,
Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay;
Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
When I awoke and found the dawn was gray:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! In my fashion.

I have forgot much, Cynara! Gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! In my fashion.

I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! The night is thine,
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! In my fashion.

by Ernest Dowson

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Old 04-03-2001, 04:34 PM
Julie Julie is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MacArthur:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! In my fashion.
If a custom tailored vet
asks me out for something wet,
when the vet begins to pet, I cry hooray!
But I'm always true to you darling in my fashion
Yes I'm always true to you darling in my way.

When I'm asked to have a meal
by a big tycoon in steel
if the meal includes a deal, accept I may!
But I'm always true to you darling in my fashion
Yes I'm always true to you darling in my way.

Mr. Harris plutocrat
wants to give my cheek a pat.
If the Harris pat means a Paris hat, he may!
But I'm always true to you darling in my fashion
Yes I'm always true to you darling in my way.

There's an oilman known as Tex
who is keen to give me checks
and these checks I fear mean that Tex is here to stay!
But I'm always true to you darling in my fashion
Yes I'm always true to you darling in my way.


--Always True to You in My Fashion, Cole Porter


I was amused to read your post, MacArthur, and immediately think of this Cole Porter song. I would guess that Mr. Porter has read Mr. Dowson.

Julie

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Old 04-03-2001, 05:12 PM
ChrisW ChrisW is offline
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One of my very favorite Cole Porter songs -- why didn't I notice that? The Harris-pat/Paris hat thing is especially delightful.
The refrain is even funnier now. Thank you both.
--Chris
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Old 04-03-2001, 05:18 PM
MacArthur MacArthur is offline
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Yes! I think the irony was intentional in the original as well. I'm serious about the esteem of Yeats, too. He evidently held Dowson in the highest regard, and didn't change his opinion over a life-time. Cynara is not Dowsons best poem, albeit the most famous. It was the easiest to retrieve off the net-- can't get hold of a book.

Although critics make a point of suitably deploring him (usually in the same breath as Poe)-- part of a long-sustained reaction against the Victorian, and the 90's in particular-- one suspects a sneaky admiration from Pound, Eliot and Stevens, as well.
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Old 04-04-2001, 08:21 AM
Golias Golias is offline
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One very thin volume contains all his published poems and stories, the latter being perhaps better, artistically, than many of the former. He was a true romantic, throwing away his genius and his life over disappointment in love.

Other titles are quoted from the posted poem, of course, including "gone with the wind" and "the night is thine."

After Cynara, his most famous lines are doubtless these:

THEY are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

He made several valiant attempts at the villanelle, never really succeeding (as nobody has, to perfection, in English). Here's one:

WINE and woman and song,
Three things garnish our way:
Yet is day over long.

Lest we do our youth wrong,
Gather them while we may:
Wine and woman and song.

Three things render us strong,
Vine leaves, kisses and bay;
Yet is day over long.

Unto us they belong,
Us the bitter and gay,
Wine and woman and song.

We, as we pass along,
Are sad that they will not stay;
Yet is day over long.

Fruits and flowers among,
What is better than they:
Wine and woman and song?
Yet is day over long.



[This message has been edited by Golias (edited April 04, 2001).]
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Old 04-04-2001, 12:16 PM
MacArthur MacArthur is offline
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I'm looking around for the sonnets. He wrote more than twenty, so deserves to be regarded as a composer in the form.
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Old 04-04-2001, 01:13 PM
Golias Golias is offline
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Yes, here's one that's pretty well anthologized:

A Last Word

LET us go hence: the night is now at hand;
The day is overworn, the birds all flown;
And we have reaped the crops the gods have sown;
Despair and death; deep darkness o'er the land,
Broods like an owl; we cannot understand
Laughter or tears, for we have only known
Surpassing vanity: vain things alone
Have driven our perverse and aimless band.
Let us go hence, somewhither strange and cold,
To Hollow Lands where just men and unjust
Find end of labour, where's rest for the old,
Freedom to all from love and fear and lust.
Twine our torn hands! O pray the earth enfold
Our life-sick hearts and turn them into dust.
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Old 04-08-2001, 07:11 AM
graywyvern graywyvern is offline
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dowson is seriously underrated today, though with the recent publication o a new biography that may change. (for my part, i think he wrote more good lines of poetry than ezra, easily.)

i was fortunate enough to hear the cole porter song in "kiss me kate" when i was in nyc a while back.

g.
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Old 04-08-2001, 08:47 AM
MacArthur MacArthur is offline
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I wouldn't go that far...but I understand the comparison. EP's a little underated now (yes he had problems, but...).
Yeats admired EP, too. They shared a love for Victorian poetry wildly out-of-fashion in the XXth. A case where their judgment will (soon) be vindicated, I believe.

[This message has been edited by MacArthur (edited April 08, 2001).]
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  #10  
Old 04-15-2001, 02:55 PM
graywyvern graywyvern is offline
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"EXILE

By the sad waters of separation
Where we have wandered by divers ways,
I have but the shadow and imitation
Of the old memorial days.

In music I have no consolation,
No roses are pale enough for me;
The sound of the waters of separation
Surpasseth roses and melody.

By the sad waters of separation
Dimly I hear from an hidden place
The sigh of mine ancient adoration:
Hardly can I remember your face.

If you be dead, no proclamation
Sprang to me over the waste, gray sea:
Living, the waters of separation
Sever for ever your soul from me.

No man knoweth our desolation;
Memory pales of the old delight;
While the sad waters of separation
Bear us on to the ultimate night."

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