Friday, February 18, 2011

Let England shake.


OH! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself
A prime Enchantress--to assist the work,
Which then was going forward in her name!
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
(As at some moment might not be unfelt
Among the bowers of paradise itself)
The budding rose above the rose full blown.
What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!
They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
The playfellows of fancy, who had made
All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
Their ministers,--who in lordly wise had stirred
Among the grandest objects of the sense,
And dealt with whatsoever they found there
As if they had within some lurking right
To wield it;--they, too, who, of gentle mood,
Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more mild,
And in the region of their peaceful selves;--
Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
Were called upon to exercise their skill,
Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,--the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!

16 comments:

Alex said...

Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,--the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!


Really like this bit. Fucks me what the rest of it is about, though.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

It's about the early reaction to the French Revolution, Alex.

Alex said...

Cheers, Ramon. Bit out of it today.

Kettle said...

Ramon I've just read it through, prior to opening the bottle of wine on the counter. I liked it, especially the last lines Alex has already pointed out. I did, alas, find myself gliding over parts of it; I certainly could have done with a few shorter stanzas instead of one long one (heavens! Can one say such a thing about a Wordsworth poem?).

I'm sure that the whole thing will stick a good deal more after a few glasses of wine; I find most things do (I certainly carry on about things more when I've had a few).

By the way, do you particularly like this poem? Or are you primarily interested in its subject matter re: revolutions?

Kettle said...

PS nice linking back to PJ's new album.

Alex said...

Speaking of: let's just say, hypothetically, that somebody didn't have the foggiest who PJ Harvey was until last week's poetry slam and had, hypothetically, spent a week listening to her on Grooveshark and had liked what they'd heard and, hypothetically, decided to buy an album or two. Hypothetically. Which ones would you recommend for the best relistenability - if that was, hypothetically, a real word.

ie: which ones grow on you the most over time. Hypothetically.

Kettle said...

Ooh Alex I love a good hypothetical. Ahem.

I've spent the most time with Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea.

From what I've heard of the new album it's a cracker too (couldn't guarantee its relistenability at this stage, though).

What have you liked that you've heard so far?

Alex said...

Kettle, I think I've just about heard all of it through once. Liked most of it, but White Chalk stuck out for me. I tend to go for anything that's got piano, cello or accordion and sounds a bit sad. Of course, I also have this habit of getting tired of music I like right away and growing to love music I wasn't keen on at the start. Hence the high-patheticals.

squib said...

I was at a poetry conference yesterday from 9am til 6pm and even though I pigged out on poetry I still thought, oh no, I'm missing Ramon's Poetry Slam Friday

By the way, I watched episode 2 of Laid and I actually still thought it was OK. Melbs...?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Alex, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea is probably a good place to start with PJ.

wari lasi said...

"Let England shake"

Didn't you mean Christchurch?

Isn't that naughty of me?

Alex said...

SPOILER ALERT: LAID EPISODE 3 DISCUSSION

It was shit.

Somehow, even more shit than episode 2.

And somebody obviously thought it'd ad atmosphere if all the dialogue was barely-decipherable mumbles and whispers.

Which gave me the shits.

Melba said...

Hi Alex, as a measure of how much I don't care about the show I have read your comment without watching Ep 3. We will, when we get around for it.

I think I owe Mr E an apology BUT in my defence I thought Ep 1 was ok and he hadn't seen it even when he was being harshly critical.

Mr E? SOZ.

Mr E Discharge said...

I think I owe Mr E an apology BUT in my defence I thought Ep 1 was ok and he hadn't seen it even when he was being harshly critical.

Melba,
There's an olde saying that goes something like "Better to remain silent and be thought an idiot, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt".

I find the inference that my initial opinion regarding this show was expressed without having watched it deeply offensive.

Kindly take your "apology" and shove it squarely up your arse.

Melba said...

Are you being mean or flirting with me Mr E. Hard to tell.

Mr E Discharge said...

Possibly a bit of both or perhaps neither. I'm a firm believer in sending fixed messages.