Monday, 15 July 2013

6 - Somerville & Ross/Byron/Cowley

Poem
I chose Farewell, by George Gordon, Lord Byron. It's a poem about lost love and guilt.
Oh! more than tears of blood can tell
When wrung from guilt's expiring eye,
Are in that word - Farewell! Farewell!
The language seems stuffy and distant to me, and it sounded 18th century, but I just checked and it was early 19th century.

Short Story
E. OE. Somerville (1858-1949) and Martin Ross (1862-1915), Lisheen Races, Second-hand. I didn't like this one at all. The dialect was just about indecipherable in places and it was a story of casual cruelty to horses, and drunken men, neither of which are my favourite topics. They didn't get to the races at all but there was one point at which I couldn't fathom what was happening. Some humour, but most of it was lost on me and I was glad when I got to the end of it.

Essay
Abraham Cowley (1618-67) Of Agriculture. I beg to differ with the commentary, which said Cowley has a 'clear and easy English prose style'. Hmm, I wonder what the comment-writer had been reading. I found it far from clear and easy, with its endless Latin quotes and allusions to Greek writers. The overall impression I had was that he was very learned, but didn't have all that much to say. All I gleaned from it was that farming (husbandry) is an art, poetry can only come out of natural surroundings, there ought to be apprentice farmers as there are apprentices in other trades, and that country life is the ideal. Okay, so I suppose he did have a bit to say!

I wonder why we are so poorly educated these days. Sure, more of us get some education, but few get the kind of education Cowley obviously had. I have two degrees and some post-grad, and I found him hard to follow. Why don't we get taught Latin and Greek any more? They're the building blocks of our language!

Rant over.

Writing
Not much today, but did lots of editing.

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