This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Saturday Rave: Never weather-beaten sail by Thomas Campion.

The Autumn is approaching in England, and perhaps that's what's turned my mind nostalgically to a poet with a flower name. 

Thomas Campion (1567 - 1619) trained as a lawyer, but was much more interested in poetry, music, and the stage. He never seems to have practised law, and in fact when his inherited money ran out he was so disinclined to be a lawyer that he went to France and trained as a doctor.

He did do some medical work, but his passion remained the Arts, and in particular the theory and practice of marrying words and music in song.

He was rather dismissive of 'ear-pleasing rhymes without art' and believed 'we ought to maintain as well in notes, as in action, a manly carriage, gracing no word but that which is eminent and emphatical.' - a sentiment which might almost have come from last week's poet, William Wordsworth.

Campion returned more than once to the problems of rhyme, which he saw very often as warping the work of inferior poets, saying 'the facility and popularity of rhyme creates as many poets as a hot summer flies'. It was a line which proved an excellent way of offending almost everybody.

Ah well. Here's his song O Come Quickly! first the words, and then a performance.

See how well you think he succeeded in marrying words and music while avoiding unnatural emphasis and reminding you of clouds of flies.

Never weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore,
Never tired pilgrim's limbs affected slumber more,
Than my wearied sprite now longs to fly out of my troubled breast:
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest!

Ever blooming are the joys of heaven's high Parasdise,
Cold age deafs not there our eyes nor vapour dims our eyes:
Glory there the sun outshines; whose beams the Blessed only see:
O come quickly, glorious Lord, and raise my sprite to Thee!

Word To Use Today: campion. This word was probably originally a form of the word champion, because the plant campion, Lychnis coronaria:


 were used to crown athletic champions.


No comments:

Post a Comment