The Patriot. Robert Browning. Appreciation.

19.

The Patriot. Robert Browning. Appreciation by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 13th May 2011.  Short URL http://nut.bz/1i9q667s/
Posted in Wikinut  Poetry,

 

Browning was a skilled poet, an expert in creating frantic situations in poetry. In the Pied Piper of Hamelin it was mysterious loss of all children from a town due to a word not being kept. In My Last Duchess it was killing of a long line of innocent duchesses by a jealous duke, the story being told without even presenting a second character. In The Patriot, it is adoration by people immediately followed by chaining, dragging through the streets, stoning by crowds and execution in the gallows.

Majestic portrayal of fall from authority and subsequent condemnation.

Young Browning. A Painting.

Robert Browning in his poem ‘The Patriot’ describes the different treatments the same man receives from the same people within a course of one year. First he was received by the people royally like a patriot. After one year he was dragged through the streets by the same people and given a scornful send-off to his death as a condemned man. The poet does not tell exactly what crime was committed by such a famous and worshipped man to be sent to the gallows within one year. Perhaps he might have turned a traitor to his country or people, or might have done much favouritism and corruption for his friends while he was in power, or else people might have made a serious mistake in judging him.

People’s applause and esteem is but a momentary bubble soon to explode.

Royal reception of a popular hero.

We have examples of a Caesar returning victoriously after an Egyptian Tour, received jubilantly by people inRomeand declared by Senate as the Dictator for the entire Roman lands and after that, within days, assassinated by a senator in front of all senators fearing for the likely chance of him declaring himself as an Emperor of Rome. We also have before us the example of the Oracle of Delphi proclaiming none was wiser than Socrates and then Socrates being assassinated by the City Council of Athens for a puny charge of corrupting their youth. Execution of Sir. Thomas Moore, the modern day Socrates also is vivid in our memories. History is so full of such admonition messages from the past that now we all know that people’s applause is but momentary and that their admiration shall not be taken into account in assessing a man’s real worth.

We have fetched the Sun for you: Need anything more?

Only moments would be needed to change this mood.

When the patriot was received for the first time by people, they went mad and spread on his path roses mixed with evergreen laurels. House roofs were filled with people just to have a glimpse of their worshipful hero. Lights burned all night and flags fluttered freely in churches. Sweet sounds of bells filled the atmosphere. People seemed to be such loyal to and eager to please their hero then that had he asked for the Sun, it would immediately have been fetched and they would have asked him, if he needed anything more.

In the rain, hands fettered, stoned all the way, dragged to the death-post.

Price of ethereal love paid in earthly blood.

We learn from the poem that the patriot did many impossible things for the people which made them pleased. ‘Nought man could do, have I left undone’, the poet writes. The patriot did everything for his people that a man could do. All of a sudden people turned against him and decided to hang him publicly as a punishment for his crimes committed during one year. Everything he did during one year had become crimes when viewed from another angle. Now we see him hands fettered, suffering in rain, stoned all the way, being dragged to the death post. And now there is nobody on the roof-tops to watch the spectacle. All have gone to the death-post at Shambles’ Gate to witness the best sight of hanging him. What an unpredictable twist of human attitude!

A condemned and executed man is received to the merciful hands of God.

Crucified for delivering the message of love.

We have seen this exact scene in history a few centuries before, in the mountains of Gagultha. A human representative of the creator and moulder of mankind, an innocent carpenter, was executed on the cross for the crime of loving mankind. On his way to death, the patriot has a few such consoling thoughts. A man honoured in this world may most likely have to suffer in heaven. But a man who is unjustly tortured and punished in this world is sure to get God’s love in the other world. Thus, though on the brink of his death, the patriot is solaced enough at the thought of being really safe in the hands of God within minutes.

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

________________________________

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at: https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

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Appreciations, British Poets, English Literature, English Poems, English Poets, English Songs, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Reviews, Robert Browning, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Songs, The Patriot

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PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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Sara
27th May 2011 (#)

Thanks for this really useful article.

Rathnashikamani
17th Jun 2011 (#)

Excellent analysis by an excellent editor.

PSRemeshChandra
17th Jun 2011 (#)

Browning painted such an excellent and majestic scene with words that it was very easy for me to remember it and redraw. Moreover I did an experiment with this poem. When I functioned also as a journeyman lecturer, I taught this poem while reading it for the first time. My first thrill of reading, actually singing it for the first time could therefore be transferred somewhat to the students. They said it was a pleasant new experience for them, but they never knew I was reading the poem for the first time. Therefore I still remember vividly my analysis of the poem then. Another time I did the same thing with a famous short story, Anton Chekhov’  ‘The Bet’. Me and the whole band of learners were carried away and could not speak or look at others for several minutes. It is not the skill of the reteller but the excellent editorial powers hidden in the writer that make readers spellbound.

 

 

No More Hiroshimas. James Kirkup. Appreciation.

11.

No More Hiroshimas. James Kirkup Poem. Appreciation by P.S.Remesh Chandran.

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books,Trivandrum.

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 23rd Mar 2011   Short URL http://nut.bz/c-q37yc7/
Posted in Wikinut  Poetry, Drama & Criticism

 

Mankind hates to destruct, in spite of the destructive traits inherent in man. In his heart, man is a good being who likes to preserve mankind’s achievements intact for the posterity. But politics is often not led by men, but by mobs and crowds. Wars when fought by single persons have always turned to be good to this world: Socrates, Tolstoy, Louis Pasteur. When fought by people, they turned hell loose in this world.


292 years free of war in a history of 5500 years.

US bombers moving to Japan over Mount Fuji.

In the history of mankind, one will find no desire which is older and stronger than the desire for a world without wars. For centuries, peace in this world meant only the interval between two wars. Swiss historian Jean- Jacquess Bebel calculated that out of the 5500 years’ history of the world, only 292 years remained free of any kind of wars. Two World Wars emanated from the soil ofGermany. But in Europe the guns are silent now. People hope that the clock of history won’t be turned back again.

Sumee-Ko, War And Peace and The Flowers Of Hiroshima.

Had it not been Imperialism!

Arms-Limitation, Anti-War Literature and Detente brought about this favourable situation. Countless novels such as War And Peace, Sumee-ko and The Flowers Of Hiroshima, and dozens of plays including Henrik Ibson’s Ghost moulded human minds to remain synchronized with upheavals and outbreaks of political profiteerism and in the midst of chaos, practise the negative virtue of tolerance. Wilfred Owen and James Kirkup were just two of the hundreds of committed poets who added the influence of poetry too to the goodwill of this world-wide movement.

Three-headed fishes and children with no head at all : The balance-sheet of a mega ton blast.

The pre-war serenity in Japan.

The atom-bomb which blasted inHiroshimain the Second World War wiped out millions of people from the face of the earth for ever. Millions more survived only for being subjected to life-long agony. Three-headed fishes and children with no head at all were no wonder in the affected areas for so many years. Radio-activated patients overcrowded hospitals in the cities and villages, the sustaining and affording of whom became a national problem, stealing into the already scant national resources. Catastrophe continued through generations. Destructions of war were great, the relics of which were, and are, exhibited in Museums and War Memorials to remind the world that wayward politicians no more care for humanity.

The poet and traveller who finally arrives in Japan to settle.

Hiroshima City before the bombing.

James Falconer Kirkup was a poet, translator and travel-writer who was born inEngland. His poems, plays, novels and autobiographies made him a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. After a few years of an eventful life in the island, he travelled through and resided in Europe,America, Far East and finally reached Japan where he settled for 30 years and taught English Literature in several Universities. He was very skilled in writing Haiku Poems and was much respected by the Japanese. Even the Emperor of Japan and the Empress invited him to recite poetry in their presence and he was presented with many prestigious awards there. ‘No More Hiroshimas’ is his famous poem in which he reveals to the world the commercialized post-war faces of Japan.

A river once polluted, refuses to be rehabilitated and remains sad.

Hiroshima after the atomic blast.

In the poem we see the poet arriving at a railway station in the reconstructed city ofHiroshima. He quite forgets which city it is, since all looks similar in the post-warJapan. It resembles any other town inJapan, since all towns are noisy, muddy ramshackles alike after the war. In the dim dew-falling evening, he walks towards the city proper. Neon exhibits of traders attract his attention. They are advertising Atomic Lotion for hair fallout. It looks ridiculous to the much travelled poet, but who knows the pain and frustration of those whose hair fallout rapidly daily? Just as Oliver Goldsmith said in hisDesertedVillage, ‘trade’s unfeeling train had usurped the land and disposed of the swaine.’ Whatever had remained unsellable for centuries in the pure and proud tradition of the Japanese were being made sellable to attract tourists, the sustaining revenue of a wrecked nation. He passes the rows of fruit stalls and meat stalls, observing the scenes around him on his way and finally reaches the river. The face ofHiroshimawas changing. Losses were recompensed and destructions repaired. Everything was being restored or rehabilitated to its former position. But the river alone ‘remains unchanged and sad, refusing any kind of rehabilitation.’ The river symbolizes the stream of life in the city. Once polluted, it can never be rehabilitated into its former position. ‘It was the pride of a bold peasantry that was broken and hurt.’

A traveller and a poet fights in a dilapidated hotel room.

A melted down clock from the Ground Zero.

In the city proper, the poet finds life splendid, busy and ornamental. People seem to have forgotten what have happened. In some shops, cheaply decorated mini models of the famous, bombed Industry Promotion Hall are on display for sale. The indecent modernity of the tourist hotel in which he stays displeases him. The very twisted stair cases which have witnessed the heavy blast appear that they may collapse and fall anytime. He feels ‘the contemporary stairs treacherous, the corridors deserted and peopleless, his room in the hotel an overheated mortuary and the bar, a bar in darkness.’ It should be specially noted here that the traveller poet is uncertain as to whether he should grieve or relish the unrepaired state of the heavily damaged and dilapidated hotel of his stay. The traveller in him craves for comfort and the poet in him longs for nostalgic status-quo.

The power to forget is the greatest faculty of the oriental mind.

Japanese surrender before the U.S.

When a nation and a people feel that they are wronged, it is common consensus that they have a right to be angry. But in the city ofHiroshimathe poet sees that it was evident that the people forgot everything too soon. Their sorrow seems short-lived. He has his own European logic in such matters and is angry that their anger too is dead. He is plain to speak that anger should not die and should be kept alive till war-destructions are avenged. ‘To forgive is to cut branches of the tree; but to forget is to lay axe to the very roots’: though not his lines, it reflects his philosophy. It has to be noted here that the poet was born and brought up inBritain, had travelled through and lived for years in Europe,Americaand the Far East and had only arrived inJapanrecently. He knows nothing about the workings of the Oriental Mind. Oriental Mind means magnanimity, deliquescence and tolerance. Had it been otherwise, great philosophies such as Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism would not have originated from there. Also if it had not been so, those places would have become the vast burial grounds of the colonial British. Had man remembered everything from his birth, his brain would have become overcrowded to the point of bursting itself. That is why Nature provided man with the power to forget as a pressure-valve, the very essential to the oriental mind.

‘How times are altered, trade’s unfeeling train usurps the land’.

Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima.

But in Japan, instead, atomic peace was seen geared to meet the demands of the tourists’ trade. War relics were renovated for promoting tourism industry, adding new charm, loveliness and nobility to those relics. But the poet feels that this renovation is a shame and indignity to those relics. As indignated already, they are beyond all hope of further indignation by anyone.

Who will not weep if they see it?

Tranquillity restored.

It is when he reaches the ParkOf Peacethat the emotional poet finds something perfectly appealing to his orthodox tastes. It is the only place in HiroshimaCitythat rouses respect in his mind. It is a monument for the children who were blasted away by mankind’s crime. The various exhibits in the War Memorial Museum moved him and he wept. Melted bricks and slates, photos of various scenes after the blast and other relics of the explosion were arranged there for all the world to see. The other relics which made the poet weep were stop-watches all stuck at that destined time, burnt clothing, charred boots, twisted buttons, ripped kimonos, atomic rain-perforated blouses and the cotton pants in which blasted boys crawled to their homes to bleed and breathe their last. According to the poet, they are the only memorials of the war, worth viewing. When we come to this part of the poem, we are not inclined but forced to agree with the poet in that war remains shall not be sold and grief commercialized, however poor we are. The poet has perfectly convinced us of this. War relics are the properties of our dead, those people who lived and played and laughed with us. When death occurs in a house, it is when we see the clothes worn by the gone person hanging there that a lump is caused in our throats and we weep. It is a feeling which shall not be written, told, expressed; a feeling so sacred and private to the very soul of humans that even its utterance is a crime.

________________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

________________________________

Dear Reader,

You are invited to kindly visit the Author’s Web Site of P.S.Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum at:

https://sites.google.com/site/timeuponmywindowsill/wiki-nut-articles

Translations of this article in French, German, Spanish and Italian published in Knol.com can be read by clicking here.

http://knol.google.com/k/psremesh-chandran/-/2vin4sjqlcnot/0#collections

Tags

Appreciations, Atomic Disasters, Atomic Fallout, British Poets, English Poets, English Songs, James Kirkup, Japan In War, Literature And Language, No More Hiroshimas, Nuclear Blasts, Nuclear Hollocausts, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Second World War

Meet the author

PSRemeshChandra
Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of Swan : The Intelligent Picture Book.

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Rathnashikamani
31st Mar 2011 (#)

Great tribute to James Kirkup, the compassionate poet.

Also let us hope for no more Fukushimas.

 

 

003. Forsaken Merman. Matthew Arnold Poem. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

003.

The Forsaken Merman By Matthew Arnold A Creation of Beauty. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

By PSRemeshChandra, 13th Mar 2011. Short URL http://nut.bz/1ljtosiw/ First Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Poetry, Drama & Criticism. Link: http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.in/2012/01/03the-forsaken-merman-matthew-arnold.html

Matthew Arnold was a severe critic of literature. Essays In Criticism was his monumental work in which he let no great poet go unscathed. Usually such critics would be asked a question: why don’t you write a great poem? The Forsaken Merman was Arnold’s answer to this question in which he proved not only could he create poems with hilarious themes but incorporate multi tunes also into a single poem. After creating a few more poems, he returned to academics and criticism.

The Cornish legend holds that Matthew can still be heard singing from the deep sea.

01. Matthew Arnold Portrait 1883.

Matthew Arnold relates a very strange story in his poem The Forsaken Merman. The poem is beautiful and picture-like, descriptions of seascape and landscape vivid, and presentation of the theme logical. But the story is actually impossible to happen, and the inspiration for this theme has been traced to a spectacular sea-side village named Zennor in the County of Cornwall in England. It is not clear whether he happened to visit this village or not, but there indeed is a Mermaid Chair in the Zennor Church and also an associated legend of a hero having this poet’s name, Matthew. Perhaps Arnold might have heard or read about this legend. A mermaid who lived in the Pendour Cove in Zennor was entranced by Matthew’s exotic singing in the church and she regularly visited the church in disguise. One day Matthew found out, fell deeply in love with her, and followed her to her deep-sea cavern beneath the waves. They were never seen again on the land. The Cornish legend holds that, in silent nights, Matthew can still be heard singing from the deep sea, the sweet music faintly brought to shore by the breeze. Matthew Arnold only reversed the role of characters in his poem- it was the woman who went to the sea in the poem and later returned to land, abandoning her husband and children.

A lady from the land making her home in the deep sea cavern.

02. Ocean is nothing but land submerged.

Margaret, a lady from the land, happened to fall in love with and marry a King of the Sea, a merman. She now has her home and her children in a cavern in the deep sea where they live. The winds are all asleep there. We know the wind rages only on the surface, and beneath it, everything is calm except for ocean currents. The cavern is sand-strewn, cool and deep, and cold and dark as the abyss is. Sea plants, sea animals and sea snakes coil and twine all around their home. Sometimes great whales could be seen swimming by, like the great ships moving on the surface of the sea. Margaret has a loving husband and endeared children in that abysmal wonderland and she is now leading a happy and contented life in the depth of the sea, apparently.

Life arriving alighted on meteorites from cosmic realms.

03. Lady from the land makes home in sea cavern.

Days of festivities in the land are endeared and nostalgic to all terrestrial human beings living far away from land. One day, on a silent Christmas night, the sounds of pealing church bells from the land reach the ocean bottom. Man is mortal, temperamental and selfish. But the watery world is something precious, rare and ethereal. Ocean is where life originated, smithereens of which arrived alighted on meteorites from cosmic realms unimaginably distant, and deposited there on the ocean aeons ago. Considering the longevity or brevity of the history of life on sea or life on land, there is difference in the subtlety of these living forms’ loyalty to the place of their origin and habitat. Sea life is ancient and primeval whereas land life is recent and experimental, aged only a few million years. The sea demands much in loyalty from her inhabitants but the loyalty of land-locked beings to the place of origin of their life is brittle and untested. This test of character is what we are going to see in the poem now.

Church bells from the land reach where the winds are all asleep.

04. Where the winds are all asleep.

Hearing the toll of church bells from far away land, Margaret becomes home-sick and wishes to rise to the surface, reach land and take part in the Christmas festivities there. She forgets she is a mother and wife now. It is terrible and strange that she has become tired of sea-life by overnight. Or has she been always disliking sea life but pretending to liking it- the terrestrial conceit of a woman? She says:

“It will be Easter time in the world- ah me!
And I loose my poor soul Merman, here with thee.”

It means, it is mirth and happiness in the upper world, but ah me- I am doomed in sorrow and isolation in the nether world. She asked her merman’s permission to go to land and he generously gives it. So, with her loving husband’s permission, she rises from the sea and reaches her home in land. The land has its thrills, beauties and enjoyments just as the sea has its. Soon Margaret forgets her family left behind in the deep sea.

From the deep sea in search of beloved wife.

05. The church on the hill side.

Mermen and angels are thought to be alike in many respects. Ardence, affection, kindness and mercy are their characteristics. Monarchs of the deep, reflecting the magnanimity and loftiness of the limitless ocean, keep their vows of chastity and integrity. The King of the Sea waited long for his wife’s return from the land. At last, being anxious, one day, with their children, he too rises from the sea, comes to land and visits the church where Margaret usually prayed.

Generations of grief in the tumultuous soul of the holy trinity.

06. From the deep sea in search of beloved wife.

They secretly stood outside and peeped inside through the church window. Being not humans and therefore aliens in land, they dared not go inside. This grief-stricken trio consisting of father, daughter and son knew nothing about the Christian kindness that may or may not be flowing through that church. They were a holy trinity unto themselves, stricken by grief. Generations of grief – creative grief – had been what caused that cosmic particle from stars deposited aeons ago on the ocean to germinate, grow and evolve into life forms. Wind and waves and sky, and the warmth of the earth, could never have quietened the tumult in their souls. God manifests through man in his acts of kindness, consideration and ardence. It is man’s debt to his creator to quieten and pacify the minds of others. Won’t humans ever pay their debts to their gods?

A mother of ingratitude, her eyes sealed to the holy book.

07. Steps to the Church where Aliens walked.

Margaret’s face was buried deep in the Bible. Through mutually understandable gestures, the Merman King tried in many ways to signal to her that their children very much longed for her. He asked the children to call and appeal to the motherhood in her in their tiny voices, in the hope that children’s voices would be dear to a mother’s ear. The children called their mother in their voices familiar to her. It was all in vain. She listened not. ‘She gave them never a look, for her eyes were sealed to the holy book!’ It is the first time the readers of this poem curse and hate the holy book. Is the holy book an excuse for causing pangs of pain in other hearts? To alleviate the pain in other hearts, to act as the representative of God- that was what human beings were sent to the world for and given the holy book. She was pretending. So it was useless persuading her to go back with them to the sea, they learned. She was determined not to return to sea.

We will gaze from the sand hills, at the white sleeping town.

 

08. Her eyes were sealed to the Holy Book.

Before returning to sea with his children, the Merman once again visited the church and the town where his wife lived. He could see she was living a very happy and contended life. She was seen always singing of supreme joy. ‘She sang her fill, singing most joyfully.’ However, the merman could see a tear dropping down her sorrow-clouded eye. She was, must have been, actually sad for her children left at sea. The cold, strange eyes of her little girl child looking at her through the cold church window must have created pangs in her guilty soul. The insolent indifference of this earthly woman orphaned her little children then and there. So, the disappointed merman with his children decided to return to sea. Before he goes, he proposes to his children to visit the land in moonlit nights again. They would come and see the church and the town by nights. He sings:

“We will gaze from the sand-hills
At the white sleeping town,
At the church on the hill side
And then come back down.”

The pain in the eyes of a girl-child left out by her mother.

09. We will gaze from the sand hills.

Matthew Arnold created the closing lines of this poem ever memorable. The grief of a girl-child who is left out and abandoned by her belovèd mother can never be, and shall be, described in words. It is unspeakable taboo, sacred. Tennyson perfectly put this more touchingly than anyone in his sensational classic, In Memoriam:

‘I sometimes feel it is a guilt
To put in words the grief I feel.’

The readers will never forget the pain in the cold strange eyes of the girl-child looking at her mother through the church windows. Arnold wished to make the world weep with his poem; he succeeded.

A special note on Matthew Arnold and his musical experiment.

10. We will gaze from the sand hills at the lost town.

Matthew Arnold was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famous teacher who introduced the Public School System in England. The son did not fail his father even once, and not only shone like a star in literature, but excelled as an Academic and Inspector of Schools also. Even though he was a critic in his blood, we will forget he is, once we get deep into his poems. He is a very imaginative and gifted poet by birth too. What he really was- a fine critic or a finer poet- perhaps he himself might not have known well. Anyway, his over-indulgence in and unquenched thirst for literary criticism was responsible for the scantiness of his poems. We would wish, had he produced more poems. His creations in both fields are excellent and equally respected.

It is known that no one has ever orchestrated The Forsaken Merman in full, which is great loss to the world. Matthew Arnold used a variety of exotic tunes in the song to express each move and twist in mood appropriately and touchingly along the song which, it seems, he conceived as a complete musical entertainment for the world. I approached this song not as an academic but as an appreciator, an enjoyer, earnestly trying to sing it. I was thrilled at my success, at how Matthew Arnold was there to guide me through the movements of music in each line, through each phrase. I did nothing exceptional or special in my endeavour but sang it repeatedly with love till the original music unfolded itself; the original tune which was in the poet’s mind while writing this poem clicked and opened automatically, as a favour to me. I felt it was the poet’s gift to generations beyond ages. It was like simplicity and humbleness unlocking a closed and secured thing of precious beauty through perseverance and consistence; academic achievements and pedagogical experience have nothing to do with it. It was that simple. It must be said that this clever poet skillfully locked his lines and hid his music to prevent the lazy and the haughty from accessing the sublime beauty in them. He wished only the genuinely interested and adequately unorthodox persons to succeed in singing his lines.

The musical experiment Matthew Arnold did in The Forsaken Merman is unique in the field of music as well as in the field of literature. Only one other poet has ever attempted such a bold, thrilling experiment in music as well as in literature. It was Alfred Lord Tennyson, and the poem was The Lotos-Eaters. In this song Tennyson invented and used a number of tunes to move in synchronization with the tantalizingly changing actions of his intoxicated characters. He adapted even the swaying to-and-fro motions of the ship carrying the lotos-eaten dreamers to the island to corresponding movements in the music in this poem. The world is still waiting for good orchestrated and choreographed versions of The Forsaken Merman and The Lotos-Eaters. They are yet to come, but they will come indeed.

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem.

11. The Forsaken Merman Video Title. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKkurqG5zp8

A primitive prototype rendering of this song was made in a crude tape recorder decades earlier, in 1984. In 2014, a home made video of this song was released. In 2015, a third version with comparatively better audio was released. The next version, it’s hoped, would be fully orchestrated. It’s free for reuse, and anyone interested can develop and build on it, till it becomes a fine musical video production, to help our little learners, and their teachers.

You Tube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKkurqG5zp8

First Published: 13 Mar 2011

Last Edited:   23 March 2017

_________________________________________
Picture Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
_________________________________________

Picture Credits:

01. Ocean is nothing but land submerged. By Asea.
02. Lady from the land makes home in sea cavern. By Chris Gunns.
03. Where the winds are all asleep. By Ricardo Tulio Gandelman.
04. The church on the hillside. By Jonathan Billinger.
05. From the deep sea in search of beloved wife. By Jan Reurink.
06. Steps to the church where aliens walked. Author Not Known.
07. Her eyes were sealed to the holy book. By Matthias Feige.
08. We will gaze from the sand hills. By Steve Cadman, London UK.
09. We will gaze at the lost town. By Daderot. Mermaid Statue at Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio.
10. The Forsaken Merman Video Title. By Bloom Books Channel.

11. Author profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

About the author and accessing his other literary works.

 

Editor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Edits and owns Bloom Books Channel. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Father British Council-trained English Teacher and mother university-educated. Matriculation with High First Class, Pre Degree studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship, discontinued Diploma Studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single.

12. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri

Dear Reader,

If you cannot access all pages of P S Remesh Chandran, Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum, kindly access them via this link provided here:
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Visit author’s Sahyadri Books Trivandrum in Blogger at
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Bloom Books Trivandrum, English Poems, English Poets, Forsaken Merman, Free Student Notes, Literary Reviews, Matthew Arnold, Poem Appreciations, Poetry Reviews, P S Remesh Chandran, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum.

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Editor: P S Remesh Chandran

001. Solitude. Alexander Pope Poem. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

001.

Solitude. Alexander Pope Poem. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

 

By PSRemeshChandra, 7th Mar 2011. Short URL http://nut.bz/281k669t/ First Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Poetry. Link: http://sahyadribooks-remesh.blogspot.in/2011/11/01.html

Alexander Pope was born a Catholic in Protestant England, was forbidden to live in London City and was liable to pay a double taxation. Moreover, he was suffering from a series of diseases. ‘To combat these handicaps’, he possessed more than the courage of a lion. His poems were acrimonious attacks on society, and in a few cases they were against authority. He mentioned names in his poems, leaving dashes in places, which his contemporaries happily filled in to the embarrassment of adversaries.

Satisfaction, self-sufficiency and piety are the characteristics of a happy life.

 

01. Portrait of Alexander Pope.

‘Ode On Solitude’ which was alternately titled ‘The Quiet Life’ was written by Alexander Pope to celebrate the virtues of a happy and satisfied life. In this poem, he discusses the characteristics of a happy life which are satisfaction, self-sufficiency and piety. Man was the fittest subject for his poetry. In an imaginative treatment, he illuminates the knowledge about man, in relation to individuals, society and the Universe. He once said: The proper study of mankind is man. To him belongs the greatest number of quotations in the English language. Essay On Man, Essay On Criticism, The Rape Of The Lock, and The Temple Of Fame are the most famous of his works. They are very long poems, but Ode On Solitude is a short poem. Even though it is very short, it conveys to mankind the full philosophy of how to live contented. We cannot search for a happy man in this world because he is a very rare specimen to find, but can certainly identify one by tracing the characteristics of a happy life back to him.

Be happy to breathe one’s native air in his own ground.

 

02. Happy to breathe his native air in his own ground.

Everyone knows that he who goes after increasing the area of land in his possession by encroaching into his neighbor’s property will land in trouble, and lose the quietness and happiness of his life. The happy man is satisfied with what he is having at present. He is not interested in increasing his landed properties. His wish and care are bound within the few acres of land given to him by his ancestors. These few paternal acres are enough for him. In the old England, whoever wanted more prosperity than what his natives had, went to France and made money. At one time, it was even joked that whoever vanished from Dover in search of a job would certainly make his appearance soon in Calais, the counterpart town on the French coast across the Channel. But the happy man wishes not to go abroad to France or anywhere else to make money or to enjoy life as others of his times did. He is content to breathe his native air in his own ground. Thus satisfaction is characteristic of a quiet, happy life.

He who watches the passing of time without anxiety is happy.

 

03. A day’s labour blesses us with a night’s sleep.

Dependence leads to bondage and bondage deprives man of his freedom. With the loss of freedom, the quietness and happiness in man’s life is lost. Therefore the happy man would be self-sufficient also. He would not depend on others for food, clothes or drinks. His herds would be supplying him with milk and his flocks of black sheep would be supplying him with wool for making his attire. He would be winning his bread by cultivating his own fields. And he would have planted enough number of trees in his homestead which would yield him cool shade in summer and enough firewood to burn in winter. Thus self-sufficiency is another characteristic of a happy life.

Time passes as if a sledge is sliding over the snow.

 

Pope Solitude 04 Herds and woods for milk and firewood By Rvgeest04. Herds and woods for milk and fire.

If somebody can watch without anxiety the passing of time, then he is a blessèd person indeed. Hours, days and years slide soft away as if a sledge is sliding over the snow. Time progresses in a straight line and no point in it will ever be repeated. The feelings and passions attached to a particular moment in life can never be enjoyed anymore. Right actions at the tiny moments constitute what is happiness in life. All our actions of yester years become our past and what we plan and intend to do in coming years become our future. There is no history without actions. Thus righteousness also is a determinant of the happiness of a person’s life and history. Piety or unchanging belief also is a faculty desirable, which the happy man would be in possession of in plenty. He regrets not a moment in his life, and therefore, has no anxiety in the passing of time. Therefore he can unconcernedly observe the passing of time, in health of body and peace of mind. His is the perfect attitude towards Time.

Withdraw stealthily from the world: Let not even a stone tell where one lies.

 

Pope Solitude 05 Who can unconcernedly find time passing away By Ian Paterson05. Who can unconcernedly watch time passing away.

The nights of the happy man would be spent on sleeping sound. His daytime activities do not leave room for horror-filled dreams during nights. His day time would be devoted to a recreation-like studying, which is everyone’s dream. It must be remembered here that not all are blessèd with a successful books-publishing career and heavy royalties from published books as the poet. But a thirty percent book reading, ten percent life experience and the rest sixty percent travel would make any man perfect. Study and ease, together mixed, is a sweet recreation, which is the poet’s formula for life. The happy man’s innocence, his perfection and his meditative traits make him pleasing to the world.

Books are real monuments for a poet, taking him to eternity.

 

Pope Solitude 06 Books are real monuments for a poet Dunciad Book II Illustration 1760 Artist F. Hayman Engraver C. Grignion06. Books are real monuments for a poet.

Like a truly happy man, the poet wishes to live unseen and unknown like a nonentity, and die unlamented. He wishes to withdraw stealthily from this world and pleads that not a stone be placed over his grave to tell the world where he lies. He wishes perfect, undisturbed Solitude. Conversely, this poem is the real epitaph for this poet. It teaches the world lessons.

Brilliant success and sweet revenge of a poet.

 

Pope Solitude 07 Alexander Pope's villa in Twickenham on the Thames 1759 By Samuel Scott07. Alexander Pope’s villa in Twickenham on the Thames.

For people who idealize perfect life, especially for poets, it would be impossible to achieve success in normal circumstances. So it would be interesting to note how this poet, hunted by his society, took his sweet revenge on those who excluded him and his people from London’s social and literary circles. Pope considered thousands of lines in Shakespeare’s works not original, and contaminated by stage actors’ speeches to please and thrill audience. So, he completely edited and recast them in clean poetic form and published a Regularized New Edition of Shakespeare in 1725. He translated Odyssey as well. These, and his major works in later years, gained him universal fame, were translated into many languages including German, and caused him to be considered as a philosopher. But the epic feat of this unmarried poet was done in the very early years of his literary career. Like Keats, Pope was an admirer of Greek Poetry from his boyhood. His dream was, translating the Iliad into English, which he did in six books during the six years from 1715. Even the severe Samuel Johnson called it ‘a performance beyond age and nation’. Coming from Johnson, it was indeed praise. Publication of this monumental work brought him instant fame in England and abroad and also a fortune for his wallet. With this immense wealth, the poet bought him a home in Twickenham on the Thames which he decorated with precious stones and intricate mirror arrangements. He made the subterranean rooms resound with the pleasant noise of an underground stream. Because mermaids could not be purchased, he did not equip one.

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem.

 

Pope Solitude 08 Solitude Video Title By Bloom Books Channel08. Solitude Of Quiet Life Video Title. http://youtu.be/L66GcSKH6j8

A primitive prototype rendering of this song was made in a crude tape recorder decades earlier, in 1984. In 2014, a home made video of this song was released. In 2015, a third version with comparatively better audio was released. The next version, it’s hoped, would be fully orchestrated. It’s free for reuse, and anyone interested can develop and build on it, till it becomes a fine musical video production, to help our little learners, and their teachers.

You Tube Link: http://youtu.be/L66GcSKH6j8

First Published : 07 March 2011

Last Edited: 25 September 2015

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Picture Credits:

01. Portrait of Alexander Pope 1727. By Michael Dahl.
02. Happy to breathe his native air in his own ground. By Robert.
03. A day’s labour blesses us with a night’s sleep 1887. By Изображён сенокос и косцы.
04. Herds and woods for milk and firewood. By Rvgeest.
05. Who can unconcernedly find time passing away. By Ian Paterson.
06. Books real monuments for a poet. Dunciad Book II Illustration 1760. Artist F.Hayman, Engraver C.Grignion.
07. Alexander Pope’s villa in Twickenham on the Thames 1759. By Samuel Scott.
08. Solitude Of Quiet Life Video Title. By Bloom Books Channel.

09. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

About the author and accessing his other literary works.

 

Pope Solitude 09 Author Profile Of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri ArchivesEditor of Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Author of several books in English and in Malayalam. And also author of ‘Swan, The Intelligent Picture Book’. Edits and owns Bloom Books Channel. Born and brought up in Nanniyode, a little village in the Sahya Mountain Valley in Kerala. Father British Council-trained English Teacher and mother university-educated. Matriculation with High First Class, Pre Degree studies in Science with National Merit Scholarship, discontinued Diploma Studies in Electronics and entered politics. Unmarried and single.

09. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.

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Tags

Alexander Pope, Appreciations, Bloom Books Trivandrum, British Poets, English Poets, English Songs, Essays, Free Student Notes, Ode On Solitude, Poetry Appreciations, Poem Reviews, P S Remesh Chandran, Quiet Life, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum, Solitude.

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Identifier: SBT-AE-001. Solitude. Alexander Pope Poem. Articles English Downloads Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Editor: P S Remesh Chandran

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