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Annotations by David Jones, with contribution from Mel Powell. The bards of old were bold about their claims upon posterity Francesco Petrarch, Italian, "The first modern Petrarch, Shakespeare and Ronsard were never slow to guarantee man of letters". b 1304, d 1374. See Their loved ones' immortality http://history.hanvoer.edu/early/petrarch.htm They never said Farewell, they said So long -- So long lives this and this gives life to thee Pierre Ronsard, French, b 1524, d 1585. They didn't doubt the power of a rhyme Poet, adventurer and scholar (after becoming Or the durability of scribbled pages totally deaf). Was for some time in service at And so they wrote immortal lines to Time the court of James V of Scotland. Consciously That gave their love affairs to all the ages imitated Petrarch in some of his poems. See http://www.samford.edu/schools/artsci/history/uccp101/aRonsard.html And if eternity were still a good address "So long lives this" and "immortal lines to time" And if my skill were greater, fears were less - Shakespeare, Sonnet 18, see below. I'd do the same for you, my dear But since it isn't and they aren't I can't see my way clear To promising the permanence of all our joy and sorrow Very far beyond the early evening of tomorrow You can't expect to be Remembered like somebody in a song Whose name fits to a string of quavers Or last for anything like as long No-one in times to come Will read your praises written down to stay In balanced lapidary phrases Not that they wouldn't if I knew the way You'd be there With all the ladies of the sonnets, dark and fair Shakespeare wrote sonnets to his "Dark Lady". If only I could work the trick Of giving local habitation to the air From "A Midsummer Night's Dream", see below. But it just doesn't seem to click You'll never hear from me That your name will live until the sun is cool You can't expect to be remembered You wouldn't catch me being such a fool
Midnight Voices member Mel Powell writes: "The other, and probably better known Shakespearean source for the same song is Sonnet 18 (Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?), which concludes: Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st. So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. (Cambridge University Press edition, p 9) Interesting not just for the obvious 'so long' source, but for immortal/eternal lines to time." The relevant "Midsummer Night's Dream" passage is of interest. Here is the full text: "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Act V Scene I THESEUS More strange than true: I never may believe These antique fables, nor these fairy toys. Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend More than cool reason ever comprehends. The lunatic, the lover and the poet Are of imagination all compact: One sees more devils than vast hell can hold, That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic, Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt: The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; And as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name. Such tricks hath strong imagination, That if it would but apprehend some joy, It comprehends some bringer of that joy; Or in the night, imagining some fear, How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
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