Friday, February 24, 2012

009. Two Famous Death Poems. Shirley And Shakespeare. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

009.
Two Famous Death Poems. Shirley And Shakespeare. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran
 
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

By PSRemeshChandra, 21st Mar 2011.
Short URL http://nut.bz/evi23ktc/
Posted in Wikinut Poetry, Drama & Criticism

Death is the end of all earthly cares and the beginning of eternal things. It is believed that the moment we die, we are born in another universe. With it begins a new way of being. More number of songs and poems are written on death than on birth. It is considered an important event in man's life. In many communities all over the world, death is an occasion for festivity and celebration. Shakespeare's Fear No More and James Shirley's Death The Leveller are appreciated here.

Shakespeare at last has begun to be read and appreciated, than being acted on stage.

1.FEAR NO MORE. A Song by William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare was one of the world's greatest poets and dramatists. He considered himself a poet, but to make a living, could not exclude himself from the tedious work of being on stage. He very much wished his plays to be read and appreciated more as literary creations, than to be acted as plays on stage. His wishes have been granted by Time. Now his plays are rarely acted, but being read and appreciated as literary masterpieces as he wished. Fear No More is a song from his play Cymbeline. Two brothers weep over the supposed death of their sister who is only unconscious. The song is actually an Ode To Death. Death comes as a release from the evils of the world and is inevitable to all. This song is the poet's prayer for the peace of the departed soul.

Work in this World, for which wages are paid in Heaven.

When we have done our worldly works, we return to our home that is in heaven where we will be paid wages for our work done in the world. We will be blessed or punished, according to the measure of the virtue or vice resulted from our work. Death is universal and man cannot escape from it. There is no armour to hold against death and man has to succumb to the inevitable. He has no protection from this gateway to the next being. The rich and leisurely golden lads and girls, as well as the chimney-sweepers doing the dirtiest of works, have all to die. Authority, scholarship and physical strength follows suit and finally reaches the dust. Even young lovers die.

Is it to bliss that we go after death?

The parting soul gets peace, since it is released from the evils of the world. It needn't anymore fear the heat of the Sun or the angry outbreak of winter. The frown and anger and displeasure and stroke of well-placed figures and authorities and tyrants, the very things that make human lives hell in this world, needn't be feared anymore. Our burdens are very much lightened, for clothing and eating are no more needed. The deadly lightning and thunder-bolts, the dread of out-on-the-field workers, will not affect us anymore. Abusing words and unkind criticism, which constantly humiliated us, lowered our status and self-esteem, and tormented our souls will no more reach our ears. Weeping and happiness are past. We reach bliss, supreme happiness. And distinctions are also past- the reed and the oak are the same to the dead man.

A land where sceptre and crown and scythe and spade are made equal.

2. DEATH THE LEVELLER. A poem by James Shirley.

James Shirley was an English poet and teacher who later became famous for his plays. He died during the great London Fire. Death The Leveller is part of one of his plays. He conceives death as a great leveller who keeps no distinctions between rich and poor, high and low and hard and soft. The glories of our blood and state are nothing but shadows. Family traditions and social status do not come to our aid when we are dying. Man has no immunity against fate. Death lays his icy hands on kings and subjects alike. Kings wearing the sceptre and crown, the symbols of their sovereignty and peasants wearing the scythe and spade, the tools of their trade are all brought to dust and made equal by death without any distinctions.

Eloquence of a poet in defense of death.

Glory is but a momentary glimpse of eternity. Great emperors like Ashoka and Alexander have conquered vast plains and armies, won battlefields and raised victory memorials, but they too have gone to the other world. Great swordsmen reap heads of their opponents in the battlefield, but even their strong nerves must yield at last and they too have to stoop to fate, early or late. Actually they are not winning over the other, but taming one another. Great War heroes one day become wounded captives creeping to their death. They are now pale with shame being in the hands of death, because unlike in the Warfield, they cannot now fight against their captor. Victory memorials may wither away and great battles in history fade from memory. The once-victor will one day become a bleeding victim on the purple altar of death, purple because of blood and gore. However high our heads are held, they will have to come down to the cold tomb. Great heroic acts do not survive us. Only the just and right actions of a man will blossom and emit sweet smell, after he has long withered in dust.

Are we really living here or dreaming about living here?

3. WHY THIS SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE TWO SONGS?

Death is the universal closing of a way of life in one universe and the starting of another one in another universe. It is believed that and also it is indeed a thrill to think that, once the gravitational constriction of the black hole that is the life-proofed passage between two universes is passed, the dead and reborn being would feel nothing about anything that might have or might not have happened. It would be felt like everything reversed exactly mathematically. Some seers have even doubted as to whether we are really living in this world, or lying relaxed in some universe and dreaming about living a life in the World. When poets and seers are concerned and involved, anything strange can be conceived and formulated. Bizarre notions are not untravelled land for poets. It is therefore only their modesty and reserve that prevented William Shakespeare and James Shirley from elaborating on the above ideas, certainly not their unfamiliarity with any such notions, especially Shakespeare with his long line of uncanny characters.

Death is universal, so rouses similar feelings in man everywhere.

Since death is universal, it rouses similar feelings in man everywhere, though intensity and velocity of emotions may vary from person to person. That is the foundation for the similarity between the two poems, Fear No More and Death The Leveller. They are similar in many other aspects also. Both poems celebrate the glory of death. They hold the same views and project the same ideas. Both poems are part of their plays. Both poets used the same word Sceptre to denote Kingly Authority. Shakespeare hints that we will be paid our wages in heaven for our deeds done in this world. Shirley warns us that only our just and rightful actions would survive us. Both poets project the inevitability and inescapability of death. Shakespeare's life period in England was 1564-1616 and Shirley's was 1596-1666. Shirley was 14 years old when Shakespeare was 44. Therefore Shirley certainly might have been inspired by Shakespeare. And both poets were Londoners too.

Tags
Appreciations, Cymbeline, Death The Leveller, English Songs, Fear No More, James Shirley, Literature And Language, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Reviews, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, William Shakespeare

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.

Comments
Rathnashikamani
31st Mar 2011 (#)
Shirley might have been inspired by Shakespeare.
But, certainly I'm inspired by your literary work here on Wikinut.
This article of appreciation by you has brought the great poets together.







Wednesday, February 22, 2012

008. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. Robert Frost. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

008.

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. Robert Frost. Appreciation by P S Remesh Chandran
 
Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum

By PSRemeshChandra, 19th Mar 2011.
Short URL http://nut.bz/eslzz8m7/
Posted in Wikinut Poetry, Drama Criticism


Nature creates many beauties for man to observe, but man being burdened with the multitude of tasks to run a family cannot spare his time for sharing the pleasantness nature imbues. In his rush of life he is forced to abandon the easy solaces nature offers which if accepted, would have served as a balm for his mind in flames. Robert Frost's poem Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening shows a glimpse of what treasures man has lost. True, what man forgets first is the beauty of his mother.

A British poet trained on practical American lines.
Matthew Arnold, the critic and poet.
Robert Frost was a farmer and poet who had a deep concern for nature. He lived during 1874-1963. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening is his world famous poem which appeals to man's desire to be always be with nature. In the poem we see the poet riding a little horse into a snow falling forest in the evening. His sense of beauty tends him to stay but his dominating sense of duty sends him away. The genius of Frost shuttles between dream and reality and finally lands on immediate reality. Perhaps his long American life might have trimmed him on practical lines.

Nature's Cynosures are for all the world to see.

'Whose Woods These Are, I Think I Know'
The poet stops by the wood on a snowy evening in winter. He doesn't know who the owner of the forest is. Judging from the fact that there were no signs of any modern constructions to be seen there, he assumes that the owner of the forest might not be a town’s man, but a villager. So far so good. He hopes that the owner will not appear there at that time of heavy snow fall, as he does not wish to be seen tress-passing into private land. Sweet English reserve and shyness! Even though somewhat reluctant to enter a private property, his soul's desire to be with nature tempted him and he entered the forest riding his horse.

All a winter's work for the squirrels and sparrows to see.

All a winter's work, for the squirrels and sparrows to see.
Nature's benedictions are man's common asset, limited to no one's ownership. She creates her cynosures for all the world to see, through generations and ages. She creates them not exclusively for humans, but anticipating the admiring eyes of the squirrels, sparrows, peacocks and the marsupials also.

Animal instincts are sharper-tuned to sensing danger than man's.

To watch the woods fill up with snow.
Snow heavily falling on the trees and rocks and shrubs will form curious images of strange shapes and sizes. The poet plunges deep into observing their beauty and quite forgets the passing of Time. The horse was more danger-conscious and responsive to surroundings than the poet. Have anyone ever heard about an animal that took its own life? It became suspicious. What is this fellow on my back doing?
Between the woods and frozen lake.

Between the woods and frozen lake.
Dangers of an ink-black night are ahead. No farm houses are to be seen anywhere nearby. They are standing between an unfriendly wood and a frozen lake where no one will get shelter and can survive. Man and animal can be lost and frozen in these circumstances. Besides, it is the darkest night of the year that is approaching. Is this man on my back having ideas of suicide? Animal instincts are sharper-tuned to sense danger than man's. So thinking such and such, the horse gave his harness bells a shake to ask his master whether there was any mistake. Actually he was asking his master why they were stopping and staying in that unfavorable atmosphere for long.
The Tiny Little Boy with Hay-ho, the Wind and the Rain.
Forage is scarce in winter, so a long neck.
The sounds of the horse-bells were heard distinctly against the only other background sound there, the swish-swishing sound of the easily-flowing wind sweeping against the incessantly down-falling snow. The exquisiteness of the description here reminds the readers of another master craftsman. In The Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, there is a little song sung by the clown: 'When that I was a tiny little boy, With hay- ho, the wind and the rain.' Everyone knows the wind and the rain, but who is this Mr. Hay-Ho? Critics have long debated who this Hay Ho is. It is very simple. Every little child knows Hay Ho; it is the combined effect of sound caused by wind on the rain personified. When wind blows against a green paddy field and the long lines of grass bow their heads in row after row, Hay Ho is present there. When we walk along a tar road while the rain comes down in torrents and the wind sweeps heavily against the rain, then again we can see Hay Ho on the road, coming towards us and going away from us. Hay Ho is indeed something to a tiny little boy and also for the poets. One is always the other. An exactly similar beauty with words is created here by Frost, in describing in vivid and suggestive words the swish-swishing of the wind and the rain in the snow-filled forest.

One single line written across the face of Time: How far to go before rest?

Miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go.....
The timely sound of his horse-bells roused the master to reality and reminded him of his immediate duties. Thus rightly inspired, the poet continues on his journey, singing those famous lines which made this song immortal.

'The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.'

An admirer of Robert Frost from across the oceans.

The woods are lovely, but I have promises to keep.
The sleep referred to here is the final sleep. These are lines written across Time, to inspire the world through ages. It is not certain whoever were inspired, excited and intoxicated with these lines. But it is known, the famous author of books such as Glimpses Of World History and The Discovery Of India and the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, wrote them down on his walls to be seen always.




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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Tags
Appreciation, English Songs, Literature And Language, P S Remesh Chandran, Poetry, Poets, Reviews, Robert Frost, Sahyadri Books And Bloom Books Trivandrum, Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

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.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

007. Song To The Men Of England. P B Shelley Poem. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

007.

Song To The Men Of England. Percy Bysshe Shelley Poem. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum


By PSRemeshChandra, 18th Mar 2011. Short URL http://nut.bz/21kpi-9l/
First Posted in Wikinut-Reviews-Books-Poetry, Drama & Criticism

  
A revolutionary is a person who causes constant changes around him wherever he is. In this sense, Shelley was a revolutionary poet. Song To The Men Of England opened up world's eyes to the torture, brutality and exploitation workers were subjected to in England during the time of her colonial prosperity and raised the question: Why can't they revolt? Karl Marx predicted workers’ revolution in England as follow up of the Industrial Revolution but it never happened. The English workers were inert.

Kill not a bird or beast or man, they are all our brethren.


01. A portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley.
   
Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote each poem to celebrate a particular tune as we can see in his poems Song To The Men Of England, Ode To The West Wind, To A Skylark, The Cloud, Adonais and many others. He is considered one of the greatest poets in English and his influence on world literature is immense. When we refer to him as a revolutionary poet, it does not mean he stood for merciless killing. In fact, he considered even animals as our fellow creatures, not to be slain for human food. It was after reading his works that the famous English author and dramatist George Bernard Shaw became a vegetarian.

Workers and exploiters are like bees and drones in bee community.

 02. A 1939 weaving loom with flying shuttles. 

Here in this poem, Shelley asks the Nineteenth Century peasants and workers of England why they are not revolting against the landlords and the industrial production owners who are exploiting them to the last drop of their blood. In the Bee Community, female bees do all the work and the male drones live by exploiting them. Shelley calls the workers Bees and the exploiters Drones which is apt.

Purpose of weapons fails when they
are used against man.

03. A 200 single yarn beaming machine of 1907.

Shelley's questions to the workers of England skillfully bring out the pitiful living conditions they live in in England in his times. He is asking them for what reason they plough the fields for the lords who are responsible for their poverty. For what reason, with toil and care, they weave the rich robes their tyrants are wearing, while their own children are shivering in the dark without cotton or coal. From their birth till their death why the workers feed, clothe and save those ungrateful drones, who in their turn, would either drain their sweat or drink their blood.

Weapons become spoiled when they are stained with their makers' blood.
 

04. The celestial forge of Venus and Vulcan. 1641 Oil.
   
The Bees of England forge many weapons, chains and scourges which go straight to the hands of the tyrants to be used against them in it's time. Weapons were invented to assist man in his works, but when used against its creator, their purpose fails and they become spoiled. Critics have differed in their interpretations of the word 'spoiled.' A weapon to become spoiled means ‘to become stained with its maker's blood’. Knives were invented for cutting away tree branches from paths of the ancient man in the forests, chains were invented for lifting huge weights from the ground, and whips were designed for taming wild animals. But when they come to be used for throat-cutting, binding men together and for beating man, their purpose fails and they become spoiled.

Sacrificing their lives, making arms and robes and riches for tyrants.


05. Forge arms, in your defense to bear.

The workers pay so high a price by living in constant pain, fear and poverty but even then, in spite of all these sufferings, at least their physical and spiritual needs are not satisfied. If not for fulfilling at least their basic animalistic needs, why should they labour from morning till night and from night till morning again? (Shelley can say this, but there was unbelievable poverty in England. Peasants and workers lived in abject poverty, want and exploitation in the middle of immense wealth arriving from distant colonies. Just a little food for sustenance and the shade of a shack to rest their heads beneath was all that the workers of England wished in those times). Leisure, comfort and calmness are the spiritual needs of man. Food, shelter and the medicinal treatment of love are the physical needs of man. It is not strange to note that Shelley, unlike most of the other poets in his times, has included love as a physical need of man, like food. The workers sow seed, but the harvest is taken away by lords. They bring wealth out of earth through their work, but the riches are amassed and kept by others. They weave robes for others, but their own children have nothing to wear. The arms they forge also go to the armories of oppressors. Thus Shelley convinces the workers of England and elsewhere that they are exploited to the extreme, and that rising through revolts is the only option before them.

A poet's burning eloquence forcing the doors of England open.

  06. Sow seed and reap, but let not the idle heap.

We will normally think the poet, spreading such radical ideas in Colonial England, will finally find his way to London Tower, the English equivalent of the notorious French Bastille. But it was also the era of the Industrial Revolution, immediately following the English version of the Italian Renaissance. No workers' revolution ever occurred in England then or later as Shelley hoped, and Marx had predicted. Communism, the supreme theory of revolution, was born indeed in England's soil, but Carl Marx fuming and storming his head in the British Museum for Thirty two long years came to nothing. Prosperity extinguishes revolutionary traits, whereas poverty inflames them. But England in later years did become a haven and world headquarters for revolutionaries in exile, due to the open door policy there, carved out of passionate poetry and literature by generations of sympathetic littérateurs. Shelley's burning eloquence in this song cannot be denied its due share of influence and credit in bringing about this change.

The silent song of weaving winding sheets to graves.

 07. Weaving their winding sheet to their graves.

Shelley showed to the workers exploited everywhere in the world that they have a right to rise in revolts. He encourages them to sow seed but let no tyrant reap the harvest; find wealth but let no impostor heap them. But his clarion-calls fell into deaf ears. Seeing the inertness of English workers, towards the end of his poem, Shelley condemns them. By not revolting against their exploiters, they finally will have to shrink to their cells, holes and cellars which are their dwelling places, as the vast halls they constructed and decorated are all possessed by the rich. Imagine a great massive elephant getting melting itself down and disappearing into the tiny pit of a sand-elephant: that is how the proletariat shrinks. The great beast does not know its capabilities. It is a pity to see the workers still wearing the chains they themselves wrought and shaking them. 'The steel ye tempered glance on ye', he writes. ‘Glance’ here has a dual meaning. He used the word in its both senses- ‘slip off from the hand causing a mortal wound’, and ‘have a quick look at’. The steel the workers themselves tempered is ridiculingly laughing at them! If their destiny goes on unhampered in this way, with plough and spade and hoe and loom- the tools of their trade- they will be continuing to build their tomb and weave their winding-sheet till their beautiful England becomes a vast sepulchre.

Shelley set fire to the conscience of his century.

08. Shelley’s famous poem, To A Skylark By Bloom Books Channel.  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFVoiRm-yEI

Shelley must have been very bold and daring to have published this poem during the peak of England's colonial powers and sovereignty. And he certainly must have been extremely sympathetic and deliquescent in his attitude to workers in his native land. He indeed was a very brilliant poet to have set fire to the conscience of his century. This poem is a masterpiece of poetical eloquence, as well as of political eloquence. It is a brilliant example of commitment and involvement in flames, in action.
 
Thousands and thousands of workers and peasants succumbed to poverty and mortal illnesses in Shelly's days in England. Not many poets in his times cared to write about these misfortune-struck people. And he too wrote not many poems of this kind about them. Perhaps he might have conceived that ‘the present turbulence in his times might be inimical to the fine achievements of mankind so far and become a hindrance to drastic changes in future’. That might have been why he decided to bless his land with a poem which would open everyone’s eyes to a world problem. It is a perfectly musical poem, with a perfectly balanced rhythm and a captivating tune which came along originally with the song. Actually the song and its tune are inseparable in this poem. Do not anyone be misled by those lazy, dragging and monotonous tunes which we find in many recitations of this song already circulating in the internet and those tuneless and prose-like utterances propagated by conventional and less imaginary teachers. They want only to exhibit before their listeners and poor students their pompous recitational skills and that impurity we call accent. They did sore injustice to the excellent musical-minded poet Shelley. The original tune of this poem proves that it was accompanied by some kind of rural peasants' dance in some remote hamlet of England. It contains such a simple, light, country tune, with no complications.

Going through Shelley’s poems is like a squirrel going through a mountain of gold dust.

 09. Shelley’s poem Ozymandias By Bloom Books Channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_exxBg5urk0

It would have been a fine spectacle to watch if someone orchestrated and choreographed the Song To The Men of England as a tribute to Shelley. Singing Shelley’s songs is like going through a savoury treat delightful to the tongue and the palates. A singer of this song would undergo an experience similar to the one of the squirrel’s who went through a mountain of gold dust and found it impossible not to be sprayed with a few golden dust particles.

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s life and works during 1792-1817.


10. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in 1792 August 04 in Horsham, England as the first of seven children of the Sir Timothy Shelley, a country squire and baron, and his wife Elizabeth Pilfold Shelley. His father was a British Parliamentarian of the Whigs Party. He began boys’ boarding school at Eton College in 1804. After six years’ of boarding school studies, he enrolled at University College, Oxford in 1810 where he became indifferent to studies, published ‘The Necessity of Atheism’ which made his father angry and caused his expulsion from Oxford the next year. He published his first novel ‘Zastrozzi’ also in that period. In 1811 he ran away with a young student Ms. Harriet Westbrook to Scotland who he soon became tired of. In 1813 he published the long poem Queen Mab and exposed his political views irrespective of his father being a conservative Parliamentarian. In 1814 he eloped again with the daughter of the famous writer and philosopher William Godwin- young Mary Wollstonecraft- to Europe and the next year we see Shelley hiding in London to evade his creditors. During the years from 1815 to 1818, Shelley became close friends with poets Lord Gordon Byron and John Keats, published The Spirit of Solitude in 1816, children were born and died, married the mother of their children Mary, toured Switzerland and came back with the book History of Six Weeks Tour published in 1817, his first wife Harriet took her life by jumping into London river, and his second wife Mary started writing the famous horror novel Frankenstein.

Shelley’s life and works during the years 1818-1824.


11. Writer Philosopher William Godwin.

In 1818, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley published Frankenstein, an all time success, Shelley published Ozymandias and The Revolt of Islam, and they travelled to Italy never to return. Song To The Men Of England and The Masque Of Anarchy were written while Shelley was in Florence. In 1820 Shelley wrote the mythological drama Prometheus Unbound, and in 1821 when John Keats died, he wrote the elegy Adonais. While living in Pisa and Rome, he completed the tragedy The Censy. In 1822 his schooner Don Juan caught up in a storm and Shelley died at the age of 29. He was cremated on the beach and his ashes buried in Rome. Sir. Timoti Shelley was still furious over the political and heretical writings of his son and threatened Shelley’s wife Mary in 1924 never to publish anymore of his son’s works while he lived. He even threatened to stop financial support to her if she did. After many years, in 1839, he reluctantly allowed Mary to publish Shelley’s collected poems and essays on the condition that ‘it contained no memoirs of his son’. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was an intellectual equal to Shelley in genius and her ‘The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe of 1824 stands a monumental work.

Irony in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s life.

 12. Different editions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Left wing activists considered Shelley as ‘Red Shelley’ but in real life he was a strict vegetarian and against blood sheds of any kind. His words were not final but wavering and often contradictory. He who said in his work Defense Of Poetry that ‘man’s imagination is only a reflection of god’s’ was expelled from Oxford University for publishing in 1811‘The Necessity of Atheism’. No one cared his non-belief in god was not final and binding. Literary critics pointed out that his views were contradictory and wavering for he became in soul The Cloud, The West Wind, The Skylark and The Man Of England all at the same time, synchronizing his mind with the natural elements and nature’s creations which were his characters, but these critics of Shelley forgot all the while that he synchronized his soul with his characters beautifully.

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem Song To The Men Of England.

  13. Song To The Men Of England Video Title.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy6nlrKRH10


Bloom Books Channel has recitation videos of Song To The Men Of England, Ozymandias and To a Skylark. Their You Tube links are:

Song To The Men Of England: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy6nlrKRH10

Ozymandias:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_exxBg5urk0

To a Skylark:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFVoiRm-yEI


A primitive prototype rendering of these song were made in a crude tape recorder decades earlier, in 1984. In 2014, home made videos of these songs were released. In 2015, their third versions with comparatively better audios were released. The next versions, it's hoped, would be fully orchestrated. They are free for reuse, and anyone interested in can develop and build on them, till they become fine musical video productions, to help our little learners and their teachers.

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Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
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Picture Credits:

01. Portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley 1819 By Alfred Clint.
02. 1939 weaving loom with flying shuttles By Imus Eus.
03. 200 single yarn beaming machine 1907 By Imus Eus.
04. The celestial forge of Venus and Vulcan 1641 By Le Nain Brothers.
05. Forge arms in your defense to bear By Penny Mayes.
06. Sow seed but let not the idle heap By Bernard Gagnon.
07. Weaving winding sheets to graves By Thomas Khaipi.
08. Shelley's poem To A Skylark By Bloom Books Channel.
09. Shelley’s poem Ozymandias By Bloom Books Channel.
10. Mary Wollstoncraft Shelley By John Williamson.
11. William Godwin 1875 By Henry William Pickersgill.
12. Different Editions of Frankenstein By Andy Mabbett.
13. Song To The Men Of England Video Title By Bloom Books Channel.
14. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.


Meet the author: 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.

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

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

Visit author's Sahyadri Books Trivandrum in Word Press at

http://sahyadribooks.wordpress.com/
  and his Bloom Books Channel in You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/user/bloombooks/videos

Author's Google Plus Page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PSRemeshChandran/posts
FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/psremeshchandra.trivandrum

Tags


Bloom Books Trivandrum, British Poets, Free Student Notes, Literary Essays, Literary Reviews, Men Of England Wherefore Plough, P S Remesh Chandran, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Poem Appreciations, Poem Notes, Poetry Reviews, Revolutionary Poems, Revolutionary Poets, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum, Song To The Men Of England.

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Comments

PSRemeshChandra
18th Mar 2011 (#)

  
Shelley was very bold and daring to have published these lines during the peak of England's colonial powers. And he certainly might have been very sympathetic and delinquent in his attitude to the workers in his native land. He indeed was a very brilliant poet who set fire to the conscience of his century. This poem is a masterpiece of poetical eloquence. Commitment and involvement in flames.

Rathnashikamani
31st Mar 2011 (#)

I'm inspired by P. B. Shelley also. Thank you for such a wonderful treat as this on Shelley.

PSRemeshChandra
16th Apr 2012 (#)


Singing Shelley is like going through a treat to me, which actually delights my tongue and palates. What happens to me is like becoming the squirrel that went through a mountain of gold dust.

deepa venkitesh
25th Jun 2011 (#)

Thank you for the insightful article.

PSRemeshChandra
2nd Aug 2011 (#)

Dear Rathnashikamani, Deeps,


Thousands and thousands of peasants and workers succumbed to poverty and mortal illness in Shelly's days in England. Not many poets of his times cared to write about them. And he wrote not many poems of this genre. It is a perfectly singable song. It has a perfectly balanced rhythm and a captivating tune which came along when he wrote the song. Actually the song and its tune are inseparable. But do not please be misled by any dragging lazy monotonous tunes of recitations that we may occasionally happen to hear in some famous websites. In fact, the original tune to this song proves that it accompanied some kind of peasants' dance. It would be a very fine spectacle if someone orchestrated and choreographed this song as a tribute to Shelley. It contains a very simple, light, country tune.

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First Published: 18th Mar 2011 
Last Edited:   09 January 2016

Identifier: SBT-AE-007. Song To The Men Of England. Percy Bysshe Shelley Poem.

Articles English Downloads Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Editor: P S Remesh Chandran






006. Leisure. W H Davies Poem. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

006. 

Leisure. W H Davies Poem. Appreciation By P S Remesh Chandran

Editor, Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum


By PSRemeshChandra, 16th Mar 2011. Short URL http://nut.bz/qp4j6ml6/
First Posted in Wikinut-Reviews-Books-Poetry, Drama & Criticism



Man is always eager to observe and enjoy the beauties of nature. Only that he does not get enough time for rest to elate and thrill his mind by soaking up the magnificent spectacles Mother Nature has created around him. It was in the midst of and from these beauties that man was created. Therefore, his wish to always be with them is only natural. Whenever he has to leave the beauties of nature behind, he pines in his heart as if leaving his homeland. 

Go to a jungle river, bath and wash your clothes, spread them on rocks to dry and lie under shady river-side trees.


Staying with nature and enjoying the innocent beauties nature created around man is soothing to the soul and invigorating to the physic. Going to a riverside jungle, lying under a tree growing out of large boulders shading us from sunlight, listening to the voices of birds chirping nearby and the gentle murmur of a stream flowing away, is an experience not all can have everyday. Frequenting Jungle Rivers, bathing in river, washing our clothes and spreading them on rocks to dry and resting under a spreading tree while they are drying, is a pleasure we will wish to have everyday. Once we have visited such a scenic beauty spot and have rested there feeling the wind blowing across us and water flowing below us and listened to waves gently lapping over the shore, we will consider ourselves lucky and would dream of going to such places again and again and refreshing us again. 

Primitive man who sat in his mountain cave watching the beauty of a sunset was the first poet.

 

01. Reading in leisure: The greatest of all pastimes.

Archaeological excavations of ancient sites of human living have taught us that there has been no time in human history that was totally deprived of leisure and time for rest. Whenever man got freed of inevitable and immediate works, he always found a little time to indulge in leisurely activities like painting, singing, writing and debating. Primitive man who, after a delicious meal, sat in leisure in the mouth of his mountain cave and watched the beauty of a distant sunset was the first person who chiseled poems on rocks. From the snow-buried Neanderthal Valley in Germany and the ice-frozen caves of Cro-Magnon in France, we have dug up evidence of the outcomes of a hunting society’s pass-time and leisure in the form of magnificent rock wall paintings, and stood in awe. 

The idea of calm and leisure exists in a sitting cat.

  
02. Statue of Davies on the seafront of Port Williams.


Man is not alone in enjoying the beauties of nature and leisure. Cats, horses, cows, squirrels, birds- they all catharsizes their souls through leisure. Cats are the first to enjoy music, sunshine, rest and leisure. In beautiful evenings they can be seen washing and meticulously cleaning themselves taking hours, then walking to their regular elevated acoustically-optimized spots and sitting there listening to their favourite church or temple music coming through loudspeakers, while basking themselves in bright warm sunlight. Cows and sheep constantly and steadily gaze at things situated far away for any length of time, but if we go and stand behind them and look for what they had been gazing at for long that much interestedly, we will see nothing particular or special. They are enjoying their leisure. 

Work stretches itself to fill the time available to finish it.



03. Cats are the first to enjoy leisure and sunshine. 


One curious thing about work is it stretches itself to fill the time available to finish it. The more time available to finish it is there, the work takes more time to finish. So practically man gets no time for leisure. In earlier societies in which everyone had to work without rest to make their living, there was no leisure, no civilization and no culture to be mentioned, and they remained barbarians. ‘A society enters upon the process of civilization only when it is able to afford a minority who does no work but just sit, eat and think.’ Discovery of agriculture, mechanization and tools guaranteed enough food crops to be produced for all without everyone having to work for achieving this level of self-sufficiency and generated leisure time, and civilization began. Leisure is something that is disappearing from this world. Leisure is what brought civilization and culture into this world, will keep the light of civilization burning, and keep the world from falling apart in future. Without its soothing balm, civilizations, societies and nations are lost. Without its cementing bondage, empires of intricate economics and politics would crumble and fall. And without its promising prospect, man's achievements on land, air, sea and space would go to smithereens. 

Admiring eyes of a tramp and rural shepherd in America.

 

04. There is enough to see but man has not time. 


W H Davies was a British poet who lived during 1871-1940. In the earlier years of his life he led the life of a tramp and rural shepherd in America, the stamps of which can be seen in his poems. In his famous poem Leisure, he regrets the loss of leisure from human life. He was very keen in his observations of nature and in this he stands in line with Robert Frost and Alexander Pope. 

Flight of Leisure through Middle Ages, Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and Twenty First Century.


Duration of leisure available in society is a measure of its achievements in arts, music, science, literature, civilization and culture. Since the invention of agriculture and the wheel, human society had been advancing steadily in this respect till the middle ages. Since then, slavery and bondage for the poor and corpulent fleshly ills for the rich became a custom, civilization nearly dried up and the world fell into a long period of dark ages. Only in a few corners of the world did the light of knowledge burn dimly but without diminishing. Human intelligence- chained up and bound- strove fiercely to free itself from the bondage of evil religion and the darkness of dogma, and a few rays of bright light began to appear here and there in the world. Mechanization and a series of scientific discoveries brought leisure again to man’s society since the Sixteenth Century and the ‘re-awakening of thought began, knowledge became fashionable and science commenced to stir’, the total effect of which we called Renaissance which lasted four centuries and marked a peak in human achievements. Industrial revolution of the Nineteenth Century brought lethargy and stupor for the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries and leisure is now giving way to round-the-clock engagement, greed for riches and prosperity, and discontentment- the enveloping of another kind of dark ages. The result: civilization is drying up again, repeating the cycle. 

Squirrels forget their hidden caches and man recovers them for dinner.



05. Basking in Sun in leisure after eating apple.



Man is now left with no time to observe and enjoy the beauties of nature. He has now no time left to stand beneath the flowery branches of trees and stare as long as the sheep or cows do at the things he likes. The cattleman profession of the poet is reflected here. Passing through the woods, he sees squirrels running everywhere and hiding their nuts in the grass. Sometimes they may forget these caches and man will find them and recover them for his dinner, the thought of which makes the poet laugh heartily, for he himself had often sought these forgotten stores in his hunger. But now he has no time left to enjoy the briskness and beauty of their movements. 

Squirrels have a fixed time and route to enter a grove and drink honey before going to the next. 


Have anyone observed a squirrel harvesting honey from a plantain grove? It has a fixed time and route to enter a plantation, say 3 PM in the evening for a particular plantation. It enters at one corner by jumping from a coconut leaf from the neighboring plantation into this grove, travels harvesting through all plantains along a time-and-distance-economized route and moves out at the opposite corner by jumping into a coconut tree on the edge of the grove, passing on to the next grove to harvest. After savoring honey from one plantain tree, it will jump to another through plantain leaves till all plantains in that grove are covered, without ever coming down to the ground which is risky. To make a living, it has to cover many groves each day and that is why it economizes the time and distance of travel. So, the squirrels have their fixed time and route to enter a grove and cover it before going to the next. The author of this article has had to closely watch this time-table and schedule to enter his grove to drink honey from plantains before the squirrel arrives. 

Watching star studded skies at night was a great pastime for the primitive man.

 

06. Guardian of the gateway in leisurely vigil: A heron.



Water bodies with glassy surfaces reflecting nature is a fine spectacle in woods. While walking through woods, the sudden appearance of the view of a lake or brook through the woods is delightful. Clean brooks and streams reflecting the rippling broad daylight would appear like bluish star-studded skies at night with their abundance of stars, a majestic sight to see through woods. But alas! The rush of life urges the modern man to move forward without stopping, to attend to the daily chores of life, leaving behind those beautiful sights un-enjoyed. 

Innocent radiance of a smile would embrace anyone with its charm and warmth.

 

07. Leisure beneath the mountain canopies.


Hills and valleys and meadows remain the same but their expressions change with time, like expressions in a human face change according to mood. We call the face along with its expressions countenance. It is nature’s countenance that is changing with time. Morning, noon and night add specific expressions to nature’s face. It’s like nature going through various emotions and smiling. We know a smile begins in the eyes and finishes in the lips which would take a little time to complete. But we cannot sit there watching through morning, noon and night to see nature’s smile finish. If someone has that much time, he is lucky indeed. Like a child’s, nature’s smile has an innocent radiance which enchants anyone with its charm and it has warmth which embraces anyone sitting for long with her. That is why man wishes to remain with nature as longer as he can. 

Today the river is crystalline, tomorrow she is choky and narrow and then she is muddy and overflowing, like a fine dancer changing costumes.


Nature also dances. And she is a lavishly gifted dancer. Her attires and adornments constantly changes with the passing of seasons. Today the leaves are tender green, tomorrow they are red and then they are dead brown. Today the earth is hot, tomorrow it is wet and then it is cold and bare with snow. Today the river is crystalline, tomorrow she is choky and narrow and then she is muddy and overflowing. It is like a fine dancer on stage changing costumes and continuing dancing. For whom does she dance? It is the mother dancing to delight and make happy the child. She is dancing for birds, butterflies, animals, fishes, snakes and man. It is ultimate beauty that is dancing there and it is soothing and solacing to see this supreme dancing of Mother Nature on hills, valleys and meadows. Birds, butterflies and animals watch it but man alone does not have time to watch his mother dance. 

Dance of nature in hills and forests completes with the cycle of seasons.

 

08. Absolute leisure in the lap of eternity.



Some critics have shrunk the meaning here to the presence of some mortal human beauty dancing and smiling in the wild and un-diligent readers also may fall into the same fallacy. But the logical reference here is to the presence of the perfect beauty, i.e., Mother Nature, dancing in hills and the wild. The smile of nature is complete only with completion of the cycle of seasons, which means, to see the full smile of nature, one has to wait there at the same spot throughout one full year. Man cannot wait that long and he has not that much time to spare. So, if this life is such full of care and anxiety that we are left with no time to stand and stare at things we like as long as we wish to, then it indeed is a very poor life in this earth. 

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem.

 

09. Leisure Video Title. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MuZDwnc_a0

Bloom Books Channel has a video of this poem Leisure titled ‘What Is This Life If Full Of Care’. 



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 in 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=2MuZDwnc_a0


___________________________
Pictures Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
___________________________

 

Picture credits:

01. Reading in leisure: the greatest of all pastimes By Cristofano Allori.
02. Statue of Davies on the seafront of Port Williams. Sculpture By Andrew Brown, Photo By A M Hurrell.
03. Cats are the first to enjoy leisure and sunshine By 4028mdk09.
04. There is enough to see but man has not time By J M Garg.
05. Basking in Sun in leisure after eating apple By V Menkov.
06. Guardian of the gateway in leisurely vigil: A heron By Pauline Eccles.
07. Leisure beneath the mountain canopies 1523 By Tang Yin.
08. Absolute leisure in the lap of eternity By John Webber.
09. Leisure Video Title By Bloom Books Channel.
10. Author Profile of P S Remesh Chandran By Sahyadri Archives.


Meet the author: 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. 

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

Dear Reader,

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Bloom Books Trivandrum, British Poets, College Notes, English Poems, Free Student Notes, Leisure, Literary Essays, Literary Reviews, P S Remesh Chandran, Poem Appreciations, Poetry Reviews, Sahyadri Books Trivandrum, W H Davies, What Is This Life If Full Of Care. 

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Comments

Rathnashikamani 

31st Mar 2011 (#)


I didn't know much of W. H. Davies, but this one is about his most famous poem Leisure that I contemplate on when I see people distressed about their business being oblivious to the beautiful nature. 

PSRemeshChandra
17th Apr 2014 (#)



Man in the midst of his everyday problems, worries and rush of life may forget to look around, see the things nature has created for us and read their messages. Life is very important and so is beauty but without life, what is beauty to us? Man is capable of seeing things in nature and understanding them but the more his duties are time-bound, the lesser time he gets for devoting to nature. Let us pardon them, us. The poet Davies also understood this very well like Robert Frost and that is exactly the message he wishes to convey. But poetry is indeed a consolation for souls in distress. You understand well dear Rathnashikamani.

DOWNLOAD THIS ARTICLE FREE AS PDF:


https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7UyS8upcOFAVEIwelJqdTdkanc

First Published: 16th Mar 2011
Last Edited: 23 March 2017

Identifier: SBT-AE-006. Leisure. W H Davies Poem.

Articles English Downloads Sahyadri Books & Bloom Books, Trivandrum. Editor: P S Remesh Chandran