The Temple of Minerva by John Clare.
The ruin of a ruin – man of mirth
Pause o’er the past and immediate decay
The very stones are perishing to earth
Foundations though all’s left will waste away
Time’s chissel on what’s left still writes ‘Decay’
Which every season wrecks and wears away
A shadow it was present – but ’tis past
Time sickened and life’s nature met decay
Convulsive winds seemed sobbing out their last
When ruin’s piecemeal Temple passed away
The very stones like clay dissolving lye
And solitude half-fearing learns to sigh
See’st thou the steps of yesterday
The night before the last
See’st thou when darkness went away
And daylight winnowed past
The present is – and shadows are
What was so very bright and fair
Spring meadow-flowers was suns and joy
Of present happiness
But when the summer filled the sky
All was another dress
They changed to seed among the hay
And dyed when summer went away
Now evening rosey streaks – a ribboned sky
Spreads in the golden light of the far West
And mighty rocks are pillowed dark and high
The image and the prototype of rest
The heavens’ prophesy where peace is blest
A stillness soft as fall of silent dews
Is felt around – the very dusk looks blest
As is the maiden while her heart pursues
Her evening walk o’er fields in silent dews
Ave Maria, tis the hour of love
When sighs and pains and tears on beauty’s breast
Are whispered into blessings from above
Ave Maria, tis the hour of rest
For man and woman and the weary beast
And parents love the minature delights
That blesses all with sleep and quiet rest
Ave Maria, tis the hour of night
Like to an Indian Maiden dressed in white
The winter-time is over love
Whitethorns begin to bud
And brown and green of freshness love
Enlivens all the wood
There’s white clouds got agen the sun
One daisy open in the green
The primrose shows its sulphur bud
Just where the hazel stulps are seen
And ere the April time is out
Along the riding’s gravel walk
The bedlam’s primrose blooms about
Wi’ twenty blossoms on a stalk
How happy seems the drop of dew
That nestles in the daisey’s eye
How blest the cloud seems in the blue
That near the sun appears to lie
How happy does thy shadows seem
That stretches o’er the morning grass
They seems to walk as in a dream
I know their shadows as they pass . . .
(John Clare https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Clare)
1. Of prime necessity is life: a style should live.
2. Style should be suited to the specific person with whom you wish to communicate. (The law of mutual relation.)
3. First, one must determine precisely “what-and-what do I wish to say and present,” before you may write. Writing must be mimicry.
4. Since the writer lacks many of the speaker’s means, he must in general have for his model a very expressive kind of presentation of necessity, the written copy will appear much paler.
5. The richness of life reveals itself through a richness of gestures. One must learn to feel everything — the length and retarding of sentences, interpunctuations, the choice of words, the pausing, the sequence of arguments — like gestures.
6. Be careful with periods! Only those people who also have long duration of breath while speaking are entitled to periods. With most people, the period is a matter of affectation.
7. Style ought to prove that one believes in an idea; not only that one thinks it but also feels it.
8. The more abstract a truth which one wishes to teach, the more one must first entice the senses.
9. Strategy on the part of the good writer of prose consists of choosing his means for stepping close to poetry but never stepping into it.
10. It is not good manners or clever to deprive one’s reader of the most obvious objections. It is very good manners and very clever to leave it to one’s reader alone to pronounce the ultimate quintessence of our wisdom.
I’ve been writing for various purposes of late so I’ve posted this. I want to think about it. (Worth baring in mind it’s regarding German – and translated into US English.)
What’s the difference between something said to be intelligent and something worth saying? Does it matter?