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Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the… - Sally's Journal
April 20th, 2007
10:44 pm

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Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my three score years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.



The poem makes me feel

saddened
4(8.0%)
cheered
2(4.0%)
that there is not enough time to do the things I want to do
2(4.0%)
encouraged to do things while there is still time to do them
6(12.0%)

But if I had to pick one... the poem is

{sad, melancholy, depressing, regretful, etc}
30(57.7%)
{optimistic, cheering, encouraging, etc}
22(42.3%)


It's not a very good poll. It was done quickly while slightly tipsy, and I'm sure (and perhaps slightly hoping) that all the educated erudite people on my friends list will go off on long diversions about how you can't think of it as happy or sad, but as a whole tapestry of emotions. But I might not be around to answer comments, because with only fifty springs to go I'll be off gathering rose-buds...

(23 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
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From:verlaine
Date:April 20th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
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Like Housman could *ever* write anything cheering or encouraging, the gloomy old bastard. (He's one of my very favourite poets.)
From:fluffymormegil
Date:April 20th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
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I have a musical setting of "When The Bells Justle In The Tower", performed by Andrew King.
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From:verlaine
Date:April 20th, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
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Bloody Goth poets!
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From:mobbsy
Date:April 21st, 2007 07:45 am (UTC)
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L'Âme Immortelle have recorded (a version of) "The Immortal Part" too.
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From:ilanin
Date:April 20th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
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Define "me". Do you mean "Sally" or "the person reading this post"?
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From:atreic
Date:April 21st, 2007 07:58 am (UTC)
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The person reading the post.

I've missed you. I owe you logistical email...
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From:serenasnape
Date:April 21st, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
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I live on a road planted with cherry trees, which makes me adore this poem from the outset. The thing which makes me think of this poem as cheerful, I have to say, is George Butterworth's musical setting of it. In fact, all his songs from A Shropshire Lad are stunning, if you don't already know them.
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From:megamole
Date:April 21st, 2007 10:02 am (UTC)
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Icon love!

1 point for identifying the person pictured in my icon, 2 for the quote.
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From:serenasnape
Date:April 21st, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
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It's Purcell, and I know I should know the quotation because I think he set it, but I couldn't tell you quite what ...
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From:megamole
Date:April 23rd, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
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Yep. From his 1692 masterpiece "Hail, bright Cecilia" - words by Nicholas Brady.
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From:the_elyan
Date:April 21st, 2007 06:23 am (UTC)
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Well, let's see:

Dramatic tension ... blah blah ... fleeting nature of time ... juxtaposition ... waffle ... natural magnificence ... yadda yadda ... something or other about dolphins.

Sorry - it being 7:20am, my brain is sputtering. Although, to be fair, 7:20am on day of submission is quite a traditional time to be scribbling furiously at such essays...
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From:catyak
Date:April 21st, 2007 07:22 am (UTC)
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You missed the tickybox for "I'm a barbarian and poetry leaves me cold". I've just never got on with poetry once it's progressed further than limerick level.

D
From:ex_robhu
Date:April 21st, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
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Agreed.
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From:aldabra
Date:April 21st, 2007 08:05 am (UTC)
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The reasons why I'm cheered up by depressing Housman poems are slightly elusive, but may include that I'm usually more depressed than this one, and that I have a history of total immersement in Housman while severely depressed and this is comparatively one of the most uplifting ones.
From:ex_robhu
Date:April 21st, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
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Your domestics are about poetry?!

I think your marriage is working out pretty well!
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From:serenasnape
Date:April 21st, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
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I heart your icon!
From:ex_robhu
Date:April 21st, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
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:-)

Because of the text or because you like Dinosaur Comics?
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From:the_alchemist
Date:April 21st, 2007 09:10 am (UTC)
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Ooh, I was just googling the famous Housman parody and I found there's a third verse to it I didn't know...

What still alive at twenty-two,
A clean, upstanding chap like you?
Sure, if your throat ‘tis hard to slit,
Slit your girl’s, and swing for it.

Like enough, you won’t be glad
When they come to hang you, lad:
But bacon’s not the only thing
That’s cured by hanging from a string.

So, when the spilt ink of the night
Spreads o’er the blotting-pad of light,
Lads whose job is still to do
Shall whet their knives, and think of you.
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From:gerald_duck
Date:April 21st, 2007 11:54 am (UTC)
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I didn't even know there was a second verse.

But I prefer the parody to the original. (-8

I didn't fill in the poll because my general reaction to poetry is to skip it after reading the first couple of lines and I'd therefore seen the questions before reading the poem, which wouldn't be representative. (I've still never read most of the poems in LotR.)
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From:woodpijn
Date:April 21st, 2007 09:52 am (UTC)
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I don't think it's sad, but I would if the numbers were reversed and he were mourning the fact that most of his life was behind him already. Also, obviously it would be sad if the conclusion were along the lines of "...so I'll sit and mope" rather than "...so I'll enjoy the cherry blossom while I can."
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From:arnhem
Date:April 21st, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
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A whole verse wasted on stating arithmetic truths? It starts to sound like one of those trick puzzles.

Give me "the air that kills" for a proper dose of melancholy.
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From:emperor
Date:April 21st, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
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Goth! :p
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From:caulkhead
Date:April 23rd, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC)
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I've had the first two lines of that running round my head for weeks now, and have been meaning to get round to finding the rest without ever doing so - so thank you!
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