04 October, 2007

National Poetry Day selections

It is England's (or is it Britain's?) National Poetry Day. Here are Cardinal Wolsey's selections:

First, the moving verse written by Ben Johnson (pictured), on the death of his first daughter Mary in 1593 aged 6 months.

Here lies, to each her parents' ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth;
Yet all heaven's gifts being heaven's due,
It makes the father less to rue.
At six months' end, she parted hence
With safety of her innocence;
Whose soul heaven's queen, whose name she bears,
In comfort of her mother's tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin-train:
Where, while that severed doth remain,
This grave partakes the fleshly birth;
Which cover lightly, gentle earth!

Next, a nice reading of John Donne's poem Death Be Not Proud from the anonymous Classic Poetry Aloud podcast.

Shakespeare fans will enjoy the BBC's Scrambled Sonnet game. (Shakespeare, Donne and Johnson were contemporaries).

Finally, from 1890, an amazing wax cylinder recording of Alfred Lord Tennyson reading The Charge of the Light Brigade . The recording was made by Thomas Edison in the poet laureate's home. Listen for the strange knocking toward the end of the recording - the ghost of the doomed cavalry?


Classic Poetry Aloud said...


Many thanks for the reference. It is an honour to be on the same page as Johnson, Shakespeare, Donne and Tennyson. The 'Charge of the Light Brigade' cylinder recording is indeed ghostly.

I was surprised, Cardinal, not to see A Man for All Seasons under your list of favourite films on your profile. Were you unhappy with the portrayal of yourself and the King?


Classic Poetry Aloud

cardinal_wolsey said...

Thanks for you comment, Classic Poetry Aloud, and for pointing out I had forgotten to add "A Man for All Seasons" to my film list.
I am also interested to see how Sam Neill portrays the Cardinal in the TV series "The Tudors" which has just started airing in the UK. I would have perhaps gone for Alan Rickman!