Northern Drive to St Lucy

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Specialized Rhyme Schemes in English Poetry Versification - Part VIII A

Anacreon Ode *
Dorian Ode or Choric Ode/Pindaric Ode *
Cowleyan Pindaric Ode *
Epinicion Ode *
Epithalamion Ode *
Horatian Ode
Homostrophic Ode
Irregular Ode
Prothalamion Ode *

Now that I finished reading "Ode to the Virginian Voyage" composed by Michael Drayton along the style of the Horatian ode I can tell you that it has trimeter and dimeter verses. This is a significant shift from his customary way of using long verses in his poetry. In this poem he used this rhyme scheme: abccab. Take a look.

Ode to the Virginian Voyage

You brave heroic minds, a
Worthy your country's name, b
That honour still pursue, c
Go and subdue! c
Whilst loit'ring hinds a
Lurk here at home with shame. b/abccab

Britons, you stay too long; a
Quickly aboard bestow you, b
And with a merry gale c
Swell your stretch'd sail, c
With vows as strong a
As the winds that blow you! b/abccaB

Your course securely steer, a
West and by south forth keep; b
Rocks, lee-shores, nor shoals, c
When Æolus scowls, c
You need not fear, a
So absolute the deep. b/abccab

And cheerfully at sea a
Success you still entice b
To get the pearl and gold, c
And ours to hold c
Virginia, a
Earth's only paradise! b/abccab

Where nature hath in store a
Fowl, venison, and fish, b
And the fruitful'st soil, c
Without your toil, c
Three harvests more, a
All greater than your wish. b/abccab

And the ambitious vine a
Crowns with his purple mass, b
The cedar reaching high c
To kiss the sky, c
The cypress, pine, a
And useful sassafras; b/abccab

To whose the golden age a
Still nature's laws doth give; b
No other cares that tend c
But them to defend c
From winter's age, A
That long there doth not live. b/abccAb

When as the luscious smell a
Of that delicious land, b
Above the seas that flows, c
The clear wind throws, c
Your hearts to swell a
Approaching the dear strand. b/abccab

In kenning of the shore, a
Thanks to God first given, b
O you, the happiest men, c
Be frolic then! c
Let cannons roar a
Frighting the wide heaven. b/abccab

And in regions far a
Such heroes bring ye forth, b
As those from whom we came; c
And plant our name c
Under that star a
Not known unto our north. b/abccab

And, as there plenty grows a
Of laurel everywhere, b
Apollo's sacred tree, c
You may it see c
A poet's brows a
To crown, that may sing there. b/abccab

Thy voyages attend, a
Industrious Hakluyt, b
Whose reading shall enflame c
Men to seek fame, c
And much commend a
To after-times thy wit. b/abccab

During his life Drayton was a disciple of Edmund Spenser. Also he showed tremendous admiration for the Horatian Ode structure named after its founder, Horace, the 1st Century-BC Latin poet.

The Horatian ode is a short lyric poem written in stanzas of two or four short verses. Horace's odes are intimate and reflective. They are often addressed to a friend and deal with such motifs as friendship, love and the practice of poetry. It is said too, that Drayton revised his work constantly by rewriting and reissuing them. Sometimes under different title, for the better or worse in the eyes of his critics. I believe that this behavior showed that he was indeed a stern critic of himself. Hence, as the oracles would have it, his odes of 1606 were revised and issued with additions and omissions in 1619.

Drayton's odes reflect acknowledgement of his indebtedness to Horace's poetic style as seen in his short verses. Also, a great testament of his zeal to come away from his customary long verses for which he is known, and for what his critics alluded to their long-windedness and quite boring. This criticism he addressed in his 1606 'Poems Lyric and Pastoral' that consist of odes and eclogues all nearly composed in short, decisive verses, a medium that English poetry has always found difficult.

Yes indeed, he used short verses for the Horace's style "Ode to the Virginian Voyage" but with sexain stanzas as oppose to restricting the stanzas to two or four verses. So what I can see is that he has shortened the verses but lengthened the stanzas. So then, would "Ode to the Virginian Voyage" be considered still as an Horatian ode or an Irregular ode because it does not follow the two- or four-verse stanza that typifies the Horatian ode? Yes, for I suppose Drayton would contend that it meets all the criteria for the Horatian spirit and even when it is presented in this manner with the rhyme scheme abcc ab. Take a look.

Ode to the Virginian Voyage

You brave heroic minds, a
Worthy your country's name, b
That honour still pursue, c
Go and subdue! c/abcc

Whilst loit'ring hinds a
Lurk here at home with shame. b/ab

Britons, you stay too long; a
Quickly aboard bestow you, b
And with a merry gale c
Swell your stretch'd sail, c/abcc

With vows as strong a
As the winds that blow you! b/ab

Your course securely steer, a
West and by south forth keep; b
Rocks, lee-shores, nor shoals, c
16 When Æolus scowls, c/abcc

You need not fear, a
So absolute the deep. b/ab

And cheerfully at sea a
Success you still entice b
To get the pearl and gold, c
And ours to hold c/abcc
Virginia, a
Earth's only paradise! b/ab

Where nature hath in store a
Fowl, venison, and fish, b
And the fruitful'st soil, c
Without your toil, c/abcc

Three harvests more, a
All greater than your wish. b/ab

And the ambitious vine a
Crowns with his purple mass, b
The cedar reaching high c
To kiss the sky, c/abcc

The cypress, pine, a
And useful sassafras; b/ab

To whose the golden age a
Still nature's laws doth give; b
No other cares that tend c
But them to defend c/abcc
From winter's age, a
That long there doth not live. b/ab

When as the luscious smell a
Of that delicious land, b
Above the seas that flows, c
The clear wind throws, c/abcc

Your hearts to swell a
Approaching the dear strand. b/ab

In kenning of the shore, a
Thanks to God first given, b
O you, the happiest men, c
Be frolic then! c/abcc

Let cannons roar a
Frighting the wide heaven. b/ab

And in regions far a
Such heroes bring ye forth, b
As those from whom we came; c
And plant our name c/abcc

Under that star a
Not known unto our north. b/ab

And, as there plenty grows a
Of laurel everywhere, b
Apollo's sacred tree, c
You may it see c/abcc

A poet's brows a
To crown, that may sing there. b/ab

Thy voyages attend, a
Industrious Hakluyt, b
Whose reading shall enflame c
Men to seek fame, c/abcc

And much commend a
To after-times thy wit. b/ab

Michael Drayton who was an English poet came to prominence in the Elizabethan Era. He was born in Hartshill, Warwickshire in 1563. He married Anne, the daughter of Sir Henry Goodeere. She became his inspiration for his 1619 'Idea' a voluminous set of sonnets. He died in London in 1631 on or close to his sixty-eighth birthday and a monument placed over him by the Countess of Dorset. It bears memorial lines attributed to Ben Jonson.

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