(Poem #1083) Shakesperian Readings - 3
My father had a daughter got a man, As it might be, perhaps, were I good-looking, I should, your lordship. And what's her residence? A hut my lord, she never owned a house, But let her husband, like a graceless scamp, Spend all her little means, -- she thought she ought, -- And in a wretched chamber, on an alley, She worked like masons on a monument, Earning their bread. Was not this love indeed?
Note: A parody of Viola's speech in Twelfth Night, II.iv.107-15 [Viola] My father had a daughter lov'd a man As it might be perhaps, were I a woman, I should your lordship. [Orsino] And what's her history? [Viola] A blank, my lord; she never told her love, But let concealment like a worm i' th' bud Feed on her damask cheek; she pin'd in thought, And with a green and yellow melancholy She sate like Patience on a monument, Smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed? (http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/poems/caryph6.html#3.1n) Cary collected three separate parodies together under the title "Shakesperian [sic] Readings"; since they were entirely distinct otherwise I decided to run this one as a standalone poem. Today's skilful little parody is a deceptively gentle commentary on the difference between Romance and Reality. Cary cleaves very closely indeed to the Shakespearean original, following the structure, development and even the sound of Viola's lines, twisting them subtly but deftly. This is a true parody (as opposed to a pastiche) insofar as it satirises the original at the same time as it follows its form. The poem's opening salvo, "as it might be, perhaps, were I good looking", sets the tone admirably, contrasting at once the pragmatism of Cary's narrator with Viola's deliberate dissemblings. The rest of the poem develops the theme, contrasting the unglamorous but oft-encountered case of a poor woman slaving to support a wastrel husband with the 'romantic' heroine pining away for a love she will not name. Cary's heroine, we feel, cannot afford the time for such self-inflicted griefs; her problems are far more real and concrete. The main impact of the poem, though, lies in its final line, the one that mirrors precisely Shakespeare's, and invites the reader to ponder the same question - "Was this not love indeed?". And the implication is, definitely, that they can't *both* be right. martin Links: Another parody that follows the sound of the original closely is Bierce's "Elegy" (Poem #400) All three Shakesperian Readings: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/poems/caryph6.html And a nascent Collection of parodies on Minstrels: [broken link] http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/collections/41.html