Thinking on Hesperides, Muses
A growing doubt put me through my paces:
Do they love us,
And our pretty faces?
For we men are prone to idolatry,
And of that they ask no apology.
See any array of feminine statuary,
They seem content with their mythology.
And I would remind the men that marry,
That our brides make no sculptuary,
For the tribe of Tom, Dick or Harry.
Nor do they personify, the virtues masculine
of Guy or guy, in figures legendary.
There are no Gracos, Musers or Hesperados,
Our sisters sing no hymns to such desperados.
And while they have many talents to discover,
When will they paint the Mona Lisa’s brother?
And why no verse and oratory
To the universe of our glory?
What’s the story,
are we so ordinary?
My reply is negatory.
There is no need to bronze a paragon like Ron,
To carve a steed named Hugh into a statue,
Or marble Dave, already suave in his man-cave,
And launch a thousand ships, to bring back Skip.
Our poetesses need no such excesses.
For every man is grand,
and when a woman takes his hand,
She is flown to Shang-Ri-Land,
His well earned reward are her caresses.
So dear women, do not apologize,
For your failure to mythologize.
For in our natural state,
There is nothing much to hate.
‘Tis your fate to be tongued-tied,
When you contemplate your mate.
And so I close this song of Orpheus,
For fear of an approaching chorus,
Some reproach by a throng of Maenads,
Who appear to be quite mad … Egad!
Yes, this does rely on some made up words, and incorrect pronunciations. “Guy” should be the French version too.
Here lies my poor homage to Robert Herrick. And my apologies for departing from poems about a more worthy Subject. However, when I read a poet, I find I want to write a poem like they did. When I read Peguy, I tried writing poems like Peguy … And now I am reading Herrick. And I can’t move onto my next poem until I get an idea out of my system.
Herrick was very witty, and though a minister, he liked to write about the battle of the sexes. So I wrote a poem he might like, if he was around now. I agree with the advice of the poetry teachers I am reading that you shoud read from a great variety of poets. Imitation is a good learning method.
Herrick is very readable, and his entire output, over 1000 poems, is collected in Hesperides and Noble Numbers. They are available in ebook form on Kindle or at iBooks. I would recommend the 1898 combined edition, Volume 1 and 2, with the preface by Swinburne at the iBooks store. That one is free, and has notes to explain archaic words.