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Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 06, 2005 12:28PM

I ran across the poem below a couple of days ago, and was taken aback by the rhythm and the internal rhymes used. I was immediately reminded of Newman Levy and his Opera Guyed verses, that I know Pam enjoys along with me.

Since Gordon died in 1870 (In Australia, apparently a suicide with his own firearm) at only some 37 years old, I have to suspect that either Levy nicked the form from Gordon, or they both had it from a separate and earlier source. Levy was not born until 1888, that is, long after Gordon was gone.

[www.middlemiss.org] />

A LAY OF THE LOAMSHIRE HUNT CUP

"Aye, squire," said Stevens, "they back him at evens;
The race is all over, bar shouting, they say;
The Clown ought to beat her; Dick Neville is sweeter
Than ever - he swears he can win all the way.

"A gentleman rider - well, I'm an outsider,
But if he's a gent who the mischief's a jock?
You swells mostly blunder, Dick rides for the plunder,
He rides, too, like thunder - he sits like a rock.

"He calls 'hunted fairly' a horse that has barely
Been stripp'd for a trot within sight of the hounds,
A horse that at Warwick beat Birdlime and Yorick,
And gave Abdelkader at Aintree nine pounds.

"They say they have no test to warrant a protest;
Dick rides for a lord and stands in with a steward;
The light of their faces they show him - his case is
Prejudged and his verdict already secured.

"But none can outlast her, and few travel faster,
She strides in her work clean away from The Drag;
You hold her and sit her, she couldn't be fitter,
Whenever you hit her she'll spring like a stag.

"And p'rhaps the green jacket, at odds though they back it,
May fall, or there's no knowing what may turn up.
The mare is quite ready, sit still and ride steady,
Keep cool; and I think you may just win the Cup."

Dark-brown with tan muzzle, just stripped for the tussle,
Stood Iseault, arching her neck to the curb,
A lean head and fiery, strong quarters and wiry,
A loin rather light, but a shoulder superb.

Some parting injunction, bestowed with great unction,
I tried to recall, but forgot like a dunce,
When Reginald Murray, full tilt on White Surrey,
Came down in a hurry to start us at once.

"Keep back in the yellow! Come up on Othello!
Hold hard on the chestnut! Turn round on The Drag!
Keep back there on Spartan! Back you, sir, in tartan!
So, steady there, easy!" and down went the flag.

We started, and Kerr made strong running on Mermaid,
Through furrows that led to the first stake-and-bound,
The crack, half extended, look'd bloodlike and splendid,
Held wide on the right where the headland was sound.

I pulled hard to baffle her rush with the snaffle,
Before her two-thirds of the field got away;
All through the wet pasture where floods of the last year
Still loitered, they clotted my crimson with clay.

The fourth fence, a wattle, floor'd Monk and Bluebottle;
The Drag came to grief at the blackthorn and ditch,
The rails toppled over Redoubt and Red Rover,
The lane stopped Lycurgus and Leicestershire Witch.

She passed like an arrow Kildare and Cock Sparrow,
And Mantrap and Mermaid refused the stone wall;
And Giles on The Greyling came down at the paling,
And I was left sailing in front of them all.

I took them a burster, nor eased her nor nursed her
Until the Black Bullfinch led into the plough,
And through the strong bramble we bored with a scramble -
My cap was knock'd off by the hazel-tree bough.

Where furrows looked lighter I drew the rein tighter -
Her dark chest all dappled with flakes of white foam,
Her flanks mud-bespattered, a weak rail she shattered -
We landed on turf with our heads turn'd for home.

Then crash'd a low binder, and then close behind her
The sward to the strokes of the favourite shook;
His rush roused her mettle, yet ever so little
She shorten'd her stride as we raced at the brook.

She rose when I hit her. I saw the stream glitter,
A wide scarlet nostril flashed close to my knee,
Bewteen sky and water The Clown came and caught her,
The space that he cleared was a caution to see.

And forcing the running, discarding all cunning,
A length to the front went the rider in green;
A long strip of stubble, and then the big double,
Two stiff flights of rails with a quickset between.

She raced at the rasper, I felt my knees grasp her,
I found my hands give to her strain on the bit;
She rose when The Clown did - our silks as we bounded
Brush'd lightly, our stirrups clash'd loud as we lit.

A rise steeply sloping, a fence with stone coping -
The last - we diverged round the base of the hill;
His path was the nearer, his leap was the clearer,
I flogg'd up the straight and he led sitting still.

She came to his quarter, and on still I brought her,
And up to his girth, to his breastplate she drew,
A short prayer from Neville just reach'd me, "The Devil!"
He muttered - lock'd level the hurdles we flew.

A hum of hoarse cheering, a dense crowd careering,
All sights seen obscurely, all shouts vaguely heard;
"The green wins!" "The crimson!" The multitude swims on,
And figures are blended and features are blurr'd.

"The horse is her master!" "The green forges past her!"
"The Clown will outlast her!" "The Clown wins!" "The Clown!"
The white railing races with all the white faces,
The chestnut outpaces, outstretches the brown.

On still past the gateway she strains in the straightway,
Still struggles, "The Clown by a short neck at most,"
He swerves, the green scourges, the stand rocks and surges,
And flashes, and verges, and flits the white post.

Aye! so ends the tussle - I knew the tan muzzle
Was first, though the ring-men were yelling "Dead heat!"
A nose I could swear by, but Clarke said, "The mare by
A short head." And that's how the favourite was beat.


Here are some examples of the Levy rhymes:

[www.stolaf.edu] />
Newman is more consistent in creating internal rhymes in his stanzas, making the task an incredibly difficult one for the writer, but Gordon's is quite fascinating as well.

I would be interested in knowing if earlier examples of the same form have been seen, or if perhaps Gordon was the first to employ the catchy rhythm. Perhaps Ian has seen more of ALG's stuff from Australian sources?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2005 10:29AM by Hugh Clary.


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: PamAdams (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 06, 2005 01:21PM

Lovely stuff- a Dick Francis novel in rhyme!

I think that in this line, the word should be started, not stared. Stanza 10

We stared, and Kerr made strong running on Mermaid,

pam


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 06, 2005 03:47PM

Some of those internal rhymes bring to the fore some pretty obscure words, at least in this part of the globe:


Unction= smug, self-serving earnestness

snaffle=bit

wattle= framework fence

burster= a quantity of explosives set to explode

binder= (probably a hedge used as a jumping obstacle)

rasper= one who speaks rasply(?) or something which rasps

sward= grassy surface



Les

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2005 04:18PM by lg.


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 06, 2005 03:56PM

Thanks Les...good question...are they "known" there and not here?

I only knew Wattle, thought I knew Unction (as in Extreme Unction, what they used to call Last Rites)

Burster binder and rasper but with different meanings than quoted.


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: Linda (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 06, 2005 06:14PM

Snaffle as one type of bit is known here (UK) and sward is well known even if mainly used for Robin Hood type writing.

Wattle goes with daub (unless its an Australian plant) and so is a woven fence panel.
Curb is another type of bit. I think used to control horses who pull and run away with their rider. A snaffle is smooth.

Aintree is near Liverpool and is where the Grand National is run.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2005 06:22PM by Linda.


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: vic jefferies (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 06, 2005 07:29PM

Hugh,

Adam Lindsay Gordon was of course an englishman (born in the Azores) educated at Cheltenham College, who came to Australia "under a cloud" after some trouble concerning a horse.
He arrived in Adelaide, capital city of South Australia, where he became a policeman. He later became a member of parliament.
He was a legendary horseman and it is thought that head injuries he suffered whilst riding in horse races were a contributing factor to the depression which led to his suicide.
His book "Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes," was published the day before he died.
He is generally regarded as the father of the "Bush Poetry" style of poetry in Australia and his influence can be found in many of AB (Banjo) Paterson's, Henry Lawson's and their contemporaries' works.
The Sick Stockrider is perhaps his best known poem.
He is the only "Australian" poet to be represented in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey.


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: PamAdams (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 06, 2005 10:21PM

I admit that I took the fence descriptions the way that I do sailing descriptions in Patrick O'Brian novels- I just smile and nod.

I tried looking up rules for 'Hunted fairly," which from the context must mean that the horse is required to really be used for fox-hunting, rather than, as The Clown is, fresh from the race-course, but no use so far.

pam


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: PamAdams (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 06, 2005 10:25PM

The Poems of Adam Lindsay Gordon are available through Project Gutenberg.

[www.gutenberg.org] />
pam


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 07, 2005 10:34AM

Lovely stuff- a Dick Francis novel in rhyme!

Exactly what I thought!

I think that in this line, the word should be started, not stared. Stanza 10

Fixed, thanks. Thanks also for the Gutenberg link - lots of interesting stuff there.

One would think there were a name for those types of (triple internal) rhymes. I have been calling them 'leonine', but without any foundation, I admit.


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: PamAdams (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 07, 2005 12:51PM

And of course, this poem deals with class issues as well- and the difference between amateurs and pros. Love that second line!


"A gentleman rider - well, I'm an outsider,
But if he's a gent who the mischief's a jock?
You swells mostly blunder, Dick rides for the plunder,

pam


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 07, 2005 12:59PM

I'm a sucker for the plays on words

A hum of hoarse cheering



Les


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: IanB (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 13, 2005 10:38PM

Is Loamshire a real district in the UK, or is it fictional? If it is real, where is it?

It isn't mentioned in the place names index of the AAA Road Atlas.


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 14, 2005 12:05AM

Sinclair nicely christens this new Middle English world Xanaxshire (and so adds to the map of fictional English shires: George Eliot’s Loamshire, Jilly Cooper’s Rutshire, the Archers’ Borsetshire, Trollope’s Barsetshire, Edward Gorey’s Mortshire, Christopher Reid’s Bollockshire, and Tolkien’s ur-county, The Shire), and he develops a brilliant idiolect with which to deplore it. Venturing on foot into Xanaxshire’s “off-highway biosphere”, he encounters “a virtual landscape” of “industrial farmland . . . grassy knolls, business businesses and Glaxo colonies” (note the grassy knoll; Sinclair can never resist a hint of conspiracy). He moves through prairies of alien wheat, transected by roads; a countryside “stitched together from active or abandoned airfields, unpeopled farms, drowned villages and uncertain tracks that are visible only if you insist on them”. The emptier zones of farmland are pocked with “terracotta Travelodges”, “mysterious hangars” and industrial parks “polyfilled with generic architecture”, which “resemble supercity germ cultures grown in hyperspace”. This, he concludes, is the reality of the South-East, and the fate of the rest of the English countryside: an intensifying of “grunge, entropy, mismanagement”, “a preordained future of estate housing, retail parks, and out-of-town shopping cities”.


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: ns (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 14, 2005 01:18AM

I would be interested in knowing if earlier examples of the same form have been seen, or if perhaps Gordon was the first to employ the catchy rhythm. Perhaps Ian has seen more of ALG's stuff from Australian sources?

There is the form "Ghazal" that uses internal rhyme in its structure but in different manner to these examples. The structure of a ghazal is:

1st couplet:
Line 1 with monorhyme refrain
Line 2 with monorhyme refrain

2nd couplet:
Line 1 without a rhyme or refrain
Line 2 with monorhyme refrain

3rd couplet:
Line 1 without a rhyme or refrain
Line 2 with monorhyme refrain

... and so on till the poet (and maybe the reader) has had enough of the monorhyme and the refrain. It is not an easy form to write in.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/14/2005 02:08AM by ns.


Re: Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 - 1870)
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 14, 2005 12:46PM

Thanks. I have copies of both Levy's Opera Guyed and Theatre Guyed, but there is neither an explication there nor even an introduction or postscript (hmmm ... I used neither then nor and or - can that be correct?) in those books. Worse yet, the dude died some 30 years ago and is no longer available for me to worry him about it.




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