Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Little Romanticism

I've been away from the blog for quite some time--I started to get taken up by working on classes and other things. I'm sorry about that.

My classes this semester are:

Heroes and Heroines of Japan (for first year students--a freshman seminar), and
Japanese Film and Literature (films and writing related to samurai and geisha)

I didn't set up any public blogs for these classes; I'm using a lot of copyrighted material so it made more sense to use the "Blackboard" facility the university offers. Perhaps it would be good to post a syllabus of the freshman seminar, at least--for the benefit of the world. I'll work on getting that done, although it might take a while.

In the meantime, here's a bit of Wordsworth. I was never much of a fan of Wordsworth when I was doing my English major long long ago (if I had to choose one of the Romantics I preferred Keats, though my real love was the blessed Frank O'Hara). However, last night I found myself within arm's length of a copy of The Prelude, and longing for a bit of brilliance, I had a look. Such a different sort of thing from haiku, isn't it? What would Buson have thought, had some space-time wormhole opened up and dropped it off in his mailbox? Or alternatively, would Wordsworth have been able to learn anything from Buson? Anyway, here's a fragment that I liked:

Nor, sedulous as I have been to trace
How Nature by extrinsic passion first
Peopled my mind with beauteous forms or grand,
And made me love them, may I well forget
How other pleasures have been mine, and joys
Of subtler origin; how I have felt,
Not seldom, even in that tempestuous time,
Those hallow'd and pure motions of the sense
Which seem, in their simplicity, to own
An intellectual charm, that calm delight
Which, if I err not, surely must belong
To those first-born affinities that fit
Our new existence to existing things,
And, in our dawn of being, constitute
The bond of union betwixt life and joy.

That's something like lines 571-585 of Book I. It goes on quite a lot after that.

I was looking for a nice bit about autumn, because autumn has finally made its slow golden progress down to our latitude here; I couldn't find anything particularly striking so I'm making do with "life and joy," which really should be enough for anyone.