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Saddle Question in Regard to Possible Poetry Reference
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Does these lines work at all as a saddle reference?
   
   
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atarica
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 Posted: Wed Jun 9th, 2010 08:17 pm
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Wondering if anyone could foresee how the following lines from The Phoenix and the Turtle could be reference to a saddle?

Let the bird of loudest lay,
On the sole Arabian tree,
Herald sad and trumpet be,
To whose sound chaste wings obey.


Arabian tree being a reference to the tree of an arabian style saddle and sole possibly a reference to the hardened leather used in soles.

It evokes Pegasus imagery to me. But not clear how well this saddle reference would work if at all.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jun 10th, 2010 08:26 am
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Dear Atarica: You're going to have to help us out a little more here, to begin with, by telling us who the author of the poem is, so that I and others can go look it up in its entirety on the Internet. This will allow us to get the meaning in the context that the author originally intended.

I'm not sure, either, why a survey on this topic would be needed -- ordinary responses would seem to be plenty for the purpose you intend. If there are no "survey" responses in a few days, I'll delete that function from your post. -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jun 10th, 2010 08:36 am
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Ahh, OK, I've gone to Google and found the piece in its entirety. It is by William Shakespeare, and runs thus:

LET the bird of loudest lay,
On the sole Arabian tree,
Herald sad and trumpet be,
To whose sound chaste wings obey.

But thou shrieking harbinger,
Foul precurrer of the fiend,
Augur of the fever's end,
To this troop come thou not near!

From this session interdict
Every fowl of tyrant wing,
Save the eagle, feather'd king:
Keep the obsequy so strict.

Let the priest in surplice white,
That defunctive music can,
Be the death-divining swan,
Lest the requiem lack his right.

And thou treble-dated crow,
That thy sable gender makest
With the breath thou givest and takest,
'Mongst our mourners shalt thou go.

Here the anthem doth commence:
Love and constancy is dead;
Phoenix and the turtle fled
In a mutual flame from hence.

So they loved, as love in twain
Had the essence but in one;
Two distincts, division none:
Number there in love was slain.

Hearts remote, yet not asunder;
Distance, and no space was seen
'Twixt the turtle and his queen:
But in them it were a wonder.

So between them love did shine,
That the turtle saw his right
Flaming in the phoenix' sight;
Either was the other's mine.

Property was thus appalled,
That the self was not the same;
Single nature's double name
Neither two nor one was called.

Reason, in itself confounded,
Saw division grow together,
To themselves yet either neither,
Simple were so well compounded,

That it cried, How true a twain
Seemeth this concordant one!
Love hath reason, reason none,
If what parts can so remain.

Whereupon it made this threne
To the phoenix and the dove,
Co-supremes and stars of love,
As chorus to their tragic scene.

Threnos.
Beauty, truth, and rarity,
Grace in all simplicity,
Here enclosed in cinders lie.

Death is now the phoenix' nest
And the turtle's loyal breast
To eternity doth rest,

Leaving no posterity:
'Twas not their infirmity,
It was married chastity.

Truth may seem, but cannot be:
Beauty brag, but 'tis not she;
Truth and beauty buried be.

To this urn let those repair
That are either true or fair
For these dead birds sigh a prayer.

* * * * * * * *

So, having read this, Atarica -- I think it unlikely that any part of it refers to a saddle. I think the "sole" is the "soul", and I think "the Arabian tree" is an oblique reference to the one miracle of damnation related in the New Testament, i.e. when Jesus curses the fig tree because it has not been fruitful: no more than the union of a turtle and a phoenix would be likely to be.

It is kind of nice to have someone start a wholly literary thread, though, so I appreciate your having written in to ask. -- Dr. Deb

Dorothy
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 Posted: Thu Jun 10th, 2010 06:38 pm
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Hello Atarica,

In my literary ignorance, I would take 'sole' at face value in this context to mean 'solitary'.

Nothing about the poem makes me think of saddles.

Dorothy

KevinLnds
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 Posted: Fri Jun 11th, 2010 05:17 pm
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Returning the discussion to literature and horses, I don't think that the passage refers to saddles.

However, Shakespeare refers to horses throughout the plays, both directly and metaphorically. In fact, horses are mentioned more often than any animal except dogs, and unlike the references to dogs, his comments about horses are almost always favorable. Dogs, and the people he compares to them, are to be pitied or scorned: Horses are to be admired.

I can think of only three unfavorable references to horses: In Coriolanus, a Senator says that Coriolanus will no more remember his mother than will an eight year old horse; In Richard II, Richard belittles his Barbary when he finds out the horse proudly bore the weight of the usurper Henry Bolingbroke (this is more a comment about Richard's character than his horse's), and then there is the horse Petruchio rides to his wedding in the Taming of the Shrew--"possessed with the glanders and like to mose in the chine, troubled with the lampas, infected with the fashions, full of windgall, sped with spavins, rayed with the yellows, past cure of the fives, stark spoiled with the staggers, begnawn with the bots, swayed in the back, and shoulder-shotten, near-legged before ...".

Here are more references:

In Richard III, Richard requests a specific horse for the battle at Bosworth Field
In Henry V, "Steed threatens steed in high and boastful neighs."
In Henry V, the Dauphin describes his horse as his mistress.
In Henry IV, Prince Harry (the future Henry V) tells his aged friend Falstaff that he has been "uncolted." Every scholar I've read says that means that Falstaff lacks his horse, but we know that it really means that Falstaff lacks his balls.
In the Merry Wives of Windsor, Mr. Ford says he would rather trust his ambling gelding to a horse thief than trust his wife.

The best is in As You Like It, where Rosalind uses horse gaits as a metaphor for time.

Rosalind: By no means, sir. Time travels in divers paces with divers persons. I'll tell you who Time ambles withal, who Time trots withal, who Time gallops withal, and who he stands still withal.

Orlando: I prithee, who doth he trot withal?

Rosalind: Marry, he trots hard with a young maid between the contract of her marriage and the day it is solemnized. If the interim be but a sennight, Time's pace is so hard that it seems the length of seven years.

Orlando: Who ambles Time withal?

Rosalind: With a priest that lacks Latin and a rich man that hath not the gout; for the one sleeps easily because he cannot study, and the other lives merrily because he feels no pain; the one lacking the burden of lean and wasteful learning, the other knowing no burden of heavy tedious penury. These Time ambles withal.

Orlando: Who doth he gallop withal?

Rosalind: With a thief to the gallows; for though he go as softly as foot can fall, he thinks himself too soon there.

Orlando: Who stays it still withal?

Rosalind: With lawyers in the vacation; for they sleep between term and term, and then they perceive not how time moves.

[This is why I ride a Paso Fino--time ambles for me.]

This passage is also poorly explained in the literature because scholars have no idea what an amble is. It also underplayed or cut from performances because directors don't understand how powerful a metaphor for time it is, they not having the pleasure of horses in their lives.

Kevin


 

Val
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 Posted: Fri Jun 11th, 2010 06:10 pm
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Thank you!


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