Saturday, August 12, 2006

"The glee and the glow"       [gnomic riff]

A rough row you hoe
a tough tow although
the gruff and the sloe-
eyed laugh in the floe

why go with the flow?
why flirt with the foe?
the gnostic may know
the dance of the doe

miraculous dough
depends from the bough!
the glee and the glow
are pleasure enow


-- enow being an archaic variant for (but non-identical in pronunciation to) "enough." My locus classicus for "enow" is Edward Fitzgerald's version of Omar Khayyam's line:
And wilderness were paradise enow
Of course, Fitzgerald (like Coleridge) constructed (in the 19th century) what was to some degree a consciously archaic style. (I suspect very few writers used "enow" so recently as the 19th century, in short.)


The above poem was occasioned by a quatrain riff posted by Mark Granier --
Like the Swedish girl
I used to know,
whose plough was 'pluff'
and tough was 'toe'.
responsive to Ron Silliman's remark,
Though, to my eye, will always rhyme with cough. Plus there is a long (and better) heritage using such abbreviations -- Olson, Duncan, Blackburn, etc.
The antecedents of which latter observation (concerning, inter alia, a reader's cavil against (or, exception taken to) Ron's preferred spelling "tho") can be perused in the relevant comments stream.


The above is how I (mis)recallected the Fitzgerald/Khayyam line. According to one source, this is how Khayyam's rubai reads in Fitzgerald's first edition (1959):

  Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
  A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse -- and Thou
  Beside me singing in the Wilderness --
  And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

This is Fitzgerald's recasting of the verse in his second (more widely-circulated) edition (1868):

  A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
  A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread -- and Thou
  Beside me singing in the Wilderness --
  Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

[So: my recollected line combines elements of both Fitzgerald versions. Thus doth memory amalgamate.]


The googled scholar/compiler also offers Wendy Cope's more recent version or riff on the same:
Here with a Bag of Crisps beneath the Bough,
A Can of Beer, a Radio –- and Thou
Beside me half asleep in Brockwell Park
And Brockwell Park is Paradise enow.


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