Examples for Module 4: Poetry

5. Algernon Charles Swinburne: Sestina

This example features a so-called 'Sestina', a highly structured verse form consisting of 6 six-line stanzas followed by 1 three-line stanza. While the same set of six words conclude the lines of each stanza, in each stanza they occur in a different order. Since Swinburne in this example adheres to a strictly alternating rhyming scheme (if the internal rhyme of the tercet is not taken into account), the line ending patterns in this example vary from the traditional structural pattern for a sestina.
In this example, the rhyming scheme is indicated per stanza, using the @rhyme attribute on the stanza's <lg> element. Rhyming words are marked with <rhyme> elements, with a @label attribute indicating their place in the rhyming scheme. In order to trace the line ending scheme, the ending words of the first stanza have been identified with a @xml:id attribute. Since they were already marked with a <rhyme> element, identification happens on this level. In the other stanzas, each line ending word is connected to its counterpart of the first stanza with a @corresp attribute. This is one of the global linking attributes, whose value formalises a correspondence relationship with another identified element (see P5 16.4 Correspondence and Alignment). Since the reference is to a local element (an identified element in the same document), its value takes the form of a shorthand local pointer by simply preceding the target's @xml:id value with a hash sign #. Here too, the <rhyme> element provides a sufficient peg for pointing out this correspondence. Otherwise, if no other element would have been available, a <seg> element could be introduced for identifying or referring to a span of text.
<lg type="sestina">
<lg type="sestet" rhyme="ababab">
<l>I saw my soul at rest upon a <rhyme label="a" xml:id="A">day</rhyme></l>
<l>As a bird sleeping in the nest of <rhyme label="b" xml:id="B">night</rhyme>,</l>
<l>Among soft leaves that give the starlight <rhyme label="a" xml:id="C">way</rhyme></l>
<l>To touch its wings but not its eyes with <rhyme label="b" xml:id="D">light</rhyme>;</l>
<l>So that it knew as one in visions <rhyme label="a" xml:id="E">may</rhyme>,</l>
<l>And knew not as men waking, of <rhyme label="b" xml:id="F">delight</rhyme>.</l>
</lg>
<lg type="sestet" rhyme="ababab">
<l>This was the measure of my soul's <rhyme label="a" corresp="#F">delight</rhyme>;</l>
<l>It had no power of joy to fly by <rhyme label="b" corresp="#A">day</rhyme>,</l>
<l>Nor part in the large lordship of the <rhyme label="a" corresp="#D">light</rhyme>;</l>
<l>But in a secret moon-beholden <rhyme label="b" corresp="#C">way</rhyme></l>
<l>Had all its will of dreams and pleasant <rhyme label="a" corresp="#B">night</rhyme>,</l>
<l>And all the love and life that sleepers <rhyme label="b" corresp="#E">may</rhyme>.</l>
</lg>
<lg type="sestet" rhyme="ababab">
<l>But such life's triumph as men waking <rhyme label="a" corresp="#E">may</rhyme></l>
<l>It might not have to feed its faint <rhyme label="b" corresp="#F">delight</rhyme></l>
<l>Between the stars by night and sun by <rhyme label="a" corresp="#A">day,</rhyme></l>
<l>Shut up with green leaves and a little <rhyme label="b" corresp="#D">light;</rhyme></l>
<l>Because its way was as a lost star's <rhyme label="a" corresp="#C">way,</rhyme></l>
<l>A world's not wholly known of day or <rhyme label="b" corresp="#B">night.</rhyme></l>
</lg>
<lg type="sestet" rhyme="ababab">
<l>All loves and dreams and sounds and gleams of <rhyme label="a" corresp="#B">night</rhyme></l>
<l>Made it all music that such minstrels <rhyme label="b" corresp="#E">may,</rhyme></l>
<l>And all they had they gave it of <rhyme label="a" corresp="#F">delight;</rhyme></l>
<l>But in the full face of the fire of <rhyme label="b" corresp="#A">day</rhyme></l>
<l>What place shall be for any starry <rhyme label="a" corresp="#D">light,</rhyme></l>
<l>What part of heaven in all the wide sun's <rhyme label="b" corresp="#C">way?</rhyme></l>
</lg>
<lg type="sestet" rhyme="ababab">
<l>Yet the soul woke not, sleeping by the <rhyme label="a" corresp="#C">way,</rhyme></l>
<l>Watched as a nursling of the large-eyed <rhyme label="b" corresp="#B">night,</rhyme></l>
<l>And sought no strength nor knowledge of the <rhyme label="a" corresp="#A">day,</rhyme></l>
<l>Nor closer touch conclusive of <rhyme label="b" corresp="#F">delight,</rhyme></l>
<l>Nor mightier joy nor truer than dreamers <rhyme label="a" corresp="#E">may,</rhyme></l>
<l>Nor more of song than they, nor more of <rhyme label="b" corresp="#D">light.</rhyme></l>
</lg>
<lg type="sestet" rhyme="ababab">
<l>For who sleeps once and sees the secret <rhyme label="a" corresp="#D">light</rhyme></l>
<l>Whereby sleep shows the soul a fairer <rhyme label="b" corresp="#C">way</rhyme></l>
<l>Between the rise and rest of day and <rhyme label="a" corresp="#B">night,</rhyme></l>
<l>Shall care no more to fare as all men <rhyme label="b" corresp="#E">may,</rhyme></l>
<l>But be his place of pain or of <rhyme label="a" corresp="#F">delight,</rhyme></l>
<l>There shall he dwell, beholding night as <rhyme label="b" corresp="#A">day.</rhyme></l>
</lg>
<lg type="tercet" rhyme="abbaab">
<l>Song, have thy <rhyme label="a" corresp="#A">day</rhyme> and take thy fill of <rhyme label="b" corresp="#D">light</rhyme></l>
<l>Before the <rhyme label="b" corresp="#B">night</rhyme> be fallen across thy <rhyme label="a" corresp="#C">way;</rhyme></l>
<l>Sing while he <rhyme label="a" corresp="#E">may</rhyme>, man hath no long <rhyme label="b" corresp="#F">delight.</rhyme></l>
</lg>
</lg>
[5]

Bibliography

[1] Based on a TEI P4 XML encoding of Blake, William (1789). Songs of Innocence and of Experience. London: W Blake. Encoded and made available by the University of Virginia Library, Text Collection at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/BlaSong.html
[2] TBE crafted example encoding of Porphyria's Lover. In: Browning, Robert (1842), Dramatic Lyrics.
[3] TBE crafted example encoding of Carroll, Lewis (1865). Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. New York: D. Appleton and co., 37, based on its hypertext encoding at http://bootless.net/mouse.html.
[4] Based on a TEI P4 XML encoding of Islam, Mubina (2004). A Selection of Sonnets: electronic edition encoded in XML with a TEI DTD. Unpublished Master's Dissertation, London: University College London (based on Alexander, Peter (1978) The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. London: Collins.).
[5] TBE crafted example encoding of Sestina. In: Swinburne, Algernon Charles (1924), Swinburne's Collected Poetical Works. London: William Heinemann, 330-31.
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