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|An extracurricular activity "Spring and love in the world of English poetry and music”, lecturer Babenko O.V. |
Students – 30
Visual aids- a projector, decoration of the classroom, a computer
1 Lecturer: Dear students, dear guests you are welcome to the extracurricular activity of the English club “Spring and love in the world of English poetry and music”. Spring has come. More often and often we may hear birds’ singing, see the different colours of flowers, enjoy the fresh air, sunny weather and fluids of happiness and love. The hectic pace of modern life has a negative effect on the human spirit.
As a Welsh poet W. H. Davies warned:
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Today we would like to invite you to have an exciting trip into the remote past with the help of our imaginary Time Machine. It will carry us into the beautiful world of English poetry and music. We’ll definitely have time to stand and stare.
Nastya and Svitlana will help us in this travelling
2. So, with this help of imaginary Time Machine great poets of the past are here. Meet them and then a bit later we’ ll launch longer at each of the station.
George Gordon Byron
Percy Bysshe Shelley
3 - Let’s make the first turn of our Time Machine and you will find yourselves in the 14th century when the greatest English poet Geoffrey Chaucer lived and worked.
- Mr. Geoffrey Chaucer, introduce yourself.
I was born in 1340 died in 1400. I am the first great writer in English literature and am called the “father of English poetry”. I was born in London in the family of a wine merchant in 1340. At 17, I became a page to a lady at the court of Edward III. At 20, I was in France, serving as an esquire. During 1373 and the next few years I travelled much and lived a busy life. I went to France and made three journeys to Italy. Italian literature opened to me a new world of art.
When I came back to London, I received the post of Controller of the Customs in the port of London. I held my position for 10 years, but my duties grew very tiresome. I asked the King several times for permission to give up my post. Finally, the King granted me a pension so that I could devote more time to my writings. I died in 1400 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
- Are you the last English writer of the Middle Ages and the first of the Renaissance?
Yes, I am the last English writer of the Middle Ages and the first of the Renaissance.
- How many periods are there in your literary activity?
There are 3 periods in my literary activity: the French Period when “The Romance of the Rose” was written; the Italian Period when I wrote such poems as “The House of Fame”, “The Parliament of Birds”, “The Legend of Good Women” and the English Period. It was at this time when I wrote my masterpiece, “The Canterbury Tales”.
- Oh, we know a lot about this collection of stories. It is told by a group of pilgrims who were travelling from London to Canterbury They are people from different social ranks and occupations. There is a knight, a yeoman, a nun, a monk, a merchant, a clerk, myself and others. Each of the travellers tells a different kind of story showing his own views and character. Some are comical, gay, silly, witty or romantic, others are serious and even tragic.
Yes, you are quite right. At first, I planned to write 120 stories, but only 24 were completed. Two of the stories are written in prose and the others are written in verse. They were so popular that I was invited to read my stories to the king and royal court.
Why were people travelling from London to Canterbury?
Because there is a Canterbury Cathedral there. It was a famous pilgrimage site because it contained the shrine (a place for remembering) of Saint Thomas Becket.
What did he do?
Thomas Becket had been the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1100s. He had an argument with his old friend, King Henry II, and in 1170 he was murdered by some of the King's knights on order from the King. The King felt very sad and guilty. He had a magnificent tomb built for his old friend.
People began to visit the tomb. Soon, some people said that Thomas Becket was a saint, and that his bones could work miracles. He is regarded as a martyr for the Christian faith and as a saint by both the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. In the late Middle Ages his shrine made Canterbury one of the four most important pilgrimage places in Europe.
Thank you very much for your questions. And I’d like you to listen to the general prologue to the “The Canterbury Tales” in Middle English and then I’ll read it in Modern English for you. It deals with spring and travelling. Listen up and enjoy.
When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.
And specially from every shire's end
Of England they to Canterbury wend,
The holy blessed martyr there to seek
Who helped them when they lay so ill and weak
4. We are to grateful for you , Mister Chaucer, and would like to give you a musical present
5. Well, now we are flying in our Time Machine to the 16th century to meet a legendary writer of all times - William Shakespeare.
Little is known about the events of William Shakespeare's life. Let’s listen to him.
was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, probably on April 23rd. My father, a glover by trade, was a prominent local figure who held important positions in the government of the town. My mother came from a prosperous local family. I attended Stratford grammar school, but I did not go on to study at university. When I was eighteen I married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years senior, and six months later our first child Susanna was born, followed three years later by twins Hamnet and Judith. Then I left Stratford.
Why did you leave Stratford?
But I had to leave Stratford to avoid being arrested for poaching.
I went to London where he did a series of jobs, including holding theatre-goers' horses outside playhouses. Eventually I became an actor, and by 1592 I was sufficiently well-known as a dramatist.
Were you respected and loved other dramatists?
No, of course, not. I was the subject of an attack by the playwright Robert Greene (1558-1592). He wrote a pamphlet in which he complained that uneducated dramatists were becoming more popular than university men like himself. In it he called Shakespeare 'an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers'.
Who helped you to be promoted in the capital?
I mixed in high social circles and the Earl of Southampton, to whom I dedicated my sonnets, became my patron and friend.
In 1595 I joined an important company of actors called The Lord Chamberlain's Men (later changed to The King's Men) and performed at court. The Earl of Southampton invested in the building of the Globe Theatre.
Later in 1597 I bought the finest house in Stratford.
I retired to my hometown in 1611, where I died on April 23rd 1616.
How many plays did you write?
I wrote thirty-seven plays in a period of about twenty years, from 1591 to 1611.
What sources for your plays did you use?
He used many sources for my plays including the classical Greek and Latin writings of Plutarch and Plautus, the Italian works, English, Scottish and Irish works.(1577).
Was it difficult to publish your plays?
I never published my plays. In 1623, seven years after my death, two former actors and friends of mine, Heminge and Condell, decided to publish the first collection of my plays. They restored them by memory.
How many periods are there in your literary activity?
The first period covers the years from 1590 to 1595 and was a period of learning and experimentation.
The second period, from 1596 to the turn of the century, Shakespeare focused
on chronicle plays and comedies and it is generally agreed that it was during these years that he
wrote his best comedies, including The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado
About Nothing, As You Like It and Twelfth Night, which base their comedy on a wide range of themes
such as the pain and pleasure of love, mistaken identity and the degrading of materialistic and
Third Period During the third period, from 1600 to 1608, Shakespeare wrote his great tragedies.
These plays have given world theatre unforgettable characters such as Hamlet, King Lear, Othello
The comedies that were written in this period no longer have the bright, optimistic appeal of earlier
works. The darker elements that are found in works such as Measure for Measure seem to suggest that
Shakespeare was experiencing difficulties in his personal life which made his outlook rather
Shakespeare's reputation is based on:
Fourth Period A return to a happier state of mind is reflected in the plays of the final period from
1609 to 1612. The Tempest, for example, is set in the ideal world of an enchanted island where an
atmosphere of magic, music, romance and harmony prevails.
Many of the lines from my plays are so memorable that they have become everday sayings in the English language, for example
All's Well That Ends Well (title of a play),
We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Listen to many, speak to a few.
How many sonnets did you write?
The sonnets have been conventionally divided into two groupings:
Sonnets 1-126 are addressed to or concern an unnamed 'fair youth', probably Shakespeare's friend
and patron the Earl of Southampton.
Sonnets 127-154 are about a woman who is conventionally referred to as the 'dark lady',
Do you like sonnets? Which of them can you recite?
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
6. Dear Master, we adore not only your sonnets but comedies, tragedies, chronicle plays and ready to perform one scene from Romeo and Juliet.
7 And now our Time Machine will land in the capital of Great Britain, London at the end of the 19th century. So, meet George Gordon Byron.
George Gordon Byron (1788 – 1824).
I am the great romantic poet, was born in London, in 1788 in an old aristocratic family. At 17, I entered Cambridge University and there my literary career began. In 1807 I published my first collection of poems “Hours of Idleness”. In 1808 I graduated from the University and in 1809 I left England for a long journey. I visited Portugal, Spain, Albania, Greece and Turkey. I described my travels in a long poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”. Between 1813 and 1816 “Oriental Tales”: “The Giaour”, “The Corsair”, “Lara” and others were composed. In 1817 I went to Italy and lived there until 1823. In Italy many of my best poems: “Don Juan”, “The Vision of Judgement” and “The Age of Bronze” were written.
What else are you famous for?
I am also famous for the way I lived my life. I was a dandy, living extravagantly, with many love affairs and debts.
In 1823 I went to Greece and joined the local people in their struggle for independence against Turkey. The struggle for independence had become the aim of my life. In the Greek town of Missolongi I fell ill with typhus and died in April 18th, 1824. I was only 36 years old.
My friends brought my body to England and I was buried in Newstead, my native place. Only in 1969 the authorities finally allowed my remains to be buried in the Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.
We would like you to tell us about one of the most famous poems “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”.
Ok. It is a story about travel, history and politics. Childe Harold is a young aristocrat, who is not happy in his country. He goes travelling and hopes to find happiness among people far from civilization.
When the poem first appeared in print, many people believed that my own character was presented in the person of Childe Harold but I deny it. I considere myself to be an active fighter for freedom, while Harold was merely a passive onlooker.
And I would like to recite the fragment of the poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”
You know, Childe Harold leaves his country for Portugal and Spain; when his ship is far from the shores of England, he says Good Night to his Motherland.
Adieu! Adieu! My native shore
Fades o’er the waters blue;
The night-winds sigh, the breakers roar,
And shrieks the wild sea-mew.
Yon sun that sets upon the sea
We follow in his flight.
Farewell awhile to him and thee,
My native Land – Good Night!
Will you help me to continue?
S. A few short hours and he will rise
To give the morrow birth;
And I shall hail the main and skies,
But not my mother earth.
Deserted is my own good hall,
Its hearth is desolate;
Wild weeds are growing on the wall,
My dog howls at the gate.
Fantastic. I’m in delight. The poem musical and pleasant to read. The speaker is sorrowful to leave his native land, he loves his land but looks forward.
Can you recite this poem in translation into your mother tongue?
Thank you very much. Such a melodic language./ Well, next meeting. Will you promise?
8 - I think our Time Machine will stay in the capital of Great Britain, London at the end of the 18th century. So, meet JOHN KEATS .
JOHN KEATS (1 7 9 5 - 1 8 2 1 )
Early years I was born in London, where my father was the manager of a large livery stable. My early life was marked by a series of personal tragedies: my father was killed in an accident when I was eight years old, my mother died when I was fourteen and one of my younger brothers died in infancy. I received relatively little formal education and at age sixteen I b e c a m e an apprentice t o an apothecary-surgeon. My first a t t e m p t s at writing poetry date from the years of my apprenticeship and include Imitation of Spenser. In 1817 I left London and travelled around the Lake District, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where I was
impressed by t h e beautiful rugged landscape. W h e n I returned from my travels I nursed my
brother Tom through the final stages of tuberculosis. My own health was beginning to fail.
Many of my shorter poems are among the best known in English literature, including the ballad "La Belle Dame sans Merci" and my sonnets and odes.Some of them were connected with Greek mythology.
-Why are you called one of the great letter writers in the English language?
_ I was an active letter-writer throughout my life, like many people of that time. Hundreds of my letters to friends and relatives have survived, and that’s why I am often called as one of the great letter writers in the English language.
I never stopped writing. In 1820 I settled in Rome, where I died in February 1821 at the age of twenty-five.
- What poem would you like to recite?
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.
- An amazing poem about love to nature and motherland.
9 The next destination of our Time Machine is Horsham, Sussex, a birthplace of Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Meet, Percy Bysshe Shelley.
I was born (4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) was an English poet of the early nineteenth century. I am widely thought of as one of most important poets of the Romantic movement in English literature. Some of my poems, like Ozymandias and Ode to the West Wind, are among the most famous in English.
I was born in Horsham, Sussex. I was the son of a member of Parliament. I attended the University of Oxford, for only one year but was expelled for being an atheist. I married young a few times. My wife was Mary Godwin; she later became famous as Mary Shelley, the author of the novel Frankenstein.
I left England and spent much of my life travelling in Europe, especially in Italy. I became a close friend of poet Lord Byron, who also left England and travelled in Europe because of controversy at home. I continued to write poetry throughout this time; I wrote several major works, like the verse drama The Cenci and long poems like Alastor and Adonais, as well as many shorter poems.
Were you one of a trio of important English Romantic poets?
About a month before my 30th birthday, I drowned in a boating accident off the coast of Italy. I was one of a trio of important English Romantic poets of the same generation who died young; the other two were Lord Byron and John Keats.
I’d like to dedicate one of my favorite poems “Sensitive plan” to the weak sex of our meeting.
The Sensitive Plant
Author: Percy Bysshe Shelley
A Sensitive Plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light.
And closed them beneath the kisses of Night.
And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
But none ever trembled and panted with bliss
In the garden, the field, or the wilderness,
Like a doe in the noontide with love's sweet want,
As the companionless Sensitive Plant.
10. And now musical surprises from ladies of the 21-st century.
11 Now let’s make the last turn of our Time Machine and find ourselves at the end of the 18th in Scotland where Robert Burns was born.
So, I was born in Scotland in 1759. I’m the eldest of seven children. Although the family often had financial difficulties, I received a good education and was well-read.
Because of endless unhappy love stories I decided to leave Scotland and emigrate to the West Indies.
However, just as I was about to leave, my first book, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, was accepted for publication and was an immediate best-seller. I decided to stay in Scotland and moved to Edinburgh, where he became a national celebrity. The second edition of my poems sold 3,000 copies, an enormous number by the standards of the day.
The following year I married the woman with whom I had already had four children (and would have five more) and started to work on a collection of traditional Scottish folk songs which eventually ran to six volumes and is kept in the The Scots Musical Museum. The collection included 160 songs by Burns himself, including the world-famous Auld Lang Syne (Old Times Past) and the poem A Red, Red Rose.
Fame did not, however, bring a reliable income and I was obliged to take a job as a tax collector. Nevertheless, I continued transcribing traditional folk songs and writing songs. I had written 114 songs for my new book. I died at the age of thirty-seven.
-Did you write music to your lyrics?
-I tried, but as a rule I set them to the tune of traditional folk songs.
And some of my songs have been set to music by great composers such as Mendelssohn, Schumann, Haydn, Shostakovich and Beethoven
-Why are your poems and songs so popular?
-In my poems I sing with great sincerity of the simple joys of ordinary people, and the virtues of friendship, compassion and domestic life.
-What poem is the most popular in the 21-st century?
-“My Heart’s in the Highlands”.
-Will you recite with me?
My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer,
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go!
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birthplace of valour, the country of worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods!
My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer,
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go!
I also would like you to sing songs with me. They are magnificent.
One of them is “A Red, Red Rose”, the other "Auld Lang Syne"
I combined a common Scottish folk song with his own lyrics to arrive at the version commonly sung on New Year's Eve.
- What is this song about?
- Auld Lang Syne is about old friends who have parted and meet again. To celebrate their long friendship, they share a drink together and reminisce of memories from long ago. The basic message is that we should not forget our old friends and should celebrate a reunion with them. When the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, gather everyone together at your party or celebration to sing the New Years Song and remember the good memories of family and friends from long ago.
12 Dear poets would like to listen to favourite poems of our guests?
13 Dear ladies and gentlemen, we may talk and sing about spring and love long time but our poets should travel forth to the 22-nd century and we’ll wait for them next year with new stories and poems.
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