'Changed' by Charles Stuart Calverley

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1I know not why my soul is rack'd:
2Why I ne'er smile as was my wont:
3I only know that, as a fact,
4I don't.
5I used to roam o'er glen and glade
6Buoyant and blithe as other folk:
7And not unfrequently I made
8A joke.

9A minstrel's fire within me burn'd.
10I'd sing, as one whose heart must break,
11Lay upon lay: I nearly learn'd
12To shake.
13All day I sang; of love, of fame,
14Of fights our fathers fought of yore,
15Until the thing almost became
16A bore.

17I cannot sing the old songs now!
18It is not that I deem then low;
19'Tis that I can't remember how
20They go.
21I could not range the hills till high
22Above me stood the summer moon:
23And as to dancing, I could fly
24As soon.

25The sports, to which with boyish glee
26I sprang erewhile, attract no more;
27Although I am but sixty-three
28Or four.
29Nay, worse than that, I've seem'd of late
30To shrink from happy boyhood -- boys
31Have grown so noisy, and I hate
32A noise.

33They fright me, when the beech is green,
34By swarming up its stem for eggs:
35They drive their horrid hoops between
36My legs: --
37It's idle to repine, I know;
38I'll tell you what I'll do instead:
39I'll drink my arrowroot, and go
40To bed.

Editor 1 Interpretation

"Poetry, Changed" by Charles Stuart Calverley: A Playful Critique on Traditional Poetry

As I read through "Poetry, Changed" by Charles Stuart Calverley, I couldn't help but feel excited about the clever and playful way in which the author critiques traditional poetry. Calverley uses his wit and humor to poke fun at the overly sentimental and formulaic nature of many poems that were popular in his time.

The poem begins with a declaration that poetry is changing and that the old ways of writing are no longer sufficient. Calverley writes, "Poetry's going/To the dogs, they say -/All the Muses knowing/Yardley's Mixture, Clay,/And a thing called Pears' Soap,/Common-sense and sound digestion,/That's the modern hope." Here, he is highlighting the fact that poetry is being influenced by commercial products and practical concerns, rather than lofty ideals and romantic notions.

Calverley then goes on to describe the old way of writing poetry, with its emphasis on flowery language and exaggerated emotions. He writes, "Verse, ere we despise it,/Was the true Bard's vocation;/But in these days, the Muses/Scorn such affectation." He is saying that the old way of writing poetry was too artificial and that modern poets are aiming for a more natural and straightforward style.

Throughout the poem, Calverley uses a variety of poetic devices to satirize traditional poetry. For example, in the third stanza, he writes, "None of your trumpery/Whimsical stuff, of course;/That's not the sort of thing/That finds its way to us." Here, he is mocking the overly sentimental and whimsical nature of traditional poetry, which he sees as outdated and irrelevant.

One of the most striking aspects of "Poetry, Changed" is the way in which Calverley subverts traditional poetic forms. For example, he uses a sonnet structure in the first stanza but then switches to a more free-flowing and experimental style in the rest of the poem. He also uses a range of different rhyming patterns and rhythms, which helps to create a sense of playfulness and unpredictability.

Another aspect of the poem that I found particularly interesting was the way in which Calverley uses language to create humor and irony. For example, in the fifth stanza, he writes, "Who cares for fields Elysian,/Or the more pacific ocean?/Poetry's no longer vision,/It's the mission of the lotion." Here, he is using the word "mission" in a humorous way, suggesting that modern poets are more concerned with promoting commercial products than with creating artistic masterpieces.

Despite its playful tone, "Poetry, Changed" is ultimately a serious critique of traditional poetry. Calverley is arguing that poetry needs to adapt and change in order to remain relevant to contemporary audiences. He is also suggesting that poetry should be more grounded in reality and less concerned with lofty ideals and romantic notions.

In conclusion, "Poetry, Changed" is a clever and entertaining poem that uses humor and wit to critique traditional poetry. Calverley's playful approach to language and form helps to underscore his argument that poetry needs to evolve and adapt in order to remain relevant to modern audiences. Whether you're a fan of traditional poetry or a lover of contemporary verse, "Poetry, Changed" is a must-read for anyone interested in the ongoing evolution of the art form.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry is a form of art that has been around for centuries, and it has undergone numerous changes over time. One of the most notable changes in poetry occurred during the Victorian era, where poets began to experiment with new forms and styles of writing. Charles Stuart Calverley's poem, "Poetry Changed," is a prime example of this shift in poetic style.

"Poetry Changed" is a satirical poem that pokes fun at the changing trends in poetry during the Victorian era. The poem is written in rhyming couplets, which was a popular form of poetry during this time. The use of rhyming couplets adds a playful tone to the poem, which is fitting given its satirical nature.

The poem begins with the speaker lamenting the changes in poetry, stating that "Poetry's dead, and gone to its reward." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is filled with sarcastic comments about the new trends in poetry. The speaker goes on to say that "The age of verse is past, that of prose begun," suggesting that poetry is no longer relevant in the modern era.

However, the speaker's comments are not entirely serious. Throughout the poem, there are hints of sarcasm and irony, which suggest that the speaker is not entirely convinced that poetry is dead. For example, the speaker states that "The bard no more with laurel leaves is crowned," but then goes on to say that "He wears a billycock instead." This line is a playful jab at the changing fashion trends of the time, which saw the traditional laurel wreath replaced with a more modern hat.

The poem also makes fun of the new forms of poetry that were emerging during the Victorian era. The speaker states that "The sonnet's length, alas! is out of date," and that "The ballad's obsolete." These comments are a clear reference to the new forms of poetry that were being developed during this time, such as free verse and the dramatic monologue. The speaker's comments suggest that these new forms of poetry are inferior to the traditional forms, and that they lack the beauty and elegance of the older styles.

However, the poem is not entirely dismissive of the new forms of poetry. The speaker acknowledges that "The lyric's now a mere suburban song," but then goes on to say that "It's not so much amiss." This line suggests that while the new forms of poetry may not be as elegant as the older styles, they still have some value.

Overall, "Poetry Changed" is a playful and satirical poem that pokes fun at the changing trends in poetry during the Victorian era. The poem is written in rhyming couplets, which adds to its playful tone. The speaker's comments are filled with sarcasm and irony, suggesting that while he may not entirely approve of the new forms of poetry, he is not entirely dismissive of them either. Ultimately, the poem is a reflection of the changing attitudes towards poetry during the Victorian era, and it serves as a reminder that even the most traditional forms of art can evolve and change over time.

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