Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yes, for I hate long Speeches

The Spectator, aka Joseph Addison, went to what was the equivalent, in his time, of an AWP conference, on April 23, 1711. While there, he misplaced a page of notes he'd made for himself. He describes the lost sheet thusly: "a whole Sheetful of Hints, that would look like a Rhapsody of Nonsense to any Body but myself: There is nothing in them but Obscurity and Confusion, Raving and Inconsistency. In short, they are my Speculations in the first Principles, that (like the World in its Chaos) are void of all Light, Distinction, and Order." A wiseguy found these notes, and read them aloud - to general hilarity. I present them here as a surrogate for my own notes, tossed in the recycling, about this year's AWP conference in Chicago, now thankfully over. I regard the following as a conceptual poem avant la lettre - so there!!

Sir Roger de Coverly's Country Seat--Yes, for I hate long Speeches--Query, if a good Christian may be a Conjurer--Childermas-day, Saltseller, House-Dog, Screech-owl, Cricket--. Mr. Thomas Inkle of London, in the good Ship called The Achilles. Yarico--Ægrescitique medendo--Ghosts--The Lady's Library--Lion by Trade a Taylor--Dromedary called Bucephalus--Equipage the Lady's summum bonum-- Charles Lillie to be taken notice of Spectator, together with Mrs. Baldwin of Warwick Lane, as a chief agent for the sale of the Paper. To the line which had run 'LONDON: Printed for Sam. Buckley, at the Dolphin in Little Britain; and Sold by A. Baldwin in Warwick-Lane; where Advertisements are taken in;' there was then appended: 'as also by Charles Lillie, Perfumer, at the Corner of Beaufort-Buildings in the Strand.' Nine other agents, of whom complete sets could be had, were occasionally set forth together with these two in an advertisement; but only these are in the colophon.";--Short Face a Relief to Envy--Redundancies in the three Professions-King Latinus a Recruit--Jew devouring an Ham of Bacon--Westminster Abbey--Grand Cairo--Procrastination--April Fools-Blue Boars, Red Lions, Hogs in Armour--Enter a King and two Fidlers solus-- Admission into the Ugly Club--Beauty, how improveable-Families of true and false Humour--The Parrot's School-Mistress--Face half Pict half British--no Man to be an Hero of Tragedy under Six foot-Club of Sighers--Letters from Flower-Pots, Elbow-Chairs. Tapestry-Figures, Lion, Thunder--The Bell rings to the Puppet-Show-Old-Woman with a Beard married to a smock-faced Boy--My next Coat to be turned up with Blue-Fable of Tongs and Gridiron-Flower Dyers--The Soldier's Prayer--Thank ye for nothing, says the Gally-Pot--Pactolus in Stockings, with golden Clocks to them-Bamboos, Cudgels, Drumsticks--Slip of my Landlady's eldest Daughter--The black Mare with a Star in her Forehead--The Barber's Pole-WILL. HONEYCOMB'S Coat-pocket--Caesar's Behaviour and my own in Parallel Circumstances--Poem in Patch-work--Nulli gravis est percussus Achilles--The Female Conventicler--The Ogle Master.

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