Thyrsis (poem)

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Thyrsis refers to Oxford's dreaming spires such as those on the left and right in this picture taken from the University Church of St Mary the Virgin Oxford Skyline Panorama from St Mary's Church - Oct 2006 (banner esVoy).jpg
Thyrsis refers to Oxford's dreaming spires such as those on the left and right in this picture taken from the University Church of St Mary the Virgin

"Thyrsis" (from the title of Theocritus's poem "Θύρσις") [1] is a poem written by Matthew Arnold in December 1865 to commemorate his friend, the poet Arthur Hugh Clough, who had died in November 1861 aged only 42. [2] [3]

Contents

Classical sources

The character Thyrsis was a shepherd in Virgil's seventh Eclogue , who lost a singing match against Corydon. The implication that Clough was a loser is hardly fair, given that he is thought by many to have been one of the greatest nineteenth-century poets (but see line 80: "For Time, not Corydon, hath conquer'd thee"). [2]

Arnold's decision to imitate a Latin pastoral is ironic in that Clough was best known for The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich , subtitled "a long-vacation pastoral": a thoroughly modern poem which broke all the rules of classical pastoral poetry.

Oxford's dreaming spires

And that sweet city with her dreaming spires,
She needs not June for beauty's heightening

From "Thyrsis" (1865)

Arnold's poem is remembered above all for its lines describing the view of Oxford from Boars Hill. Portions of Thyrsis also appear in An Oxford Elegy by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matthew Arnold</span> English poet and cultural critic (1822–1888)

Matthew Arnold was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the celebrated headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterised as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues. He was also an inspector of schools for thirty-five years, and supported the concept of state-regulated secondary education.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pastoral</span> Literary, art, and music genre that takes its name from the lifestyle of shepherds herding livestock

The pastoral genre of literature, art, or music depicts an idealised form of the shepherd's lifestyle – herding livestock around open areas of land according to the seasons and the changing availability of water and pasture. The target audience is typically an urban one. A pastoral is a work of this genre. A piece of music in the genre is usually referred to as a pastorale.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arthur Hugh Clough</span> English poet (1819–1861)

Arthur Hugh Clough was an English poet, an educationalist, and the devoted assistant to Florence Nightingale. He was the brother of suffragist Anne Clough and father of Blanche Athena Clough, who both became principals of Newnham College, Cambridge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Beeching</span>

Henry Charles Beeching was a British clergyman, author and poet, who was Dean of Norwich from 1911 to 1919.

<i>Eclogues</i> Poem collection by Virgil

The Eclogues, also called the Bucolics, is the first of the three major works of the Latin poet Virgil.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Boars Hill</span> Human settlement in England

Boars Hill is a hamlet 3 miles (5 km) southwest of Oxford, straddling the boundary between the civil parishes of Sunningwell and Wootton. Historically, it was part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire.

<i>An Oxford Elegy</i>

An Oxford Elegy is a work for narrator, small mixed chorus and small orchestra, written by Ralph Vaughan Williams between 1947 and 1949. It uses portions of two poems by Matthew Arnold, "The Scholar Gipsy" and "Thyrsis". The first performance took place privately, whilst the public premiere took place in Oxford in June 1952, with Steuart Wilson as the speaker and Bernard Rose conductor.

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Corydon (character)</span> Stock name for a herdsman in ancient Greek pastoral poems and fables

Corydon is a stock name for a herdsman in ancient Greek pastoral poems and fables, and in much later European literature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chilswell</span> Hamlet in Oxfordshire, England

The pastoral elegy is a poem about both death and idyllic rural life. Often, the pastoral elegy features shepherds. The genre is actually a subgroup of pastoral poetry, as the elegy takes the pastoral elements and relates them to expressing grief at a loss. This form of poetry has several key features, including the invocation of the Muse, expression of the shepherd's, or poet's, grief, praise of the deceased, a tirade against death, a detailing of the effects of this specific death upon nature, and eventually, the poet's simultaneous acceptance of death's inevitability and hope for immortality. Additional features sometimes found within pastoral elegies include a procession of mourners, satirical digressions about different topics stemming from the death, and symbolism through flowers, refrains, and rhetorical questions. The pastoral elegy is typically incredibly moving and in its most classic form, it concerns itself with simple, country figures. In ordinary pastoral poems, the shepherd is the poem's main character. In pastoral elegies, the deceased is often recast as a shepherd, despite what his role may have been in life. Further, after being recast as a shepherd, the deceased is often surrounded by classical mythology figures, such as nymphs, fauns, etc. Pastoral elegy is one of the forms of poems in Elizabethan poetry.

"The Scholar-Gipsy" (1853) is a poem by Matthew Arnold, based on a 17th-century Oxford story found in Joseph Glanvill's The Vanity of Dogmatizing. It has often been called one of the best and most popular of Arnold's poems, and is also familiar to music-lovers through Ralph Vaughan Williams' choral work An Oxford Elegy, which sets lines from this poem and from its companion-piece, "Thyrsis".

Thyrsis or Tirsi may refer to:

The Eclogues is a collection of Latin poetry attributed to Calpurnius Siculus and inspired by the similarly named poems of the Augustan-age poet Virgil.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jarn Mound</span> Scenic viewpoint

Idyll I, sometimes called Θύρσις ('Thyrsis'), is a bucolic poem by the 3rd-century BC Greek poet Theocritus which takes the form of a dialogue between two rustics in a pastoral setting. Thyrsis meets a goatherd in a shady place beside a spring, and at his invitation sings the story of Daphnis. This ideal hero of Greek pastoral song had won for his bride the fairest of the Nymphs. Confident in the strength of his passion, he boasted that Love could never subdue him to a new affection. Love avenged himself by making Daphnis desire a strange maiden, but to this temptation he never yielded, and so died a constant lover. The song tells how the cattle and the wild things of the wood bewailed him, how Hermes and Priapus gave him counsel in vain, and how with his last breath he retorted the taunts of Aphrodite.

Eclogue 5 is a pastoral poem by the Latin poet Virgil, one of his book of ten poems known as the Eclogues. In form, this is an expansion of the first Idyll of Theocritus, which contains a song about the death of the semi-divine herdsman Daphnis. In the first half of Virgil's poem, the goatherd Mopsus sings a song lamenting the death of Daphnis; in the second half, his friend Menalcas sings a song of equal length telling of Daphnis' welcome among the gods, and the rites paid to him as a divinity.

Eclogue 7 is a poem by the Latin poet Virgil, one of his book of ten pastoral poems known as the Eclogues. It is an amoebaean poem in which a herdsman Meliboeus recounts a contest between the shepherd Thyrsis and the goatherd Corydon.

References

  1. "Summary of Thyrsis". victorian-era.org. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  2. 1 2 "Thyrsis | poem by Arnold". britannica.com. Encyclopedia Britannica . Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  3. "Matthew Arnold (1822–88). The Poems of Matthew Arnold, 1840–1867. 1909". bartleby.com.