Speaking of endings, today marks Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night is the last part of that twelve days of Christmas celebration presided over by the Lord of Misrule. Remember him? He popped up in my Saturnalia post mid-December. Yes, if we were being authentic, this Ancient Roman celebration would have continued on until today. Personally, I’ve had enough merriment for a while. For me it’s time to settle into the deep stillness of winter and write. I’ll come out of my mind cave when the seed catalogs arrive… in March.
You can’t talk Twelfth Night and not have William Shakespeare come to mind. I’ve mentioned before that I am a fan of the Bard. I was immersed in Shakespeare my freshman year in high school due to the fact the spelling of my last name dictated where I sat in English class for ten long months. I’ve always been a quick reader and so often had the luxury of extra time in class. Right beside my desk was a miniature replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and a glorious stack of Shakespeare plays that I could read while waiting for the bell to ring.
What I loved about the Bard was the way he seduced the mind with words. By that I mean most of what he wrote was lyrical. The style he wrote in is called blank verse. It uses a poetic measure of lines consisting of unrhymed iambic pentameter. In case you’ve forgotten your high school lessons, iambic pentameter reads like this line from Romeo and Juliet:
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
Generally, when you read Shakespeare as originally written, the inflection has a high/low beat to it. Try saying the line above with this rhythmic inflection.
da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum
🙂 You might say his prose had a pulse.
His play Twelfth Night has some marvelously evocative sentences. Here are a few of my favorite lines ~
- If music be the food of love, play on.
- In delay there lies no plenty, then come kiss me sweet and twenty.
- Still you keep o’ the windy side of the law.
- He does smile his face into more lines than is in the new map with the augmentation of the Indies.
- Out of the jaws of death.
- But be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Fantastic stuff, no? That’s what I mean by seduce the mind. 🙂
To get the full feel, put your feet up and immerse yourself in this lengthy version of Twelfth Night. It’s directed by Kenneth Branagh, himself an accomplished Shakespearean actor. Even if you only watch the first 10 minutes or so, you’ll pick up on the da Dum da Dum da Dum of the iambic pentameter right away.
It’s time to make your King Cake. What about the Queen of the Bean? Here’s a terrific post from Author Julianne Douglas, Renaissance writer. http://writingren.blogspot.com/2010/01/queen-of-bean.html
I blog the4th of every month at Romance Books ‘4’ Us. My post is still up this week. It’s about an unusual hobby that led to reading tea leaves. Come see! http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/2015/01/reading-leaves-with-rose-anderson.html
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