There is a beauty upon womans' face













Treat for the day?  An unpublished Clare sonnet :

There is a beauty upon womans’ face
When smiles in sunny rapture dominates
There is on beauty’s cheek a winning grace
When clouded with the eloquence of tears
Sweet gem of artless loves sincerely
Womans’ bright eye is thy resting place —
To moan & sigh is every harlots forgery,
But womans’ tears like dews from roses falling:
Are the souls essence — its most deepest feeling
That words can’t utter, but can be read in thee.
Clear looking glass of the unfolded heart
Its undissembled purity to prove
For when with thee, cares, sorrows have no part
Thy further affection and thyself live love

Pet MS A18 p73
(Unpublished)

3 comments:

Fred Hep said...

Thanks for publishing this - I find it absolutely fascinating to compare with the version published as MP ii.137 – not only for what Clare wrote but also for the light it sheds on the Oxford editors’ practice.
Presumably the punctuation is yours? The Oxford edition has no punctuation other than the dash in line 9 (which seems preferable to me).
On the whole I think the readings in the Oxford version are improvements (eg domineers in line 2 effects the rhyme scheme; enthroning in place of resting (line 6) and ‘like dew down roses stealing’ (for like dews from roses falling in line 8) sound better. However lines 7 and 14 deserve more attention; and these comments relate to how the Oxford textual apparatus works.
(1) I think the “unpublished” version much preferable in line 7 where ‘moan’ makes much better sense than ‘mourn’ (I don’t see that mourn makes any sense at all for a treacherous harlot!?) – and the alternative reading of moan is not given in the Oxford apparatus. Why is that I wonder?
(2) How do you interpret the last line? The Oxford version has ‘Thy births affection & thy self true love’ – I find both problematic. I might vote for a combined reading “Thy further affection & thy self true love” but I don’t know – what do you think? (Is there something missing – could Clare write a “sonnet” with more than 14 lines?! – I guess not)
(3) The Oxford textual apparatus gives (in [ ] which I think means ‘cancelled’) for ll 8/9 “Down the soft cheek with no designing treachery”. I like the sound of this but how is it supposed to fit in to the text? I would not want it to replace “..down roses stealing / Are the souls essence..” which I like more.
I know you take an interest in the manuscripts from previous posts and photos – so, any thoughts?
Jim

Fred Hep said...

Thanks for publishing this - I find it absolutely fascinating to compare with the version published as MP ii.137 – not only for what Clare wrote but also for the light it sheds on the Oxford editors’ practice.
Presumably the punctuation is yours? The Oxford edition has no punctuation other than the dash in line 9 (which seems preferable to me).
On the whole I think the readings in the Oxford version are improvements (eg domineers in line 2 effects the rhyme scheme; enthroning in place of resting (line 6) and ‘like dew down roses stealing’ (for like dews from roses falling in line 8) sound better. However lines 7 and 14 deserve more attention; and these comments relate to how the Oxford textual apparatus works.
(1) I think the “unpublished” version much preferable in line 7 where ‘moan’ makes much better sense than ‘mourn’ (I don’t see that mourn makes any sense at all for a treacherous harlot!?) – and the alternative reading of moan is not given in the Oxford apparatus. Why is that I wonder?
(2) How do you interpret the last line? The Oxford version has ‘Thy births affection & thy self true love’ – I find both problematic. I might vote for a combined reading “Thy further affection & thy self true love” but I don’t know – what do you think? (Is there something missing – could Clare write a “sonnet” with more than 14 lines?! – I guess not)
(3) The Oxford textual apparatus gives (in [ ] which I think means ‘cancelled’) for ll 8/9 “Down the soft cheek with no designing treachery”. I like the sound of this but how is it supposed to fit in to the text? I would not want it to replace “..down roses stealing / Are the souls essence..” which I like more.
I know you take an interest in the manuscripts from previous posts and photos – so, any thoughts?
Jim

Arborfield said...


Jim... can you send me the text for MP II 137 - I have not seen it.

Thanks, Roger