Der Zuschauer

A Journal of Essays and Reportage on Drama, History, and Literature

Archive for July 2011

A Ballad on Ale by John Gay

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I
Whilst some in Epic strains delight,
Whilst others Pastorals invite,
As taste or whim prevail;
Assist me, all ye tuneful Nine,
Support me in the great design,
To sing of nappy Ale.

II
Some folks of Cyder make a rout,
And Cyder’s well enough, no doubt,
When better liquors fail:
But Wine, that’s richer, better still,
Ev’n Wine itself (deny’t who will)
Must yield to nappy Ae.

III
Rum, Brandy, Gin with choiced smack
From Holland brought, Batavia Arrack,
All these will nought avail
To chear a truly British heart,
And lively spirits to impart,
Like humming, nappy Ale.

IV
Oh! whether thee I closely hug
In honest can, or nut-brown jug
Or in the tankard hail;
In barrel, or in bottle pent,
I give the gen’rous spirit vent,
Still may I feast on Ale.

V
But chief, when to the chearful glass
From vessel pure thy streamlets pass
Then most thy charms prevail;
Then, then, I’ll bett, and take odds,
That nectar, drink of heathen gods,
Was poor, compar’d to Ale.

VI
Give me a bumper, fill it up,
See how it sparkles in the cup,
O how shall I regale!
Can any taste this drink divine,
And then compare Rum, Brandy, Wine,
Or aught with nappy Ale?

VII
Inspir’d by thee, the warrior fights,
The lover wooes, the poet writes,
And pens the pleasing tale;
And still in Britain’s isle confess’d
Nought animates the patriot’s breast
Like gen’rous, nappy Ale.

VIII
High Church and Low oft raise a strife,
And oft endanger limb and life,
Each studious to prevail;
Yet Whig and Tory opposite
In all things else, do both unite
In praise of nappy Ale.

IX
Inspir’d by thee shall Crispin sing,
Or talk of freedom, church, and king,
And balance Europe’s scale;
While his rich landlord lays out schemes
Of wealth in golden South Sea dreams,
The’ effects of nappy Ale.

X
O blest potation! still by thee,
And thy companion Liberty,
Do health and mirth prevail;
Then let us crown the can, the glass,
And sportive bid the minutes pass
In quaffing nappy Ale.

XI
Ev’n while these stanzas I indite,
The bar-bell’s grateful sounds invite
Where joy can never fail!
Adieu! my Muse, adieu! I haste
To gratify my longing taste
With copious draughts of Ale.

Written by herrdramaturg

July 12, 2011 at 10:09 am

Max Klinger on Reading

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Here on Guam Island I keep a female sea turtle as a walking companion; I call her Betty Page. She is polylingual and a great reader; she has just begun a romp through the Collected Novels of Thomas Love Peacock. Betty is generally good company, if a bit slow. She never nags me about drinking; nor does she ever make an issue out of the “tone in my voice.” No stunner in a bikini, she can pop the cork on a Phalz Riesling with aclarity. I have, as you will expect, been reading myself. Last week I finished George Saintsbury’s History of Criticism (3 vols., 1,675 pages), and believe me, it was a quick and pleasant read. At present I am flying through Peter Whitebrook’s William Archer, a biography of the eminent dramatic critic and early Ibsen champion and translator. Other volumes cover my desk. Beside various editions of the TLS and the NYRB, I have been looking at Granta, Aliens #114. You might look at Philip Oltermann’s “The B.O.G. Standard.”  The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism (Fall 2010) has a very lively conversation with Gordon Rogoff by Bert Cardullo, called “The Elusive Object and the Fading Craft of Theatre Criticism.” Less interesting is Dean Wilcox’ “Criticism as Creative Act” which relies on the usual tedious suspects, among them: Barthes, Derrida, Merleau-Ponty, Rorty, and Eco. Its all about “the commonality of process between theory and practice, between performance and analysis.” Samuel Beckett is quoted as well, but unfortunately it is not the one about his one great ambition: “sitting around drunk on my ass all day reading Dante.”

The special double issue of Comparative Drama (Winter 2010/Spring 2011) devoted to “translation, performance, and reception of Greek Drama, 1900-1960” is notable and we can recomend two pieces: Simon Perris’ article on Gilbert Murray’s Trojan Women and World Peace, and, Niall W. Slater’s article on Harley Granville Barker’s staging of Murray’s The Trojan Women and Iphigenia in Tauris in the Yale Bowl in 1915, and at other Ivy League colleges. Other essays promise: Robert Davis’ “Is Mr. Euripides a Communist? The Federal Theatre Project’s 1938 Trojan Incident,” and Michael Simpson’s” Oedipus, Suez, and Hungary: T. S. Eliot’s Tradition and The Elder Statesman.” One can’t help remarking, happily, about the absence of jargoneering in the journal, and wondering at the paucity of material in most all academic articles, 8-10 pages, and out. I’m meant to be reviewing Who Is This Schiller Now? Essays on His Reception and Significance, eds. High, Martin, and Oellers; a reissue of Stefan Zweig’s Holderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche: the struggle with the daemon; and New Essays on Diderot, ed. Fowler, from the Cambridge Press. Dr. Stanley Richardson has sent me a strange collection: Ein Molotow-Cocktail auf Fremder Bettkante: Lyrik der siebziger/achtziger Jahre von Dichtern aus der DDR. But then he may well be mad as a hatter by now. We enjoyed his recent piece on Wallace Shawn but noted in it signs of alienation, disaffection, and an aridity of soul that makes us think the man needs a glass now and then, and a companion like my Betty Page. We’ve invited him to come out and ponder the great oceans of the world, but he always remarks on his daughters, and says he cannot leave the Northeast Corrider. Herr Doktor tells us he is reading through the New Oxford Anthology of 18th Century Verse. Others books on my desk include Writing the New Berlin: The German Capital in Post-Wall Literature, and Arthur Schnitzler: Three Last Plays, trans. G. J. Weinberger.

Dear Readers, All Our Best to You.