Thursday, June 03, 2004

Why Browning is Unintelligible and Best

(This has to be read aloud to appreciate the effect.)

KLUTAIMNESTRA.
Much having been before to purpose spoken,
The opposite to say I shall not shamed be:
For how should one, to enemies, -- in semblance,
Friends, -- enmity proposing, -- sorrow's net-frame
Enclose, a height superior to outleaping?
To me, indeed, this struggle of old -- not mindless
Of an old victory -- came: with time, I grant you!
I stand where I have struck, things once accomplished:
And so have done, -- and this deny I shall not, --
As that his fate was nor to fly nor ward off.
A wrap-round with no outlet, as for fishes,
I fence about him -- the rich woe of the garment:
I strike him twice, and in a double "Ah-me!"
He let his limbs go -- there! And to him, fallen,
The third blow add I, giving -- of Below-ground
Zeus, guardian of the dead -- the votive favour.
Thus in the mind of him he rages, falling,
And blowing forth a brisk blood-spatter, strikes me
With the dark drop of slaughterous dew -- rejoicing
No less than, at the god-given dewy-comfort,
The sown-stuff in its birth-throes from the calyx.
Since so these things are, -- Argives, my revered here, --
Ye may rejoice -- if ye rejoice: but I -- boast!
If it were fit on corpse to pour libation,
That would be right -- right over and above, too!
The cup of evils in the house he, having
Filled with such curses, himself coming drinks of.

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