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'Some sets of footnotes, as long as they’re not the minimalist Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. style, make fine poetry ... '

Found poetry

I owe this idea to the blog Notional slurry, who finds that some sets of footnotes, “as long as they’re not the minimalist Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. style (which wears so thin so quickly), make fine poems”.

You might even call it a meme, if you like. He’s asking you to guess the source of his found poem; I know mine won’t be widely recognised, so I’ll tell you it is the notes to Isabella Whitney’s The admonition by the Auctor, to all yong Gentilwomen: And to al other Maids being in Love, from the Penguin Classics edition of Renaissance Women Poets.

And I’ve decided to reorganise and reshape them a little, to enhance the form. (But I haven’t added anything, except capitals, just edited away.)

Ye Virgins: referring to women who fall in love
Cupid is the god of love.
Advice do lacke:
IW presents herself as having the authority
to give advice to young women
on love.

Slacke: lax, idle.
Painted: false, deceptive.
Mermaides: famed for their power
to lure mariners to their deaths
through deceit and their alluring singing.

Some use the teares of Crocodiles:
proverbial, cf. Erasmus, Adagia,
‘Crocodili lachrymae’.
Cf. Chaucer’s Troilus, who is advised by Pandarus
to splash his letter to Criseyde with tears
to convince her of the depth of his love.

Troilus and Criseyde
Ovid. . . Arte of Love
Trust not a man: a gendered use of Tilley
‘Try before you trust’,
In store: in mind.
Shrink: shirk responsibility.

SCILLA: not the mythological monster,
but the daughter of Nisus,
king of Megara.
Scylla was abandoned by Minos,
and punished by her father.

Haire by fate:
‘The hair on which his whole destiny depended’

In Ovid’s version Minos does not kill Nisus,
but leaves Megara.

The story of Oenone and Paris is found
in Heroides V.
Oenone was
a nymph on Mount Ida, loved by Paris
before he discovered his descent
from Priam. He abandoned her for Helen of Troy.

Demophoon and Phyllis fell in love when his ship
was washed ashore in a storm.
Phyllis gave him her virginity as a sign of her fidelity,
but Demophoon left Thrace never to return.
Phyllis hanged herself.
The primary account is found in Heroides II.
Transformed so: an almond tree grew on Phyllis’ grave.

Hero was the priestess of Aphrodite.
Leander saw her at a religious festival and fell in love.
He would swim the Hellespont at night to see her,
And was drowned when a storm
Extinguished the light she used to guide him.

The mutual nature of their love distinguishes them
From the other figures IW discusses.

She scrat[ched] her face,
She tare her Heir:
Standard behaviour for grieving women in the Heroides.
Edited: PC

About Natalie Bennett

Natalie blogs at Philobiblon, on books, history and all things feminist. In her public life she's the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.

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