Saturday, January 19, 2008

EVENT C: An Collins E-Variorum

An Collins E-Variorum: “Another Song. The Winter of my infancy being over-past”

Welcome to Event C at the Appositions conference, where we invite your annotations on An Collins’s “Another Song. The Winter of my infancy being over-past” from her book of religious and political verse, Divine Songs and Meditacions (1653).

If you would like to participate in this E-Variorum, simply add your contribution here via the “post a comment” link at the bottom of this page.

The results of this collaborative project (if sufficient & interesting) may be published, after editorial review, in volume one of the digital journal, Appositions, scheduled to launch in May, 2008.

We invite your questions, comments, and collaborative postings.

“Another Song. The Winter of my infancy being over-past,” Divine Songs and Meditacions (London: Printed by R. Bishop, 1653), pp. 56-8.

Since 1815 the poetry of An Collins has received increasing (if intermittent) amounts of attention—from early book collectors, bibliographers, and editors to current scholars, teachers, and writers—various levels of engagement shaped partly by the texts themselves and partly by their author’s near anonymity and her volume’s scarcity. We still know nothing else of An Collins’s life beyond what little autobiographical information may be inferred from reading her work. Although some records note a 1658 octavo, that putative edition either has been lost or never existed. The only surviving copy of Divine Songs and Meditacions is currently preserved at the Huntington Library, shelfmark RB 54047 (Wing C5355). “Another Song. The Winter of my infancy being over-past” is among the three most frequently cited and discussed of Collins’s poems.

Another Song.

The Winter of my infancy being over-past
I then supposed, suddenly the Spring would hast
Which useth every thing to cheare
With invitacion to recreacion
This time of yeare,

The Sun sends forth his radient beames to warm the ground
The drops distil, between the gleams delights abound,
Ver brings her mate the flowery Queen,
The Groves shee dresses, her Art expresses
On every Green.

But in my Spring it was not so, but contrary,
For no delightfull flowers grew to please the eye,
No hopefull bud, nor fruitfull bough,
No moderat showers which causeth flowers
To spring and grow.

My Aprill was exceeding dry, therfore unkind;
Whence tis that small utility I look to find,
For when that Aprill is so dry,
(As hath been spoken) it doth betoken
Much scarcity.

Thus is my Spring now almost past in heavinesse
The Sky of pleasure’s over-cast with sad distresse
For by a comfortlesse Eclips,
Disconsolacion and sore vexacion,
My blossom nips.

Yet as a garden is my mind enclosed fast
Being to safety so confind from storm and blast
Apt to produce a fruit most rare,
That is not common with every woman
That fruitfull are.

A Love of goodnesse is the cheifest plant therin
The second is, (for to be briefe) Dislike to sin,
These grow in spight of misery,
Which Grace doth nourish and cause to flourish

But evill mocions, currupt seeds, fall here also
whenc springs prophanesse as do weeds where flowers grow
Which must supplanted be with speed
These weeds of Error, Distrust and Terror,
Lest woe succeed

So shall they not molest, the plants before exprest
Which countervails these outward wants, & purchase rest
Which more commodious is for me
Then outward pleasures or earthly treasures
Enjoyd would be.

My little Hopes of worldly Gain I fret not at,
As yet I do this Hope retain; though Spring be lat
Perhaps my Sommer-age may be,
Not prejudiciall, but beneficiall
Enough for me.

Admit the worst it be not so, but stormy too,
Ile learn my selfe to undergo more then I doe
And still content my self with this
Sweet Meditacion and Contemplacion
Of heavenly blis,

Which for the Saints reserved is, who persevere
In Piety and Holynesse, and godly Feare,
The pleasures of which blis divine
Neither Logician nor Rhetorician
Can well define.


Source: Early English Books Online. Wing C5355 / 177:01. Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery. 96pp

APPOSITIONS: Studies in Renaissance / Early Modern Literature & Culture,, ISSN: 1946-1992, Volume One (2008): Genres & Cultures


Anonymous said...

Normally, when figuring one's life as seasons of the year, you start with spring as your childhood, summer as your prime, autumn, and then winter. The speaker figures her infancy as cold winter, and she's already seemingly quite old - past child-bearing, even? - by the time she reaches the end of April. Surprising?

John Flood said...

Scriptural sources include:
Stanza 1: Song of Solomon 2:11 'loe, the winter is past, the raine is ouer, and gone' (AV 1611). The garden imagery is in keeping with imagery elsewhere in the book, but the reader is jarred by the sterility in stanza 3.
Stanza 8: Corrupt seeds recalls the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20, Matthew 13:1-23, and Luke 8:1-15.
The imagery/allegory of the garden of the soul is common in Roman Catholic tradition (see Henry Hawkins SJ 'Partheneia Sacra', 1633). It can also be found in Metaphysical poetry (such as Herbert's 'Paradise').

Anonymous said...

nice post