Mr. Burke Does Stand Up? Lmao

It was quiet before he started his set.

Edmund “Ed” Burke sauntered up to the mic as a pale young woman dashed towards the restroom, in the rush of her exit she had left behind a stack of papers—a captivity narrative that she felt compelled to share with everyone// she finished reading aloud

He didn’t have a bad slot either, Ed thought to himself as he glanced at his watch. It was 10, right on the dot. Getting a slot at  The Long 18th Century club was hard, Burke had to dash over during his lunch break to get here, but it’s worth it– this is his shot to the big leagues.

Ed grabbed the mic, shoved it a couple of paces to the left, hunched over a bit and said, “Uh, howdy everyone—” before being interrupted by a wail coming from the speakers.

“Yikes.” He heard a voice say from the crowd. He could barely see the crowd; the light was glaring right into his field of vision. How was he supposed to see the exit, much less how the people in front of him were reacting?

“Sorry ‘bout that. Just trying to get a feel for the place. Anyway…” He dragged out the word to give himself a moment to get his bearings back. The wail of the speakers had put him off more than he cared to admit.

“Get on with it won’t you!” Someone called out from the dark blob that was the crowd. It wasn’t the same voice as the yikes from before. Why couldn’t these people just give Ed a break for a hot second?

“Right right! Anyway I’m here to talk about revolution! We all love a good fight for what’s right right? We all saw how Captain America and Iron Man save the universe right! God bless America’s ass? Yeah?”

“Is this a joke?” Another voice from the crowd murmured loudly enough to drift up the stage.

“I was a little concerned that joke wasn’t going to land. Thanks for getting it!” He laughed nervously, hoping someone would join in from the crowd only to be met with cricket-less silence. Okay so maybe it hadn’t landed?

“Right so we all love superheros that save the day! Like our president! He’s really doing something good for us right? Like you ever just look at the government and think wow things are getting better? Like that’s exactly what we’re going for! Now I will admit that initially I thought it was a little weird to suggest that we, America that is, aren’t great already but then like I realized we could do more? Like maybe we should stand our ground and go from there? That kind of leadership takes a certain kind of strength and I think our president is just really exemplifying that powerhouse strength. Also not gonna lie I’ve never had a thing for blonds till now. It’s a really good look.”

And again there was silence. Why weren’t these jokes landing? James “Jamie” Mackintosh, his best friend in the whole world, had assured him that these would work. The whole Great Conversation discord server had sung their praises when he’d rehearsed with them. It was okay though because the next set of jokes were going to slap. He just knew it.

“Also let’s talk about the kids! We’ve been talking a lot about putting women into powerful positions and we’re already doing that now! Our first daughter is the peak of strong leadership and legacy! Like I’d definitely vote for her if she ran in 2024! I don’t know why we have to take our pick from old stuffy senators with empty promises and small town mayors when we have a  legacy queen just waiting to step up for the role of president. She’s our lady liberty in the making.”

Like the beautiful Sunday Mass choir the sound of laughter brought genuine joy to Ed because finally people were laughing. They were on the same wavelength now. This was the thrill of stand-up. It was everything he wanted.

“And I know there’s been so much talk about statues this like past year. I have a suggestion! Instead of taking down statues why don’t we just erect new ones? I’m not saying a new Lady Liberty statue is a good idea but a new Lady Liberty statue is a good idea! Maybe on the west coast of the country? They kind of don’t have much history on their side of the country.”

“Heh yeah fuck California!” Someone called out. That was the energy Ed had come to rouse. Yes this was everything! The server had been right!

“We shouldn’t stop there though! There’s so much more we need to do as a nation! Like I know the bees are dying and whatever but have you ever considered eating like we’re in space? Cause then I feel like we might not need the bees as much for our agriculture? Then like if we had a civil war again a la Captain America Civil War we’d probably still be good? Like yeah there might be some split in the team but it’s time for a change and California? They just want all of us to go along with everything they do? But it’s not even that good.”

“Yeah like your act!” A mature and feminine voice drawled from the crowd, gasps were gasped, a deep voice crowed as people murmured–

“Lel, the audacity!” a girly someone said, as they cackled obnoxiously.

A haughty slightly deeper voice laughed, “Lmao, can the real comedian please stand up?” The pair was, obviously, drunk. Normal people don’t say “lel” and “lmao” out loud, with their whole mouths.  

Ed’s face burned, his shoulders tensed– he’s never had to deal with a hater before (because he had never performed in front of a real crowd but that’s beside the point).

“Uh, thank you,” He sputtered, and tried to continue talking, but something in him stopped him from just moving on, “Okay, can someone dim the lights? I really need to see the crowd now that there’s a funny guy in our midst.”

“Did you seriously just say ‘midst’ unironically? It’s two-thousand fucking nineteen.” The same mature voice said. The spotlight swung and landed on an exasperated woman; brown hair curling from out her cap, arms crossed, and lips curled upwards into a condescending smile.

Burke knew her, it was Mary Wollstonecraft from English 102. They had gotten into an argument about semantics before, and she was a huge feminist. Very radical, she was like super into the guillotine and revolution? It was a blur, all he could remember was that she was loud and mean, and,

“Are you done?”

“What”

“I can do my own introductions man.”

Could she read his mind?

“No, you’re thinking aloud dumbass,” the chair she was in screeched as she got up, “Someone hand me a mic– I’m done listening to this horny clown.” Drunken cheers and whistles drowned out Burke’s protests, “Horny?? Clown??”

“I said what I said,” Mary said into a mic that the bartender handed her, “The Trumps suck and we all know it, the American government is so corrupt and needs to be put back into the hands of the people– and you, are a misogynist!” The bartender whistled and clapped with the audience.

Burke groaned, “Et tu, Paine? I didn’t say anything misogynistic! I love women, maybe even too much!”

“She’s right and she should say it! Besides. Your time is up.” Paine said, pointing at the clock. 10:15. He was right, his slot was through. He heard the sounds of heels clacking against the floor as Wollstonecraft made her way onto the stage. Burke sighed loudly and got off the stage.

“And now, a vindication on the rights of women- or whatever,” she said, “Okay so I don’t care how hot Ivanka is– hot babes and loud dudes does not a government make. We get it, you’re edgy and love the presidency, but their titles don’t make them gods. They don’t just get to do what they want, like displacing families and telling women what they can or can’t do with their bodies– if so then why can’t I tell Trump to ease up on the spray tan? Dorito is just…” Somebody in the crowd screamed as people laughed and clapped, “Dorito is just not a good look.”

Burke couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Some people were seriously into this?

“Like, I’m not just mad that we’re being represented by a goblin with terrible fashion sense.” She paused and people laughed, “Ivanka is just too much, people shouldn’t rule with emotions– we need sense. Like, duh? Is it too much to ask for some sense here? Don’t let everyone starve, when we leave the poor behind we’re leaving our entire workforce for dead! Like are we not teaching people properly? Obviously not if ‘covfefe’ is something that our actual president tweeted. Was he trying to say coffee? What’s up with the whole food thing going on here?” She took a sip from the wine glass in her hand.

“And Endgame? Was absolute trash, ruined the characterization of Thor, killed off Black Widow even though she’s got a movie coming up– and like the outfits? Sucked.” She took an even bigger sip. “Sip on that, folks!”

“Endgame was a masterpiece! What are you talking about? Also can you make a point that actually has some thought to it? We didn’t really come here for your emotional stream of consciousness nonsense.” A woman called from the front row.

Mary just raised an eyebrow in silent judgement and sipped her wine. The nerve of some people.

By Diana Lara and Maria Nguyen Cruz

THE REVIEWS ARE IN:

On Mr. Burke Does Stand Up? Lmao.

This piece is incredibly amusing and full of detail despite its short word length! I found it very interesting how 18th century figures were characterized for a modern American audience. The references will definitely make sense to a younger audience while still holding a lot of important commentary for older audiences. The dry humor coupled with Burke’s seemingly genuine belief in his jokes leaves the audience wondering who is to be believed? Is it Burke and his seemingly pro-Trump conservative rhetoric? Is it the reader’s own beliefs that might clash with Burke’s? This dilemma is one that amply exposes how divided people are about current modern politics while still keeping the subject relatively light. The choice of setting the story in a comedy club is a fantastic choice on the part of the writers because it creates the sort of atmosphere in which people can actively have discourse and more than likely have a willing audience for all speakers. Not only that but it also helps to discuss more underlying issues like the inequality women face when trying to participate in activities that are generally done more by men than women. Mary Wollstonecraft stepping up to disagree with Burke and receiving disapproval from another woman speaks to deeper issues about feminism and its general public perception. Overall, the message seems to be that there are a lot of issues in modern America that need to be hashed out and what better way to do so then through comedy? A medium that allows for audiences to discuss heavy topics without feeling fully weighed down by the magnitude of the issues. They say the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem and that understanding comes in part from discussion. America needs to talk it out that’s for sure.

Also let me just say that maybe the writers should’ve warned of the Endgame spoilers but at the same time it’s been more than a week so if you haven’t seen it yet then jokes on you.

~Diana Lara

Should we have written less than a thousand words for a fanfiction? Probably. Initially, we aimed for a two hundred and fifty word collaboration with two submissions. What we got was one long story where we reinterpreted A Vindication On The Rights of Man and Burke’s pamphlet. Initially we were thinking about writing a twitter thread, where four thinkers of that time period were arguing amongst themselves. The idea for a stand up/cafe reading esque scenario was too good to pass up. It was a perfect opportunity to write dialogue, internal thought, and to subtlety insert Diana and myself into our work.

Last class we discussed what it means to be an American, or rather a “true citizen” of a nation. Despite Wollstonecraft and Burke being English citizens, I believe they are exemplary of the kind of reflection we should all be doing. Interacting with politics, whether one is choosing to front an anarchist, centrist, conservative, or revolutionary stance, benefits society greatly. All opinions, all musings on the direction of a country, help to lead it in the right direction.

And yes, there is end game spoilers. Can you really blame us, though? It’s been a week

~Maria Nguyen Cruz

 

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Rime of The Wiser Professor

Creative Project:

Said he to the students entering—

Facing all of sixty seats:

“Charmed to greet you, ye who enter,

Praise be unto those who brave these 18th-century seas!”

But whoa, oh alas!

How he beckoned in vain,

Casting down forlorn students

With a mandated 15% participation grade.

So little he asked,

And yet so outwardly they grieved

Eyes downcast upon the floor, one failed quiz followed another,

From those unfortunate enough to have forgotten to read

O! trembled it did, his forsaken heart!

To witness their great collapse,

Each student, vigorless and vacant of interlude

Fallen wordlessly into terminal relapse

They lie silent in every row, careening the time

As their eyes glazed over in weariness, each grade paid its toll;

Like Death wrapped in lyrical hymns—while their professor requested very little—

CatCourses demanded their souls.

“Cursed am I!” The sore professor wept.

“Like the undead, they sit and they wallow!

I bring them tea and satire and metal,

Yet, their very understanding of what it means to be here—to be alive— appears too difficult to swallow!”

And yet, marched onward he did through an unresponsive scene;

Cursing the monotonous hues—

The purples, the greens, and the blues—

All glistening on the projector screen.

Inspired by the Romantics (and perchance Sir William Blake)

The professor sought refuge in the outdoors

And with sordid groans and unsightly quakes

Did each student arise from their throne of unrest beyond the door

Trembling was he,

As he witnessed their final claims

Like music each volunteered some insightful counterpoint

Proposing his own unrest as idleness and misunderstanding of their ways

“O! By the humanities!” Did the professor croak,

Gazing with bereavement in the cup of black tea in his hands,

“How peculiar it is, that they seem so averse to reading,

To fulfill their contract’s demands?

“They see not the sunlight glistening, nor the ducks over yonder…

They notice not the effort required— that I supply—

For the creation of such presentations.

Still their attention lay somewhere beyond here.

“And still I stand patient,

Perhaps the wiser for having waited

As they come crawling, evermore frequent,

With their begging: ‘Have mercy upon those who knew so little before!’”

Reflection:

To start: Yes, this poem was intended to sound extremely bitter.

This was my attempt at a lyrical ballad. Specifically, it is a recreation of Samuel Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The purpose of this project was to utilize the presence of “zombies” within Coleridge’s poem as a reflection of the attitude of many at the start of the semester. It would be accurate to say that this poem exploits the expectations of the student with respect to those of the professor; in simpler terms, I think that more appreciation ought to be expressed towards those who do as much as possible to provide us the best education they can. Moreover, where there is often a discrepancy between the relationship of the teacher and the student, it is easy to place blame on the wiser when one chooses not to participate in self-reflection.

-Savie Luce

We Are More Than Who He Took Away

The sun began to set, so I decided to speak

With Richie I started, as he was the oldest

I’d ask them all over the coming week

“Seven” he said then hung up, the one who to me was the coldest.

 

Proceeded to Gilbert since he’s next in line

As he answered I heard it in his voice, all of the pain

“Seven, my sweet- he didn’t take her away, she is still mine”

As he spoke, I was left motionless in the pouring rain.  

 

Onto Danny, the one who doesn’t work

Excluding yourself, what’s your mother’s total of kids?

“Seven, my brothers and sisters” he began to say with a smirk

“The little one always liked to steal my water cup lids”

 

Tío Frankie, it’s your turn to answer now

“Of course, love, I have seven- we were always side by side

I continuously question to him why, and wish I could forget how

Though the youngest of all, she’d always came along for the ride”

 

Father, she asked in your family how many siblings are there?

“Richie, Gilbert, Danny, Frankie, your nino, Sandra and Ashley, so seven

Even if the same father we all do not share”

But Nino, Ashley has left us to go to heaven.

 

“I know mija, but I still have a total of seven

Five brothers and two sisters, he replied”

But her body wasn’t even hiddèn

You still consider yourselves seven though one of you has died?

 

“Hi mija, of course there are seven siblings, he killed her but not in my heart”

No tia, he took her from us, we will never get her back

“Yes, she may be gone but that doesn’t tear my siblings apart

We have plenty, family is something we do not lack”

This poetic piece pays homage to Wordsworth’s, We Are Seven from the Lyrical Ballads. A question raised for this is the question on if this poem could be used as evidence in a court case? This fits into our course because it it’s a literature of power, it is read aloud and obtains the power to put this man away in jail. I decided to follow the ABAB rhyme scheme of Wordsworth, but made the structure shorter. In my opinion it still creates the same meaning obtained through Wordsworth’s poem, a family standing in union even though a sibling is dead. Some important background to this piece that I find necessary to understand why this could be used as evidence in a court case is the fact that it will be used in an actual court case. The seven stanzas in this creative poem, each represent my aunt, uncles and father in the order of their births. I went asking each of them hoe many siblings they had and to no surprise they all told me seven which includes their youngest sister who was murdered. The judge asked my family members to write something known as an impact statement to help him decide how much our lives have been effected and to help him make his ruling. Along with my statement I attached this poem and another I’ve written about her death addressing her murderer. These works of literature as power moved the judge enough to make him think they are sufficient enough to use as evidence to persuade a jury. The overall concept I’m trying to make with this poem is how my family understands the death of their youngest sibling, but it doesn’t change the way they think of their family. Though Wordsworth’s poem was written in the 1800’s, I have proven that it can still be relatable to today’s world without meaning being completely lost. As well as how it can be used in a unique way to move people to make decisions of great importance.

-Alina Cantero

An Imitation of Wordsworth

An imitation of William Wordsworth: “Left upon a seat in a yew-tree, which stands near the Lake of Esthwaite” (from the Lyrical Ballads 1802 Volume One):

Left upon a pine tree in South Sacramento 

 — Nay, Wanderer! Chill. This fresh, wise pine tree stands

amidst a community, amongst all human dwelling;

what if here

no reflecting bodies of water

no lakes and canals to spread green grass or

fresh water to reflect the moonlight each Full Moon

what if here

there was no

sunflowers for the bees to Love

or no bees to inhabit Mother Earth we share;

—-

a child of God

finding paradise on Earth, from nothing and everything

to be nothing and everything

the Light in my mind’s eye,

an awakening to see clearly

to see that Life is the real Dream,

your dreams in the astral realm hold

secrets to your soul’s codes;

Mother Earth is alive, God never died

Spirit alive through the trees, the roses and the Sun too.

Your ancestors pull themselves closer

Through the wind,

A chill down your spine

On the windiest days

Winds of change and winds of warnings.

Warnings of Massive Change.

Enough change to shake up the collective human consciousness,

a burst, propelling Force; moving us Forward —

Spirit in the gravity too.

 

———- Who She was. She

started a fire, and danced with the aging trees

Now Free, to bend arms and hips,

to twist her hair, chant and dance under the moonlight.

She started a fire. I well remember. – She was one who

owned an ancient soul, an uncommon soul.

A beckon of Light that belonged to God; Christ-like; She too

sent to the Darkest places; to heal the lost and the helpless.

 

a young child; trauma tossed and turned; a paranoid, bipolar and psycho

or a perfectly insane genius.

mysterious brown eyes to fill secrets; reflect a dreaming glare

to play the role she signed her Soul to.

Lioness moves forward; Pure in the Heart.

A Blade for a Spirit.

The world is cold,

cycles of greed and violence,

cycles repeated, karmic debt on a loop,

karma dismissed and karma ignored,

Spirit is All Knowing

Mother Earth is Alive.

And the Light was reborn

Through bursts of DNA,

The Light now deadly too.

Spiritual warfare,

we’ve been fighting since the beginning of Time

 

her Soul relearning mindfulness,

through her avatar’s conscious meditation.

In solitude. – Stranger! These gloomy clouds

Hold messages and codes for her; Here she loves to sit,

She has many visitors.

She loves Earth so Earth loves her.

A hummingbird, a black cat, a lizard,

a dog, a horse, a baby scorpion, and a snake –

She has many visitors.

Living an unfruitful life, she made the conscious decision

to start again, so she burned herself, her home and

everything she has ever known.

 

She gave herself back to God,

Her Spirit was reborn to assist the Light.

A near-death experience, a blessing or a fated destiny.

Lifting up her head, she would gaze again

at the fresh, green forest scenery.

To see that Life is the real Dream.

Silence in the trees and in the wind.

A Calmness that brings her back,

to see all that Just Is.

Nature is healing, Nature is Godly.

Admiring Mother Earth and all her features.

Our Creator’s creation, that provides us

with water, fresh air and all the tools to survive on this planet.

 

Healing trauma, rewriting DNA

Restoring imagination to child-like purity.

An Artist like how She used to be –

In God’s kingdom. We are all Artists.

Wordsworth commanding the reader

to understand,

true knowledge leads to love,

true dignity with Her alone,

in the silence of heavy thought,

Can still suspect, and still revere herself,

In Free Spirit, In Pure Full Heart. B.B. 22.

  • Brianna Barajas 

Review: 

In this literary piece, I provide a modern day imitation of William Wordsworth “Left upon a seat in a yew-tree” from the Lyrical Ballads 1802 Volume One. I focus on Wordsworth’s style of writing as a romantic poet who heavily stresses on Nature. This style of writing honors Nature and perceives Nature as a sacred space. In this imitation, I connect nature to ancient indigenous traditions of experiencing God through Nature. I describe spiritual philosophy through imagery and mysticism, as I ponder on the same stillness and silence that Wordsworth finds in Nature through his poetry. While writing this poem, I realized I could not write it indoors. Through this creative writing project, I realized romantic poetry written correctly – must be done outdoors in Nature. Romantic poetry also requires mindfulness and meditation. As a reader and as a writer, there is an urgency of meditation in the mind that requires concentration and focus. The romantic poet teaches us how to familiarize ourselves with the mind element of our overall mind, body and spirit connection. In holistic healing practices, mindfulness is a key quality to recovering from trauma and addictions. And through this experience, I realized the romantic poets were trying to connect the collective human consciousness back to their spirits. Considering all the greed and violence occurring in the world at the time Romantic poetry came to life–  I realize the Romantic Poets were fulfilling their individual Soul purpose. We all have our own soul, and many may wander lost without knowing it. Romantic poetry was so influential and it remains difficult to imitate. I am a poet and a shaman so I was able to mediate and practice mindfulness before and during my writing process. I meditated and fasted to attempt a similar outcome as Wordsworth and many other Romantic Poets as I created this imitation piece.

 

 

 

What Are We Harping On About?

Overtime certain items become symbolic of an idea and the Harp is just that. It is tied to the Irish identity and has been for hundreds of years. Considering how the English people have always viewed themselves as a people superior to those that live in the rest of the isles, it makes sense that the Irish identity had to tie itself to some symbol. “Why Sleeps the Harp of Erin’s Pride” by Sydney Owenson paints a very desolate picture that is still verh lyrical and beautiful. The words are crafted very movingly so the reader is more than aware that the speaker has a way with words. Harpists were known for their talents and praised for it because it was such an intricate art. The idea that the Irish could pull off such beautiful music went against what the Englush would consider to be right. This poem channels that same talented energy that was questioned. It not only channels it but also gives the reader almost the other side of the coin which is an almost but not quite sadness that stems from a lack of recognition. Owenson exposes this underlying sadness in the following lines:

“And yet its sadness seemed to borrow

From love, joy, a mystic spell;

T’was doubtful still if bliss or sorrow

From its melting lapses fell.” (Owenson 3)

The idea that sadness “[seems] to borrow from love” suggests that perhaps sadness and love are more interconnected than one would ordinarily believe. Love is generally seen as a positive emotion so seeing this obvious attempt to tie it to sadness is interesting. It implies that perhaps love isn’t as positive as people would be led to believe or perhaps that sadness isn’t as negative as people generslly assume that it is.

So the relationship between the Irish and the harp is obvious. Beyond that it makes sense because it’s a great way of tying together how the Irish feel as a people and exposing it through beautiful music.

By Diana Lara

Henry Derozio’s Symbol of Freedom: The Harp of Ireland and India

Serving as a symbol of freedom and a representation of life before British rule, Henry Derozio draws a connection between Ireland and India in his poem, The Harp of India. The poem presents British rule of India in a negative fashion due to a repression of Indian art and culture through its imagery of the harp. With the British in control, the poem presents the harp as lonely and unstrung, saying that, “Thy music once was sweet – who hears it now?” (3) and indicating that not only are Indian art forms not being taught and passed on, but that people are forgetting what they were. While the poem does lament the loss of culture due to the British, part of the poem could be interpreted as being critical of the Indians for not doing more to resist British rule and for not fighting for their culture when the poem says, “Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain; Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou,” (5, 6). The poem presents the authors hope that one day other people will restore and play the harp again in a metaphorical sense by restoring Indian art and culture.

Similarly to other Irish poems about the harp, Derozio represents culture through the harp, writing about how its beautiful sounds were silenced and the loss that has occurred as a result. There is however a hope, just like many other writers, that freedom will be obtained one day and they will no longer have to remain silent to practice their culture and present its art. The harp may be a symbol of Irish culture and a free Irish state, but Derozio’s poem works to transform the harp into a larger symbol of independence and freedom for those under foreign rule. Though this poem may be referring to India and its loss, the lack of direct mention outside of the title means that the words of the poem could be applicable to other lands such as Ireland or anyone else who has seen a loss of their culture due to the rule of another.

-Ryan Bucher

Borrowing the Harp

The Irish harp is a symbol of Irish nationalism and a beacon of independence and the Irish futile fight against cultural disintegration. In Henry Louis Vivian Derozio’s “The Harp of India” the symbol of the harp is appropriated for Indian nationalism. What is interesting about this utilization of the harp is that, although the harp is a symbol of peace, it does not hold the same historical significance to India as it does in Ireland. While Derozio takes the symbol and much of the same phrases from Irish poets, the meaning is ultimately less profound. This is largely due to the fact that Derozio does not use an Indian instrument to make his political point; he relies on a symbol used for another. The message however is not lost; in fact, it underscores a more poignant issue—Derozio must rely on Western symbols in order for the British to attach all the implications of the harp to India. This of course is made evident in the content of the poem. Derozio writes in effusive emotional imagery that India’s harp is “neglected, mute, and desolate”. While Derozio mimics many of the same themes of the forlorn harp that has been personified and silenced by an oppressive force, what separates Derozio’s piece from that of English poets is that Derozio recognizes the futile effort India’s culture and autonomy stands in the face of Industrial England: “Those hands are cold”. The majority of the poem laments this cause, but in the third to last line, an important vaulta appears: “but if thy notes divine, / May be by mortal wakened once again, / Harp of my country, let me strike the strain”. This notable phrase is an allusion to Thomas Moore’s “Dear Harp of my Country”, which like “Harp of India” features a vaulta a the conclusion in which the speaker claims that they have “wak’d” the harp. Likewise, Derozio has a call-to-arms in which he awakens the harp. This is not the only similarity between the two poems. It appears as though Derozio also used Moore’s lack of a set rhyme scheme, although unlike Moore, Derozio did use iambic pentameter, as opposed to iambic hexameter like Moore. Ultimately, Derozio appropriated many of the same themes, and the symbol of the poet Moore. This rather than speak to a lack of creativity speaks to the difficulty of being equated to other Western cultures. That is to say that rather than use an instrument of India’s own, Derozio had to ride on the coattails of another’s symbol (a Western symbol) in order to be taken seriously.

  • Sara Nuila-Chae

A Symbol of Hope

The writer of Dear Harp of my Country, Thomas Moore, uses strong emphasis on the harp on order to bring attention to the hope that it symbolizes for himself and for his country, and even delves into the harp’s background connecting to Ireland;

“The warm lay of love and the light note of gladness; Have waken’d thy fondest, thy liveliest thrill”

This quote from the poem embodies the affect that the harp has had in Moore’s home country, focusing on how the harp uplifts those in their darkest times, and how the harp acts as a conductor for happiness with its tune.

-Jody Omlin

A Living, Breathing, (human??) Harp

Samantha Shapiro

The desire to “humanize” the harp motif in Sydney Owenson (Lady Morgan)’s poem, “The Irish Harp” is seen through the combination of the harpist to his harp; when assigning emotion and action ambiguously, Owenson furthers a belief of Irish singularity and identity by showing the resilience and combative nature of the Irish populace.

By making the Irish harp a human fighting figure, Owenson desires to add “strength in numbers” by teasing out the Irish people’s own unique usage of the harp to fight against British oppression. The harp is first conflated into the harpist when Owenson first introduces the poem in the first stanza, with her finishing: “Why has that song of sweetness died/Which Erin’s Harp alone can breathe?” (Owenson 1). When choosing to use words like “sleeps,” “breathe,” and “languish,” Owenson personifies the “Harp of Erin” and attributing these actions to make revolution a body and living entity based on her choice in personification (Owenson 1, 3). The harpist, in this sense, is like the Society of United Irishmen in their own conflation of the harp to their own political movement, in that referring to both the harp and their own rebellious organization, both are “new-strung and shall be heard;” with the usage of it making meaning purposely ambiguous and thus attributable to human organization (O’Donnell). Owenson introduces a a “sad bard!” or harpist, and “silent…[weeping] Harp” that drew from collective “Harp of Erin’s pride” and “love-sick anguish,” (Owenson 4, 1). Owenson here is using emotion to combine the harpist to his own instrument by mimicking action when choosing to state that “the minstrel breath’d” a lay as the “Harp of Erin” had, but also later on adding onto mimicry with “his Harp’s wild plaintive tones…Breath’d sadder sighs, heav’d deeper moans” but does so in a way open to interpretation as to who genuinely is alive there, and what voice is able to be spread (Owenson 6). The choice to end with the Bard singing while playing with his lyre, the spiritual and emotional tie to the “Harp of Erin,” has the significance of saying, “And Erin go brach he boldly sung.” calling back to patriotism and a desire of Irish identity in stark contrast to the earlier implemented British “Act of Union, in which shapes Irish relations and still are seen to this day.

Although her choice in context of the poem is to stick to a simple rhyme scheme of ABAB for 15 stanzas, she does so in a manner which brings forth elements of creative rebellion within her poetry’s lines. When choosing to italicize “Eve,” “bliss,” “sorrow,” “oppression,” “last,” “Erin’s,” “patriot hero’s tomb,” “he,” “dismay,” “terror,” “his,” “sadder,” “deeper, “despair,” and “Erin go brach” they become a large focus and develops the harp and bard as connected through each other through these important themes and figures – both of the two are the main personified characters with some of these traits and exemplify themes of revolution (Owenson). These stem from political unrest, given that during time period Britain had supported the Irish into a unionization with them. In intentional ambiguity and personification, Owenson gives an audience to the Irish break apart the Britain-forced Act of Union  — some issues stemming from this that continue to last onwards through modern years

The Final Chord in “Dear Harp of my Country”

Thomas Moore’s “Dear Harp of my Country” laments the English’s control over Ireland by paralleling it with the decline in prominence of the Irish harp. Starting in the eighteenth century, the “Irish harp tradition was increasingly regarded as a dying tradition” (O’ Donnell 1). Thus, when Moore says “farewell to thy [the harp] numbers/ This sweet wreath of song is the last we shall twine” (Moore 146.10-1), he is speaking in literal terms and hints at the slow demise of the Irish harp as the number of harpers decreases. However, this is also a comment on the state of the Irish at the time that were being subjugated to English rule, considering that the harp is a prominent symbol of Irish nationalism. With the decline of the harp, whose songs maintain the pulse of the Irish, also comes the deterioration of the Irish people.

Moore seems to equate the harp with a beating heart that sustains life. When he declares, “Dear Harp of my Country! in darkness I found thee” (Moore 145.1), he does not just refer to the physical harp but also the sounds of the instrument, which is representative of the voices of his countrymen. Just as the soft music of the harp would be able direct Moore in literal darkness, the sound also helps him and his people persist through the gloom English conquest has brought onto their land. Moore goes on to further elevate the harp by saying, “If the pulse of the patriot, soldier, or lover,/ Have throbb’d at our lay, ‘tis thy glory alone;/ I was but as the wind, passing heedlessly over,/ And all the wild sweetness I wak’d was thy own (156. 14-7). The determination of “the patriot, soldier, or lover” do not occur naturally, neither are these people what create the “wild sweetness” of the harp strums or preserve Ireland. It is the empowerment the Irish receive from the harp, which holds powerful associations, that keeps their nationalism and hope for a better Ireland alive. If the harping tradition is silenced, the Irish will lose a major remnant of an old Ireland, separate from Great Britain, and will not have the strength to fight for the autonomy of their country.

-Wendy Gutierrez