UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Vernon Watkins, metaphysical poet McCaslin, Susan 1984

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1984_A1 M38.pdf [ 19.11MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0096598.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0096598-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0096598-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0096598-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0096598-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0096598-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0096598-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0096598-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0096598.ris

Full Text

C  VERNON WATKINS,  METAPHYSICAL  POET  by SUSAN E L I Z A B E T H M c C A S L I N Ph.D., The U n i v e r s i t y A T H E S I S SUBMITTED  of British  Columbia,  I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T OF  THE REQUIREMENTS  FOR THE DEGREE  DOCTOR OF  OF  PHILOSOPHY  r in THE F A C U L T Y OF GRADUATE S T U D I E S (Department  We  accept to  this  of  thesis  the required  English)  as  May  conforming  standard  THE U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H  Q  1984  COLUMBIA  1984  Susan E l i z a b e t h  McCaslin,  1984  1  In p r e s e n t i n g requirements of B r i t i s h it  f o r an  in partial  Library  shall  for reference  and  study.  I  f o r extensive copying of  understood that for  his or  her  copying or  f i n a n c i a l gain  be  shall  g r a n t e d by  not  be  r^L^  /  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3  Date  ^  /qfV  of  Columbia  make  further this  thesis  head o f  this  my  It is thesis  a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my  permission.  Department o f  the  representatives. publication  the  University  the  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may by  the  I agree that  permission  department o r  f u l f i l m e n t of  advanced degree a t  Columbia,  freely available  agree that for  this thesis  written  Abstract VERNON WATKINS, METAPHYSICAL POET Susan E l i z a b e t h M c C a s l i n  The Welsh poet Vernon Watkins (1906-1967) can best be c h a r a c t e r i z e d as a modern m e t a p h y s i c a l poet.  Not o n l y does he stand  i n r e l a t i o n s h i p t o c e r t a i n " M e t a p h y s i c a l Poets" of the  seven-  t e e n t h c e n t u r y l i k e Henry Vaughan and Thomas Traherne, but he i s m e t a p h y s i c a l i n the more comprehensive sense of b e i n g  concerned  w i t h the r e v e l a t i o n of a t r a n s c e n d e n t o r d e r h i d d e n w i t h i n the w o r l d o f time.  Throughout h i s canon he speaks i n a unique v o i c e  of the t r a d i t i o n a l m e t a p h y s i c a l and o n t o l o g i c a l q u e s t i o n s of God's r e l a t i o n t o man, many t o the one.  time t o the t i m e l e s s and the P l a t o n i c  A c l o s e r e a d i n g of many of h i s poems r e v e a l s  the c o n c e p t u a l and s y m b o l i c u n i t y o f an i m a g i n a t i o n c e n t e r e d on the i d e a of the "overthrow o f t i m e . "  Though the t h e s i s p l a c e s  s p e c i a l emphasis on the l y r i c s — p a r t i c u l a r l y on two s e r i e s of l i n k e d poems (the " T a l i e s i n " and "Music of C o l o u r s " sequences) where Watkins views n a t u r e sub s p e c i e a e t e r n i t a t i s — h i s  prose  w r i t i n g s and l o n g e r d r a m a t i c l y r i c s are a l s o t a k e n i n t o c o n s i d e r ation.  I t i s found t h a t symbols r e c u r r i n g throughout h i s work  take on added resonance  and depth when seen i n the c o n t e x t of the  c a r e f u l l y woven m a t r i x of which they are a p a r t .  The  thesis  c o n s t r u c t s a t r a d i t i o n a l and h i s t o r i c a l c o n t e x t f o r r e a d i n g Watk i n s ' p o e t r y by e x p l o r i n g f i v e i n t e r r e l a t e d a s p e c t s o f h i s e s s e n t i a l l y metaphysical imagination:  1) h i s i n t e g r a t i o n of  C e l t i c myth and C h r i s t i a n b e l i e f i n the sequence of poems d e a l i n g w i t h the s i x t h - c e n t u r y b a r d , T a l i e s i n , 2) h i s use of P l a t o n i c  i i i  and  Neoplatonic  sequence, forms 4)  concepts  his affinities  modern Yeats  finest  who  and Dylan  coupled  vatic  with  had  style  interrelation with  lyric  influence profound  o f t h e modern  period.  two  on h i s s t y l e , comprehension  place  verse  Donne,  of the  and e t e r n a l  craftsmanship,  Colours"  outlook,  poets,  5) the impact  of the temporal  h i s impeccable poets  to h i s metaphysical  and  Watkins'  of  of traditional  the seventeenth-century  the greatest  Thomas.  i n the "Music  of h i s choice  Vaughan and Traherne,  poets  delicate  symbols  3) the r e l a t i o n s h i p  and a m u s i c a l ,  Herbert,  and  W.  B.  of the  worlds,  h i m among t h e  iv  Table of Contents  Page Abstract  i i  Acknowledgements  vi  Abbreviations  ^ v i i  Introduction Biographical Chapter  I  1 Sketch  12  The F i g u r e o f T a l i e s i n :  Poet  Prophet II  as B a r d and •  Time and E t e r n i t y :  The " M u s i c  27  of Colours"  Poems III  IV  V  72  The S t r i c t e r  Muse:  P o e t i c Form and t h e  Metaphysical V i s i o n  115  Part  I:  116  Part  II:  P o e t i c Theory Poetic  Practice  141  W a t k i n s and t h e M e t a p h y s i c a l s Part  I:  Part  II:  Watkins, Watkins,  Donne and H e r b e r t  169 . . . .  Vaughan and T r a h e r n e  . .  170 207  W a t k i n s as T w e n t i e t h - C e n t u r y M e t a p h y s i c a l Poet  251  Part  I:  Part  II:  The Example o f Y e a t s The F r i e n d s h i p  w i t h Thomas  252 . . . .  300  Notes  339  Bibliography  373  Appendix  386  V  for  Mark  vi  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I  wish  t o acknowledge  Memorial two  years  mensely of  enabled  grateful  British  Drs. all  Fellowships  Columbia,  incisive riched  my  t o complete  this  supervisory  Chairman,  support  special  i n both  thanks  letters  f o r the generous  preparation  of the final  A. M c C a s l i n ,  during  committee  the past  I am a l s o i m -  a n d members,  f o rastute  o f development.  advice at Finally,  t o M r s . Gwen W a t k i n s and p e r s o n a l  donation  manuscript;  Killam  at the University  D r . I . S. R o s s ,  stages  Walton  project.  a p p r e c i a t i o n o f h e r husband's  Mary Haddock,  Donald  financial  crucial  to offer  comments  o f the Isaak  a n d A. T. L . P a r k i n ,  of the thesis' like  whose  t o my  L . M. J o h n s o n  would  the  me  the Trustees  I  whose  interview en-  w o r k ; t o my  t y p i s t , Mrs.  o f h e r time  and care i n  a n d t o my  f o rh i s invaluable help  with  father,  proofreading.  vii  ABBREVIATIONS  Books by W a t k i n s  cited  i n text  (forfull  documentation  see  bibliography):  BML  Ballad Faber,  of the Mari 1947)  Lwyd  and Other  LV  T h e Lamp a n d t h e V e i l  LU  The L a d y w i t h  DB  The D e a t h B e l l  CA  Cypress  A  Affinities  (Faber, 1962)  F  Fidelities  (Faber,  UP  Uncollected  US  Unity  BOD  The  Ballad  BW  The  Breaking  (Faber,  the Unicorn (Faber,  and A c a c i a  Poems  Poems  (2nd ed.,  1945)  (Faber,  1948)  1959)  (Faber,  1959)  1968) (Enitharmon,  o f t h e Stream  1969)  (Gomer, 1978)  o f the Outer o f t h e Wave  Dark  (Enitharmon,  (Golgonooza,  1979)  1979)  1  Introduction " C h r i s t e n me, t h e r e f o r e , t h a t my a c t s i n t h e d a r k may be just, A n d a d a p t my p a r t i a l v i s i o n t o t h e l i m i t a t i o n o f t i m e . " (from " T a l i e s i n and the S p r i n g o f V i s i o n " )  When V e r n o n he  had  vere  emerged  Watkins  as  emotional  a  was  in his  published  crisis,  he  poet,  underwent  twenty-third  year,  and  time  an  during  a  experience  he  before of  se-  was  to 1  refer It  to  was  later  not  the' w o r d ,  a  since  i n the  volved  a  of  he  time, of  complete  r e v o l u t i o n of  experience  a  i n the  already  a  Church)  when  renewal  of  of  his  event  his  way  back  from  the  abyss"  viewing to  spoke  and  the  but  in-  the  na-  poetic  later  forever  of  (con-  occurred,  of  commitment He  sense  Christian  the  C h r i s t i a n experience.  him  sensibility."  ordinary  practising  transformation  and  his  "drew  was  Anglican  complete  pression Christ  "a  conversion  firmed  ture  as  of  ex-  how  altered  his  2 view  of  time.  In  eternal  realm  informs  nized  that  he  an  could  i n s t a n t he  had  temporality  never  again  at  write  seen  that  every  an  invisible,  point,  and  recog-  a  poem, a s  he  put i t ,  essentially  Platonic  theme  3 "dominated  by  relation  of  timeless  one  his  the  poetry.  logical levels  of  the  regarding  the  the  to  an  his the  everlasting, informing  imagination nature  of  reality  timeless,  individual  of and  and  art  stand that  personal  whole  on  and  an  how  mind  i n r e l a t i o n s h i p to most  a t t r a c t e d him  glimpses  metaphysics  became  of  such  of  the  purposeful,  the  centers  primarily distinguished in his  kind  aesthetics  world  central issue  essence,  being,  Since  order,  In  and  This  temporal  became  issue  temporal  inward,  time."  of  ontovarious  as each  the other.  reflected  an  inseparably  eternal wedded  2  in  h i s mind.  In  that  poetry's  body  or  both  his  highest  poetry  f u n c t i o n was  incarnate eternal  well-known  and  and  or  (insofar  universal  revealed his  complementary  reality,  the  "whiteness"  self of  Therefore, into  timeless one.  itual of  of  core  pect  this  nature  a l l he  intention  be  shall  be  of  Neoplatonic  Colours"  sequence  traditional with  of  verse the  concepts  poems, forms  3) to  the  an  ineffable, physical through  that  the  the  to  draw  whole  lay  from  transcend  explore  spir-  of  aeternitatis,  man  poet.  Watkins'  dealing with  of  glimpses  assumption  In  construct a  Celtic  channelled i t -  tranat  that  several  myth  related  poetry and  by  symbols  his metaphysical  seventeenth-century  poets,  of  and  belief  h i s use  i n the  relationship  that  exploring  Christian 2)  of  chapters  traditional  Taliesin, and  the  as-  time.  "christened imagination"  metaphysical  of  unrepresent-  govern  a r t would  i s to  the  for reading  poems  and  thesis  was  bard,  to  His  ultimate  announces  the  specie  his  to  was  that  allows  called  integration  sequence  affinities  which  attempting  context  Watkins'  sub  that  i n this  can  Platonic  of  wrote;  imagination  what  perceived  viewed  twentieth-century I  had  the  w i t h i n the  s i x t h - c e n t u r y Welsh  em-  White  intuitive  presence  section  poetic expression;  My  historical  the  and  a  this  that  impulse  and  implied  i n language.  Colours,  nature,  the  he  p o s s i b l e ) to  eternity,  behind  opens  Watkins  the  ensue,  1)  and  of  of  that  of  through  beyond,  of  sense  lyrical  suggesting  hidden  of  aspects  mainly  Taliesin,  life  scendency,  primarily  into  epigraph  dimension  his  the  and  order  The mask  his  mediating,  eternity,  the  absolute  as  truths  o f t e n - a n t h o l o g i z e d "Music  Blossom"  able.  s c a t t e r e d prose  vision, Donne,  of  "Music  his  in  of  choice 4)  his  Herbert,  3 Vaughan and Traherne, and 5) the impact o f t h e two modern poets who had t h e g r e a t e s t i n f l u e n c e on h i s work, Dylan Thomas and W. B. Y e a t s .  My u l t i m a t e purpose  i s to begin to estab-  l i s h an adequate method f o r i n t e r p r e t i n g t h e work o f a deep, but t o o l i t t l e - r e a d modern, l y r i c a l poet working u n i q u e l y i n the m e t a p h y s i c a l mode. Though I am concerned w i t h t h e q u e s t i o n o f i n f l u e n c e i n Chapters IV and V, t h e f i n d i n g s o f my t h e s i s suggest t h a t Watkins was n o t confounded  by what H a r o l d Bloom i n h i s r e c e n t  book, The A n x i e t y o f I n f l u e n c e , A Theory o f P o e t r y (New York: Oxford Univ. P r e s s , 1973), s e t s f o r t h as the modern poet's c r i p p l i n g sense o f i n u n d a t i o n by t h e p a s t .  Watkins, i n con-  t r a s t , a c t i v e l y l i n k s h i m s e l f t o h i s chosen l i t e r a r y s o r s w i t h o u t l o s i n g h i s own i n d i v i d u a l i t y .  predeces-  I n f a c t , he a c t i v e -  l y i n v o k e s and c e l e b r a t e s h i s r e l a t i o n t o a v i t a l stream o f t r a d i t i o n , c o n f i d e n t t h a t what he has t o say and h i s way o f saying i t w i l l  ( i f c a r e f u l l y r e s o l v e d and c r a f t e d ) assume a  p l a c e i n t h a t stream.  With poets l i k e W. B. Y e a t s , T. S.  E l i o t , David Jones and Edwin Muir he can be c h a r a c t e r i z e d as a seeker a f t e r c o n t i n u i t i e s and a t r a d i t i o n a l view o f t h e w o r l d . In t h e process o f examining these r e l a t e d a s p e c t s o f Watk i n s ' e s s e n t i a l l y m e t a p h y s i c a l v i s i o n I hope t o demonstrate t h e astonishing unity of h i s imagination.  Throughout h i s work he  develops a complex network o f i n t e r r e l a t e d symbols t h a t r e c u r i n a v a r i e t y of contexts.  Watkins uses h i s p o e t i c images n o t  merely as c o u n t e r s o r c i p h e r s f o r h i s i m a g i n a t i v e e x p e r i e n c e , but as u n i v e r s a l symbols t h a t " p a r t a k e o f t h e r e a l i t y which  they  4  r e n d e r i n t e l l i g i b l e " i n the b e s t C o l e r i d g i a n sense.  A study o f  4  how  these  symbols  poem  reveals  that  Watkins'  that  significance whole.  The  should  be  In matic  time  and  gious  has  ready  to  of  the  relation I  of  the  of  mature been the  of  a  of  more  poem  to  single on  fabric,  their  full  h i s work  as  argues  that  he  s e r i o u s poet  than  is  h i s work  the by  of  fraught It  are  a  Watkins' and  "The  of  living  I  and  i t only  where  Watkins'  the  Polk  of  h i s use  shall and  be  of  his  con-  the  dead,  reli-  and  Mari  i n her  Celtic  (I  motifs  be-  Lwyd" Vernon 1977).  myth a l -  focusing instead  classical  dra-  superficially  fullest of  Dora  metaphysical i n the  religious the  I  religious  of  the  shall  on  within  the  poet.  By  professedly  twentieth  basis  terms be  and  experience  therefore, to  some  poetry. a  on  Ballad by  early  (Christopher Davies,  minority  is essential,  describe  the  lyrics  a m b i g u i t i e s , but  of  of  receive their  Welsh  both  in a  definitions  Watkins'  faith.  language  with  of  in establishing  touching  Vision  others,  that  visional  metaphysical  be  territory  Christian  traditional  worlds  themes  Spring  poets  Lwyd,"  studied i n detail  cover  his  the  treatment.  i s obvious  question.  of  from  take  context  importance  shorter  i n c o r p o r a t i o n of  Christian  part  Yeats)  and  Mari  shall  on  well-mapped  It  of  wholeness  thematic  metaphysical  than  context  only  the  focus  and  Watkins'  The  of  the  already  Rather  are  i n the  much d e e p e r  "Ballad  most  Watkins  a  meaning  assumed.  and  lieve)  as  poems  those  when r e a d  eternity,  order  accumulate  (like  demonstrable  poem, with  in  only  spite  cern  to  individual  lyrics  seen  generally  recur  of  century.  has  become  i t called  not  into  provide  at  least  pro-  I  be  using  to  shall  arguing  t h a t he  "metaphysical"  i s both I mean  a to  5  suggest tive  not only  knowledge  physica), sense  Aristotle's  beyond  that  or h i s search  of metaphysics  transcendent  as t h a t  nature,  that  and i s t h e source  ognized  by t h e f i v e  I  am  of  not suggesting  the nature  the  question  poral ing to  world  define  may  make  the basis deductions  that  there  rect  faculty  Blake, early  spark."  of reason,  access In kins  to  poems  a systematic  known  a more  theologian, but that  Watkins  intuitive,  that  transcends  t h e tem-  originatthat  seeks  that  man  the reason,  a priori  but  and d i -  ultimate reality  which  "Imagination,"  and t h e  St. Augustine  "the inner  suggest  how  assumes  and through  called  ontology,  questions  or the science  f o r grasping  with  special  as  on a s c a l e  knowing,  rec-  light"  and t h e  or  "divine  the imagination, i t and g i v e s  though  man  a  direct  eternity.  Chapter  i s close  IV, I s h a l l  i n spirit  be d e v e l o p i n g  century,  particularly  herne,  who  o n some  drew  sources,  my  to the metaphysical  teenth  Christian  order  higher  levels  of a  m u t a b i l i t y and  concerns  the senses  ultimately  time,  the philosophical  mystical theologians,  Watkins'  experience  of h i s poetry  o f human  identified  with  of the temporal  of epistemology  i n t h e mind  but the Platonic  of metaphysics  C o l e r i d g e and Wordsworth  Neoplatonists  part  most  from  ( t a meta t a  In d e s i g n a t i n g Watkins'  like  i s additionally  Christian  deals  or origin  to ever  I n terms  sciences  cause,  surpasses  he a p p r o a c h e s  informing  i n God.  which  branch  of "being"  relates  which  senses.  t o be i n t h a t  of a l l the specula-  of the physical  for a first  process  interest  categorization  t o Henry  argument poets  Vaughan  o f t h e same P l a t o n i c ,  a n d who  shared  the mystics'  that  of the  Wat-  seven-  a n d Thomas T r a Neoplatonic sense  and  of the  6  inwardness  and  "metaphysical in  poet,"  then,  conscious r e l a t i o n  whom h i s t o r y not of  individualness  alone, the  has  since  period,  of d i r e c t  i n the  to the  both  took  Yeats  an  secondary  poets  d e s i g n a t e d as  of  that  sense  Eliot,  interest  He  of  earlier  "Metaphysicals."  and  active  revelation.  two  of  is a  standing  tradition  In  this  the major  i n the  English  he  is  writers  Metaphys-t-  icals. By not  designating  only that  that  assumes  that  he  he the  adheres  can  relate  how  God  has  cifically  of  the  religious  tian, that  and  man  and  symbolism  i t i n Epoch  tying  pattern  of of  world.  the the  view  of  world  an  and soul  to  more  the  within as  basic  poems  individual  of  to a  well  particular  friend  to the as  the  speto with  and  :)  true  the  Chrislate)  and  clas-  Christian David  Jones  meant  "a  binding"  larger  or  universal  word  retains  i t s more  historical  of  are  and  Platonic  originally  f o r Watkins  sense  (both early  his essentially  of  as  His  i s concerned  other than  Watkins'  how  h i s work  assumptions  pagan,  (1959),  and  who  but  terms,  related.  throughout  Artist the  question of  Christian so  argue  realm,  a p u r p o s e f u l cosmos,  incorporate  etymological association  practice.  t o be  traditions  early  ritual  i n more  the  eternal  pragmatic  of  These  "Religio,"  whole,^  attachment  objective,  l e a d s him  from  mythoi  uses  traditional  metaphysical  able  the  a  personal Deity  was  of  to  i s part  i t i s obvious  view  or  a  Watkins  sical  I mean  f o r man  i s immortal. and  poet  i t , or,  outlook  existence of  soul  "religious"  the  p r o v i d e d a way  man's w e l f a r e , t h a t that  with  himself to  theistic  the  to  a  existence of  i s concerned  man  assume  Watkins  this  restricted  tradition  or  7  Though  the  experiential, far  from  past  basis  and  private  comes  out  rests or  of  a  within  a  Yet  i s uniquely  he  tian  universal  and  reading  Platonic as  William  use  of  of  When  speaking  not  mean  one  f o l l o w i n g the  and  union  cerned  to  with  with  moments  ness  of  divine  a  art.  He  experience thought  deepest  sense  age  individual.  the  visionary  on as  Richard  the  he  is a  of  that direct  and  that  contact  individual  the  to  the  and  borrow the  a  form  Watkins'  strict  his  a  greater  "inner  do  reality-aware-  a  stream  of  solitary or  line  ages.  His  f o r the  title  and  mystics  of  light,"  of  experiences  uses  and  of  con-  substratum  i n other  visionaries  intimately  I  illumination  immortalized  he  way.  sense  ultimate  the  vital  saints term  of  work,  is primarily  in a  ineffable  reveals Himself  an  his  Vaughan  is especially  l e a d i n g to  artistically  artists  he with  purpose  from  ecclesiastical  purgation,  poet  Chris-  demonstrate,  i n the  the  belief.  the  Henry  i n Watkins'  of  revelation  l i e with of  a  and  personal, mystical  mystic  illumination  the  poets,  as  should  more  with  is  experience  investigation  liturgical,  path  concern  in figures  Rolle,  root  his vision  side of  encountered  traditions  on  i s at  experience  mystical  subsequent  than  presence  speak  the  doctrinal,  but  of  volume,  God  of  Plotinus,  that  "affinities,"  that  place  traditional  placing  who  to  m y s t i c a l element  s u s t a i n e d by  sixth  ever  the  assumes  like-minded  his  religious  the  moments  such  of  his  As  God,  that  his  need  traditions  suggest  illumination, enormous  Christianity, of  belief  His  centered  on  Christian  personal  metaphysical  i s less  side  on  context  Blake.  earlier  Watkins'  solipsistic.  d i v e r s e as  and  emphasis  of  and  inwardly  what-  the to  of  the  8  Whatever  the nature  he  trod  he  i s essentially  on  the poetic expression  I  wish  sion  the initiatory  sense  choice  of carefully  Watkins'  i n fact,  of poetry  i n h i s mind  mainly  ical  assumptions.  The c e n t r a l  with  time  itself  tent  i n t h e poems.  to  reflects  whom h i s w o r k  hieratic, word.  Form  i s never  world  nity.  related  t o t h e words  Both set  him apart  jected world. of  those  a traditional  ities  those  vision  of his  with  work.  Because  of the early  h i s poems a r e of the  time  i n h i s work as  Christian  commitment  who h a d r e view  century,  spiritual  presence  and e t e r -  i s the creative  of the  the mainstream  he names,  and con-  incarnate i t .  and h i s  i n the twentieth  a r e g r e a t e s t , t h e poets  form  metaphysicals  between  that  from  struggling  s i g n i f i c a n t l y and  or metaphysical  whom h i s  metaphys-  sense  contemporaries  aloof  poetry  a s i f t o embody i n  personified  o f t h e poet  I n s h o r t , he stands  among  i n the best  so f o r Watkins  religious  psychological crisis  placed  his  from  between  affinity,  dialogue  (sometimes  his metaphysical  of his  a  The  of timelessness  throughout  i s t o time,  "the  outcome  v i -  with  and m e t r i c a l  but symbolic,  the great  of Spirit  craftsmanship.  by personal  t o content  sensibility.  i n hand  of the English  artificial  inspiration Muse")  t h e work  arbitrary  o f language  As e t e r n i t y  theme  way,  metaphysical  go hand  i n the tensions  i s linked  well-wrought,  organically the  Like  religious  rhymed  the logical  mystic  as  of the dissertation i s  sweeping  and d i s c i p l i n e d worked,  experiences  of the traditional  o f h i s uncommon  that  o f form  personal  and t h e focus  exalted notion  strict  is,  steps  a poet,  t o emphasize  and h i s  o f Watkins'  poetry  a n d must be  and l i t e r a r y  invokes  affin-  and echoes i n  of a central  core o f  9  belief  evident  record  of  and  throughout  s t r u g g l e and  e x p l o r a t i o n of  long  before  kind  of  a vision as  growth that  tially  of  a piece  Watkins'  at  i n the  the  discovered  when one  time T.  Eliot  but  little  detailed  and  interim.  critical  t o p i c and  of  a  insight  underway.  in his vision,  i t is  whole and  forties,  searching  the  the essen-  and  at  death least  I have c i t e d  the  and  theses  and  Faber  work  and and  has  i n 1967, three  the  the  fifties  critical  Watkins'  articles,  a l l of  Britain  p u b l i c a t i o n by  i n the  Since  d i s s e r t a t i o n s have appeared. t o my  got  given  S.  sixties,  evant  flash  gradually discovers  i t s first  of  al  poet  of  advice  number of  in a  w e l l - r e c e i v e d i n both  the  limited  i s less  beginning.  F a b e r on  been w r i t t e n i n the  poetry  celebration,affirmation  t h a t w h i c h was  w o r k was  States  a  development  occurs  i m p l i c a t i o n s of  than  a published  i s g r o w t h and  fuller  United  search  his career  Though t h e r e  h i s work, Watkins'  a  doctor-  articles  rel-  dissertations in  my  bibliography. In  the  been s a i d ness.  critical  i n general  Kathleen  M c C o r m i c k and  Roland  Heaven" ness  dissertation,  i n terms  Mary P o l k for  (University  of  sense of  Leslie  of h i s work. "I Sing  a  dissertation, ' B a l l a d of  California,  the  to  the v i s i o n a r y  a  Romantic  Lwyd and  1970), with  the  in  timeless-  tradition, An  Other  Celtic  her  Timeless  sense of  "Vernon Watkins: Mari  has  timeless-  McCormick deals  P l a c e l e s s and  the  much  N o r r i s , Jane  have a l l spoken of  of h i s r e l a t i o n  the  to date  U n i v e r s i t y , 1975), w i t h h i s  i n her  Reading  Brian Keeble,  Mathias  quality  (Lehigh  appeared  terms about Watkins'  Raine,  or metaphysical doctoral  work t h a t has  and  Ambience Poems'"  backgrounds  10  informing tic  h i s work and  lore.  Watkins"  Leslie  style a  Norris'  of Watkins'  i n the  later  Watkins'  order.  Watkins  as  Yet  as  a  leen Raine,  one  Martz of  but  Watkins'  does not  t h e poems.  ing  the  Christian  studies, short, its  do  not  and  develop  poet  to  and  and  since  worth  poems a n d  groups  and  incomparable  linked  Kath-  heritage.  Louis tradition  an  cen-  analysis  reviews published  poet  detailed  poems a s  view  seventeenth  specific  study of t h i s  for  Watkins'  pursuing i n regard to  subsequent  of  of this  h i s death, while  exegesis of  a high-  Neoplatonic  much o f h i s w o r k s t a n d s u n t o u c h e d the  and  to the E n g l i s h  short articles  of  Watkins'  metaphysical  h i s suggestion through  analytical  that  in  metaphysical poet.  relation  give detailed and  self-assured  understanding  implications  with Platonic  of the whole development truly  of the  m e d i t a t i v e poetry of the  lifetime  I t i s hoped  specific  i n an  t o draw a t t e n t i o n  close  of thought  critical  infancy,  ship.  text  poet's  and  the a f f i r m a t i o n  to the Welsh b a r d i c  Most o f the  directions  that  the  Vernon  of published poetry,  his roots i n a traditional  m e t a p h y s i c a l and  during  the  pursue  the f i r s t  his relation  suggests  tury, of  and  volumes  figure  Cel-  presents a systematic  importance  the  the world, h i s a f f i n i t i e s  thought,  Poetry of  between the w o r l d of time  does not  of  work, emphasizes of  sees  specifically  1972),  asserts  i s of key and  "The  of e s o t e r i c  a more c h i s e l l e d  He  a mediator he  seven  toward  poems.  vision,  poems a c t i n g er  first  a development  transcendent realm  of  dissertation,  (Southampton U n i v e r s i t y ,  appraisal arguing  h i s probable knowledge  modern m e t a p h y s i c a l poet  Watkins  poems.  In  is still  in  by  scholar-  exploration  seen  of h i s work, w i l l  suggest-  i n the  reveal  con-  him  the best  of  as  of h i s  work a r g u e s him t o  be.  12  Biographical  Few  twentieth-century poets  Sketch  h a v e waged as  remitting  a w a r f a r e a g a i n s t t i m e as  Watkins.  If his practical  is  i n a most  indirect  and  life  " k e e p [ s ] an world  transmuted  exact account,"  of timeless  and  poems t o s u g g e s t h e chewing  worldly  agerial  status  cashier."  over  way.  a m b i t i o n , he  the p o s i t i o n  his  entirely  intricate  t h e mundane and and  his decision  universal  and  temporaries. his  work on  ical  verse.  stag,  hidden  the p a r t i c u l a r  o r d e r s e t him  i t s own  terms  as  Phillips  Llanelly  Watkins  colliery  Though memories may  be  his Es-  t o man-  "oldest with  the  children while recrafting  careful  exclusion  from  of of  his poetry,  i t revealed a  a p a r t from most o f h i s the reader to  a modern e x p r e s s i o n of a  con-  approach  metaphys-  eternity.  was  born  on June  of mining  for his early  t r a n s f o r m s the abused  ure  b e t r a y e d by h i s b r o t h e r s ,  27,  Valley  communities  where Watkins of Joseph  the  a bank c l e r k .  o n l y as  town i n the L l y n f f  the basis  from  arduous  sake  His conscious choices force  a small  Wales.  The  c o n t i n g e n t f o r i t s own  d i a l o g u e between t i m e and Vernon  five  she  comprise  at the bank p r o v i d e d him  disciplined  to use  that  words, Lloyds'  dedicated to a l i f e l o n g ,  and  that  avoided promotion  means n e c e s s a r y t o s u p p o r t h i s w i f e and maining  for "Earth's"  (1968)  y e a r s as  carefully  un-  Vernon  indication  hewn s y m b o l s  t o b e c o m e , i n h i s own  Yet  Except  Fidelities  forty  and  a t a l l i n h i s work, i t  there i s l i t t l e  carefully  spent  d i d t h e Welshman,  appears  r e m a r k i n t h e poem " D i a l o g u e " f r o m  complete  1906,  like  and  into  Mae-  i n southeast  p o e m , "The  worker  in  Bridgend  and  Collier,"  a biblical  therefore  fig-  a type  of  13  Christ,  the  ged  and  picturesque  was  ten.  sea  (an  ever-present  for  the  rest  R.A.F. years  landscape  I t was  of  during later,  his  the  Thomas'  f a t h e r was and  coast  symbol life,  Watkins  attended  the  where  his  for a  War.  the  Swansea.  At  to  serve  as  Swansea  Heroine  of  of  bounded  that  he  brief  Dylan  the  was  latter  to  his  Childhood"  the remain  in  the  eight  institution Watkins  youth  and  "Ode  to  and  he  Swansea  schoolmaster. both  by  Thomas and  rug-  when  interlude  Mirador  of  the  f a m i l y moved  Like  both  i s that  beauty  i n h i s work)  c e l e b r a t e d the of  poems  pastoral  World  later  his  except  i n nearby  i n "Elegy  of  amidst  Second  Schools  years  Gower  there  Grammar  membered  o f most  re-  adult Swan-  sea." Watkins  was  middle-class formerly er  from  that  the  second  parents  Sarah  of  Phillips,  to  become  vocation  of  childhood,  William,  i n whose  ally,  was  a  originally both  his  teen the  to  his  I t was of  life  the as  the  a  f o r Watkins'  "Returning  to  an  there  sent  i s that  that  Anglican loyal  they  and  the  Church  a  was  Well,  to  of  only His  of  their  the  young  Wales  idyllic His  committed  father  B a n k who  Cardiff.  at  the  came  Though Welsh  age  of  was  confirmed  adhered  Christian.  Nonfour-  where  e s t a b l i s h e d Church  he  in-  follow profession-  i n Derbyshire  Vernon  to which  mother,  i n southwest later  near  school  of  farm-  Lloyds  son  son  gentleman  Congregationalists of  English public  emphasis  the  Goleufryn."  manager  Taff's  staunch  of  district  f o o t s t e p s Watkins  were  children,  daughter  country  setting  background,  Repton,  gland.  a  Tynewydd,  parents  religious  member  was  s u c c e s s f u l branch from  conformist  the  three  Congregationalist faith.  Carmarthenshire,  was  of  of  En-  as  a  throughout  I t i s no  coinci-  14  dence the  that  same  ical  the  that  poets  whose  church  tradition  nourished  like  work h i s  Donne, own  earlier  can  religious  much  ground  with  of  the  rich  Anglican  The ness and to  of a  The  greater  than  to  a  though tanical  approach  of  hymn  directly ity is  and  from  of  poetic  pulpit  the  of  with  Though  be  seen  the  non-  to  share  mystical  i s an  heir  side  of i t s  sensitivity  background.  to  formality  on  a  the  meant  more  a  amenable  more  a  popular  Thomas, more  service  of  clergy,  social less  particular  the to  prayer-  God, to  little  Anglican  formal  the  his  ritual)  hieratic  work  the  tradition  personal  puritanism than  formal-  and  and  stan-  clergy)  draws  symbol  class,  puri-  better  i n h i s mature with  of  d e c l i n e i n the  the  liturgy,  intimacy more  of  Though Watkins  retains  of  Dylan  i n terms  back  Congregation-  system  i n general,  i n Watkins'  seems.altogether than  was  (sensitivity  T h o u g h he sense  early  (depending  and  going  were a  aware-  congregation  who  probably  rhetoric.  meant  Godliness  It also  life  though  f o r each  hierarchical  i n wealth.  I believe,  background  congregation  prayerbook  sensibilities  inherited  he  cheerful  appointed  terms;  writing.  adopted  an  d r i n k and  Congregationalist's he  can  was  metaphys-  Traherne,  from  clergy  Anglicanism  sort  to  literary  reflected,  style  to  s i n g i n g , and  vigorous  drew  Independents,  necessarily  dard  less  of  before,  in literary  and  he  i n Watkins'  puritan yet  shift  book  a  of  "posher"  not  himself  symbology.  sect  alists.  and  who  democratically appointed  Milton's  found  compared.  Poetically  Congregationalism  tradition  be  outlook,  poets  tradition.  traditional  Vaughan  fruitfully  in his  he  seventeenth-century  Herbert,  doctrinaire common  i n which  of  Watkins,  and his  carried  15  into  h i s verse t h e energy  sense  o f Welsh p u l p i t  o f p e r s o n a l r e p r o b a t i o n and g u i l t  rhetoric  and t h e  of the Nonconformist  sects. Watkins' ebrate  poem, " R e v i s i t e d  Repton's  Waters,"  Quatercentenary,  idealizes  1920-24 as a g o l d e n age o f y o u t h f u l shared h i s l i t e r a r y demic  success, a single,  school's bury), world last  and p o e t i c  Watkins'  S p e e c h Day when V e r n o n  would  enthusiasms.  later  as fundamentally i n i m i c a l  Howe p r i z e  cameraderie  (later  earn  the d i s t i n c t  s o much p e r l i n e  impression that  this  from  peers  who  of aca-  encounter  with the  Archbishop of Canter-, of the  to the poetic  academic  spirit.  On t h e  on t h e stage t o r e c e i v e t h e  f o r p o e t r y , the Headmaster  "never  with  cel-  there  In spite  rejection  stepped  i n 1957 t o  h i s time  unfortunate parting  Headmaster, Dr. F i s h e r  foreshadows  written  joked that  again."  t h e young  Watkins  representative  left  of  poet  with  academic 3  authority  h a d no c o m p r e h e n s i o n  Though b o t h W a t k i n s ' not  t r a n s m i t t h e spoken  considered poetic  o f the poet's  form  ing  had undergone  the  1870's,  South  calling.  p a r e n t s were W e l s h - s p e a k i n g , o f the language  the resources of English  expression.  high  fully  to their  adequate  they d i d s o n , who  f o r h i s own  Wales a t t h e time o f Watkins'  the steady process  a n d i t was f a s h i o n a b l e  of A n g l i c i z a t i o n  upbring-  begun i n  among t h e " r e s p e c t a b l e " 4  classes Thanks  t o seek  to h i s father,  of A n e i r i n , in and  f o rtheir  later  life  retained  witnessed  Taliesin,  children  who r e a d  a more E n g l i s h e d u c a t i o n .  t o t h e young Watkins  L l y w a r c h Hen a n d D a f y d d  a b l e t o read Welsh w i t h a sensitivity  by h i s l a t e r  use o f a Welsh  ap Gwilym,  the help of a  t o the mythic  heritage  folk  t h e poems  custom  h e was  dictionary,  o f Wales, i n his  as  16  "Ballad  of  the  sequence of ably of  Mari  Lwyd" and  poems d e a l i n g w i t h  h i s m o t h e r , h o w e v e r , who  an  English education  look. hain  She  h e r s e l f had  where  ropean languages become an  adept  hanger Lodge a t From t h e r e ,  lege  at  French,  sent  a broader, a  Cambridge  Watkins  left  abruptly  I n an  i n 1925 A.  that  he  didn't  of  him.""'  he  Watkins ready."  to  Benson's  become a p o e t the The  strong  "he  to  and in  Eu-  was  to  end  of  day had  at  behind  him  specialize (and  not  the  the  aca-  time  and  Master author-  Repton.  t e r m , when  questioned  Watkins  i n w r i t i n g poetry  cursed  in  with  Fisher at  was  Col-  positivis-  conflict  see  in  for  that  coming year,  he  Tytten-  Repton.  re-  and  that  i t criticized  r e t o r t — t h a t i f he  the "he  Bolken-  to  with  second  i n C a m b r i d g e and  terse reply that  out-  to Magdalene  year  r e a c t i o n t o Dr.  curse  on  Cambridge at  This  the  who  school  sharp exchange w i t h  insensitive  would  out  the  "interested only stay  pursuit  interest  success  set  dominated  Benson at  at  son,  going  Pensioner  i n t e n t i o n s f o r the  was  intend  a  Within  Benson.  his earlier  to h i s academic  academic  a  prob-  inherit.  w h e r e he  after  C.  interview with  sponded  the  grew d i s i l l u s i o n e d  that  i n the  school  a preparatory  as  Italian.  analytic spirit  parallels  w e n t up  I t was  between C z e c h o s l o v a k i a  to  to  in his  more c o n t i n e n t a l  Sussex, before  i n 1924  German and  College,  was  considerable  tic,  the  bard.  finishing  developed  first  Seaford,  with  demic r e a s o n s ) ,  she  ancient  Taliesin  encouraged Watkins  attended  translator,  m o d e r n l a n g u a g e s , he  as  that  f i g u r e of  ( i n c l u d i n g German) w h i c h h e r  W a t k i n s was  ity  and  the  i n a German-speaking r e g i o n  Southern Poland  of  of  wanted  out  to  born"—drew  from  i t many t i m e s  a l -  i n t e r v i e w ended d r a m a t i c a l l y w i t h  Watkins  slamming  17  the door It  behind i s clear  own  volition  and  not  for  placing  fect  well  he  Watkins  bank.  He  toward  the k i n d  bridge  i n the  into  an  a matter  just  I t was  won  life  a religious  principle,  the Peskett  of a  to a f -  he  t o h i s own.  antipathy  identified  fostered  that  job i n the  a thoroughgoing  criticism  was  Prize  burning of bridges  of h i s contemporaries  contrast  of  a choice that  Cambridge t h a t  Empson, two  Cambridge of h i s  economic n e c e s s i t y  of empirical  i n decided  from  effectual  later  20's—the  as  withdrew  i n h i s exams.  retained  room.  reasons, having  back upon the  development  the  c o n c e i v e d as  of h i s l i f e ,  him  William  left  w h a t he  f o r academic  the r e s t  stands  as  that  over  forced  and  him  w i t h Cam-  I . A.  whose  In l i g h t  Richards  work  of h i s  p o e t , h i s c h o i c e seems more  unique than  justified. After kins' of  h i s unprecedented  father,  h i s son's  year  frontation  i n Europe Watkins  t a k e up  He  t o become a p o e t  Repton,  p o e t r y more o r  since  collected  describes  as  his family  the  age  of  likely  which  Watkins  suggested  insisted  I t was  ensued  decided  less  continually,  eight.  "the  s i m p l e and  as  b i r t h d a y and  at the  English  By  the  poets  economical Christmas  an  alter-  that  sudden the  his  con"ner-  1927. age  of  s i x and  except  t i m e he by  f o r the  instead  this  Wat-  tolerant  as  precipitated  i n t h e autumn o f  most o f the  Cambridge,  been e x t r e m e l y  naively  education.  banking.  from  r e f u s e d t o support him  breakdown" that  he. h a d  to  p o i n t had  with ordinary reality  been w r i t i n g at  to this  to a u n i v e r s i t y  promptly  vous  up  "impracticality,"  of t r a v e l  native son  who  withdrawal  for a  was  had year  twelve  what h i s widow  method of g i v i n g presents."  At  them Repton,  18  he  experienced  ley),  and  extreme  the  a  Georgian  Romantic  unpremeditated ing. a  He  sense  direct  passion  was of  to  the  poet  notion  flow  f o r the  necessity for At  consuming  interest  gested  integrated world  the  world  portant vital  to  role  tional  ordinary  him  of  Wales  incident  that  period  of  of  to  revision  or  the an  rework-  i n favor  of  craftsmanship  combined  with  preceding whose  imaginative Blake,  at  his  "giant energy  who  the  breakdown forms"  i n fact  very  time  Roland  to  his  sug-  distinct  continued  his maturity,  Watkins,  that  with  inspiration,  b i o g r a p h i c a l a n a l y s i s from  S e r i e s " on led  no  Shel-  life  Blake  imagination  his  or  in later  subtle  William  work  i n Watkins' In  view  reality.  i n the  collapse.  "Writers the  of  was  the  identifying  is direct  little  this  (particularly  Brooke,  poetry  requiring  inspiration.  an  Rupert  that  repudiate  Romantics  from  be  im-  played  a  of  emo-  his  the  Mathias  describes  crisis:  ....[H]e [ W a t k i n s ] r e t u r n e d t o h i s l o d g i n g s on t h e T a f f embankment i n a s t a t e o f h i g h t e n s i o n . He had been r e a d i n g B l a k e a g a i n , and r u s h e d h i t h e r and thither a b o u t t h e room s h o u t i n g t h a t he had c o n q u e r e d t i m e and c o u l d c o n t r o l b o t h h i s own d e s t i n y a n d t h a t o f o t h e r s . T h i s p e n u l t i m a t e s t a g e was a b r u p t l y e n d e d w h e n h e heard an enormous c r a s h o u t s i d e : on g o i n g t o t h e window he saw a m o t o r - c y c l i s t d e a d o n t h e g r o u n d a n d h i s p i l l i o n p a s s e n g e r s t a g g e r i n g up t h e p a t h t o w a r d s h i m , h i s f a c e covered i n blood. Immediately—the underlying tendern e s s o f h i s n a t u r e s u p e r v e n i n g — h e was convinced that he h a d w i l l e d t h i s a n d h i m s e l f c o l l a p s e d , -j Directly  afterwards,  Watkins  tried  a s s a u l t the  o l d Headmaster,  fore In bol  to had  told  Watkins' of  poet.  the  him  that  he  d e l i r i u m , the philistine  took  could  the  that  Dr.  never  headmaster  world  train  Repton  F i s h e r , who  make became  stood  to  a  living an  and years  at  poetry.  exaggerated  i n o p p o s i t i o n to  be-  the  sym-  19  life  Yet  the  was  to  follow  was  sent  w h e r e he  described. the  most i n t e n s e and  of  the  convalescent  to recover  There,  nature  at  time  as  he  and  formative experience  from  the  recalled  saved  home i n  he  was  m i r a c u l o u s l y by  Watkins'  Derbyshire  hysterical  later,  of  outburst suddenly  just shown  Christ  from  "the  speak of  this  expe-  g  horrors  of  the  rience,  and  abyss."  the  He  was  h e a l i n g and  t o come t o  reintegration  that followed  from  it,  as p a r t o f a p r o f o u n d " r e v o l u t i o n o f s e n s i b i l i t y . " I n my t w e n t y - t h i r d y e a r I s u d d e n l y e x p e r i e n c e d a c o m plete r e v o l u t i o n of s e n s i b i l i t y . I r e p u d i a t e d the v e r s e I had w r i t t e n and knew t h a t I c o u l d n e v e r a g a i n w r i t e a poem w h i c h c o u l d b e d o m i n a t e d b y t i m e . g  The  theme o f  tal  interrelation  tral his  the  overthrow of  time  poetic concern.  The  mind r e t r o s p e c t i v e l y  to  a new  way  to  transform his a r t .  up  to that time,  metaphysical ity  was  affirm  the  of viewing  poet.  that  ideals  ically  the  and  through  eternity  experience the  the He  was  just  awareness  origin  burned  and  of  poems he  written  and  he  cen-  that,  life had a  "His  wrote only  in  "conversion"  spoke o f h i m s e l f as  H i s widow has  the v i -  d e s c r i b e d assumed  purpose  a l l the  of  t o become h i s  shape of a r e l i g i o u s  henceforth  that  was  written Christian Christian-  to praise  and  belief.""'"^  and  obvious the  conflict  world's  Slowly Watkins  at  Lloyds  as  In  later  a way  life,  Britain"  of  between Watkins'  b a n k became h i s means o f  came t o a c c e p t  protecting his poetry without "Address  to the  on  1966,  proudly  7,  he  iron-  reinte-  the monotonous r o u t i n e  d u r i n g an May  uncompromis-  demands l e d t o h i s b r e a k d o w n ,  commitment t o the  gration.  Great  time  centre of h i s l i f e ,  Though the ing  and  of  Poetry and  compromise.  Society  with  of  some h u m o u r  20  compared h i m s e l f and  other  to Eliot,  Masefield,  p o e t s who w o r k e d  i n banks:  the Greek poet  Cavafy  When I j o i n e d L l o y d s B a n k i n S e p t . 1 9 2 5 , T. S. E l i o t h a d j u s t l e f t i t i n t h e same y e a r , t h e 8 t h o f h i s service. He was s o v e r s a t i l e t h a t h e w a s a b l e t o w r i t e t h e E u r o p e a n a r t i c l e f o r t h e L l o y d s Bank Monthl y R e v i e w a n d T h e W a s t e L a n d a t t h e same t i m e . ^ In  that  at  t h e bank he u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y  notes; after  same a d d r e s s  and t h e r e  a  are other  a customer  mistake,  Watkins  relates  set fire  colourful  helped After to  stories  of h i s leaving  about Watkins'  on Pennard  to draft  and r e d r a f t  critic  o f h i s own w o r k , d e s t r o y i n g  isfied  him, less published  After  settling  journals  and unusual  dramatic  poetic  impact  Thomas e n c o u r a g e d mitting issue  on Watkins Watkins  of Kiedrych  himself clerk.  supper r e t u r n  toh i s  almost  contin-  meticulous  i n print,  dissat-  including  and c o l l e c t i o n s . a t t h e bank, Watkins The v i t a l  met  personal-  o f t h e younger poet were t o have both  personally  to begin  some p o e m s , i n c l u d i n g  of  c o m m u t e home b y b u s  months o f 1935.  gifts  In spite  a t a w h i m poems t h a t  into h i s career  D y l a n Thomas i n t h e e a r l y  that  a competent  B e c a u s e h e was s u c h a  t h a n 4 0 0 poems s u r v i v e i n both  so  w h i c h he  t h e poems h e p r o d u c e d  throughout h i s l i f e .  ity  ineptitude,  c l i f f s , and a f t e r  uously  those  f o r the key.  a d a y o f work i n Swansea, he w o u l d  study  to  t h e bank u n l o c k e d  t o p e r p e t u a t e , h e was b y a l l a c c o u n t s  h i s house  o f bank  t o whom h e g a v e a n i m m e n s e sum o f m o n e y b y  and another  comical  t o a packet  started  t a l e s , one o f h i m r u n n i n g  p o l i c e m a n h a d t o come t o h i s h o u s e  the  a  how w h e n h e f i r s t  journal  "Griefs  and p o e t i c a l l y .  publication  by  sub-  of the Sea," t o the f i r s t  R h y s ' Wales i n 1 9 3 7 , a n d he i n t r o d u c e d h i m  a community o f p o e t s , w r i t e r s  and a r t i s t s  including  Daniel  21  Jones,  the  composer, A l f r e d  Ormond, t h e Letters to  the  filmmaker.  friendship, to  and  The admired  other  appeared  first  sonally,  on  influence.  Yeats  I n 1938,  home i n t h e  1939  R.A.F., f i r s t  a  1946.  ries  remained  As  relating  as  he  parade without the  entire  bars  service  person  lasting  visited  the  was  found  row  broadcast  of  and  i n the m i l i t a r y  on  as i t imme-  him  perpoetic  o l d Yeats  i n h i s Dub-  wrote  long  and  then  the  poem,  Watkins  in  compassionate  marching how  he  f°  r  entrance  Watkins setting:  important  accidently how  he  into  in  discharge  for military  t o an  joined the  Intelligence  c a r e e r , numerous anecdotes  o f h i s squad and  1947  one  an  volunteered to serve  policeman  receiving  his rifle,  front  he  comic u n s u i t a b i l i t y  i n place of passes  radio  a  Yeats,  to study  T h o u g h Thomas h a d  and  B.  t o h a v e t h e more e n d u r i n g  i n 1941  with h i s banking  o f how  W.  most  result.  until  Watkins'  Watkins  poet  continued  t h e n a t i o n m o b i l i z e d f o r war, Again  utter dedication  Irish  o f p i l g r i m a g e and a  t h e Home G u a r d .  w h e r e he  was  Watkins  i n D u b l i n , " as  In  style,  the  and  thirties.  who  spirit  testifies  extraordinary literary  young poets'  i n 1928,  Watkins'  i t was  letters,  1957),  twentieth-century figure  read the  John  craft.  important  throughout  impact  "Yeats  their  and  o f Thomas'  Faber,  d u r a t i o n of t h i s two  painter,  edition  d u r i n g t h a t same p e r i o d was  whose w o r k he  lin  of  the  ( F a b e r and  r e v e a l s the  the minutiae  diate  Watkins'  to Vernon Watkins s t r e n g t h and  Janes,  in  abound  life,  sto-  ceremonial  turned  a hose  accepted the base.  p o r t r a y s h i m s e l f as  a  on  chocolate In  a  misplaced  22  D u r i n g t h e war I f o u n d m y s e l f i n an e n v i r o n m e n t and i n a r o l e w h i c h I had n e v e r e x p e c t e d . I was a n R . A . F . p o l i c e m a n , a n d g u a r d i n g a camp w h e r e I was a l w a y s losi n g my w a y , s i n c e I i n v a r i a b l y c o n f u s e d o n e b u i l d i n g with another. I n c i r c u m s t a n c e s s u c h as t h e s e t h e r e s e e m e d t o be n o p l a c e f o r my p o e t r y , n o r , i n d e e d , f o r me; b u t a t n i g h t w h e n I s t o o d a t t h e g a t e examining p a s s e s I h a d a c r i t i c ' s a u t h o r i t y , f o r my t a s k was t o u n d e r s t a n d i n a moment a l l t h a t was s e t b e f o r e me. When h e with of  left  the p o l i c e  the words,  crooks."*" It  was  married six.  life  to "the  educated  she  was  due  to his  five  of  friendship  Dyfed:  sports.  tennis,  cricket,  squash,  hockey  h i s schoolboy  throughout  by  even i n h i s l a t e r the  Gower s e a  He  a great  and  years trails,  of  of  partnera  well-  and  recently  life,  com-  pubof  Watkins'  been an  avid  player  o t h e r c o m p e t i t i v e games later  at  Cambridge.  that could distract  lover  dedica-  Now  to edit  for  1983).  had  a l l reports athletic,  his life,  thirty-  w i t h Thomas, P o r t r a i t  days a t R e p t o n and  only pursuits  was  continues  joys of domestic  that of  to his  a girl.  Gomer P r e s s ,  the  Watkins  fanatical  husband's works, having  Watkins'  that  a harmonious  f o u r boys and  Gwen W a t k i n s  p o e t r y and  These were t h e  on  her  (Llandysul,  He  bunch  of h i s u n s u i t a b i l i t y  seem t o h a v e h a d  l o v e was  poetry.  1944,  eyes) almost  great  since  2,  to complain  children,  on  a book on  Besides  jocularly  I ' l l e v e r meet a b i g g e r  October  ( i n her  woman h e r s e l f ,  Friend  next  on  later  Muse," t h e y  ment c r i t i c a l l y  a  t o have p a r t e d  3  raising  lished  suppose  d u r i n g t h e war  Though  ship,  " I don't  i s said  Gwendoline Mary D a v i e s , n i n e t e e n y e a r s  married tion  he  the  s c r a m b l i n g up  agile  him  and  outdoors, cliffs  and  o u t d i s t a n c i n g younger  men.  from  his  active capable striding  23  Happy i n r e l a t i v e actively  seek  literary  was  debilitating  his  c a r e e r as  isolation  on  the Gower, W a t k i n s  acclaim.  He  believed  f o r t h e p o e t , who  a p u b l i s h e d poet  parallel  t o h i s commitments  In  just  1941,  volume of v e r s e , B a l l a d Faber who  and  was  cant  Faber,  one  of the  appearance  White  l e d by  to publish  Review,  Life  eventually the  of  Selected by  New  regularly  seven  (1967).  Lady  Heinrich  The  and  Fidelities  Acacia (1968)  Faber  with North  The  The  which  Watkins  saw  i n print  including  Was  i n Wales  (1976), Selected  Death  (1962)  through  and  Listener, Britain out  Uncollected  Poems  Verse  Ballad  in  and  a to  a  America  Lamp a n d  the of  Bell  (1954),  the  posthumous  the press.  a number o f posthumous volumes  ( 1 9 7 8 ) , The  Watkins Welsh  brought  The  neo-  (1948), t r a n s l a t i o n s  ( 1 9 5 1 ) , The  (1959), A f f i n i t i e s  Stream  body of  i n both  include  The  "New  onward  Wales,  Faber  the Unicorn Sea  signifi-  poetry, i n addition  volumes  appeared  of the  time  like  first  himself  Another  associated  t o 1968,  death  Unity  Eliot  so-called  reputation  Watkins'  Born  the  From t h a t  of Watkins'  clerk.  anthology called  with  loosely  solid  bank  Some o f t h e s e w e r e r e p r i n t e d  The  V e i l . ( 1 9 4 5 ) , The Heine's  a  steadily  p u b l i s h e d by  h i s work.  i n an  him  and  from  Today, H o r i z o n and  From 1941  volumes  notice  i n journals  Letters  Directions.  Cypress  to l i n k  establishing  Poems  i n 1941  Henry Treece.  and  father  and  Yet  t h e R.A.F., W a t k i n s '  favorable  of poets, a  United States.  series  into  to praise  i n print  Apocalypse" group  was  first  Horseman tended  Romantics  as h u s b a n d ,  quietly  o f t h e M a r i L w y d , was  receiving  publicity  must work i n s e c r e t .  developed  before his entry  that  d i d not  Since  o f h i s poems (1969), I  Translations  of the Outer  have  That  (1977),  Dark  and  24  Other  Poems  of which Leslie  ( 1 9 7 9 ) , and  are duly noted  Norris  Watkins  by  has  a variety  scattered  prose  casts  previously  Prose  and  even  critical  veals  work  mantics, unique  particularly  exponents  appreciated classical critical  of  own  (Greek)  1977),  theory of  on  was  and  on  Watkins'  has  honours  since  i n the  1969). Spanish  afforded  him  a way  for of  His choice of poets S y m b o l i s t s and who  re-  German  were t o  Ro-  him  d r e a m he He  never also  t h e y were a b l e t o i n t e g r a t e traditions.  translations  a poet's written Verse  i s that  feeling an  The  general they  f o r the  e s s a y , now  Translations  the  com-  spirit  published  (Enitharmon  of Poetry," developing h i s  translation.  of the r e l a t i v e and  thesis,  a substitute  noble Romantic  Translation  the a r t of  with  a mediation of the d i v i n e .  Selected  "The  broad-  i n her Master's  Holderlin  the b i b l i c a l  Watkins  radio  Fraser University,  skills.*""'  accuracy with  his life  literary  (Simon  t h e h i g h and  and  consensus  In s p i t e  he  of  h i s posthumous  during  Watkins'  t h e manner i n w h i c h  scholarly  Press,  edited  i n the French  o f p o e t r y as  the o r i g i n a l .  with  McCormick has  o f F r e n c h , German, I t a l i a n ,  Heine  to  Watkins  shunned) and  poetic  interest  relinquished  bine  ( w h i c h he  tributes  Vernon  unpublished notes Watkins"  addition,  critics,  p o e t r y p r o v i d e d him  h i s own  a keen  Lee  translations  Hungarian  sharpening  Jane  volume w i t h  and  (1979), a l l In  gathered from v a r i o u s j o u r n a l s ,  of Vernon  Watkins'  a memorial  of a r t i s t s  ( 1 9 7 0 ) , and  "The  B r e a k i n g o f t h e Wave  i n the b i b l i o g r a p h y . * ^  edited  1906-1967  and  The  modicum o f c r i t i c i s m  h i s d e a t h , he  last  two  decades  appointed Fellow of the Royal  did receive  on  numerous  of h i s l i f e .  Society  Watkins  In  of L i t e r a t u r e  1951 and  25  in  1953  ume  won  The  Death  Society Poetry  Levinson  Bell  from Poetry  earned  him  "First  i n M a r c h i n 1954,  and  i n 1957  f o r the  p o e m , "The  1966  Watkins  retired  honorary  D.  Litt.  same y e a r  benkian  from  the  became t h e  Fellowship of  The  Times  of  was  being  considered  time  Prize  Award  In  that  the  October  of h i s death  11,  Choice" he  from  first  the  claimed  the  bank.  holder  of  reported  seriously  the  vol-  Poetry  Book  Guinness  the  post  was  granted  (1967), Calouste  College,  an  and  in  Gul-  Swansea.  i n his obituary that  f o r the  to r e p l a c e the  He  of Wales  at University  1967  of  His  T r i b u t a r y Seasons."  University  Poetry  (Chicago).  Laureateship left  vacant  at  by  he  the  John  Mase-  16 field. kins his  Therefore,  r e c e i v e d some m e a s u r e o f reputation continues  lished is  a  of  the  and  more c r i t i c a l  wholeness  find  i n the  Before the  to have  at  asked  him  After  only  the  work of  retiring,  b a n k i n 1964  English  of  t o mount as  the  to  back again  f o r , as  k i n d of  a term  s i x t y - o n e , Watkins  as  class  on  For  a p o e t who  asserted that death  taken  October  time  his unity  of  i s but  from of  Washington  position.  1967,  a heart  a  off  professor  same 8,  tennis, h i s longtime  somehow a n  now  sense  earlier, symbolic  a visiting  died unexpectedly  game o f  and  Yeats.  t o resume t h a t  a vigorous  i t seemed  like  and  already  ing  sciousness  suggested  with a  of Washington i n S e a t t l e .  i n 1967  t h r e e weeks o f  readers  thematic  W a t k i n s had  University  Wat-  What i s m o s t n e e d e d  provide  a major poet  serve  seek honours,  more o f h i s w o r k i s pub-  work appears.  of h i s work;  to  recognition in his lifetime,  " C o l l e c t e d Poems" t h a t w o u l d  canon appears we  despite his refusal  at  the  attack  age dur-  favorite  sport.  shifting  of  con-  to d i e .  His  a p p r o p r i a t e way  26  b o d y was  transported  t o Wales  where  c h u r c h he h a d a t t e n d e d t h r o u g h o u t Pennard. may  best  Watkins'  own  words  h e was  buried  his life,  from h i s l a s t  S t . Mary's volume,  s e r v e as an e p i t a p h :  F o r me n e g l e c t a n d w o r l d - w i d e f a m e w e r e o n e . I was c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h o s e t h e w o r l d f o r g o t , I n t h e t a l e ' s e n d i n g saw i t s l i f e b e g u n , And  I was  with  them  still  i n the  w h e n t i m e was  not.  at  Fidelities,  27  CHAPTER I  T H E F I G U R E OF  TALIESIN:  POET AS BARD AND  PROPHET  28  Chapter The  Figure of Taliesin:  Poet  as Bard  In a r a d i o broadcast ber  25, 1953,Watkins  poem, " T a l i e s i n  I  and Prophet  o n t h e W e l s h Home S e r v i c e o n N o v e m -  introduced the figure  of Taliesin  i n his  and t h e Mockers" as f o l l o w s :  The W e l s h p o e t T a l i e s i n , who c l a i m e d t o h a v e l i v e d i n a l l ages, i s t o Welsh poetry t h e archetype o f i n s p i r a t i o n , a s O r p h e u s was t o t h e Greeks.-^ W a t k i n s was t o c a l l poet  recurrently  published  on t h i s  figure  i na series  volumes  of the early  Welsh  bardic  o f poems s c a t t e r e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e  of h i s verse, beginning  with "Taliesin i n  2 Gower" i n The Death B e l l that  i nspite  Taliesin  of being  (1954).  Internal  published i n separate  poems w e r e o r i g i n a l l y  linked  evidence  reveals  volumes t h e  as a s e r i e s ,  and intended 3  by  the author  to  t h e poems i s t h e t h e m e o f t h e t i m e l e s s n e s s o f p o e t r y , a p o -  etic  personal  images  manuscripts, finished draft  take  vision  Common  to the  landscape  i n which  on a heightened,  points out that the T a l i e s i n  a t t h e time  exists  o f t h e poet's  1967 e n t i t l e d  i n incomplete  i nthe Taliesin  drafted h i s first  death  and a s i m i l a r  sequence.  symbolic  D r . R u t h P r y o r , who h a s s t u d i e d t h e u n p u b l i s h e d  d a t i n g from  Calling" terest  experience,  o f s e a , sand and r o c k  significance.  he  as an i n t e r r e l a t e d  c o n j o i n i n g o f Welsh myth and C h r i s t i a n  poet's the  t o be r e a d  death,  "Taliesin 4  form.  i n 1967, i n d i c a t e s  poem,"*  that Taliesin  and that  another  Considers H i s  The p o e t ' s  theme, b e g i n n i n g  Taliesin  sequence remained un-  as e a r l y  and l a s t i n g  continuing i n a s 1938 when until his  was o f a b i d i n g  impor-  29  tance  t o him p o e t i c a l l y .  Taliesin volumes  as  a  Watkins'  early  Taliesin  i s apparent  lished  i n 1949,  and t h e s a c r e d  life  on whoever Taliesin.  ceiving incident  of  of metaphysical  well  vision.  I  t h e poems c a n b e r e a d a n d on added resonance  when  read  salmon o f wisdom, which  of h i s being  "The S a l m o n " Dark  material dealing  i n " T h e S a l m o n , " a poem f i r s t  to catch i t ,  of the three miraculous  into  as d e t a i l e d 7  (typescript  bestows  immortal  of inspiration  surround-  The r e a d e r  may r e f e r  story.  and t o t h e  b y t h e man E l p h i n  i n C h a r l o t t e Guest's  dated  of  alludes to Taliesin's r e -  drops  of the Taliesin  pub-  legend  the stories  d i s c o v e r e d as a c h i l d  (1906).  f o r a synopsis  translation  t o t h e Appen-  The r e v i s e d  1960) i n The B a l l a d  version of the  (1979) makes r e f e r e n c e t o t h e W e l s h m e a n i n g o f t h e  name " T a l i e s i n , " sions  i n the C e l t i c  I n t h a t poem, W a t k i n s  t h e salmon weir  Outer  interest  i s able  o f The M a b i n o g i o n dix  of the  mythos, as  where he i n c o r p o r a t e s t h e I r i s h  Finn  in  sense  whole.  with  ing  take  examine t h e  i n the published  and C h r i s t i a n  that although  separately, they  I shall  r e v e a l of Watkins'  o f h i m s e l f as a poet  t o demonstrate  appreciated  chapter  appearance  between a p r e - C h r i s t i a n  h i s sense  wish  of their  t o e x p l o r e what t h e y  relation as  poems i n o r d e r  In this  o r " r a d i a n t brow."  allude to the child's  Both  swallowing  early  and l a t e  o f t h e drops  of  ver-  inspir-  ation : I n E l p h i n ' s w e i r t h e c h i l d was c a u g h t . A l l ages then were hung. The r a d i a n t f o r e h e a d b y t h o s e d r o p s t h a t l i t u p o n h i s tongue Knew a l l t h e c h a n g e s f r o m h i s b i r t h . His inspiration freed  30  Souls  from the s w i n i s h d e v i l s creed. (BOD, p. 30)  Even i n t h i s Taliesin  relatively  vision; a g e s , on of  lusions  The  from  drives  demonic  ledge,  here  ior,"  the  Watkins ledge  and  the  wisdom.  A  ments t h i s  "The and  synoptics  the  of  the  to  purgative  i t involves  as  As  i s inspired with  c o n t r o l l e d but poet  as  of  "vates"  "the  the  past,  Sav-  see  poems t h a t  a kind  intense  a l -  case  to  a "divine child"  encompassing  the  Christ  ability  i n the  of  T a l i e s i n ' s know-  energy  the  in a l l  surmount  this  swine.  poet  whose t o n g u e  gospels—in  the  power  together  of  prophet,  the  imagination  28-34) where  eternity.  upon the  theme o f  present  8:  the  in  of C h r i s t i a n  (Matt.  with  of  interest  agent  Salmon" draws  associated  tone  the  In a manner.characteristic  Mabinogion  the  Savior's  timelessness  poetic  a herd  of  combine h i s  the  into  i s that and  of  spirits  focuses  the  t h e n were hung," r e p r e s e n t s  a whole,  the  to  transformational  time.  perspective  future,  time  follow,  whose  know-  present  and  of  timeless  e x u l t a t i o n comple-  or  prophet  throughout  series. Before  turning to  volumes where W a t k i n s it  a  i s " f r e e i n g " because  from  the  of  poems as from  incident  as  inspiration  limitations  Taliesin  sense  whom " a l l a g e s  poetic  the  Watkins  his  for Taliesin  mocked  e a r l y poem i t i s c l e a r t h a t  f i g u r e enables  Welsh m a t e r i a l w i t h  that  i s important  Leslie early well  Norris  to  the  Taliesin  explores  this  establish his  points  Welsh m a t e r i a l s as  the  out,  published  exalted notion  sources  f o r the  of  poetry,  myth.  As  Watkins would have been aware of  dealing with  more m y t h i c a l  poems i n t h e  image of  a historical the  bard,  Taliesin,  through  his  the as  31  reading  of  H.  I. Bell's  The  Development of Welsh  Poetry  g (1936).  The  Taliesin  (The  (The  Book o f H e r g e s t ,  Red  original Book o f  taining  conventional  torical  Taliesin,  sixth tion  century. of  "saga"  f o r the  Taliesin,  1275)  c.  type  a warrior-hero  The  Book o f  poems a n d  Latin  figure  ninth century, 9  porting  t o g i v e an  time  of  Julius  nius  locates Taliesin  prose  Caesar  to the as  a  Romance o f T a l i e s i n  scripts  (The  Penniardd  dieval  sources,  called  G w i o n B a c h who  raculous  tells  the  rives  the  from  the  sixth found  e a r l i e r Book o f  of  Elis  Gruffydd,  Gwion Bach i n the Maelgwn  Gwynedd.  sixth  the  who  a  century.  bard.  Finally,  of a mythic  Taliesin  purthe Nena  presenting the song of (1275),  the  a  mi-  of so-calle  the  bard,  while  the  depros  i t s sequel,  s i x t e e n t h - c e n t u r y manu-  (with Nennius) during  me-  child  through  (or Lay  o f Gwion B a c h " and  century  Brittonum,  seventh  stories  Taliesin  comes f r o m  script  his  from  riddling  "The  Taliesin,"  t h a t the  British history  Hanes T a l i e s i n  the  utterances  A.D.)  bard  Tale  of  noted  secdating  ( c . 800  p o e t i c fragment  poems" o r  the  b e l i e v e d to d e r i v e from  R o m a n c e c o n t a i n i n g "The Tale  be  Historia  century  earliest  The  in  his-  i n s i x t e e n t h - c e n t u r y manu-  became t h e  central  "transformational  of  MSS.), but  transformation.  Taliesin),  end  the  separate  p r e s e n t i n g the  i n the  early  con-  p o e t i c fragments  I t should  of  Hergest  manuscripts  contains a  W e l s h monk N e n n i u s  account  Llyfr  Loch  to have l i v e d  miscellaneous  the  Llyfr  the  poems a s c r i b e d t o  said  i s a l s o mentioned  c o m p i l a t i o n by  and  Taliesin  a more m y t h i c a l T a l i e s i n .  torical  s t o r y are  1400), medieval  "skaldic"  back p o s s i b l y to the of  sources  the  sets the  tale  days of A r t h u r  of and  32  Though W a t k i n s ' of  the  older  speak or source of  f o r the  the  much a She  Taliesin  ful  Guest's  to  placed  of  the  the  prose n a r r a t i v e i n her  aware t h a t  she  own to  of  School  MSS.  of  modern s c h o l a r s h i p real of  name was  ancient  bards  had  translations texts  druids. of  the  contributed  ancient  bards,  scholarship. scholarly  attempted a  continuous Like  the  on  the  also  As  may  be  She  and  we  look  on  (b.  that  tradition  Iolo  have  access  which  1747),  most whose  Welsh f a b r i c a t o r Glamorganshire  going  back to  the  a more r o m a n t i c i z e d  i s dealing  the  "Ossianic" corrupted  image o f  enormous problems  as  help-  and  the  d i d not  Gruffydd  prove  regarded  Bach,  quarto-sized  1758  f a b r i c a t i o n s of  presented  Hanes  Gwion  eighteenth  a notorious  Through Guest, Watkins  standards  earlier  from of  and  Mabinogi,  S c o t t i s h James Macp'herson, t h e s e  g r e a t l y to  but  book  The  versions—a  Elis  was to  her of  (1848  translation  manner.  I o l o Morganwg  Edward W i l l i a m s ,  preserved  prehistoric  "  reading  translations, i t is  i n 1848.  work of 1 1  of  story  i n London, dated  relies.  t e x t s who  end  her  not  primary  Mabinogion  fragments  text  from  sixteenth-century  The that  the  her  based her  I o l o Morganwg e d i t e d  His  did  came f r o m h i s  ingenious  MS.  Welsh  the  poetic  Welsh manuscript  the  Welsh.  drawn from v a r i o u s  nineteenth-century  to  of  realize at  translations  Watkins himself  "Four Branches"  poems i n r e l a t i o n  the  English  t r a n s l a t i o n s of  incorporates  them t o g e t h e r  t o be  child,  c r e a t i v e composite  i n t o the  Watkins'  read  T a l i e s i n myth, t h e r e f o r e ,  e s s e n t i a l l y a part  weaving  a  to  smattering  Taliesin material,  very  as  I t i s important  sources.  at  t o him  more t h a n a  1906)  not is  read  Lady C h a r l o t t e  and of  poetry  f a t h e r used  for  with  "contaminated"  the  later  what  by  sources  33  to  arrive It  at  h i s own  more r o m a n t i c  i s also possible that  h a v e b e e n r e n e w e d by The  of  the  speaking  of  an  the  sionalism A  of  the  final  Stars  f o r Watkins'  From the  material with  the  his  dead  the  the  Graves', the  prophetic l o r e —  static  profes-  in Affinities  matter,  only but  and  by by  p.  Williams  effort His  represents imitating  an  an his  confirming as  the  these  sagas.  37)  as  a  Taliesin  p u b l i c a t i o n of  Arthurian  n i g h t i n g a l e " (A,  Both Watkins  Celtic  first  poet not  subject  Bach  fragments,  Region of  interested i n Williams'  Williams"  like  Taliesin  The  "Taliesin  the  source  (1938) and  deeply  Gwion  characteristic  the  Through Logres  homage t o  poet.  than with  Graves'  myth and  strain  Williams'  Charles  casting  of  i s Charles  W a t k i n s was  for  figure  history  (1944).  Taliesin  poetic  may  bards.  important  of mythologized Taliesin  court  the  t o have been the  prophetic  wandering m i n s t r e l s rather  Robert  interest,  upon the  archetypal, magical a native  bard. in Taliesin  of  to decipher  poems," presumed  associated with  the  interest  Watkins'  to have c e n t e r e d  "transformational  of  p u b l i c a t i o n i n 1948  Hanes T a l i e s i n .  seems c e r t a i n l y  of  Watkins'  White Goddess, which attempted  riddle  one  the  notion  figure  in Summer  long  poems,  to unite "Three  Sonnets  effort style  the  to and  re-  his vision  of  idealization  of  were concerned w i t h  m a t e r i a l w i t h i n a more s p e c i f i c a l l y  do  the  reshaping  Christian  con-  text. In h i s T a l i e s i n ing  elements  from both  Taliesin—namely, of  poetic  sequence, Watkins the  f o l l o w s Guest  p r o s e Romance and  Gwion Bach's a c q u i s i t i o n  inspiration  from  the  of  the the  "witch" Caridwen's  in  blend-  Hanes magical  drops  cauldron,  his  34  pursuit a  by  coracle  (see  Caridwen, by  his rebirth  Elphin,  Appendix).  The  clearly  of  shamanistic bard, of  capable  However, as  to argue  the  Jane  irrelevance  and  a  him,  kind  rebirth  McCormick p o i n t s out  in in  m a k e s r e f e r e n c e i n some  b a r d , and of  bards'  receives  shape-changer,  Watkins  h i s poems t o t h e h i s t o r i c a l  take  Watkins  o f t r a n s m i g r a t i o n and  her unpublished d i s s e r t a t i o n , of  a  his discovery i n  of the court  o f myth, as  supernatural figure,  forms.  Taliesin,  his challenging  Taliesin  is  a myriad  a  and  as  i t i s probably a  the h i s t o r i c a l  figure  mis-  in his  12 mind.  McCormick  writes:  But t o argue t h a t W a t k i n s i s i n t e r e s t e d o n l y i n t h e more r o m a n t i c o f t h e two f i g u r e s , t h e a r c h e t y p a l T a l i e s i n r a t h e r than the h i s t o r i c a l , i s to miss part of h i s p o i n t i n c h o o s i n g t h a t p a r t i c u l a r name. The a t t r a c t i o n o f T a l i e s i n i s t h a t he i s b o t h h i s t o r i c a l and m y t h i c . To W a t k i n s t h i s s u g g e s t e d a p o e t who by h i s c r e a t i v e p e r c e p t i o n e s c a p e d t h e f a l l e n w o r l d and was t r a n s l a t e d t o t h e m y t h i c o r d i v i n e l e v e l , t h u s p r o v i d i n g an a r c h e t y p e f o r what, Watkins f e l t , i t i s every poet's task to do.^ The  issue  f o r Watkins  timelessness temporal affords  o f myth; and  e v e n t s , and him  The  i s the  the  first  elements  begins  and  at  Pwlldu  ends w i t h the  Pennard. shores  He  Voyage," Watkins  o f h i s own  t h e myth by  coastline  here  relocates on  and  Taliesin "on  the  1954),  colossal, i n the  t h e Gower c o a s t  than  pub-  Death B e l l ,  the myth of h i s  casting  rather  with  time,  i n the  "violent,  Both  f o r "black pool")  alters  ( f r o m The  image o f t h e sea."  the  synthesis.  poems t o a p p e a r  i n Gower"  eavesdropping  (Welsh  into  being associated both  of p o t e n t i a l  of the T a l i e s i n  poems, " T a l i e s i n  "Taliesin's  Taliesin,  of h i s t o r y  w i t h p r o p h e t i c awareness beyond  lished  reverberant,  translation  up  on  later hero near the  s t r a n d between  35  Dyvi  and  doing,  A b e r y s t w y t h " as  Watkins  assumes a c l o s e r  which  e n a b l e s him  scape  he In  in  most  the opening  as  My  myth, and  with  the  The  violet,  Replica" the  i n CA)  and  foals  and  shall  poetry.  and  (1962),  t o what  poems, and  how  poem o p e n s w i t h  and  the the  h i s true  violet.  canon r e v e a l s  land-  sea  as  homeland— his  full  Hawthorne  that  the  above  a number o f o t h e r poems. ("The  importance  Mare" and  of horse  chapter, begins with  up The  "The Ballad  imagery  of C o l o u r s " sequence,  which  of  in I  a m e d i t a t i o n on  H o w e v e r , a l o n g e r poem i n  violets  two  the  establishes  and  Childhood of H o l d e r l i n , "  foals  from  o r " g r a y M a r e " o f "The  "Music  white blossoms. "The  emerges  imagery  mares  the  e x p l o r e i n the next  falling,  the  white-blossoming flowers set  the Mari  The  land  one  loved.  I am f o a l hands.  M a r i Lwyd" e s t a b l i s h  Watkins'  as  with  so  landscape:  complex c r o s s - r e f e r e n c e s w i t h poems d e a l i n g  By  the bard,  native  c l a i m s Wales as  reading of Watkins'  images of f o a l ,  with  Taliesin's  stanza, Taliesin  country i s here. b r e a k s f r o m my  complete  translation.  identity  knew and  place of h i s o r i g i n s .  identification  A  to claim  intimately  the o r i g i n a l  the  i n Guest's  Affinities  provides the best  clue  symbolize i n the context of h i s  images are  following  linked  i n h i s mind.  That  lines:  S u r e l y t h e r a c i n g f o a l has d i s c e r n e d t h r o u g h d a r k n e s s T h e l i g h t o u t o f w h i c h man c a m e , a n d t h e v i o l e t - r o o t Has s u c k e d t h e f o u n t a i n o v e r w h i c h D a n t e b e n t A n d f o u n d t h e r i v e r o f l i g h t . ( A , p. 5 7 ) Here, have iated  both  foal  and  contact with with  "light"  violet  represent aspects of nature  a h i d d e n and and  "the  invisible  fountain."  order of l i f e "Light"  and  which assoc-  "the  36  fountain," for  i n turn,  the o r i g i n  "Taliesin  i n Gower" i t i s t h e s e  originating  come  to celebrate  a  Dante  of  beyond)  as a poet  Taliesin  nature, I  and redeem.  We  of visionary  aspects  order  note  poetry  of eternity.  also  experience  And i n  hidden  that  within  Taliesin  that  has  the reference  i s also  poem y e t t o b e d i s c u s s e d , " T a l i e s i n  and t h e i r watch  The  line  attempts  establish voice  present i n  and the S p r i n g  lines  the  interpretation  quality  to read  claims  colony,  i t s secret  rhymed  (abab)  script—to  triangular  and  rolling  The  The  rhythmic  as t o  speaking of nature,  hold  t h e " I am....I  the speaker's stanza,  a " w i t n e s s " becomes  have  print,  the key to  I know  o f the stones,  i n the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n a l fragments  the third  t o Oxwich's  of i t s manifested signatures.  have been taught t h e s c r i p t t h e t o n g u e o f t h e wave.  In  the praying  i n t i m a t e knowledge  I  suggest  p r y from  of the voice.  have seen t h e curlew's i n c h o f h i s way....  uses  observer.  o f t h e sea as w e l l  I  Watkins  the forms o f  and p a r t i c u l a r i z e d .  the motion  o f o n e who  the a b i l i t y  i n these  i s precise  t o echo  and  white  with  sands.  of nature  the oracular  i s that  cormorant  of Pwlldu, to the gull's  description  merged  semi-omniscient  the i n q u i s i t i v e  rock skim  seven-stress  i s a t once  acute,  cockle-strewn  as  eternal  the natural  " I " o f t h e poem  Then  to  images  i n Watkins'  Vision." The  As  symbols  o f things i n time,  (but  to  are recurrent  from  seen"  a n d I know  t h e Guest  pattern of  every  translation,  declamation  omniscience. the landscape  increasingly  to which  symbolic:  t h e poet  comes  37  I  witness here i n a v i s i o n the landscape to which I was born, Three smouldering bushes of w i l l o w , l i k e t r e e s of f i r e , and the c o u r s e Of t h e r i v e r u n d e r t h e s t o n e s o f d e a t h , c a r r y i n g t h e ear o f c o r n W i t h d r a w n from t h e moon-dead chaos o f r o c k s o v e r l o o k ing i t s secret force. The  "Three  suggest Sinai,  smouldering  both and  the  the  may  burning  bundles  fact  "three" in  Welsh  a  The  the  by  are  as  Celtic  local  fields  Moses  at  on  end  recalls  significant  of  winter.  that  the  had  of  a  poem  i n the  British  becomes  more  Three."  Watkins  The  vision  river  in "Taliesin  the  to  "ear  c r e a t e the through  be  and  the  corn," or  deduced  eyes  dated  explicitly  the  verse. Spring  rose, image  of  upheld of  the  possibility  impression that the  Trin-  of  Taliesin  vision,  meanings.  chaos  not  of  the  final  and  "transfigured"  represent have  i n the  aflame,  seeing nature  which  refers  of nature  is  "moon-dead  Trinity  Christian  Beach,"  creation  carrying  i t s hidden  which  the  looked;  r e g e n e r a t i o n , combine  may  clear  on  can  "I  of  reading  Holy  writes,  poems  "Taliesin  Library,  the  Watkins  Taliesin  entitled  allusion where  the  number  configurations  one  on  branch.  farmers  at  when w o r k i n g  Mount  of  Confirmation that  level  fire,"  willow  custom the  of  the  of  nature  the  " t h r e e " bushes  persons  landscape  the  of  trees  representative of  now  The  bush  of  i n general are  like  as  underground  and  to  i n the  three  Vision"  burning  referring  there  willow,  properties  twigs  triads  draft  1948-49, to  of  of  well  i n mind  from  be  mythology,  Trinity. ity  also  that and  miraculous  magical  Watkins  The  bushes  of  r o c k s " o v e r l o o k i n g the  those  yet  been  seemingly  inanimate  humanized,  visionary  aspects  enlivened  and  of  38  incorporated  into h i s vision.  dealing with T a l i e s i n , A c a c i a , Watkins and in  and G o l d s m i t h , " f r o m C y p r e s s and  makes an i m p o r t a n t d i s t i n c t i o n  "transfigured the usual  "Poet  I n a commentary on a n o t h e r poem  between " n a t u r e "  n a t u r e , " a r g u i n g t h a t he i s n o t a n a t u r e  poet  sense:  T h i s poem...is about n a t u r e , and about t r a n s f i g u r e d nature. To t h o s e who have n e v e r l o o k e d t h r o u g h o r beyond n a t u r e , i f t h e r e a r e s u c h p e o p l e , i t must be m e a n i n g l e s s . . . . [ T ] h i s poem i s about T a l i e s i n l o o k i n g at the c r e a t e d u n i v e r s e from t h e s t a n d p o i n t o f C h r i s t i a n f a i t h , w h i c h I c a l l t h e p i v o t a l p o i n t between one way o f w r i t i n g and a n o t h e r . ^ "Taliesin  i n Gower" and t h e o t h e r T a l i e s i n  with this  pivotal  transcendent The its  moment i n t i m e when n a t u r e i s s e e n  fourth  s t a n z a p r e s e n t s t h e coming o f s p r i n g  numerous images o f r e b i r t h — t h e shedding  the  signs of spring's  and  recognizes the presence this  and  emergence f r o m  the poet's  month," s p r i n g  " t a s k , " as d e f i n e d  larger  Taliesin  season  The Waste  reads  of death," groans" Land,  i n t h e poem i s a  i n stanza f i v e ,  i s the  an e t e r n a l  p a t t e r n and  the landscape  i n terms o f  vision:  Yet now my t a s k wings o f a To r e l a t e t h e s e motionless Taliesin's  and t h e  as a t i m e o f r e g e n e r a t i o n ,  time a g a i n s t  somehow r e g e n e r a t i n g o r r e s t o r i n g that  "Winter,  As i n E l i o t ' s  awakening as w e l l  B l a k e a n one o f w e i g h i n g  of frost.  through  o f human s u f f e r i n g — " m e n ' s  i s the c r u e l l e s t  time o f p a i n f u l  "breaking i r i s "  i t s burden  season o f r e b i r t h .  where " A p r i l  from a  perspective.  "dripping branch"  — i n  poems a r e c o n c e r n e d  function  i s t o w e i g h t h e r o c k s on t h e l e v e l bird, u n d u l a t i o n s o f time t o a k e s t r e l ' s poise. i s not only to celebrate  the y e a r l y  cycle  39  of  the  regeneration of nature with  "proclaim time  and  still the is  first  of  task  time  the  are  joys,"  to that  symbols  of  of  the  the  celebrate  In  stanza s i x , T a l i e s i n  present nine"  waves.  placed  upon "Cad  "nines" Goddeu"  Taliesin,  Taliesin  rising  Watkins  the  those kestrel  of  (CA,  which  of  at i t s Here  hawk a p p e a r s ,  I n many  that  cycles  timeless.  or  who  for  which  Watkins'  pp.  54-55),  i t i s the  poet's  preserve.  enters that  i n "the  the  "Kestrel"  or  creatures"  open  like  kestrel  and  poet,  to  and  to  Voyage."  Curlew"  and  "holy  i s " m o t i o n l e s s " and  image  "The  but  which,  in "Taliesin's  including  theatre"  poem,  them  ascent,  to reappear  birds  regenerate  relate  point  poems,  of  their  the  defines  theatre  pewit's here  an  call"  alludes  i n Welsh ("The  as  the  Battle  shape-changing  of  as  a  a c t o r — a n active  and  to  myth.  landscape  i n the  the  In the  speaker  "last  symbolic  the  "mighty power  of  the  significance  transformational  Trees")  from  usually  The  Book  identified  with  says,  N o t f r o m a m o t h e r a n d f a t h e r was I made; As f o r c r e a t i o n , I was c r e a t e d f r o m n i n e f o r m s o f elements: F r o m t h e f r u i t o f f r u i t s , f r o m t h e f r u i t o f God a t the b e g i n n i n g ; From p r i m r o s e and f l o w e r s o f t h e h i l l , f r o m t h e bloom o f woods a n d t r e e s ; F r o m t h e e s s e n c e o f s o u l s was I made, From t h e bloom o f n e t t l e s , f r o m t h e w a t e r o f t h e n i n t h wave. j As  i n the  poem  Gwion  assumes  Bach  many  story,  shapes,  the  but  "sea-changed"  his final  form  bard  of  i s that  Watkins' of  Taliesin. In  a  hundred dramatic l i v e and sing.  Taliesin's  song  shapes  or music  I perish,  begins  as  a  i n the  last  celebration  of  I  40  present  forms,  "heron" of  "sheep," "ravens,"  "Three C l i f f s  the  tenth  stanza,  the  h i s t o r y of  what W a t k i n s '  he  Bay"  begins  earlier friend  "porpoises"  n e a r h i s home i n G o w e r .  t o expand  ages.  David  "Larks,"  the  Prehistoric  Jones would  and  the  But  in  s o n g by  imagining  animals,  as  call  well  "sacramental  as man"  18 (man  the  sign-maker),  man's " s c r i p t " activity ebrates a  left  even from the  emerge i n the i n the  rocks  Paleolithic  g r a t u i t o u s and  characteristically  poem.  i s evidence  times.  sacred  human and  The  record  of h i s  of  artistic  Like Jones, Watkins  nature  of  sign-making  inherently religious  as  celboth  activity.  J o n e s w r i t e s i n " A r t and S a c r a m e n t , " So i t i s h e r e s u p p o s e d t h a t man i s a c r e a t u r e w h o s e e n d i s e x t r a - m u n d a n e a n d w h o s e n a t u r e i s t o make t h i n g s a n d t h a t t h e t h i n g s made a r e n o t o n l y t h i n g s o f mundane r e q u i r e m e n t b u t a r e o f n e c e s s i t y t h e s i g n s of something other. F u r t h e r , t h a t an element o f the gratuitous inheres to this making.^ Here the  i n the  poem i t i s a s  e n t i r e h i s t o r y of  ness. men  His  vision  i f the  the  race  restores  an  were "makers" i n Jones'  poet  and  recapitulates in  the  earlier,  e v o l u t i o n of prehistoric  himself  consciousWales  when  sense:  R h i n o c e r o s , b e a r and r e i n d e e r h a u n t t h e c r a w l i n g g l a c i e r s o f age B e h e l d i n t h e eye o f t h e r o c k , where a j a v e l i n ' d arm held stiff, Withdrawn from the v i s i o n of f l y i n g c o l o u r s , r e v e a l s , l i k e s c r i p t on a p a g e , The u n p a s s i n g m o m e n t ' s a r r e s t e d g l o r y , a l i f e locked fast  i n the  W a t k i n s was  e x c i t e d by  in  the  1943)  cave of  on  of  "Digging  the  the  remains  Gower, and  Paviland"  cliff.  (who Past"  he  of  a  out  "The  a r c h e o l o g i c a l surveys  Paleolithic  celebrates  turned and  recent  the  t o be Red  burial  discovery  chamber i n of  a y o u n g man)  Lady"  ( F , pp.  (begun  the  "red  in his 84  &  89).  a lady  poems,  41  In  "The Cave D r a w i n g "  prehistoric  ( L U , p. 99) he d e a l s  man's a r t i s t i c  activity  Two poems f r o m A f f i n i t i e s , Life,"  also  explore  prose Watkins  the record  i n the caves  "The F o s s i l "  the presence  with  of  of Lascaux.  and " E x p e c t a t i o n  o f p r e h i s t o r i c man.  of  I nh i s  has w r i t t e n ,  I t i s n e c e s s a r y t o d i g t h e past' up t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e p r e s e n t , b u t a l l good a r t i s t s have something a n c i e n t about them t o o , a n d t h e e a r l i e s t t r i n k e t s and o r n a m e n t s d u g f r o m W e l s h c l a y may j o s t l e a g a i n s t t h e w o r k o f a l i v i n g c o n t e m p o r a r y who h a s l o o k e d o n t h a t m i r r o r a n d then s e t h i s hand t o h i s t a s k ^ Q B o t h h e a n d J o n e s , who dence, were past,  c a r r i e d on an a c t i v e l i t e r a r y  f a s c i n a t e d by t h i s  and t h e idea  future tan,"  that  h e c a n go o n t o c l a i m  and assume a v i c t o r i o u s s t a n c e  arrested locked  g l o r y " and r e l e a s e  fast i n a  with  stanzas,  an e a r o f corn"  where as a g r a i n o f c o r n Caridwen, with  tion.  only  over  t o capture the l i f e  I ti s  present  "surmounting the land  he  the T i greets.  "the unpassing  held  and  moment's  i n matter—"a  life  cliff."  In the f i n a l  him  a faith  by t h e  of a l l times.  encompasses both p a s t ,  T h r o u g h h i s s o n g , he i s a b l e  "safe  invasion of the present  of the essential unity  because T a l i e s i n ' s v i s i o n  correspon-  Taliesin's assertion that  he i s  again  Romance  evokes  the original  o r wheat T a l i e s i n  t o be r e b o r n ;  i s swallowed  a n d a t t h e same t i m e  i t associates  t h e p r e - C h r i s t i a n and C h r i s t i a n mysteries  W a t k i n s may a l s o h a v e  i n mind t h e passage  pel  o f John where t h e " g r a i n o f c o r n "  the  resurrected  i s used  by  of regenera-  from  the gos-  as a symbol o f  Christ:  Except a c o r n o f wheat f a l l i n t o t h e ground and d i e , i t abideth alone; but i f i tdie; i tbringeth f o r t h much f r u i t . (John 12:24)  42  that "to  In  the  of  c u t t i n g the  be  and  the  truly  The  clarify would  future  poem,  "third"  the  and  rejected  as  He  sense  "shrouded  worldly  as  and  Harps" of  of  be";  must  be,  harp"  "renown"  to  the be  past able  aid  strings  and to  only  has  present  in realizing pp.  16-17),  be  lain  task,  for his  i f i t is  of  the  For  down  by  poten-  help  poet  i n that  played  man's  their may  to who  poem  one  i n the  har  must  " s i n g " what  i s demanded  can  ultimate  poetic vision  inspiration.  and  his  the  for his  (CA,  what  true  turns  measuring  well  will  harp  and  shall  "Three  Watkins'  play  what  forms  Taliesin  wood  prophetic.  nature's  tial.  the  stanza,  make m a n i f e s t  encompass to  last  who  the has  grave  with  dead. Then at once the shrouded harp Was m a n i f e s t . I began To t o u c h , t h o u g h p a i n i s s h a r p , The r i b s o f man.  Taliesin  here  experienced initiation  Taliesin's  final  desire,  eavesdropping  I accomplish  true of  poet earth  eternity.  symbol  i n the  to The  positive  which  encompasses  sees  a  that who  loosen  activity  suggests  and  It  as  who  has  through  music a  that  free  and  the  the  of  man  i s as  the  somewhat  poem,  and  the  the (How  vocation  loosen  i n Watkins'  in this  to  question  or  wholeness  and  of  one  passed  this  here  predominant  order.  has  i t i s to  sequence  poem,  selves.  posed  connotation  the  harmonious  "to  vastness  sea,  and  past  task?),  Watkins the  many  sea,"  this  Taliesin  on  larger,  a  as  takes  a  suffering, of  music  of  and  h a r p i s t of  death  shall  is  pain  the  a  listening,  the  is like  the  "sea"  that  ambiguous  work  as  a  indicating poet's  i f eternity  of  song  i n the  whol that in poem  43 i s " e a v e s d r o p p i n g " upon t i m e .  The l i n e , " A l l e a r t h b e i n g  weighed by an ear of c o r n , a l l heaven by a drop of b l o o d , " w i t h i t s a l l u s i o n t o both the p r e - C h r i s t i a n and C h r i s t i a n s a c raments of bread (corn) and wine (the s a c r i f i c i a l drops of C h r i s t ' s b l o o d ) , suggest t h a t Watkins' e f f o r t i n the poem i s not o n l y t o draw f o r t h the l a t e n t C h r i s t i a n i m p l i c a t i o n s of the e a r l i e r m a t e r i a l , but t o f u l f i l l and complete what he b e l i e v e s t o be l a c k i n g i n i t by r a i s i n g i t i n t o the r e a l m of C h r i s t i a n revelation.  T a l i e s i n , the f a i t h f u l " T i t a n " o r g o d - l i k e h e r o ,  by c u t t i n g and p l a y i n g h i s O r p h i c - C e l t i c - D a v i d i c - D r u i d i c h a r p , w i l l make m a n i f e s t i n h i s song the t r u t h o f the C h r i s t i a n v i s i o n of s a c r i f i c e .  I t i s t h i s a c t t h a t a l l o w s him t o p a r t i c i -  pate w i t h C h r i s t as a redeemer and r e s t o r e r o f the c r e a t e d order.  I n terms o f h i s c r a f t t h i s i m p l i e s t h a t Watkins-  T a l i e s i n has chosen t o w r i t e of " t r a n s f i g u r e d n a t u r e " i n the l y r i c a l mode from what he c a l l s i n h i s note t o "Poet and G o l d s m i t h , " "the s t a n d p o i n t o f C h r i s t i a n  faith."  " T a l i e s i n and the S p r i n g of V i s i o n " i n Cypress and A c a c i a (1959) i l l u m i n a t e s more f u l l y than any o t h e r T a l i e s i n poem the r e l a t i o n s h i p between paganism and C h r i s t i a n i t y .  I t t r e a t s what  K a t h l e e n Raine i n her essay on Watkins i n Defending A n c i e n t 21 S p r i n g s c a l l s "a d e l i b e r a t e b a p t i s m o f the b a r d i c  spirit."  Watkins' C h r i s t i a n i t y f o r h e r i s "a seed or a c o r n i n t o which 22 the essence of the pagan cosmic sense...has been d i s t i l l e d . " I would argue t h a t here Watkins' C h r i s t i a n p e r s p e c t i v e becomes more e x p l i c i t . In the opening s t a n z a we encounter T a l i e s i n i n h i s t r a d i t i o n a l and s y m b o l i c p l a c e " a t the sea's e d g e " — t h e m e e t i n g p l a c e  44  of  sea and shore,  ing  o f time  ages the  time  through  and e t e r n i t y .  t h e images o f sand  t h a t r e c u r i n "Poet poem  Watkins  Blake's  the pass-  and t h e h o u r g l a s s , im-  and G o l d s m i t h "  ( s t a n z a 5) he b o r r o w s  conveys  (CA, p. 3 6 ) . phrase  from  Later i n  Jerusalem,  23 "the of  Minute  Particulars,"  experience  Blake time of  a s p e r c e i v e d b y man  i n h i s use of the phrase capable  sand  sion,  fail  of reflecting to reflect  Blake's  of  sand  Blake  presses  the eternal  those  follows  phenomena o f  I n B l a k e , when t h e g r a i n s d u e t o man's l a c k  of v i -  And  matter  vision:  through  t h e h i g h e s t good  "Minute  i n a r t and l i f e  Particulars."  As B l a k e  ex-  writes,  A r t and s c i e n c e cannot e x i s t , but i n m i n u t e l y o r g a n i z e d Particulars not i n g e n e r a l i z i n g Demonstrations of the Rational Power.26  Future,  "Bard"  i n Songs o f E x p e r i e n c e  sees," Watkins'  raising  figure.  of  s a n d b e c o m e s a Gem i n t h e beams d i v i n e . . . . ^  as f o r Watkins,  Blake's  Blake,  Rousseau," the g r a i n s  and Newton's p a r t i c l e s  by i m a g i n a t i v e  itself  For  of  eternity.  become D e m o c r i t u s ' s  And e v e r y Reflected  &  Watkins  to indicate  "Mock o n , Mock o n V o l t a i r e ,  transfigured  Like  i n time.  entities  t h e y become opaque a n d h a r d e n . E v e r y U n i v e r s a l F o r m was b e c o m e b a r r e n m o u n t a i n s o f Moral V i r t u e , and e v e r y Minute P a r t i c u l a r harden'd i n t o g r a i n s o f s a n d . . . . 2^  In  For  to describe the discrete  the "Minute  Watkins  Taliesin  Particulars"  i s romanticizing  In h i s "Jerusalem"  prehistory  of druidic  culture  "Present,  has the v i s i o n a r y through  the early  (Chap.  who  h i s song.  bard  I I ) , Blake  as a "Golden  Past  function With  as a p r o p h e t i c presents the  Age," and  Watkins  45  is  establishing  earlier  period in a  The  Blakean  personified, "my  Taliesin  as  similar  "grains of  sing  to  an  apotheosis  of  the  poet  from  an  manner. sand"  Taliesin,  i n Watkins'  g r e e t i n g him  poem,  as  "my  here nearmost,"  constant," '....you...who h a v e e n d u r e d a l l v i c i s s i t u d e s I n t h e c r a d l e o f s e a , F a t e ' s h a n d s , and t h e s p i n n i n g waters. The m e a s u r e o f p a s t g r i e f i s t h e m e a s u r e o f p r e s e n t j o y . Y o u r t e a r s , w h i c h h a v e d r i e d t o C h a n c e , now spring from a secret. Here t i m e ' s g l a s s b r e a k s , and t h e w o r l d i s t r a n s f i g u r e d in music.'  Nature,  or  kinship  with  world  waters"  a  poet  music.  Fates  remind  who us  sea  journey  ence—one  or  He, who  other  words,  of  contraries. Despite not  meet  yet  them  glass." their  own  Taliesin fledged  ready i n the  level  weavers Taliesin  and  "past  to  respond  whirl  been  a  image  of  And  he  has  the  at  as  life  a new bard  well  as  as  Blakean  a  of  song the  of  cave  patterns  "under with  of  joy."  tension  Taliesin  of  and  "time's  reflect of  vortex  experi-  "grains"  (i.e.,  is rich  a  "present  shattering  taking refuge  "spinning  endured  of  wisdom, the  the  point  is a  pattern"  the  the  waters—that arrived  a  the  from  accumulated  a  cave,  suggests  as  larger, unlimited,  into  The  "to  claims  cast  experienced  to  the  Fate  spinners.  grief"  and  aspect  transfiguring  " v i r t u o u s pagan"  experience  they  of to  has  primordial  known has  or  t i m e l e s s moment  retreats rock."  reference  the  he  his  While  The  initiation, as  i n i t s divine  i s capable  are  the  has  In  order,  who  that  w h i r l p o o l from  departure.  is  temporal  the  through  classical  or  the  at  eternity), the  un-  significance,  46  suggesting  both  prisoners,  and  source  of  with  into  unknowing" is  ready  Platonic dark,  As which  sources  a  such  as  w h e r e men which  of  The  and  night  supreme Enneads  of  the  of  of  the  27  Christian must of  before i t  In  Plotinus  secret  "cloud  soul"  reality.  a  soul  meet the  are  holds  strain  familiar,  darkness  "dark  light  time  recess  was  interior  the  of  "via negativa"  Watkins  experience  face  cave  interior  i n the  i t s own  or  to  platonic  the  light.  mysticism, descend  the  Neo-  and  Porphyry's 2 8  Life  of  souls  Plotinus,  are  said  darkened  cave.  sources,  the  to  enter  the  mouth  or  Sibyl.  Mary  a  Polk  lore...was  in  case  of  of  a  place  Celtic the  Watkins  came  world  I n Homer, V i r g i l  underworld As  which  cave  Irish  through  and  i n her  other  sidh[e]  as  entrance  or  to  the  abode  "the  located  folk)  a  pre-Christian  thesis,  of  Yeats,  generation through  initiation—the  o f t e n thought  the  of  know  i s o f t e n the  of mystic states  to  of  the  otherworld  under  reached  a hill  of (as  through  „2-9  caverns  i n the  a  of  place  Christian the  a  drawn nature  vision"  inanimate  forth  and  "spring"  momentarily  a  of  coiling blind  place  of  groping  (undeveloped) thing by  the  or  rebounding  Taliesin,  the  also  simultaneously  with  h i s hands. i n the  form  Taliesin's  title  has  song.  i s not  the  yet  It  i s as  season,  power. eyes  The  not  of  more a  Here closed  into  he  sense  "spring  carries  his  cave  d i s c o v e r y where  also  i t s inner  the  (the u n i n i t i a t e d  with  h i s discovery of  suggesting  and  a  by  awakened  i s awaiting  meaning, water,  of  Taliesin,  "unfledged"  m y s t e r i e s ) , but  or  word  For  1  f o r the  i s "unfledged"  stone  The  refuge  "spring  itself  mountains;  the  reaches rock  that  as  been i fa l l  vision."  than  a  source i n the to  only  single of cave  outer  the  47  seeing,  touches  the source  or origin  ( t h e s p r i n g ) o f human  vision: And And  t h e r o c k h e t o u c h e d was t h e s o c k e t o f a l l men's e y e s , he t o u c h e d t h e s p r i n g o f v i s i o n . He h a d t h e m i n d of a f i s h T h a t moment. He k n e w t h e g l i t t e r o f s c a l e a n d f i n . He t o u c h e d t h e p i n o f p i v o t a l s p a c e , a n d h e saw One s a n d g r a i n b a l a n c e t h e a g e ' s c u m u l o u s c l o u d . Taliesin of  the shape-changer  transcendence,  pivotal doing many  point  levels  Taliesin assumes his  when i n a f l a s h  o f time  he becomes  work  of a fish  of a fish," with  The p i n o r p i v o t f o r the point  i n the following  the  "penumbra  as a t e r r i b l e  a point  relate  experience  of  time  would  Taliesin's Taliesin  History  Doubly  "sheet-anchor," temporal  between  recognition  begins  to  Caridwen,  o f which  time  here  suggests  symbol  of the  i n Watkins'  and e t e r n i t y .  i s granted  man's  horrifying  he  again  a picture  vision  of  o p p r e s s i v e were  o f t h e t r a n s f o r m i n g power  of  eternity  i s the lack  pattern.  Here  experience)  of reference or s t a b i l i t y  be i n s u r m o u n t a b l y  By.so  Romance where  (time-bound  to a larger  it.  i s , present at  a f r e q u e n t image  shadow b l o c k i n g  by t h e sun.  that  t o escape  stanza, T a l i e s i n  of history."  he f i n d s t h e  and the C h r i s t i a n  i s also  h i s moment  him t o a b o l i s h  t h e image  Christ  of balance  and  symbolized  enables  As i n t h e e a r l i e r  the form  " t h e mind  appears  of insight  temporarily omnipresent,  identification  fish.  that  of being.  takes  has h i s epiphany,  of a  that The  would  domination  i tnot  for  of love.  speak:  'Time r e i g n s ; y e t t h e k i n g d o m o f l o v e i s e v e r y moment, Whose c i t i z e n s d o n o t a g e i n e a c h o t h e r ' s e y e s . In a time o f darkness t h e p a t t e r n o f l i f e i s r e s t o r e d By men who make a l l t r a n s i e n c e s e e m a n i l l u s i o n  Here  48  Through inward a c t s , acts T h e i r works o f l o v e l e a v e the heart.' The  notion  of  a  "city"  where mutual  exchange  for  and  of  Watkins, the  and p.  divine  city  i n Yeats' 30),  with dom  he  joy of  I  love,"  poets'  of  Through  poetic  capable  of  i n each  The  emphasis  temporal In  order  means  from  Inspiration  the  that  transfigures Watkins,  an  the a  craft  Romance where  he  even  symbol  of  that  Jerusalem  love  as  acts  that  of  a  has  spring to  through  is  "three his  music—music  creative expression  s t e a l s from  we  are  Avagduu  build "king-  love, This says  i n the  man  "citizens  of  his  that  heart."  music")  and  is  is  do  not  place.  divine sense  love  of  the  one. still  become h i s  fulfill  Again  of  time  parallels  (CA,  This  reflection  who  the  must  to  timeless  now  Hills"  end  of  sense  Jerusalem  Taliesin,  where  symbol  own  reality.  not  midst a  and  we  corresponding  i n the  his  sleeps."  through  Taliesin,  in particular. Gwion  city  objective  work  requires  world  city  do  (which  interior  "a  words  Blakean  to  Welsh  through  reflection  rock  of  fallen  ("acts  stanza,  i n the  existence  favorite  Golgonooza  when he,  leave  eyes"  a  terms  i t s own  i n Watkins' as  "Peace  inwardly  u p o n human  fourth  receives  poet's  have  love  here  of  the  utterance  theme  the  In  human  is a  parallels  i n Blake's  built  other's  interior  in  found  b u i l d i n g the  age  a  have  Watkins  "works  strikes  would art  to music. n o t end i n  organized  predominate  where  to  of  love  in similar  first  comes  symbol  and  of  / Exactly  think  a  Byzantium.  speaks  eventually what  he  as  corresponding w o r d s t h a t do  gripping  "sheet  drops" purpose being,  of as as  i n general  reminded  ("utter  of  the  anchor"), poetic one  who  typically and the  darkness")  the  49  three  drops  Caridwen  from  f o r h i s deed.  his  fingers,  and  the voices  who  inspired 'It  past  I n t h e moment  and f u t u r e  converge  of Taliesin's  his literary  three  a n c e s t o r s who  are revealed  collective  Particularly  Muse.  Blake, poets Watkins  who  through  flash,"  o f prophecy  upon are the  of vision are  and i n a sense h i s the references  the cosmographies  his literary  summation  i s paradoxically  claimed  i n a moment  progenitors,  explored  reveals  Taliesin's  eternity  spirits  on  affinities  to  o f heaven  with  Dante and  poets o f  . 3 0 experience.  visionary  stanza  fall  by  forebears—speak:  literary  hell,  the drops  " i n a lightning  Muses—the  Taliesin-Watkins'  and  that  and i s pursued  was we who i n s t r u c t e d S h a k e s p e a r e , who f e l l Dante's eyes, opened t o B l a k e t h e Minute P a r t i c u l a r s . We soul's rebirth.'  Who  The  the cauldron of inspiration  i n favor  of h i s poetic  a rejection  o f the temporal  him through  the voice  stance i n the f i n a l  of "the omniscience" of  world which  o f t h e sand  g r e e t e d and  grains  i n the f i r s t  stanza. T a l i e s i n answered: 'I have e n c o u n t e r e d t h e i r r e d u c i b l e diamond In t h e r o c k . Y e t now i t i s o v e r . Omniscience i snot f o r man. C h r i s t e n me, t h e r e f o r e , t h a t my a c t s i n t h e d a r k may b e just, And Because ible  adapt  from  sciousness vision"  partial  vision  he h a s e n c o u n t e r e d  diamond,"  tating  my  the absolute  i n a moment light  human p e r s p e c t i v e s f o rmortality  be a d a p t e d  to the limitations of vision  of eternity  and t o o great  to bear,  "the irreduc-  which  i s devas-  a weight  he r e q u e s t s t h a t  to "the limitations  of time.'  of time."  o f con-  his "partial Partly  50  because ness,  he i s n o t y e t r e a d y  and p a r t l y  commitment, tation.  out o f a sense  he embraces  Taliesin  acceptance i s a type  chooses  of  i n i t s most  time In  of  i n terms  particularized  of the fear  similar  conscious-  sacrifice  of mortality i s i n terms  into  time.  artist,  the eternal  Y e a t s i a n poem,  had w r i t t e n  absolute  o f and descent  t o w r i t e about  an e a r l y  Watkins  therefore,  of the C h r i s t i a n  Watkins  heightened  of willing  the time-world  His "Christening,"  Christian  to sustain  of a  the standpoint  aspects. (BML, p . 4 5 ) ,  o f human m o r t a l i t y  t o those  limi-  can say that  from  "Earth-Dress"  and  I n s o f a r as  we  a n d human  and  of "Taliesin  before the  and the S p r i n g  Vision." I  would  awaken  eyes  T i m e h a s made u n a w a r e Of w o n d e r s o f w o r l d - s i z e ; But when h a w k - h o v e r i n g a i r Of t h e u n s h e l t e r e d r o a d Scours f o r d i v i n i t y The b e g g a r a n d t h e g o d , Men c l u t c h m o r t a l i t y , Cling the ruinous, Perishing fabric of things, To b u i l d t h e g r a v e ' s d a r k h o u s e , T e r r i f i e d by those wings. And  i n a note  to that  poem, h e a d d e d  the following  comment:  Man, i n s o f a r a s h e i s s o u l , i s i n d e s t r u c t i b l e ; b u t h e cannot, w h i l e he i s i n t h e f l e s h , endure t h e l i g h t n i n g of p o e t i c genius i t s e l f . He c a n n o t c o n f r o n t e t e r n i t y ; to h i m , w h i l e he i s l i v i n g i n t i m e , i t i s t e r r o r . . . . The l i g h t n i n g , p o e t i c g e n i u s i n one o f i t s m a n i f e s t a t i o n s , godhead i t s e l f i n another, i s i n a c c e s s i b l e t o mankind except through a M e d i a t o r . ^ Taliesin,  a Promethean  mortality"  out of such  knowledge,  realizes  figure  o f man  a realization.  that  he c a n n o t  i n time,  "clutches  He a s p i r e s  sustain  to absolute  i t while  i nthe  51  flesh,  and  therefore  recognition To  of  briefly  to  several  paganism  tioned  the  i n this  "baptised,"  In  i m p l i c a t i o n s of  the  Christ  i s set  the  Taliesin's  poem, i t i s n e c e s s a r y  "Zacchaeus  f i g u r e of  indicating  Mediator.  poems f r o m The  i n " S y c a m o r e , " BML,  to view  be  Lady w i t h  makes c l e a r what C h r i s t i a n i t y  lacked.  biblical  to  for a  fully  acceptance  where Watkins  the  h i s need  comprehend  Christian  asks  i n the  the  refer  Unicorn  offers  Leaves,"  "small-statured  to  to  for  man"  man  25)  who  ascended  a  against  the  pagan f i g u r e of  that  instance,  (first  p.  (1948)  men-  sycamore  tree  Pan.  The m y t h a b o v e t h e m y t h , Pan above Z a c c h a e u s ; Zacchaeus c l i m b i n g , Mounted above h i s y o u t h , Alone i n time Seeking As  the  i n Milton's  heavenly death.  "On  the  Morning of  deeper perennial  wisdom of  tory  Incarnation  through  which  e t e r n i t y penetrates  What t h e y of  the  the  i n one  the  the  pinnacle  climbs  heavenly death."  sacrificing,  of  the  and  the  h a v e b e e n d r a w n by tify  with  the  tree  altruistic  I n a number o f Zacchaeus  (the  point puts  power o f  higher That  which of  the  t h a n Pan  pagan gods  of  the  the  "small-statured  them  because of  a more  flight. because poem,  his  Christ  "seekfrom  self-  love.  sycamore,  personal  to  In Watkins'  i s , h i s v i s i o n of to  his-  intersection in  r e l a t e d poems d e a l i n g w i t h 32  image of  incorporates  supplants  love.  i n s p i r e s him order  91)  C h r i s t ' s N a t i v i t y , " the  Christianity  time),  a greater  finally  ing  p.  sense have p r e f i g u r e d ,  coming of  Zacchaeus  (LU,  element  man."  the  Watkins i n the  figure seems  story  In Watkins'  to  of to  iden-  iconography.  52  the  sycamore  or  spinning  In  "Poet  seeds  contain  at Sunset,"  o f Zacchaeus  transfiguration poems  a kind  and G o l d s m i t h , "  "Taliesin images  becomes  as a  of tree  of l i f e ,  the p o s s i b i l i t y a Taliesin  the poet  of regeneration.  poem o r i g i n a l l y  sings  and t h e sycamore  of nature  and i t s "keys"  a song with  which  entitled  connects the  the issue  as i t i s t r e a t e d  of the  i n the T a l i e s i n  whole.  The p o e t s a n g : ' A l l ages bud l i k e t h e sycamore. B r o w n k e y s s p i n down t o b e g i n n i n g . T h e r e a r e two natures. B l e s t a r e the l o s t , packed hidden w i t h i n l i f e ' s door L i k e seeds i n t h e husk. Y e t s i n c e a s m a l l man c l i m b e d The c r o o k e d t r u n k , a n d g r o p e d , a n d s a t i n t h e b r a n c h , The m i n u t i a e o f e a r t h a r e c h a n g e d , a n d t h e b l a c k b i r d ' s praises A r e now t w o f o l d : they speak and they speak beyond knowledge. Even This  so, these  incredibly  themes  compact  and images  Taliesin  with  the  i s like  do  tree with  In  which  poem  Zacchaeus. that  changes  "The Song  ascendency  the harp  shrink,"  sion.  Again,  like  moment  Samaritan"  mythos  the "oracles"  linking  of revelation i n Both  have t o  Christological  (LU, p. 9 5 ) , t h e clearer.  phrase,  a c t o f human  The  of a higher order  clas-  and a r e sur-  love  and  i n Milton's "Nativity  ....The m y t h o l o g i e s shrink t h e nameless image i s h e a l e d  per-  earth."  i s even  i n Watkins'  simple  t h e coming  of  dead.'  together the  o f poems b y  i n the cave.  "the minutiae  of the  i n drawing  o f an e s s e n t i a l l y  by t h e Samaritan's  And  Zacchaeus'  of the Christian  before  succeeds  o f t h e Good  "mythologies  flee  touched  of Taliesin  passed  they  have  o f t h e two s e q u e n c e s  the revelation  spective  sical  hands  of  compasOde"  love.  o f i t s murderous  goad.  53  Font o f t h e f i n g e r s , water where a s s e s d r i n k , Winged h o r s e s a b o v e y o u s c a t t e r i n g , manes o f t h e N o r n , And t h e h e r o i c P e g a s u s , l e a p i n t o l i g h t f r o m t h e b r i n k . Swallows q u i v e r , r o u n d i n g t h e m a g i c a l horn Of f u l l n e s s , e m p t i e d f o r J o h n ' s w i l d h o n e y . L i g h t w i t h t h e i r wings, and t h e e r a o f l o v e He b r o k e t h e c l a s s i c a l A world from dust w i t h Shut  poem W a t k i n s  Pegasus  and t h e Norns  lowly  f a l s e h o o d , summoned a w a k e the secret worlds of h i s tears.  i n t h o s e h e a v e n s he h e a r d  In t h i s  the mythologies  juxtaposes the "proud  shake.  h o r s e s " o f myth,  or Scandinavian Fates, t o the Samaritan's  a s s , and t h e h e r o i c  humility.  They break i s born.  For Watkins,  values of classicism  the heroic  virtues  to Christian  of courage,  endur-  ance and g r a n d i l o q u e n c e were i n c o m p l e t e w i t h o u t t h e a d d i t i o n of  "caritas"—Christian  self the  love—the willingness  wholly f o r an i d e a l . Samaritan  dust  break  bearing  Thus, he h a s t h e humble f i g u r e  the " c l a s s i c a l  to a i d a fellow  to sacrifice  creature.  t h e wounds as w e l l  f a l s e h o o d " by b e n d i n g  The of  wound I s u f f e r ,  figure  as s h a r i n g  end  virtues,  o f t h e poem b e c a u s e  such  acts  of love,  Watkins'  t h e j o y o f man:  another  discussed as  sion:  Taliesin  would  b u t he n e e d s  have embodied a l l  t o be " b a p t i s e d "  he h a s t h e p o t e n t i a l  at the  f o r , but lacks,  c h o i c e o f t h e Samaritan as a f i g u r e by t h i s  of Watkins'  i n Chapter  a representative  tree,  mercy and h u m i l i t y .  may h a v e b e e n s u g g e s t e d Yeats,  i n the  t h e j o y I am b e a r i n g i s h e . . . . '  of the h i s t o r i c a l  the classical  of  I n so d o i n g , t h e S a m a r i t a n i s  '0 moment,' h e b r e a t h e d , ' f r a i l a s t h e b r a n c h o f a This a c t i s secret, eluding a l l fabulous joys. The  one-  V.  passage  literary  A Vision  p r e d e c e s s o r s who  The S a m a r i t a n  of a Christian  from  of  fits  into  service o f W.  i s t o be  Yeats'  phase o f r e l i g i o u s  B.  schema  expres-  54  . . . . t h e Good S a m a r i t a n d i s c o v e r s h i m s e l f i n t h e l i k e n e s s o f a n o t h e r , c o v e r e d w i t h s o r e s and a b a n d o n e d by t h i e v e s upon t h e r o a d s i d e , and i n t h a t o t h e r s e r v e s h i m s e l f . ^ 3 Since not  A Vision first  until  similar sense  1941,  Watkins  passage  of  Though W a t k i n s Christian  of  the  Good  Mathias  "dichotomy  truth  i n 1937  and  Watkins'  have e a s i l y used  i t to  had  first  this  present  volume  strikingly  h i s own  unique  charity. subordinates and  biblical  Samaritan,"  does  could  i n mind, but  Christian  of  appeared  I do  in Triskel  One  between mythic  classical paradigm  not  wish  that  in  i n poems l i k e  to  there  mythology  suggest  i s any  i n h e r i t a n c e and  as  favor "Song  Roland  essential  Christian  belief"  in  34 the in  early poetry, the  Other  early published Poems, The  corn , c l a s s i c a l interspersed Time"  (BML,  and  Veil,  allusions  and  mythical  integrated with  Mari  Lwyd" i t s e l f  material.  tradition  painters  and  are  taken of  Grass"  up  as  are  Lady w i t h  p.  obvious  and  included,  where  subordinates  pagan to  Christian  for  "Prime Colours"  that  Triton the  of  his  the  Watkins  Renaissance  essential  dichotomy,  images of  16),  with  Christian-  Milton,  this  pagan  fulfilled  in particular p.  Uni-  mythological  Though l i k e  i n BML,  the  and  examples  typologically  myth  and  "Old  European,  poetic  even  liberally  56),  argued  i s no  the  indeed,  revelation.  be  For Lwyd  motifs.  Dante,  there  Mari  themes are  great  p r a c t i c e d by  of values  Christian  instance  The  (BML,  I b e l i e v e i t can  M i l t o n , i n which  a hierarchy  the  biblical  c o n s c i o u s l y w i t h i n the  but  and  a whole.  e a r l y poems t o u n i f y e a r l i e r  humanist  terms  B a l l a d of  the  the  i n the  w o r k as  Lamp a n d  " A t l a s on  ability  working  volumes,  18),  of  Christian  i n Watkins'  p.  "Ballad  is  or  myth in  Watkins poems  (see  subordination  55  does n o t c o n s t i t u t e a r e j e c t i o n o f e a r l y myth, b u t r e q u i r e s transformation is  i n new p o e t i c  essentially synthetic  From an e a r l y the  Greek  sonnet  (CA,  "Atlas  figure of Atlas  on G r a s s "  discovers  to later  that  poetic  than  that  Watkins'  poems l i k e  a t t r i b u t a b l e i n part  long-standing  to that  poet's  exclusive.  "men a r e r a i s e d b y " C h r i s t and Charon" (BOD, p . 5 0 ) ,  f i g u r e s move e a s i l y i n a C h r i s t i a n w o r l d .  probable also  effort  (BML, p. 5 6 ) , w h e r e  p . 5 7 ) o r " R h a d a m a n t h u s a n d t h e New S o u l "  classical  is  Watkins'  and i n c l u s i v e , r a t h e r  like  what a myth c o n c e a l s , "  contexts.  its  I t i s  interest i n Holderlin  ability  t o harmonize the  t o work o u t a s y n t h e s i s  o f t h e Welsh and  35 Christian  and t h e Greek.  Watkins Christian (1962). end,  continues  t r a d i t i o n s i n " T a l i e s i n ' s Voyage" i n A f f i n i t i e s Here he r e e s t a b l i s h e s  making  reference  handwoven w i c k e r  to Taliesin's birth  basket  covered with  C a r i d w e n , who i n t h e o r i g i n a l "terrible forms  mother," pursuing  i n an attempt  the detail  to destroy  i n a coracle  hide);  material  the child  of the earlier  leg-  (a s m a l l ,  hisrelation to  functions  as a k i n d o f  Gwion t h r o u g h  various  him; and h i s r e b i r t h as t h e  "minstrel," Taliesin. The c o r a c l e c a r r i e d me. The s e a w a v e t o s s e d me. Hawk, h o u n d h a r r i e d me. C a r i d w e n l o s t me. Both  i n the original  ambiguous and  figure, associated  destructive  a maternal  myth and i n W a t k i n s ' v e r s e  aspects.  figure  nature  i n both  She i s a t one l e v e l  (originally  Rhiannon) and a t another  with  Caridwen i s an i t s creative  an i n s p i r i n g  a mother goddess a s s o c i a t e d  a jealous  and d e v o u r i n g  female.  Muse, with  56  Taliesin's  (and  Watkins')  partakes  of  the  one  as  fallen  of  hand  embodying  particular In  age  eternal  i n the  the  and  Pwlldu." the  things."  As  of  the  the  i n the  recognizes the  revealing  myth,  mature  the  other the  his  poems  i t on as  the  capable  infinite  or  sea  awakening  sea  "Raved  speaking  dwells  Taliesin's  long  Platonic  Watkins,  Taliesin,  child  Taliesin  i n the  on  nature  in  the  sense.  his rebirth  During  "hidden"  f o r he  verities—of  of  toward  i m p e r f e c t , and  Blakean  mask o f  i n darkness  that  and  implications  "wild  ambivalence;  his retelling  through typal  same  attitude  voyage  nor  upon  the  the  journey  to  Wales /  arche-  or  i n "dawn"  remembered  notion of  directly  voy-  light  we  are  on told  Earthly  divinely  inspired  36 poet,  and  i n the  case  of  the  primitive  Taliesin  i s associated  with  ledge  the  hidden  dom  of  not  dark,  gained  the  without  "divine and  figure  mania,"  of  and  He  shaman,  bears  i n n e r wisdom,  suffering.  the  a  the  kind  know-  of  wis-  [Taliesin],  Raved, n o r remembered Earthly things, But w i d e - r i b b e d , slumbered Under those wings. In  his  the  slumber  swallow's  dark." are  wing—"I as  associated  dead, of  Here  (or shamanistic  and  such  birds age,  like  worlds,  with  with  the  divine  and  divine poet.  being  journey  swift,  romantic  messengers  stars the  i n the  heard  trance),  is a durationless  swallow,  Taliesin and  the  traditions,  birds  the  through  a kind  of  souls of  under  flight  his divine  shaman  moment,  the  by the  is carried  under of  with  i s borne  / F l y through  classical  inspiration,  symbols of  and  Taliesin  of  the  the  wings  stars,  both  mission.  The  voy-  the  and  upper  under  timeless  "dream"  57  from  the  perspective of  the  bard:  T h e d a y s o f my v o y a g e When n u m b e r e d a r e As a g l a c i e r ' s age Or a s h o o t i n g s t a r . S w i f t and slow In one r o p e t w i n e d A s a i l d i d throw On my d r e a m i n g mind. Time I pursued A n d saw t h e k i l l . L i f e was renewed Where t i m e l a y s t i l l . Sand and t h e y e a r T h a t seemed deranged Are f i l l e d w i t h grandeur For a l l i s changed. At  his birth,  the  Taliesin  destructive  through even  ranged  powers,  his visionary  the  things of  / Are  "the  k i l l , "  "Sand  with  turns  world that  p e r s p e c t i v e he  time,  filled  Taliesin  r e e n t e r s the  and  of  time  time  i s able  the  year  and  observes  perpetuates. to  affirm  / That  Yet  that  seemed  de-  grandeur."  finally  to  address  the  raven  of  capable  and  the  kes-  37  trel, both and  the  scavenger temporal  prey)  their of  a  higher  music  tive The  and  aspects "turning  Taliesin them  of  capacity  "the  Yeats'  circles  would  i n exchange  heart  and  then,  wishes of  become  from  the  h i s knowledge  of  learn that  them  into  Second  the  predator them  i s , the the  in  secret  destruc-  t i m e l e s s n e s s .. (like  Coming")  point"  secret  of  from  transfiguring  "pivotal the  to  for Taliesin  i n "The  them  of representing  (the c y c l e  sound,"  of  raising  falcon  about  learn  He  i s capable  of nature, birds,"  prey  destruction  h i g h e r wisdom.  and  which  a bird  cycles  (poetry) that  windhover that  and  of  music,  the and  interrelation  Hopkins' symbols  of  timeless. reveal of  time  to  58  and  eternity.  He d e s i r e s t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n a r e c i p r o c a l ex-  change w i t h t h e c r e a t i o n . 0 raven, k e s t r e l Wheeling round, Teach your m i n s t r e l The h e a r t o f sound! I, T a l i e s i n Know t h e cords Between t h a t p i n And t h e t u r n i n g b i r d s . The  i s s u e o f t h e poem i s how T a l i e s i n , t h e c r e a t i v e p r i n c i p l e  or i m a g i n a t i o n ,  i s able to transform  the seemingly d e s t r u c t i v e  elements o f c r e a t i o n i n t o a v i s i o n o f "grandeur"—harmony and beauty. In t h e l a s t s t a n z a T a l i e s i n c r i e s f o r " D e s t r u c t i o n ' s k e y , " f o r l i k e t h e c r e a t i v e Logos he i s i d e n t i f i e d w i t h both t h e c r e a t i o n and d e s t r u c t i o n o f w o r l d ending o f t h i n g s .  c y c l e s — t h e beginning  and t h e  D e s t r u c t i o n bears t h e key t o a s e c r e t ,  since  u l t i m a t e l y , through t h e p r i n c i p l e o f s e l f - s a c r i f i c e , i t i s c a pable o f l e a d i n g t o t h e g r e a t mystery o f r e b i r t h . Where have they l e f t Destruction's key, Hid i n what c l e f t Of t h e c r y i n g sea? Like nature,  t h e sea i n Watkins' work i s a n o t h e r symbol  capable o f h o l d i n g a d u a l meaning i n i t s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h gene r a t i o n and c o r r u p t i o n as w e l l as w i t h the i n f i n i t e — t h e nal.  eter-  Watkins w r i t e s o f t h i s d e l i c a t e paradox i n h i s p r o s e .  Here he i s s p e a k i n g o f t h e v i s u a l a r t o f C e r i R i c h a r d s ,  a Welsh  contemporary: A r t s p r i n g s from c o n f l i c t , and t h e c o n f l i c t here i s between two e t e r n i t i e s , t h a t o f t h e sea a s s i m i l a t i n g a l l t h i n g s i n t o i t s movement toward u l t i m a t e o b l i v i o n  59  and t h a t mind.... And  i n "New  o f t h e c a t h e d r a l embodying (italics mine^g  Year  1965" he  man's  faith  and  writes:  Yet sometimes I have seen i t [ t h e s e a ] , a f t e r a stormy n i g h t , v a s t , y e t immediate, c o n t a i n i n g a l l i t s c o n t r a d i c t i o n s , a l l i t s opposing forces, i n a single harmonious vision. I never doubted the t e r r o r , even the m a l i c e o f t h e s e a ' s d e s i g n s ; b u t t o s e e i t i n a moment o f r e p o s e i s m y s t e r i o u s and supremely satisfying. In  the context of the last  that  the sea i n i t s temporal  "crying" when  for eternity,  the things  "winds' are  hound"  which  must  poem,  then,  suffering grapple his  i n the o r i g i n a l  by  Caridwen  figure. ance a  As  kind In  in  with  " I am"  i n "Taliesin  brings  where  here  of birth  death  Taliesin  vision.  and the Mockers," i n Affinities,  utterance  of the voice  material.  the  and hound,  as a hare  swallowed  i s pursued  as a g r a i n  h i s endur-  c a n be seen  i n o r d e r t o renew t h e companion  claiming  of  Christ-like  of Vision,"  Watkins  to  Through  b y hawk  and t e m p o r a l i t y  undertaken  stanza  creation  order.  as a s u f f e r i n g ,  and the S p r i n g  The  him, and h i s need  of the created  Voyage"  the original  of  i n Taliesin's  and u l t i m a t e l y  i s revealed  "Taliesin  i n the previous  the p r e y — " h a r r i e d "  material  of spiritual  "Taliesin's the  h i s knowledge  of the l i m i t a t i o n  be i t s d e s t r o y e r  the darker aspects of T a l i e s i n ,  as greyhound  wheat—Taliesin  suggest  and f l u x i s  o r d e s t r o y i n g ) elements  the complexities  as  I would  up i n t h e i n f i n i t e .  sting"  and t r a n s f i g u r e d  reveals  identification  i n one sense  a r e swallowed  (painful  and agony  with  will  and t h e "mussel's  be r a i s e d  o f t h e poem,  aspect of generation  which  o f time  the negative  The  stanza  retains  as  time.  poem t o t h e form o f  omnipotence  as  used  60  B e f o r e man w a l k e d I was i n t h e s e p l a c e s . I was h e r e When t h e m o u n t a i n s He m a k e s  a deliberate  insistent poet  rhythm  t o have  reminiscent evident draws make of  also  "when  of the epic,  o n t h e same  sagas.  The a s s e r t i v e the mountains  formulaic David  tradition  t h e o r a c u l a r tone claim were  when h e h a s t h e s o l d i e r ,  to omnipresence  more  ironically  was  with  I I  green tree. built a shit-house f o r Artaxerxes. was t h e s p e a r i n B a l i n ' s h a n d  may  Abel  made w a s t e  also  evidenced  when h i s b r o t h e r  have  King  i n mind  i n J o b (Chap.  found  "boast"  "Dai,"  i n the context  Pellam's  land.^Q  the b i b l i c a l  38) where  him, under the  use of the  God h i m s e l f  whirlwind  challenges  Job with  a series  asserting  His divine  presence  at creation—"Where  when  I laid The  the foundations  poem  inanimate  stones," world  goes  and w i t h  shifts  i n stanza  who  i s a t one l e v e l  and  the vehicle  translation heaven  h i s presence  the v i t a l  powers  note  i n the line,  wast  upon  the divine  that  Taliesin  "I will  both  with  at the creation  thou  animate  the "Lord" Logos  The of  present Word.  appeals  s u p p l i c a t e my  "ringing  of the  and death.  of c r e a t i o n — t h e mediating  t o o we  the  questions  o f f l o w e r s " and  of l i f e  s i x to focus Christ  from  of formulaic  t h e poet  "the designing  establishing  "boast"  of the earth....?"  on t o i d e n t i f y  nature,  sis  of  laid" i s  i n In Parenthesis  I  Watkins  and  of the  pattern of the  Jones  and  war:  that  as  to capture  by Guest.  present  i n t h e Welsh  h i s claims  laid.  effort  used  been  were  Taliesin,  at  creation,  In Guest's  t o such Lord  empha-  that  a  "Lord" I get  61  refuge  i n him,/ a r e g a r d  I may  obtain  i n h i s grace;  / The Son  41 of  Mary  i s my  to  have  been  trust...."  i n the "Tetragramaton,"  unpronounceable Lord, in  though  Watkins'  preincarnate  In the o r i g i n a l  name  that  o f God o f J e w i s h  a t one l e v e l  Elphin  poem a s t h e L o r d identification  material  claims  i s , t h e h i d d e n and  mysticism.  o f t h e Welsh  o f the heavens, with  he  Taliesin's  myth,  i s revealed  or Christ  i n his  the Creator.  My L o r d p r e s c r i b e d The p a t h o f t h e p l a n e t s . His fingers scattered The d i s t a n t stars. Taliesin, sings the  creation,  calling  through heaven man  i s cast  i n the role  b e g i n n i n g and ending,  forth  and naming  and e a r t h ,  birds,  mammals,  poem  a r e comparable  those  nature  o f Watkins,  o f man's  Though i n tone, we  original  forms.  and  retells  or  destruction,  He r e e n a c t s  o f h i s speaking the making o f  a n d woman i n t h e " g a r d e n , " translation.  o f o n e who  creation  of living  the musical evocation  Guest's  to  then,  plants,  insects  and  finally  echoing again a passage  the following rhythmic  can see that  lines  structure  from  from Guest's  and content  he e m p h a s i z e s  the timeless  estate:  Guest:  Watkins:  T h e A l m i g h t y made, Down t h e H e b r o n v a l e , With h i s p l a s t i c hands, Adam's f a i r f o r m :  Last, a l l labour He b e n t o n d u s t . Out o f t h e r e d d u s t Made He Man....  And f i v e h u n d r e d y e a r s , V o i d o f any h e l p , T h e r e he r e m a i n e d a n d l a y Without a soul.  He b u i l t f o r h i m H i s e t e r n a l garden, T i m e l e s s , moving, And y e t i n t i m e .  He a g a i n d i d f o r m , In calm p a r a d i s e , From a l e f t - s i d e r i b , Bliss-throbbing E v e . ^  He c a s t o n h i m Dark v e i l s o f sleep, Out o f h i s s i d e He t o o k t h e F e m a l e .  62  Watkins' and  poem becomes a r e t e l l i n g  woman i n G e n e s i s and  moves t h r o u g h m y t h i c tower  and  the r i s e  principle  i n Milton's  h i s t o r y from  of the c r e a t i o n of  Paradise Lost;  the b u i l d i n g of  o f Solomon t o t h e b i r t h  i n i t s most immediate  form  of the  man  then i t  Babel's creative  in Taliesin.  I was a lamp I n Solomon's t e m p l e ; I, the r e e d Of an a u g u r i n g w i n d . What do y o u s e e k In t h e salmon r i v e r , Caught i n t h e n e t What l i v i n g g o l d ? What do you s e e k In the w e i r , 0 E l p h i n ? You must know That  t h e sun i s mine.  Here W a t k i n s the  evokes  the d i s c o v e r y  as r e c o r d e d i n  Romance where E l p h i n draws t h e i n f a n t f o r t h f r o m a  and names him  Taliesin,  name a s s o c i a t e s  him  "lord  o f the r a d i a n t  with heavenly  a d i v i n e l y marked " s t a r c h i l d . " ing  of T a l i e s i n  fish  child,  reminds  Bach and which,  i n the "salmon r i v e r "  the  as we  us  and  legend of Finn  have s e e n , W a t k i n s  where T a l i e s i n  The  and  fact  Taliesin's  establishes  that  Elphin  catches instead  a  him  i s seekdivine  and  used  t h e s a l m o n o f wisdom i n "The  t o t h e Hanes T a l i e s i n  asserts,  "And  Salmon."  i n the Guest  It i s  translation  i t i s n o t known w h e t h e r my  body i s  43 flesh  or f i s h . "  Finally,  symbol o f C h r i s t i a n i t y was disciples has  lifted  who  we  cannot  "the f i s h , "  were f i s h e r m e n .  from  as  o f t h e c o n n e c t i o n between t h e s t o r y o f Gwion  Irish  also a reference  light,  brow."  coracle  The  forget and  point  t h e w e i r more t h a n he  that  that  here  the  Christ  i s that  bargained f o r — a  early chose Elphin living  63  being  ("living  holds  the  key  identified the  gold") to  not  the  only  life-giving  that w i l l secrets  with  sun  the  with  what  traditional  of  his  creation.  "Solomon's  life,  For  and  that  Taliesin  lamp," but  like  is  Christ  with  itself.  In Defending Ancient Taliesin  transform  she  Springs,  calls  "the  r e p o s i t o r i e s of  Kathleen other  Raine  connects  mind" of  wisdom from  the  inspiration, regions  of  44 the  dead.  The  tact  with  these  that  Taliesin  interior  brings  living.  Like  the  Mari  Lwyd"  and  death,  order.  power of  the  realms  with  t i m e and  prophetic,  i n c a n t a t o r y and  connecting  her  and  By  the  Taliesin  poems, h o w e v e r , he  the  greatest  gift  the  hand  i n hand w i t h  27)  of  o f f e r s to  i n "The  the  theme o f  Ballad  with  i s able  those  h i s knowledge.  of  life  the  Mari,  Watkins  early ballad, of  the  t o make t h e  i s that  of  is  Taliesin  that  the  temporal  Mari  the  con-  "gift"  mediator between  powers of  brings  from  the  and  Mari  t r a n s f e r r i n g to  powers more c l o s e l y  poet  as  of  c h a l l e n g i n g the  sacred  develops  the  the  knowledge  the  m u s t go  acts  derived  aspect  stanza of  timelessness,  knowledge."  forward  (see head  s a i d , "The 45  utterance  i s one  Taliesin  Taliesin's  carries  him  miraculous  (1941),  R a i n e has  prophetic  poet. point  divine love,  Taliesin  states  In that which in  poem u n d e r d i s c u s s i o n : I have a g i f t For I have n o t h i n g . I have l o v e  bard of  Which exceeds  a l l treasures.  At  i n the  this  with  the  the  point  i n f a n t Jesus  crucifixion  poem t h e and  with  become d o m i n a n t .  a s s o c i a t i o n s of the The  later  the  "mocked  hired court  reborn Christ" musicians  64  in  the  court he  Romance mock T a l i e s i n system  clearly  learning  and  for his  represents  of  the  for his  lack  native  schools.  of  failure  to  professional  are  told  in  the  to  training.  i n s p i r a t i o n over  We  conform  the  the  Here  artificial  Romance  that  . . . . a t t h a t t i m e the b a r d s were i n g r e a t f a v o r w i t h the e x a l t e d o f the kingdom; and t h e n none p e r f o r m e d t h e o f f i c e o f t h o s e who a r e now called heralds [bards], u n l e s s t h e y w e r e l e a r n e d men.... ^ Yet  in  tem,  the  Romance,  i s able  selves,  and  mumblings  to  turn  reduce  of  the  poem, W a t k i n s  Taliesin, the  them  court to  nonsense  pursues  who  comes  bards'  repeating phrase,  this  from  outside  mockery  back  mindlessly  "blerum,  the  upon  the  systhem-  undignified  blerum."  In  his  theme.  M o c k me t h e y will, Those h i r e d m u s i c i a n s , They a t Court Who command t h e schools. Mock t h o u g h t h e y do, My m u s i c s t a n d s B e f o r e and a f t e r Accusing silence. Watkins'  r e j e c t i o n of  musicians" rejects  in  the  intricate  of  prose, which  we  learning  haps  he  the  is attacking  Like Testament,  Christ,  in  of  bardic  skill  much  is  of  and  the like  "mocked"  poetry the and  in  of  Here  the  by  he  use  for  of he  poetry  forms,  the  some  point  is  Obliquely  his  prophets reviled  that  i n both  structured  III.  "hired  tradition;  "tradition"  intricately Chapter  and  the  imply  inspiration is valueless.  then,  Taliesin  the  of  however,  learning  with  in  learning  not,  importance  explore  without  does  vast  practices  shall  that  of  associated  argues and  artificial  context,  necessity  forms  continually and  this  the  per-  day. of  the  the  Old  world  and  by  65  the  false  poets  The  overcoming  utterance, before order to  i n t h e poem  h i s music  and a f t e r of love  the healing  only the  gives  vision  the b l i n d  I t i s again  which  man  can recognize  Him.  Taliesin,  through red  wisdom.  the  "schools,"  higher  the a l l u s i o n s  i n the direction  material,  spiritual  Watkins  of  alludes that  on t h e paradox  that  sight.  with  Thus  out o f h i s sense  that  utterance  By s e t t i n g Watkins'  o f the poet  Watkins,  e s t a b l i s h e s h i s own  poetic  stands  by C h r i s t , and t h e i d e a  speaking  C h r i s t , merges t h e poem.  which  God.  of Taliesin,  with  of poetic  s i g n i f i c a n c e and  Him, p l a y i n g  C e r t a i n t h e r e were Who t o u c h e d , who knew B l i n d men knew their  through  diverge  the o r i g i n a l  the g i f t  the infusion of a  its final  have  throughout of  o f t h e wisdom  symbol  often  voice  tion  a  t h e poem  from  overcomes.  through  of the blind  On t h e r o a d  C h r i s t he  i s again  verses,  physically blind  The  yet like  t h e p r i m i t i v e mythos  In the last  Christian  being  time.  into  C h r i s t , that  focus.  to  and prophets;  speaking  poetic  would  incarnate  himself  against  poet  also  of  here  identificaand  through  lineage  t h e mask  as one  the highest,  who most  sac-  the pseudo-poetry o f  assumes  a relatively  isolated  position. In  one o f t h e l a t e r  "Taliesin coast, and  Watkins  Greek  branches toward  a t Pwlldu,"  published  s e t a t a bay near  moves t o w a r d  symbolism. of a kind  the " v e i l  poems  a synthesis  Taliesin  o f "Tree  o f heaven."  i s gazing  of Life" Nature  from  Fidelities  (1968),  h i s home o n t h e G o w e r of Celtic, upward  Christian  through the  ("the wind-blown i s like  a veil,  tree") a t once  66  revealing speaking a  and in  concealing  the  first  v i s i o n a r y moment  into  Apollo's  time  is  their an  conquered.  ideal:  "In  Taliesin, flowing has also  the  of  led  ments  Pound  of  ovation  of  In that dance  and  veyed  i n accord "as  vehicle  him  of  artist i n the the  this a  of to  a  main  shell."  early  form, to  Eliot  himself  and  nature  rocks  have  the  invoke infant  uprising  Master  of  from  his  service  are  free."  His  entire  being  are  reminded  his  here  demands own  we  have  Mockers," end,  but  vision  noted  in  verse  experi-  exploration  and  standing  in a  ren-  own  in  living  the  line,  veins."  Then  "sea  in a  the  journey"  timeless  "Streams he  turns  when  realm  powers  he and  sur-  creation:  the  rainbow  the  earlier  T a l i e s i n ' s "Master" C h r i s t , who  the  poetic  on  the  sea  L a u n c h e d my r o u n d b a r k . Through darkness, t r a i l i n g I drifted. Wave-gnarled images of gods F l o a t e d upon the whale-backed water-plains, I l o o k e d ; c r e a t i o n r o s e , u p h e l d by T h r e e . As  to  music  free  acknowledges  Moses)  declaring  forms.  through  to  the  where  finds  that  for. the  he  the  We  and  stanza,  and  in  expression  reject  metrical  only  in  transformed  principle,  creative  capture  speak,  bound  inspiration.  notion  and  with  to  is  leaves  the  Taliesin's  metamorphosis  comes  only  through of  the  second  (like  My  moment  freedom  light  desire  Daphne  that  glitter  the  tree—the  beyond.  before  wisdom  him  retrospectively floated  instant  traditional  the  dance  his  point  the  practice  conveys  this  Watkins'  submission  person  boundless  through  that  order  At  acting  become  eternal  the  laurel  intuitive  the  poem,  i s not  in Revelation rainbow  as  the  "Taliesin only  is  and  Elphin  shown  in  fulfillment  hands,  the  from  the  leg-  John's of  the  promise  67  to  Noah and  versal  the  completion of  the  o l d covenant,  a kind  of  uni-  man.  A n d h e t h a t s a t was t o l o o k u p o n l i k e a j a s p e r a n d a sardine stone: a n d t h e r e was a r a i n b o w r o u n d a b o u t t h e t h r o n e , i n s i g h t l i k e unto an e m e r a l d . (Revelation 4:3) The  " T h r e e " who  ity  and  the  Taliesin source "the  Welsh  i n the  of  tears,"  that  powers  the  tion—the  waters  Like  Taliesin  cave,  he  touch. calls  stanza,  life  i n the n a t u r a l  Pure stream, I touch you;  The the  three  "pure  reference  place "Y  female the  represents issue  the  about within  "other  cave  from  Taliesin  river in  7  mind"  which  of  "Taliesin  his source of pure  the  Mamau" ( o r ,  the underground of  Trin-  goddesses.^  stream"  inspira-  paradise  to  world.  by p e b b l e s masked and t h e n I know my n a t i v e  contact  stories  secret  Christian  stand  the Welsh  spring  which  the  who  Muse—or  The like  the  in "Taliesin  makes  three  of  Taliesin's  Vision," of  a t once  suggestive of  i n Gower," and of  the  configuration  last  Spring  manifest  are  are  i n "the  his utterance.  i n the  "Taliesin  For  stanza  represent  inspires  touches  creation  Triads.  third  Mothers"), a  These  and  uphold  and  the  Spring  with his "native to the  "avengers"  o f vengeance  changing land.  skies,  of Vision"  land"  by  i n the  associated  i n the  the  power  of  final  lines  re-  with Arthur i n the 48  Arthurian as  well  Bach, have  sagas  as  where  the  which theme  Taliesin  p e r s e c u t e d him  Guest  refers  of vengeance  to  i n the  achieves revenge and  i n her  on  translation,  original the  imprisoned Elphin,  court  his  tale  of  bards  Gwion who  master.  P r i d e c a s t the p a t t e r n from primaeval years, The a v e n g e r ' s k n i v e s i n g l a c i e r - d r i v e n s t o n e Changed by God's p e a c e , t r a n s f i x e d where m o r n i n g  flies.  68 The  point  geance, own  here,  but  however,  that  "God's  transmission  primaeval other  the  pattern  Taliesin  giveness  Celtic  of  implicit  and  by  theme  "Taliesin  pentameter backed cast an  line,  Hopkins,  "Sea  the  poet  Chant  of  on  he  a  for-  or  arrest Fall. the  of  his  iambic  ("whaleline  the  feeling  His  that  ("Pride  use  most  generation,  be  the  extending regular  tradition.  will  the  and  into  words  creates  previous  Watkins  in  the  seen  uses  presence  the  of  the  inventively with  cart be  years")  the  love  alliterated  poetic  As  reverse  hyphenated  strongly  suggests  poems  (Taliesin  to  Venus)"  I  shall  be  important  since  i t reveals  figure, more  The  poem  is  sailors  to  and  taking  shows  inventive  addressed  associated  enchantress  lures  a  more  his  through  Greek mythos  Though of  of  consequences the  through  "pride."  seeing,  Watkins  primaeval  influence  from  working  use  in English  in a  the  by  alliterative  material  is  of  the  Pwlldu."  from  pierces  ven-  of consider-  G.  considered  of  M.  briefly  III.  Taliesin  poem  at  also  whose  Chapter  Taliesin  more  words  Welsh  and  Mabinogion,  and  pattern  way  incorporating  water-plains")  earlier,  ularly  The  cast  achieves  i n part  Christian virtues new  free  compound  in  the  his  the  able  the  C h r i s t i a n , and  from  Taliesin  (conveyed  wrongness  in  material in  peace"  falsehood"  summary,  that  i t ) " t r a n s f i x e s " or  poems,  "classical In  of  i s not  of  with  the  a  more  Taliesin  Lorelei  death  on  the  last This  of  the  poem  is  Dionysian  using  personal to  and  rocks.  the  aspect  particof  traditional  way. Venus,  ("Venus,  German r o m a n t i c i s m  their  the  here.  Watkins  and  by  up  is  who  in  the  Loreley-breasted"),  Wagnerian myth Though  who  Taliesin  69  reveals  her  change," evil,  i n her  "hard  but  and  aspects  from  darkness  and  says  shudder  darker hostile  that  he  shock." time,  must  aspects  since  g i v e way  t o man,"  desires  Only  as  to  to  does  not  reject  "preserve" her  alone  light,  " c e a s e l e s s mother  he  Taliesin he  a  can has  corruption  to  her  "Chaste,  preserve her realized  of  the  as from  eternal truth  that  recreation.  Yet t h a t golden-eyed e g r e t S t i l l a s a hawk s h a l l stay, While you p r o c l a i m to i s l a n d s Nothing dark s h a l l endure. I have d i s c e r n e d a s e c r e t H i d from the a r c o f day, Locked i n the heart of s i l e n c e , S t r o n g e r t h a n d e a t h , and p u r e . The  "secret"  and  pure,"  love  heroic inine  to  the  reveals  aspects.  of  cycles  cult the of  Dionysus' "lightning  other  born"  the  U n l i k e the Graves  but  comes  In  the as  Venus  elaborates, to  free  in lightning,  he  youth  the her  both i n her the  he  Venus to  who  two son  than  and  Christian  lover,  at  from  i n the  h i m s e l f as of  and  fem-  mother-  slain  figure  Semele  death,  stanzas,  ancient  i s capable  w i t h s t r e n g t h from the g i v e r , K i n d l i n g c o r a l and h o r n , T a u g h t by t h e t i d e s o f a g e s , Take you, a t l a s t subdued. I am come t o d e l i v e r You o f t h e w h i t e s p r a y b o r n . Do n o t a l l f a i t h s a n d sages End i n a c h i l d t h e i r f e u d ?  of  maternal  i s not  identifies  her. I,  last  lover-son of  Comparing  immortal  i s "Stronger  r e g e n e r a t i v e power  poems.  preserver of  destruction. birth  of  himself mythically  which  year,  "discerned" that  secret  r e s c u e r and  goddess end  has  i s the  common  Taliesin  he  the these  myth the  delivering  of  70  The divine for  poem,  parents,  like  birth haps  Christ  he  connects  i s both child  ages  (like  nature  with  sunbeams  Taliesin which  serve  creative  aspects  the church  groom,  note  i s identified  that  Venus  The s e x u a l  of  c a n be s e e n  for  the creative  love At  by which  another  level,  t h e volume  (here  Taliesin's)  by t h a t name), Muse,  o f male  f o r he a c t s  bride-  and  female  as s t a n d i n g i n (the  "subduing"  i n a higher  o f Venus  "The Lady Venus  i n relation  on t h e n a t u r a l  and female  a s i n t h e poem  ("Patterning  of heavenly  o f t h e poem  as a metaphor  o f male  The  not only of  Christ  i s described  with  i s  level  order  of  transformed.  the Unicorn"  f u n c t i o n s as t h e  poet's  as h e r s i n g e r i n the  world.  the l a s t o f your s i n g e r s , S e e how t h e s h e l l s y o u g a v e S h i n e where t h e b r e a k e r s h a t t e r s A l l t h a t we know o f d a y .  Yet  h e r need  f o r him i s as g r e a t  the  relation  between  potentially pression. as  Like  the destructive sexuality  (from  I,  union  of the  i n the r o c k " ) , but o f  the role  imagery  i s per-  the "feud"  i n t h e poem  and p i n k s  The  an e r a o f peace.  a regenerative union  "bride-veils." the female),  ends  o f redeemer,  as b r i d e , he e n a c t s  We  o f h i s mother.  initiate  of the feminine.  b r i n g i n g about  principles.  will  you, / Doves,  mythos—  the Incarnation which  i n his role  Venus  the Christian  f o r Watkins)  and u l t i m a t e l y  reveals  him w i t h  l i n e a g e as a son o f  son and s a v i o r  the u l t i m a t e paradigm  poem  to  reveals Taliesin's  also  of the divine  warring  the  which  a love  poet  a n d Muse  destructive union Finally,  poem  as h i s f o r h e r , and t h e r e f o r e  t h e poem  to the poet's  i s reciprocal.  issues c a n be wife  creative seen  Out o f  energy  and ex-  on t h e p e r s o n a l  presenting  the  this  conflict  level  71  between  the  It  saw  tradition, Through of  of  poral  and  time  but  own  art  and  T h o u g h he  dropped  directly bardic  and  to  figure  reaffirm  only  to  within  the  able  to  larger,  trace  more  would  bridge  the  not  be  his  themes mask o f relation  enabled sacred  essential  better  own  him  gap  images  Taliesin  in later  man  to  make h i g h  nature  of  and  the  of  gene-  of  the  Muse,  the  tem-  conquest this  native,  lay  commingled.  poems  and  i t is clear  claims  poet's  an  through  where  already  of  the  mode  than  heritage  of i t .  between  theme  conveyed  Welsh and  Christian  encompassing  that  His  that  v i s i o n a r y branch  was a  poems  prophetic  the  the  he  above  i n the  Hebraic  the  not  the  love.  speak  from  of  of  in  to  could  Christian  poet  particular  eternal orders.  figure  the  a  Taliesin  and  perception  the  survey  conversion  vision,  by  a  and  poetically  within  mediating  more  from  mask o f  his  order  artist  himself  the  Christian  of  as  i s evident  Watkins  alogy  poet  for  task.  the  wrote that poet,  72  CHAPTER  TIME THE  "MUSIC  AND OF  I I  ETERNITY: COLOURS"  POEMS  73  Chapter Time The  We of  "Music  have  seen  how  the Welsh  bard  Taliesin  calling  o f the poet  nity.  Another  related  sense  o f what  rience, but of  enabled  Like poems  enabled  and images  ticular  sequence  over began  of  Colours:  White  it  continued through i n DB  "Music  Colours"  i n A i n 1962.  republished  intention  here  i n the order  know  light  o f Watkins'  within  Watkins'  the  eterof  of  expe-  the senses i s particularity  "Music  span  of Colours:  "Music  "Music  US  appeared  I shall  interwoven  of time.  This  i n 1943  and i t sappearance  A l lthree  of Colours"  of carefully  the publication  of  i n LU  The  "Music  i n 1948;  and the Furnace  (1978),  1  the poet's  o f C o l o u r s " poems  of have  along with a  of Colours—The  Cave."  "Music  N e o p l a t o n i c and  explore these  par-  Blossom  i n the published  use of P l a t o n i c ,  and symbols.  and  "The Music  through  of Colours—Dragonfoil  they  of the  Neoplatonic sources h i s  and c u l m i n a t e d d u r i n g  entitled  time  entitled  i s t o e x p l o r e the t h r e e major  poems  concepts  hidden  i n t h e posthumous  o f a poem  between  tradition  of another.  t o "Music  with  fragment  we  a considerable  Blossom"  lifetime  been  what  that  with  sense  the interdimensionality  sequence,  i n 1954,  h i s own  o f poems  him t o f o c u s on a network  themes  Scattered"  that  l i e the traces  the Taliesin  a romanticized  as a m e d i a t o r  sequence  of reality;  world  to elaborate  be c a l l e d  the r e a l i z a t i o n  this  drew upon  him t o e x p l o r e through  might  a portion  Eternity:  o f C o l o u r s " Poems  Watkins  sacred  Colours"  and  II  My  of Colours"  volumes i n Christian  poems i n  74  considerable  detail  dialectic  time  imagery the  of  death  "Music  dence in  of  a  of  from  to  and  show how eternity  and  poems,  poems  that  Christian-Platonic  sistency  of  entation. cause  Watkins' Because  the  ideas  Watkins*  work,  they  received  up  this  to  Watkins' through youth,  two and  and  whose  the  mature  early  ideas poet.  the  great  deserve  interest  Among  Watkins'  ever,  traditionally  Yeats  and  those  poets  closer  to  will  him Yeats  be  Although thinker, that  of  and  and  to  that  i n time. and  examining  establish  of  and  these  eviwith-  the  con-  poetic  poems,  inform  ori-  and  so  than  concepts  to  For of  this  be-  much  they  of  have  was  not  a  of  an  or  of  the  became  on for  who  was  individualistic myth as  V,  i s , how-  that  Watkins'  and  1930's,  one  M i l t o n than IV  early  influence  Yeats  Christian  reason,  his  i n the  Platonic  of  Platonism to  both  that  of  Watkins'  seventeenth-century  depth.  theological  c a t e g o r i e s and  metaphysical  poet  mediated  of  exemplar  Chapters  i n greater  love  w i t h i n an  Vaughan  In  was  exert  the  treatment  considered Watkins  myth  thoroughly  moderns,  several of  Christian  of  supporting  treatment  read  to  avoided  to  i n them  unambiguously  S h e l l e y i s not.  nearer  relation  beauty  greatest twentieth-century  universe.  process  background  continued  the  integrate Platonic  perhaps  i n order  fuller  Christian  time-eternity motif  S h e l l e y , the  imagery  able  is  the  i n Platonic  poets:  the  poetic  the  Platonic  time.  Watkins to  a  i t with  provide  contained  whose w o r k he  and  In  shall  treat  context  images  Romantic Blake,  I  establishes a  fuses  philosophical  of  and  and  resurrection.  Colours"  other  Watkins  "isms"  poet),  2  he  or of  systematic any  borrowed  kind  (except  freely  from  75  Platonic and  and  Neoplatonic sources  Plotinus'  poetic  sense  and  the  his  work  minor  of  the  temporal  ination indeed  Enneads)  of  the  argues  theme that  pre-Christian  and  Christianity  shattering p.  20).  of  The  the  ception  or  in a  ness where to  Watkins  gain  "love's i n LU  sing  placeless  "a  entitled Watkins  where  the  takes  of  following  "The  he  and  a more that  the  early  (p.  that  the  is  theme  to which  his  Taliesin  of  poems  paganism  through  the  moment"  by  later  and  "A  work.  for  volume, but  to  time" of  calling In  a  i s to  poem  Fidelities, only  through  i s subject  speaks  Wit-  instance,  Necklace  (p. 8 6 ) .  per-  disci-  "annihilating  and  (CA,  breaking  spiritual  i n LV,  time,  obeys earth  of  his poetic  heaven"  view  itself  There  60),  Imag-  of visionary  the  of  the  eternity  time  Sea"  throughout  and  worlds  to  own  timeless  by  "timeless  posthumous  positive  eternity.  the  illumination  conclusion  timeless  time  the  p r a y e r and  i n f o r m s us a  i n the  Broken  state"  " D i a l o g u e " from  recognition  "fount"  from  timeless  how  i n a moment  love,  i n the  time  annihilate  of  early  his  time  major  i n time's to  of  the  between  whether  lifetime  speaks  seen  momentary  o f how  between  between  concern,  glass"  Timaeus  enhanced  destruction  caught  timeless,  relatively  relation  Plato's  constant recurrence  have  attains  Stones"  the  We  bard  whatever  dichotomy  is all-pervasive  the  the  poetic  problem  to  pline,  the  "time's  through  The  of  adhere.  the  used  mysterious  orders.  his central themes  and  ( s u c h as  the  to  soul  the in  the  terms:  '.... I k e e p An e x a c t a c c o u n t . Time In  flings  one  wide  sense,  the  circles, Fall  but  still  f o r Watkins  they  obey  i s more  one  than  fount.'  anything  76  else  a  fall  i n t o t i m e and  nity.  In  "The  Life  soul's  reluctant  a  loss  Thread"  entrance  (F,  of p.  the  primal  42),  i n t o t i m e as  he a  oneness  writes  of  of  eter-  the  descent.  W i t h what r e l u c t a n c e , What m i s g i v i n g , Torn from the substance Of t i m e l e s s living, Parted from n i g h t , At l a s t you fall From the s e c r e t w a t e r s ' Circling ball. Finally, Letters stance  we to  as  recall  that  in his  Vernon Watkins that  of  one  Introduction  (1957), Watkins  who  after his  to  Dylan  Thomas'  reiterates his  early twenties  could  poetic never  3 again of  write  a poem " d o m i n a t e d  limitation  great  and  opponent Watkins'  sense  of  world  behind  "Foal"  the  (LU),  to  by  restriction be  appears  presence  of  within  "The  an  the  Platonic vocabulary  worlds,  borrowing notions from  describes  a  again  most  visible "The to of  and  and  describe  young f o a l ' s r e l a t i o n  to  condition  again  as  the  transfigured. Platonism  eternal  (CA),  the  "original," "The  a  In he  poems  uses  relation  "pattern,"  Replica,"  the  (timeless)  temporal.  Replica"  P l a t o n i c sources.  and  forms of  invisible  M a r e " and  viously  "replica"  Time as  e i t h e r a n n i h i l a t e d or  work shares w i t h  or  time."  of  the  "copy"  for  i t s archetypal  an  like obtwo and  instance, form  in  the  heavenly world i n P l a t o n i c terms. Once more t h e p e r f e c t p a t t e r n f a l l s asleep And i n t h e d a r k o f s l e e p t h e r e p l i c a Springs to awareness. Like problem of order  earlier  P l a t o n i s t s , Watkins  ontology  stands  and  in relation  therefore to  the  i s concerned with  focuses  Absolute.  on He  where the assumes  the natural an  77  ordered, being, ture  hierarchical  e a c h one  i s not  firmation and  stand  verging end  inheres.  or  a  Seasons," seeds  the  next.  term  or  final  as  both  reality  D e p e n d i n g on  higher  Reality  i t s transfigured aspect,  to  the  that  eternal world  Father, both the  the  own  Good using tian  source  and  a b s t r a c t and  have  the  of  myth as  of  afbeing)  as  an  may  obscuring Tributary  the  last  as  i n the  "the  "God," the  analogies  when  inter-  back  Good,"  to "the  more p e r s o n a l i z e d  w r i t e s of  God  in  manner, depending  chapter and  that Watkins  Renaissance  pagan t o  upon  and  Taliesin  the or  as  ideas,  i n "Song o f  Leaves,"  and  compatible  poems.  continues  synthesis  Christian  Christianity  "Zacchaeus  and  l e a d man  One,"  Watkins  with  poem.  Medieval and  him  may  more p e r s o n a l  particular  classical  and  and  "the  Christian. the  72-3)  provides  metaphor foreshadowing  revelation  the  archetypal  I n "The  i t participates,  known as  s u b o r d i n a t i n g myth t o Samaritan"  na-  the s e l f - r e g e n e r a t i n g  pp.  that nature  terms,  seen i n the  u n i q u e way  assimilation times  considers  i n Hebraic  of  level  either  describes  nature  i n which  i n Platonic  emphasis We  his  he  transcendent  Absolute,"  to  that  as  In  rightly  him  or  reflector.  ....the year's e t e r n a l forms, An a l p h a b e t w h o s e l e t t e r s a l l Mark out a s a c r e d f e s t i v a l . (CA,  preted  leads  ( a t i t s own  the  transparent  f o r i n s t a n c e , Watkins  of nature  realization  of  man's p e r s p e c t i v e , n a t u r e  to that higher  luminous,  The  reality  or hieroglyph i n which  in relation  "veil"  containing multiple levels  on  of nature  symbol  Reality  an  universe  In the  in  or  somethe  sometimes with Chris-  poems t o  be  78  discussed  here,  he c o n t i n u e s t h e p r o c e s s  Christian  synthesis  that  of  i s characteristic  classical-Platonic-  o f h i s work as a  whole. The "White of  "Music  Blossom"  spring;  and  describes  "The Blossom  the Furnace  poems  o f C o l o u r s " poems  cyclic  situation  ity  a b s o l u t e o r even  "Dragonfoil i n a l l three  o f the seasons who  reliable  laments  knowledge  present  man's  a  inabil-  i n t h e phenom-  world. "Music  "whiteness" based  of Colours—White i n nature.  stanzas  graphs  whiteness first  intensify  the mystical,  t h e form  ible,  unseen  presence  o f "white  juxtaposes blossom"  whiteness  of Jesus,  only  nine  patterned verse The s t r o n g  imagery  and "white  suggested  whites  shell"  by music  / Walking  iambicpararhythmic  of light  meditative effect. the v i s i b l e  "the Nazarene  as a m e d i t a t i o n on  through  and c o u p l e t s .  and t h e d a z z l i n g  s t a n z a , Watkins  opens  develops  i n intricately  rhymes  of the lines  Blossom"  T h e poem  arranged  of interlaced  quality  in  to the speaker  and  Certainly,  faces  progression.  and t h e b e g i n n i n g  spring;  o f C o l o u r s , " summer.  problematic  enal  a seasonal  t h e end o f w i n t e r  Scattered,"  the ever-changing,  t o have  enact  and In the  of nature  t o an  invis-  and by t h e  i n the e a r . "  White blossom, w h i t e , w h i t e s h e l l ; t h e Nazarene W a l k i n g i n t h e e a r ; w h i t e t o u c h e d by s o u l s Who know t h e m u s i c b y w h i c h w h i t e i s s e e n , B l i n d i n g white, from s t r i n g s and a u r e o l e s , U n t i l t h a t i s n o t w h i t e , s e e n a t t h e two p o l e s , Nor w h i t e t h e S c y t h i a n h i l l s , n o r M a r l o w e ' s queen. The  poem m o v e s  negation barely  based  from  a positive  invocation  on t h e r e a l i z a t i o n  approximate  what  Watkins  that  calls  of white  the whites later  to a  sudden  of nature  i n t h e poem,  "original negation The of  white"  line—"Until  light  that flashes  from  a  o f Troy  from  Watkins'  recollection like  Histories  and a u r e o l e s "  description  feathers recorded  on "The  whiteness  of  o n l y seem  "music by which  reference to the Scythian h i l l s  o f Herodotus'  white  snow o n t h e  Dr. Faustus,  when s e t a g a i n s t t h e u n i m a g i n a b l e  seen."  fall  the "strings  and even the mythic  queen," Helen  to  that i s not white....  representations of angels, the white  Scythian h i l l s ,  "Marlowe's  is  stanza, the shift  i n the f i f t h  artist's  white  I n the opening  occurs  white  ancient  (9.3).  white  i s probably  of a miraculous  i n the section  snow-  from h i s  Hyperboreans":  ....my o p i n i o n i s , t h a t i n t h e c o u n t r i e s a b o v e S c y t h i a i t a l w a y s s n o w s — l e s s , o f c o u r s e , i n t h e summer t h a n in the winter-time. Now s n o w w h e n i t f a l l s l o o k s l i k e f e a t h e r s , a s e v e r y o n e i s a w a r e who h a s s e e n i t come down c l o s e t o h i m . . . a n d t h e S c y t h i a n s . . . c a l l t h e snowf l a k e s f e a t h e r s because, I t h i n k , o f the l i k e n e s s which they bear t o them.^ The  reference to Christ  inner the of and  h e a r i n g and w i t h i n  possibility whiteness, actual  earlier  at least  had r e f e r r e d  poem t o D y l a n  the context  Leaves"  (Christ  establishes  early  man'  i n t h e poem  of contact with the invisible  the primal purity  informing a l l these  t o Jesus  experience  the crucifixion,  ( L U , p. 9 0 ) .  ground  mythologica  pable  o f transforming darkness  grief  into  (black) into  He r e e n t e r s t h e poem l a t e r  i nthe  i n "Zacchaeus and  Blossom,"  i s present  i n an  (BML, p. 2 6 ) ,  o f human g r i e f  and a g a i n  I n "White  i n h i s more human a s p e c t )  joy.  as " t h e Nazarene"  T h o m a s , " T h e Room o f P i t y "  of Christ's  u p p e r room b e f o r e the  nature  within  whites.  Watkins  in  a s " t h e N a z a r e n e " who w a l k s  "the Nazarene" as t h e power c a -  light  ( w h i t e ) , and  ( s t a n z a 7) a s t h e  80  healer  of  allusion sical  l e p e r from  to the  and  quence. the  the  gospel  mythical Helen  Christian The  the  imagery  continues  a s s o c i a t i o n of  Platonic others)  and  i s seen"  draws  the  world  souls  can  interplay  moves t o an  The  of  clas-  the  se-  with music,  and  "know t h e  traditional  (present  8:2).  throughout  unseen white  i n the  Pythagorean idea  t h a t the  the  that develops  assertion that only purified  which white  i n c i d e n t (Matt.  music  by  Aristotelian-  i n Dante, M i l t o n  o r d e r l y , harmonious  and musical  pattern. In In and  an  stanza  two,  unpublished  Experience,"  Watkins  recalls  the  genesis  l e c t u r e - r e a d i n g dated he  wrote  that  i t was  of  the  October 1961,  poem. "Poetry  suggested,  i n w i n t e r by a f a l l o f snow on t h e s e a c l i f f w h e r e I l i v e . I w a l k e d o u t on t h e c l i f f and f o u n d t h a t t h e foam o f t h e s e a , w h i c h had been b r i l l i a n t l y w h i t e the p r e v i o u s day, now l o o k e d g r e y . ^ After  the  strings  dazzling,  and  is relatively  series  of  that the  The Now Call The Yet The be  ative sea  and  poet's  that  i n the  "blinding  opening,  the  The  end-stopping  thought  has  b e e n a r r e s t e d by  i s not  from  second  matter-of-fact, consisting  lines.  "white  white,  of  a  r e i n f o r c e s the the  sudden  white":  spray looked white u n t i l t h i s s n o w f a l l . t h e foam i s g r e y , t h e wave i s d u l l . n o t h i n g w h i t e a g a i n , we w e r e d e c e i v e d . f l o o d o f Noah d i e s , t h e r a i n b o w i s l i v e d . f r o m t h e d e l u g e o f i l l u s i o n s an unknown c o l o u r i s saved.  speaker found  q u i e t and  end-stopped  realization  imagery of  aureoles" presented  stanza  sense  celestial  has  to acknowledge  i n nature. imperfect  is dull  that  "original  A l l human k n o w l e d g e and i f the  seemingly  i n c o n t r a s t to the  whiter  pure, snow.  white"  i s not  perception i s  white To  foam o f w h a t , he  to rel-  the must  81  ask,  i s the  is  Platonic idea,  a  Republic copies  snow d u l l e r  ( B o o k X)  or  and  that  F o r m s , as  well  is  a  a unique,  of  becoming  copy of  to  as  (time)  t o man  who  things  the  that  a l l colours, The  BML  (p.  calls  i s yet  redeemed n a t u r e .  The  and In  "the  to  be  c l e v e r " to  i n the  the  the  5)  appears  colours  of  the  the is  last the  three  "he"  of  i s saved"  out  the  t o man  The  reference  man,  of  and  the  "unknown"  through  realm  illusions"  biblical and  world  the  flood, ground  grace.  Watkins'  first  t o r e l a t e what  occurs  of  myth to  time  an  order the  the  senses  first  five  Sonnets  i n "The  contrasting  ass  myth  the  of  pride  by  prophesied image o f  strays of  Pegasus,  the  be  paid  from  Zechariah. rainbow  God's p r o m i s e  capable  unequiv-  a c i r c u s horse  ultimately will  stanza  un-  Cave-Drawing."''  as  who  to  Resurrection,"  "ride  with  and  he  colours  Christ in his  the  child  of  from  classical  "Seems now  i n conjunction  final  the  subordinates  h u m i l i t y of  back of  effort  i n "Four  m y t h " who  stanzas, the  The  world  the  "deluge of  b e t w e e n God  a s s o c i a t i o n of  natural  tha