Tarantella Poem Analysis Essay

This sonnet, by Hugh Mackintosh, is quoted by Lord Stanley of Alderley in his matchless introduction to the revised edition of The Cruise of the Nona (1955):


No one may span you for a hundred years,

No one appraise you but the very wise:

Fragments of your great song enchant our ears,

The length of your great stride eludes our eyes;

Your peaks stand high above our valley's murk,

Distance of time alone can give the view

Of that great mountain range that is your work

And of the four true men made one in you.

Down from your height cascades and torrents flow,

Multiple springs of loveliness and laughter,

To stay and comfort those who follow after

When you and we have gone with last year's snow.

For me you are the poet crystalline

Of 'Tarantella' and 'In praise of wine'.

Hugh Mackintosh

It has been suggested in various web sites that I, Miranda Mackintosh, am the original Miranda to whom Hillaire Belloc refers in his poem 'Tarantella'. This is not true. Hillaire Belloc was a life long friend of my father, Hugh Mackintosh, and our family. In 1929, when I was two years old, he wrote it out on vellum and gave it to me as a present. In an accompanying letter to my father he explained that the poem had evolved over twenty years and that the poem he had given me was not the final version, nor indeed the one that he preferred, but that it had the merit of being the original one. It has been suggested by a distinguished historian that the Miranda referred to could have been the mayor of a small Spanish town with whom Belloc often went hunting. 

Miranda Mackintosh

From www.poetryconnection.net

Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the tedding and the spreading
Of the straw for a bedding,
And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees,
And the wine that tasted of tar?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
(Under the vine of the dark veranda)?
Do you remember an Inn, Miranda,
Do you remember an Inn?
And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers
Who hadn’t got a penny,
And who weren’t paying any,
And the hammer at the doors and the din?
And the hip! hop! hap!
Of the clap
Of the hands to the swirl and the twirl
Of the girl gone chancing,
Backing and advancing,
Snapping of the clapper to the spin
Out and in–
And the ting, tong, tang of the guitar!
Do you remember an Inn,
Do you remember an Inn?
Never more;
Never more.
Only the high peaks hoar;
And Aragon a torrent at the door.
No sound
In the walls of the halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground,
No sound:
But the boom
Of the far waterfall like doom.

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Published: Dec 20, 2015

Hilaire Belloc

Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (1870-1953) was one of the greatest poets of the English language. Born in France then residing in England, Belloc established his reputation as a poet, orator, writer, and political activist.

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