Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Truth and beauty

Does a poem have to be true? Walter Scott said of his own poem Lay of the last minstrel that he had never seen Melrose Abbey by moonlight - although one of its climactic sequences describes just that (and that moment of imagination spawned a tourist industry in the Scottish Borders).

Scholars have spent an equal amount of time considering Lesbia's sparrow:

He never flew out of her lap,
but, hopping about here and there,
only chirping to his lady, alone....


Do sparrows do this?

The only answer is of course that they do when they are Lesbia's.

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