Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Come Live with me and BE my love: Ed's humiliation

OK - so I can blame last minute decisions and adjustments for the missing speech marks and faulty italicizing. But I have no excuse for missing the errors introduced by the OCR process into a crucial scene in Chapter 8 (pp.94-5).

It's the first "official" meeting between Rosamund and Henry Ravensworth: a scene that reminds me of Elizabeth Bennet's first impressions of Mr D'Arcy. They have been tasked by Lady Kesteven with providing some after-dinner music.

Henry sings Christopher Marlowe's lyric The Passionate Shepherd To His Love, sometimes referred to by its first line: "Come live with me and be my love". He hams up his performance with exaggerated gestures and grimaces; Rosamund suspects him of trying to make her giggle or lose her place in the lute accompaniment.

Rosamund is furious with Henry and answers him by singing the lyric rebuttal written by Sir Walter Raleigh, The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd, which has as its last line: "To live with thee and be thy love".

The OCR program misinterpreted this line, and in two different ways, and I didn’t spot either of them until too late. Plenty of consolation, though, in these two performances of Marlowe's lyric online on youtube.

The first is a "trad" version by the opera/broadside trio Pantagruel, probably using the tune Kathleen Herbert had in mind for Henry, and showing its susceptibility to parody.

Then a driving, yearning delivery from Annie Lennox (from a compilation CD "When Love Speaks" -mostly spoken pieces of  Shakespeare).

In a much darker scene, Rosamund hears Henry singing the same tune to very different words: "Come live with me and be my Whore".

This is a bawdy version of the song, then called The Wooing Rogue, and published in Westminster Drollery, in 1671, which also suggested that "The Tune is, My Freedom is all my Joy."

Rosamund's fear and disgust at this performance drive her to flee in panic into the back-streets of Lancaster, and into a situation which has irreversible consequences.

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