Lines of Beauty

The Guardian has a link to the Inky Fool’s top 50 quoted poetry lines.

I’d agree with the Grauniad’s gripes that the compilation ignores short lines, or poems aimed at children. It also seems to include a lot of Shakespeare’s blank verse from his plays – ‘If music be the food of love’ etc. (I was prompt for a fifth year production of Twelfth Night – at one stage (pardon the pun) I could recite half the lines from memory – very handy for the O-level.)

So what are your favourite lines of poetry? And in what situations do you bring them out? Loss? Joy? Comic or serious? Political or scatological? (Or is that the same thing?) Page poetry or song lyrics? Share them here or on FaceBook and I’ll blog them.

My father loved poetry so if I read Masefield or Betjeman or Belloc or Milligan or any of a dozen others his voice comes to mind, reading aloud, sharing his delight:

I must go down to the seas again – Masefield, Sea Fever

Dulce et decorum est – Wilfred Owen

A baby sardine saw her first submarine – Millington, Sardines

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack – Masefield, Cargoes

It’s awfully bad luck on Diana – Betjeman, Hunter Trials

Macavity’s not there – Elliot, Macavity the Mystery Cat

Watch the wall my darling while the gentlemen go by – Kipling, A Smuggler’s Song

A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire – Chesterton, The rolling English Road

The mountain sheep are sweeter but the valley sheep are fatter – The War-Song of Dinas Varw, Thomas Love Peacock

More soon – and any you care to share.

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