Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Question from Joy - Poem as Margaret is dying in "The Tudors" season 1

I would like to find information regarding a poem recited in The Tudors, Episode 1.8, as Princess Margaret is dying:

"Softly love and to love softly,
dew upon a sycamore branch
by the creaking gate
as my heart hurries off
to wince through the wheat
along the briar to that stone
under which I lie."

I know that the above verse is not correct, it is difficult to hear in the episode. Is this a published poem or a piece written specifically for that scene? I am a lit teacher and have searched several sites for the answer..

[Note - I think it was actually in episode 9, assuming I have my files numbered correctly, but I'm not sure that matters. I made an extract of just the audio of the poem and have posted it at the link below in mp3 format.]

Margaret clip

10 comments:

Kathy said...

I spent a lot of time looking for the source of this poem when the show was first broadcast. I thought it might be Thomas Wyatt since they ended up quoting him quite a bit during the series. But I couldn't find anything of his that sounded like that. Also, it sounds a lot like Keats to me (I have an M.A. in English) but I couldn't find anything by him similar either. I finally decided it was original with the script writer.

PhD Historian said...

I am not an expert on poetry, but I have to agree with Kathy. The wording of the poem does not appear authentically Tudor-era, or even pre-modern. And a Google search using various phrases from the text reveals nothing. I am inclined to suspect it is the product of some Showtime scriptwriter.

JoyousWords said...

Thank you for your responses to my inquiry regarding the poem in The Tudors. It is frustrating not to be able to find an answer to what I determined to be a "simple search." I too thought of Wyatt and Keats; I even searched Robert Burns, but to no avail. I'm just glad to know that I am not the only one unable to find a definitive answer. (Anyone have access to Michael Hirst as writer of the show? Just kidding.)

Your time and efforts on behalf are very much appreciated.

entspinster said...

Going by the style I would say that it was either "modern" (meaning twentieth or twentyfirst century) or a modern tranlation of something, probably in a romance language. Some one who speaks French might try backtranslating it and googling that. "To love" in French is "aimer", one word, and a less awkward construction than "to love" in English.
There seems to be no effort to rhyme or scan, and, pre-twentieth century, those translating poems usually tried to do both, even if it meant distorting the sense of the original.

However, looking at an online episode guide, I find that the shows relationship to actual history is so loose that the poem might well be modern and original, and not even trying to seem period.

Anonymous said...

hi and thanks for bringing this poem to life on the net I have found out for sure that it is an original poem written by micheal hirst for the tudors

Bec said...

Hi there, i was watching this season while i was away on the recent sea shepherd campaign in antarctica and was lucky enough to borrow the film crews sony headphones for filming- the sound is perfect....

i heard her say and wrote down,

softly love and to love softly,
dew on the sycamore branch,
by the creaking gate,
where my heart hurries,
afterwards through the path of wheat,
along the briar,
to that stone under which i lie.

i also wrote 'keats?' under the note. and found nothing on my return when i searched for its owner.

it moved me to tears. hope this helps.

JoyousWords said...

Thank you Bec for clarifying the words of this poem. It is hauntingly beautiful to me.

JoyousWords said...

Thank you Bec for clarifying the words of this poem. It is hauntingly beautiful to me.

Hannah Greenway said...

"Softly love and to love softly,
dew upon a sycamore branch
by the creaking gate
where my heart hurries afterwards
through the path of wheat
along the briar, to that stone
under which I lie."
Hiya this is the poem in full, Thought you might like it in full... its such a beautiful poem
Find me on face book and we can talk about poems ant the such... I am Hannah Bambi Greenway :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late to the party, but I couldn't help being reminded of James Joyce by the first words of this poem. "Softly love and to love softly" seems loosely borrowed from "falling softly...softly falling" in Joyce's "The Dead". An intensely lyrical vision of death, including rich natural imagery, can be seen in both poems. So it's definitely a modern inspiration, but I think it worked beautifully in Margaret's otherwise terrifying and unredeeming death scene.