The Straight Dope | The Straight Dope | Chicago Reader

The Straight Dope 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

I'm trying to locate the author of a poem and what book I could find it in. On the CBS TV show Beauty and the Beast, the character Catherine read Vincent this poem:

But how could I forget thee? Through what power

Even for the least division of an hour,

Have I been so beguiled as to be blind

To my most grievous loss? That thought's return

Was the worst pain that sorrow ever bore,

Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,

Knowing my heart's best treasure was no more;

That neither present time, nor years unborn

Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.

This must be a portion of a poem; it didn't surface in the listing of first lines of poems at the public library. Can you help me? --Sherry, Dallas

Normally Cecil tries to avoid name-that-tune-type questions, in large part because the Teeming Millions' recollection of the words, title, or whatever is usually so scrambled as to make identification impossible. But poetry as a popular art is so nearly extinct I figure I should help out when I can. The poem, a sonnet entitled "Surprised by Joy," was published in 1815 by William Wordsworth (1770-1850), one of the most prominent of English poets. The first lines are:

Surprised by joy--impatient as the Wind

I turned to share the transport--Oh! with whom

But Thee, deep buried in the silent tomb,

That spot which no vicissitude can find?

Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind--

But how could I forget thee? (etc.)

The poem is not a remembrance of a lost lover but rather recalls the poet's second daughter Catherine, who died in 1812 at the age of three. It can be found in any comprehensive collection of Wordsworth's poetry.

FROM THE TEEMING MILLIONS

I always enjoy reading your column and was happy to be enlightened regarding the various titles applied to HRH Prince Andrew. However, your dope was not entirely straight. It is true that in the British army the word "lieutenant" is pronounced "leftenant," but in the Royal Navy it is pronounced much as it is in the United States, sounding something like "l'tenant." The Royal Navy hand salute is also similar to that of the U.S. armed forces and is different from the palm-out salute of the British army and air force. --Don Boose, Yakota, Japan

Time to lay off the sake, Don. A captain with the British naval staff in Washington says the "leftenant" pronunciation is used in all branches of the British armed services, the navy included. You're right about the salutes, though.

I'm amazed that you let slip by DS's comment that Prince Andrew has no last name. The family's last name is Windsor (changed from Hanover during World War I). --Mr. Bill, Waters' Landing, Maryland

Where do I start? For one thing, the royal family name isn't Windsor, it's Mountbatten-Windsor, having been changed from Windsor in 1960. Second, prior to 1917, the family name wasn't Hanover, it was "Saxe-Coburg and Gotha." It was changed because it sounded too Teutonic for the taste of the British public during World War I.

Finally, while it's true British royals have family names, they don't have last names in the strict sense, that is, a name you would properly append to your given name(s) in formal usage. Prince Andrew's grandchildren in the male line, assuming no titles are bestowed on them, will be So-and-so Mountbatten-Windsor, but the prince himself is merely Andrew, period. That's the way he signs documents. (His mother signs Elizabeth R, for Regina, "queen.") His passport says Andrew plus all his other given names, followed by "Prince of the Royal Blood."

To some degree this business about titles supplanting last names also applies to nonroyal peers, such as your run-of-the-mill dukes. But it gets pretty complex, and if it's all the same to you, Cecil would just as soon quit while he's ahead.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Slug Signorino.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Cecil Adams

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
June 21
Performing Arts
July 19

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories