A Narrative on Books, by Unknown (Weekly Geeks 2009-28)

What a surreal challenge this week. I won't even start repeating it, you'll have to read the instructions. For those not interested in delving into those directions, the gist is simple - guess, below, whether this scene is from a real book, with a few words and phrases substituted, or is something I made up. No googling!

I read books bad and good -- some bad and good
At once: good aims not always make good books;
Well-tempered spades turn up ill-smelling soils
In digging vineyards, even and this trade,
Extremist charms a crown: some books that prove
God's being so definitely, that man's doubt
Grows self-defined the other side the line,
Made Atheist by suggestion; moral books
Exasperating to escape; genial book,
Discounting from the junior dignity;
And merry books, which set you weeping when
The sun shines -- ay, and melancholy books,
Which makes you laugh that any one should weep
In this disjointed life, for one wrong more.

The world of books is still the world, adapters,
And both worlds have God's providence, thank God,
To keep and hearten: with some struggle, indeed,
Among the breakers, some hard swimming through
The deeps -- I lost breath in my soul sometimes
And cried 'God save me if there's any God.'
But even so, God save me; and, being dashed
From error on to error, every turn
Still brought me nearer to the central truth.


Emily said...

Wow, you've really got me on real vs. fake. I was inclined to guess real, since it's such a convincing 18th-century, Pope-style blank verse composition, but then I looked around your blog & it seems like you have an excellent ear for different poetic forms, so now I'm back to square one. Good job. If it's fake, I think the line about "made Atheist by suggestion" is especially convincing, along with all the cleverly constructed seeming paradoxes. Very witty!

Anyway, I'm guessing that "extremist charms a crown" is your random sentence, and that the random words might be vineyards, adapters, and junior.

CoversGirl said...

If this turns out to be fake, I will be seriously impressed! I couldn't begin to guess at the random words and sentence.

Jason Gignac said...

Emily - I'm flattered that you could be unsure whether I wrote ANY passage by EB Browning :D.

CoversGirl - Yeah, If I coudl write Aurora Leigh, I'd be pretty thrilled, but alas, no...