This semester I'm teaching an elective course entitled "Poetry Writing in Baroque Forms." Here's a Marvell imitation that emerged from our studies.
A Dialogue between Freedom and Fate
After Andrew Marvell
O, who shall take the blame or praise
For my unfettered choice of ways,
Since I must stand in self-made vices
Forged by uncommanded choice?
The Past was cluttered with all paths
When I was there, but now I cast
My sin-dimmed eyes ahead and find
One single road, uncurving, wide,
Carvéd straight from one set deed:
If only one, how was I free?
O, who shall set me free from me,
From me, who is both chain and key
To lock the future up from ways
And into way; into straight
But deadly footpaths from the blessed
Eternal branching of the past?
If I condemn, in causing ill,
I am condemned; this would seem well
Were my nature free to doom
Or bless—but I am fated, too.
Then whom have I to blame, but you,
Encasing Fate, my bane and doom,
For preordaining me thus free?
If you, before you forged my grief
Had looked along the lines of time—
What will, before, what was, behind—
And seen my frozen, wretched hands
Tied with iron, icy bands,
Would you have set this path for Choice,
Which renders sovereign creatures void?
If I had looked, as you enjoin,
I would have only seen the one
Un-time-bound bar of iron Now.
Look there now. Do you allow
The thing is done, was done, will done;
The agency, determined on;
The predetermination, picked;
For cosmic subcreators’ wish
In an eternity unverbed,
Unverbable, and beyond words?
The timeless loosed my destiny
And bound you to your agency:
The known and unknown balancing
In either hand of little men.
(that's what comes of spending too much time
in the 17th century!)
"A Dialogue between Freedom and Fate" by Sørina Higgins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. This means that you can copy and distribute the work if you will not receive any commercial gain; that you can use the work in a new creative way (song lyrics, dramatic production, visual display), again, if you receive no commercial gain; and any other use that does not make you any money--as long as you do not change any of the words of the original text. Also, the author would like to be notified of any uses of her poem. Thank you.