Marianne Moore: Poetry

August 13, 2010

“Efforts of Affection”

Filed under: Marianne Moore,Poem Sources — by moore123 @ 1:35 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Some Background Efforts:

“Jubal and Jabal”

King James Version, Genesis 4:19-21

19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

“hay, sweet hay, which hath no fellow”

Michelle Pfeiffer and Kevin Kline, 1999

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 4, Scene 1

[The fairies have gathered as the scene begins]


(to BOTTOM) Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed

While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,

And stick musk roses in thy sleek, smooth head,

And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy. . . .

[The scene continues]


Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat.


Truly, a peck of provender. I could munch your good dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle of hay. Good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.


  1. Thank you for this. Knowing the context of “hay, sweet hay …” is absolutely necessary to understanding how the phrase contributes to the poem’s catalog of various unusual examples of love. This is so unlike the use of quotations in her early work, where the original context of the phrase is usually either irrelevant or ironic to the new meaning.

    Comment by Linda Leavell — September 10, 2011 @ 1:24 pm |Reply

    • Food for thought–early poems’ quotations versus later. Sometimes the relationship of quotation source to early poem seems to be merely language that delighted and the original context adds almost nothing, with some exceptions (such as “Elfride, Making Epigrams” where the poem itself takes on Moore’s critics just as Elfride takes on hers in the Conrad novel). There is a passage in the later “Four Quartz Crystal Clocks” that I think depends on what Jean Giraudoux actually said in a speech that tips the balance of the meaning of the poem; the original text is in hand and I’m working on the translation.

      Comment by moore123 — September 13, 2011 @ 11:09 am |Reply

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