“It was bought on the morn / Of the day that he was born / It was always his treasure and pride / But it stopped short, / Never to go again / When the old man died… ” ( THE GRANDFATHER CLOCK )
This is art. Folk-art. Strong accentuated the first and second beat in each line, sense and stress and rhythm in fine fettle and synch with each other, those first ( seemingly ) naive four two – accents lines and then a third three – footed line, perfectly matched by the three Titan blows of the last Sibelian : ” Old” / “Man” / “Died” !
No “high” art; but very high quality folk-poetry. And I watch its melodic line, too: you could well argue for the ubiquity of that three-note melodic cell in the first half of our song´s verse , the rhythmic assymmetry of “It was always …. pride”. In the second half then we find again that very cell plus a very few ( well, to be exact, three ) expressive leaps in the melos of our ( getting ) remarkable song-composition.
Enough ? Hold on your horses a minute: a different rhythmic parsing is also thinkable : suppose we take the cheap option and we follow the opening three lines` – - / – - / – - / – with the unfortunately thinkable banality : – - / – - – / ( then a silent / ) to
mirror as it were, an equally fatuous but boringly symmetric final ” — / / / ” plus our added silent, you remember, extra ” / ” .
. Well ? May we ? Might we ? Thinkable but worse ? Why ? Because it damn well does destroy the high charm of my first assymetry, those TWOs and then a Sibelian THREE.
Proves what ? Humble folk-art ( Appalachians? Castlecuffe ? ) works on and solders and joins carpentered assymmetry , but subtle, subtly, the big hammer-blows plus the Sibelian.
So? Need I needle more ? This study has of course ignored the assonantal whacks, great end-rhyme, those carefully chosen initial ” b” s, ” d” s, ” p” s and so on, the one-syllabled mighty whacks and blows of its woes, our anonymous ( ! ? ! ) poor ( ? ) poet´s choice of inner ” o” s or of finely and finally high-lighted ” ie” s.
Art does come from artifice, from artificial, Artemisia, arterial, Artery, archery and arch-engineering, sym- and assymetrical, the fine play of often fine details, rhythmic, melodic etc. etc. Plus the artist´s breakfast- eg. this our tonight´s delightfully poised play with phrases ´n melody of our songster´s childhood memory of a GREAT song:
” The Grandfather Clock” . A minor masterpiece . Finely composed. Mighty.