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Chamber Music

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Chamber Music is a collection of poems by James Joyce. The collection originally comprised thirty-four love poems, but two further poems were added before publication ("All day I hear the noise of waters" and "I hear an army charging upon the land").


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Chamber Music is a collection of poems by James Joyce. The collection originally comprised thirty-four love poems, but two further poems were added before publication ("All day I hear the noise of waters" and "I hear an army charging upon the land").

30 review for Chamber Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Seemita

    Meet James Joyce, The Poet. Sipping the morning coffee, you can soak in the simplicity of his prose and feel the warm coffee for a few seconds more. There is no need to either refer a dictionary to get meanings of complicated words or meander deep between the lines to catch a hidden message. The verses are without the excess of metaphors and the shine of verbose portmanteaus. But they do usher in, the spring of life. The playfulness of heart, in its pristine beauty, is captured in this beautiful Meet James Joyce, The Poet. Sipping the morning coffee, you can soak in the simplicity of his prose and feel the warm coffee for a few seconds more. There is no need to either refer a dictionary to get meanings of complicated words or meander deep between the lines to catch a hidden message. The verses are without the excess of metaphors and the shine of verbose portmanteaus. But they do usher in, the spring of life. The playfulness of heart, in its pristine beauty, is captured in this beautiful poem: My love is in a light attire Among the apple-trees, Where the gay winds do most desire To run in companies. There, where the gay winds stay to woo The young leaves as they pass, My love goes slowly, bending to Her shadow on the grass; And where the sky's a pale blue cup Over the laughing land, My love goes lightly, holding up Her dress with dainty hand And the mundane finds splendour too, in his tender musings. Something as mundane as combing as well. Silently she's combing, Combing her long hair Silently and graciously, With many a pretty air. The sun is in the willow leaves And on the dapplled grass, And still she's combing her long hair Before the looking-glass. I pray you, cease to comb out, Comb out your long hair, For I have heard of witchery Under a pretty air, That makes as one thing to the lover Staying and going hence, All fair, with many a pretty air And many a negligence And when he writes the following verse, one can almost visualize him, leaning by a wooden gate on a starry night, whistling the tune of a vagabond and drinking in the beauty of his beloved with twinkling eyes: When the shy star goes forth in heaven All maidenly, disconsolate, Hear you amid the drowsy even One who is singing by your gate. His song is softer than the dew And he is come to visit you. O bend no more in revery When he at eventide is calling. Nor muse: Who may this singer be Whose song about my heart is falling? Know you by this, the lover's chant, 'Tis I that am your visitant The poems form the soothing voice of a spirited soul, who draws joy from every little thing around him. But heck I know! I felt the same at the end as you do right now: Is this the same Joyce? :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adriana Scarpin

    XVII Because your voice was at my side I gave him pain, Because within my hand I held Your hand again. There is no word nor any sign Can make amend ---- He is a stranger to me now Who was my friend.

  3. 5 out of 5

    framptonhollis

    Believe it or not, James Joyce's collection of poems contains some of the easiest, simple works of poetry I have ever read! While this may be surprising (this is the guy that wrote an entire pun filled book destroying and combining words to create objectively the most challenging work of English literature by far...and he made it last over six hundred pages...and it doesn't have a clear story at all in the first place...), it's certainly not a bad thing. Joyce takes advantage of the simplicity Believe it or not, James Joyce's collection of poems contains some of the easiest, simple works of poetry I have ever read! While this may be surprising (this is the guy that wrote an entire pun filled book destroying and combining words to create objectively the most challenging work of English literature by far...and he made it last over six hundred pages...and it doesn't have a clear story at all in the first place...), it's certainly not a bad thing. Joyce takes advantage of the simplicity on the surface of these poems by creating something really, really unbelievably beautiful. A majestic, musical collection that culminates to create a single, powerful portrait of Joyce's inner thoughts on love, and accepting all of its shortcomings and praising all of its virtues. This is not Joyce at his best or most intelligent by any means, but it is an accomplishment worthy of praise and should fascinate fans of Joyce who want to take a peek into his earlier years as a writer. Also, in true Joycean spirit, there are a few lines in there that have a naughty sense of sexuality, something that would be one of Joyce's many iconic traits overtime, especially in the dreaded and beloved Ulysses, which is perhaps the greatest novel of all time, it's certainly the best one I've read, and while Chamber Music is nowhere near such mastery, one can tell that a younger, slightly less scholarly and much less intelligent version of the same man worked on the latter work, and it serves as a good gateway entrance to the steadily mind bending career this man made for himself.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    Joyce's early poetry is more in mode of Stephen Dedalus than in his own style, and is charmingly musical although not to my taste. Winds of May is my favourite poem here, and if you've ever wanted to hear a Russian low-fi techno rendition of Joyce, I have just the song for you.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chinook

    Well, now I know why Joyce isn’t known for his poetry, I guess? Like, it’s fine. It’s not terribly hard to understand, it reads rather nicely. It’s fine. But it’s also full of repetition and it doesn’t feel like it’s actually going anywhere. It felt a bit teenage boy, tbh, all love and nature nonsense.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    A collection of small, beautiful poems written by James Joyce, a master of the English language. Lyrically charming love tales with an air of melancholy, as if it were from a young man with the common feeling that he will never find love - in fact, that's exactly what it is: "When I wrote [Chamber Music], I was a lonely boy, walking about by myself at night and thinking that one day a girl would love me." The last poem in particular is just simply wonderful; indeed, Yeats called it a "technical A collection of small, beautiful poems written by James Joyce, a master of the English language. Lyrically charming love tales with an air of melancholy, as if it were from a young man with the common feeling that he will never find love - in fact, that's exactly what it is: "When I wrote [Chamber Music], I was a lonely boy, walking about by myself at night and thinking that one day a girl would love me." The last poem in particular is just simply wonderful; indeed, Yeats called it a "technical and emotional masterpiece."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    These are really good poems, mostly in a very simplistic (I know that sounds crazy -it's James Joyce) lyrical way. Many of these poems have had music added and have been turned into songs. (My brother is a classical singer and actually performs three from this collection.) I picture these being somewhat like the word turned out by a young Stephen Dedalus between A Portrait and Ulysses. II think that to really enjoy this, one must enjoy Joyce and poetry, which puts you in a very small minority. These are really good poems, mostly in a very simplistic (I know that sounds crazy -it's James Joyce) lyrical way. Many of these poems have had music added and have been turned into songs. (My brother is a classical singer and actually performs three from this collection.) I picture these being somewhat like the word turned out by a young Stephen Dedalus between A Portrait and Ulysses. II think that to really enjoy this, one must enjoy Joyce and poetry, which puts you in a very small minority. It's, if nothing else, a nice look at the art of an artist before he became the artist who wrote about becoming an artist. I bought this book, but if I'm not mistaken, it's free online. There is no way to go wrong with a free, short, and beautiful book. And if there is, I don't know anything about it. Good show.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Farhan Khalid

    There's music along the river For Love wanders there O lonely watcher of the skies Do you hear the night wind and sighs One who is singing by your gate His song is softer than the dew My love goes slowly, bending to Her shadow on the grass Love is unhappy when love is away A music of sighs: Arise, arise From dewy dreams, my soul, arise The trees are full of sighs He who has sorrow Shall have rest Rains has all the day The leaves lie thick upon the way Of memories All around our loneliness The wind is whistling There's music along the river For Love wanders there O lonely watcher of the skies Do you hear the night wind and sighs One who is singing by your gate His song is softer than the dew My love goes slowly, bending to Her shadow on the grass Love is unhappy when love is away A music of sighs: Arise, arise From dewy dreams, my soul, arise The trees are full of sighs He who has sorrow Shall have rest Rains has all the day The leaves lie thick upon the way Of memories All around our loneliness The wind is whistling merrily My love, my love, my love Why have you left me alone?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ivana de B.

    My favorite: XXVIII "... Sing about the long deep sleep Of lovers that are dead, and how In the grave all love shall sleep: Love is aweary now."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hashim Alsughayer

    There were a few good poems that a remember but the only thing that I got from this book was that now I know that I'm not a fan of poetry.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Frank F. Ayala

    A perfectly average collection of poems that recalls Wordsworth and early Blake, though not as good as these two unfortunately. Probably it just serves as a curiosity for Joyce's enthusiasts.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sara J. (kefuwa)

    I have a few Complete Works ebooks loaded into my e-reader, James Joyce being one of them. And I wanted to read Dubliners. And since the works were arrange chronologically this was placed before that title. So I started reading it and it was quite a surprise. It seems to be a collection of love poems. A little naive and innocent? The lines were simple and straightforward but had an easy flow to them with a certain quaint attractiveness. Not exactly what I expected from what I have heard of I have a few Complete Works ebooks loaded into my e-reader, James Joyce being one of them. And I wanted to read Dubliners. And since the works were arrange chronologically this was placed before that title. So I started reading it and it was quite a surprise. It seems to be a collection of love poems. A little naive and innocent? The lines were simple and straightforward but had an easy flow to them with a certain quaint attractiveness. Not exactly what I expected from what I have heard of Joyce. Haha. "The twilight turns from amethyst To deep and deeper blue, The lamp fills with a pale green glow The trees of the avenue." An interesting start to my morning to say the least... the last poem was different from all the others though. Hoo.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dato Kvaratskhelia

    http://www.telelib.com/authors/J/Joyc... <3

  14. 5 out of 5

    Inna

    Due to the exquisite beauty of the first poem and great talent shown in the last, I was almost ready to give 5 stars, but some really poor poetry in between - so it's only 4.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Zecker

    This is only one of three of James Joyce’s works that I haven’t read previously, the others being his later poetry collection and Finnegan’s Wake in its entirety. Chamber Music is a collection of thirty-six love poems that depart a great deal from the character-driven literary work he is best known for throughout the remainder of his career. These poems seem like juvenile attempts – save for some grandiose vocabulary and allusions he employs in some of them – at mimicking the romantic and This is only one of three of James Joyce’s works that I haven’t read previously, the others being his later poetry collection and Finnegan’s Wake in its entirety. Chamber Music is a collection of thirty-six love poems that depart a great deal from the character-driven literary work he is best known for throughout the remainder of his career. These poems seem like juvenile attempts – save for some grandiose vocabulary and allusions he employs in some of them – at mimicking the romantic and flowery poesy of the renaissance, going as far as to use worn rhyme schemes and somewhat tired whimsical sentimentality. In looking up some background information on the book, I learned that he wasn’t so proud of the work and that the title itself was a play on peeing in a chamber pot... ...From the Wikipedia: “Richard Ellmann reports (from a 1949 conversation with Eva Joyce) that the chamberpot connotation has its origin in a visit he made, accompanied by Oliver Gogarty, to a young widow named Jenny in May 1904. The three of them drank porter while Joyce read manuscript versions of the poems aloud - and, at one point, Jenny retreated behind a screen to make use of a chamber pot. Gogarty commented, "There's a critic for you!". When Joyce later told this story to Stanislaus, his brother agreed that it was a "favourable omen". In Ulysses, Leopold Bloom reflects, "Chamber music. Could make a pun on that."In fact, the poetry of Chamber Music is not in the least bawdy, nor reminiscent of the sound of tinkling urine. Although the poems did not sell well (fewer than half of the original print run of 500 had been sold in the first year), they received some critical acclaim. Ezra Pound admired the "delicate temperament" of these early poems, while Yeats described "I hear an army charging upon the land" as "a technical and emotional masterpiece". In 1909, Joyce wrote to his wife, "When I wrote [Chamber Music], I was a lonely boy, walking about by myself at night and thinking that one day a girl would love me." In many ways, I can see how Joyce hated the work itself, as it has so little to do with what he is known for and so much to reflect on what he hated. In this essence, I absolutely love the fact that it exists. As a writer, I can see the way he feels, and even more, I can feel a strange pride that Joyce was a human writer. A man, more than a mythic god of prose deserving of worship. Of course, there are many aspects of his work and his life that reflect these ideas, but it is something as independently not-so-great about releasing a book like Chamber Music that humanizes his development as a writer and as a one-time much-too-romantic-and-writing-garbage-poetry young man that reminds me of my early work. While I will never reach his heights, I am humbled that he at least started as I had at one point. Maybe someone will release my pseudonymous works with the same tongue-in-cheek wink to how awful my early books were. Or, perhaps, they will die with me and whatever else I produce in the future. There is beauty in the existence of this book, though, and I am glad I read it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patyta

    Dear heart, why will you use me so? Dear eyes that gently me upbraid, Still are you beautiful—but O, How is your beauty raimented! Through the clear mirror of your eyes, Through the soft sigh of kiss to kiss, Desolate winds assail with cries The shadowy garden where love is. And soon shall love dissolved be When over us the wild winds blow— But you, dear love, too dear to me, Alas! why will you use me so? XXIX Este librito debió ser, hace muchos muchos años, el primer poemario que leí, no tanto por Dear heart, why will you use me so? Dear eyes that gently me upbraid, Still are you beautiful—but O, How is your beauty raimented! Through the clear mirror of your eyes, Through the soft sigh of kiss to kiss, Desolate winds assail with cries The shadowy garden where love is. And soon shall love dissolved be When over us the wild winds blow— But you, dear love, too dear to me, Alas! why will you use me so? XXIX Este librito debió ser, hace muchos muchos años, el primer poemario que leí, no tanto por interés en la poesía misma, que por entonces no entendía ni me interesaba, como por leer algo de Joyce, algo más de Joyce, encantada como estaba tras leerme los cuentos de Dublineses, el Retrato del artista adolescente y el complicado Ulises, que tanto me hizo batallar con su heterodoxa y proteica forma. No me llamaron mucho la atención, como no lo hicieron tampoco los poemas de Pomes Pennyeach que completaban aquel volumen, y con el paso de los años (tan al contrario que el Ulises) apenas recordaba el haberlos leído alguna vez. Ahora, al releerlos, interesada por ellos mismos y como si fuese la primera vez, me ha sorprendido sobre todo su sencillez, su música tan clara, que es lo último quizá que un lector del complejo Ulises o el incomprensible Finnegan’s Wake espera. Son versos casi todos de amor y a veces pena, compactos y concretos, que si bien en ocasiones se revisten de palabras algo raras o arcaicas y, en aras de la versificación, contienen ciertos juegos de sintaxis, en general su lenguaje es bien sencillo, aprehensible a la primera lectura, y ciertamente simpáticos para el lector. No son ninguna maravilla, debo decir, nada tienen de novedoso, deslumbrante ni mucho menos desestabilizante; son poemas llanos de atractiva musicalidad, que se pueden leer en una tarde o repartidos a lo largo de unas cuantas noches. Bid adieu, adieu, adieu, Bid adieu to girlish days, Happy Love is come to woo Thee and woo thy girlish ways— The zone that doth become thee fair, The snood upon thy yellow hair, When thou hast heard his name upon The bugles of the cherubim Begin thou softly to unzone Thy girlish bosom unto him And softly to undo the snood That is the sign of maidenhood. XI

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rees Malwin

    I haven’t read my fair share of poetry. At least not ones I find tolerable. Sure, I can read poetry—though most times I find the age of the dialect can be strenuous to understand. Growing up around /conservative/ conservative Christians, I’d obviously stumbled upon such language in the verses I’d read in a Holy Bible. ‘Thou,’ ‘dost,’ ‘art,’ ‘canst,’ and ‘hast,’ among many other older verbiages became easy to pick up on. It became more a matter of piecing the sentence together in modern-day I haven’t read my fair share of poetry. At least not ones I find tolerable. Sure, I can read poetry—though most times I find the age of the dialect can be strenuous to understand. Growing up around /conservative/ conservative Christians, I’d obviously stumbled upon such language in the verses I’d read in a Holy Bible. ‘Thou,’ ‘dost,’ ‘art,’ ‘canst,’ and ‘hast,’ among many other older verbiages became easy to pick up on. It became more a matter of piecing the sentence together in modern-day vernacular. Reading this felt like reading short love letters, some happy, some sad, some spectating, some advising. Overall, it gave me a unique feeling much like Ogden Nash’s silly ‘Zoo’ poems, sans the humor. It felt like love psychoanalyzed, elaborated, described in behavior and emotions; and the name has a striking underline for the work as a whole. In the end, I’m left viewing this the way aforementioned Christians—and, I’m sure, myriads other religions—read and sing out hymns. Except these hymns are an ode to the ‘religion’ of love. I see myself enjoying James Joyce more in the future.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Joyce is Ireland's premier prose stylist, but his poetry is criminally overlooked. They are best enjoyed while read aloud, before a candle, in small company. One could argue the same for his prose. The verse of Joyce is free of pretension. He does not dabble in out of grasp politics, does not seek to arrest any abstract metaphysics. Chamber Music is merely the melody of an elated vocalist, a pure artist. The songs of Chamber Music are born in the spirit of Irish melody, of those rolling emerald Joyce is Ireland's premier prose stylist, but his poetry is criminally overlooked. They are best enjoyed while read aloud, before a candle, in small company. One could argue the same for his prose. The verse of Joyce is free of pretension. He does not dabble in out of grasp politics, does not seek to arrest any abstract metaphysics. Chamber Music is merely the melody of an elated vocalist, a pure artist. The songs of Chamber Music are born in the spirit of Irish melody, of those rolling emerald hills and lush verdure: one feels that those winding dirt paths will lead inevitably to a clandestine, sweet romance. The reader of Chamber Music is a dreamer and a breather. Get out of the city and take a breath, feel what I mean.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bonn Karla

    I have not yet read an entire James Joyce book, but this collection of poems are direct and simple - which is too far from what I know about him. Although, I think the style seemed fitting with his incorporation of music, nature and melancholy on the lines. The theme of the collection is predominantly about love. I. Strings in the earth and air Make music sweet; Strings by the river where The willows meet There's music along the river For love wanders there, Pale flowers on his mantle, Dark leaves on his I have not yet read an entire James Joyce book, but this collection of poems are direct and simple - which is too far from what I know about him. Although, I think the style seemed fitting with his incorporation of music, nature and melancholy on the lines. The theme of the collection is predominantly about love. I. Strings in the earth and air Make music sweet; Strings by the river where The willows meet There's music along the river For love wanders there, Pale flowers on his mantle, Dark leaves on his hair All softly playing With head to the music bent, And fingers straying Upon an instrument.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Caesar Min

    It's a collection of love poems and they are really really beautiful and made of gentle verses. I love it. I would like to read it again and again, maybe every once a year. If you are wondering about love or thinking about love or feeling about love, this book is a must. Here's one of my favorite piece: "Along with us the summer wind Went murmuring — O, happily! — But softer than the breath of summer Was the kiss she gave to me." Although James Joyce said 'when he wrote these poems he was a lonely It's a collection of love poems and they are really really beautiful and made of gentle verses. I love it. I would like to read it again and again, maybe every once a year. If you are wondering about love or thinking about love or feeling about love, this book is a must. Here's one of my favorite piece: "Along with us the summer wind Went murmuring — O, happily! — But softer than the breath of summer Was the kiss she gave to me." Although James Joyce said 'when he wrote these poems he was a lonely boy, walking about by himself at night and thinking that one day a girl would love him', all the poems are lovely from all sides.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie Spencer

    I read this book back in 2012, it's filled with poetry a 1927 Version: Poetry that rings a musical rhythm, a sensual ode. It inspired me to write my own poetry, and maybe that is what Joyce wanted maybe not, but, how could a writer be inspired not when the words ignite an Epic Tale. What is often looked for on the outside is hidden within. I don't own a copy. I loaned it from the Library, because, I didn't expect to like it and my student income was at a low ebb. I am glad I loaned it. I liked it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Farah Fitria Sari

    3.5 Gentle lady, do not sing Sad songs about the end of love; Lay aside sadness and sing How love that passes is enough. Sing about the long deep sleep Of lovers that are dead, and how In the grave all love shall sleep: Love is aweary now. Joyce's poems in here are impressionistic. Can't help comparing his style with Yeats'. Looking forward to read more Irish lits (wow it rhymes).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Read this as part of preparation to read Joyce's Ulysses again. These poems were recommended in the book "A New Approach to Joyce" by Robert S. Ryf. It was very short, and the poems were just OK. The most interesting aspect is the shift in mood on the last 2-3 poems. I understand that the last 2 were added to the rest before publication. He was young when he wrote these, less than 25, about the time he wrote Stephen Hero and before writing Dubliners.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dewey

    Lovely charming poetry but verse is evidently not Joyces calling as a writer and he knew it. Chamber Music is stronger as a unified work, and the poems dont stand apart from each other all that much, nor do they do anything for me personally. Thats not of course to say they cant do anything for anybody else. But for the most part this collection is best appreciated by fans of this style of poetry and Joyce fanatics. Lovely charming poetry but verse is evidently not Joyce´s calling as a writer and he knew it. Chamber Music is stronger as a unified work, and the poems don´t stand apart from each other all that much, nor do they do anything for me personally. That´s not of course to say they can´t do anything for anybody else. But for the most part this collection is best appreciated by fans of this style of poetry and Joyce fanatics.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Izabella (Pages Full of Stars)

    ~ The Irish Readathon 2019: main prompt - Read an Irish book ~ ~ Pop Sugar 2019 Reading Challenge - A Book With a Two-Word Title ~ This was the first ever piece of writing by James Joyce that I had a chance to read, and if his novels are as good as his poetry, then I can't wait to read them! ~ The Irish Readathon 2019: main prompt - Read an Irish book ★ ~ ~ Pop Sugar 2019 Reading Challenge - A Book With a Two-Word Title ★ ~ This was the first ever piece of writing by James Joyce that I had a chance to read, and if his novels are as good as his poetry, then I can't wait to read them!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

    Names his first book after the act of urinating. I fucking love this guy. Joyce at his most accesible, which doesn't make him any less good: the man can still conjure some of the prettiest lines to be found in English language (see Poems 28 and 36).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Zarry Bahrami

    Really liked it, Joyce had a talent in composing poetry just like novels...Amazing!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    It was decent. The best lines we’re at the very end, though there were one or two other good sections.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Joyce hears things/thinks about nature/is in love. It's a'ight.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Stevenson

    Joyce has never been a favourite, but I would always choose Dubliners over this. The repetition and simple lack of metre... Poetry is not his forte.

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