Introduction and Welcome

Welcome to All Things Bright and Beautiful. If you are new to this site, I would recommend that you read my very first entry - which is an introduction and welcome to this blog. You can view it here

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Our painting today by John Constable is called "The Harvest Field"  but the harvest field isn't the first thing I noticed with the view he took from back across the creek, with the stumpy tree in the foreground.  I like the reflective water and the person in red in the foreground.  That old tree is very interesting, too.
The Harvest Field - John Constable -
The Harvest Field - John Constable

Our work by Felix Mendelssohn this week is one of his greatest works - his oratorio Elijah based on the life of Elijah the  prophet of the Old Testament.  You and your children may not care for "opera" but I think it is valuable to at least expose them to it.  Think of it as a story put to music.  You might find the second link below a helpful introduction before you listen - it introduces the characters and gives a brief synopsis. 

Here is a link to the Wikipedia article about this oratorio.

This link includes facts, notes and a brief synopsis of the oratorio. 

If you want to listen to just the overture, that is here:
Mendelssohn's Elijah - Overture.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote challenging but beautiful poetry.  Today's poem is historical in nature - I wonder if we realize enough how precious and fragile is our freedom to worship God. 

The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers

The breaking waves dashed high
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods, against a stormy sky,
Their giant branches tost;

And the heavy night hung dark
The hills and water o'er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted, came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear,—
They shook the depths of the desert's gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard and the sea;
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free.

The ocean-eagle soared
From his nest by the white wave's foam,
And the rocking pines of the forest roared—
This was their welcome home!

There were men with hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band:
Why had they come to wither there,
Away from their childhood's land?

There was woman's fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of the seas? the spoils of war?—
They sought a faith's pure shrine!

Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod!
They have left unstained what there they found—
Freedom to worship God!

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