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, June 30, 2011

Thomas Cole - The Course of Empire: Destruction,

The Fourth painting in Thomas Cole's series, "The Course of Empire" is Destruction.  Note the weather and the time of day.  There are many details to study as well as the emotional impact of the picture. What do you think Thomas Cole thought of civilization? You can view the painting below or click on the following link to view it with zoom capability.
The Course of Empire:  Destruction by Thomas Cole
You can find information about all five paintings at the following link:

I'm not usually a big fan of organ music but this toccata by 
Johann Pachelbel is beautiful and it's fun to watch the organists fingers fly as he plays this complicated piece.

Another poem this week by Thomas Miller, Spring Walk.  Those of you who enjoy nature walks will appreciate this poem.  


England, 1807-1874

The Spring Walk

We had a pleasant walk to-day
Over the meadows and far away,
Across the bridge by the water-mill,
By the woodside and up the hill;
And if you listen to what I say,5
I'll tell you what we saw to-day.

Amid a hedge, where the first leaves
Were peeping from their sheathes so sly,
We saw four eggs within a nest,
And they were blue as a summer sky.10

An elder branch dipped in the brook;
We wondered why it moved, and found
A silken-haired smooth water-rat
Nibbling, and swimming round and round.

Where daisies open'd to the sun,15
[19]In a broad meadow, green and white,
The lambs were racing eagerly—
We never saw a prettier sight.

We saw upon the shady banks
Long rows of golden flowers shine,
And first mistook for buttercups 5
The star-shaped yellow celandine.

Anemones and primroses,
And the blue violets of spring,
We found, while listening by a hedge
To hear a merry plowman sing. 10

And from the earth the plow turned up
There came a sweet, refreshing smell,
Such as the lily of the vale
Sends forth from many a woodland dell.

And leaning from the old stone bridge, 15
Below, we saw our shadows lie;
And through the gloomy arches watched
The swift and fearless swallows fly.

We heard the speckle-breasted lark
[20]As it sang somewhere out of sight, 20
And tried to find it, but the sky
Was filled with clouds of dazzling light.

We saw young rabbits near the woods
And heard the pheasant's wings go "whir";
And then we saw a squirrel leap 5
From an old oak tree to a fir.

We came back by the village fields,
A pleasant walk it was across 'em,
For all behind the houses lay
The orchards red and white with blossom. 10

Were I to tell you all we saw,
I'm sure that it would take me hours;
For the whole landscape was alive
With bees, and birds, and buds, and flowers.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thomas Cole - The Course of Empire: Consumation, Hexachordum Apollinis - Pachelbel, Resurrection by John Donne, and Evening by Thomas Miller

This week we look at the third painting in Thomas Cole's series:  The Course of Empire - Consumation of Empire.  View below or click this link to view a copy with zoom capability:
The Course of Empire:  Consumation of Empire
The following link has interesting information on this series of paintings:

I'd like to share another lovely piece of music by Johann Pachelbel this week titled "Hexachordum Apollinis".  It is played on the clavichord: 
and if you enjoyed that you can listen to the next section here:

John Donne

Moist with one drop of thy blood, my dry soul
Shall (though she now be in extreme degree
Too stony hard, and yet too fleshly,) be
Freed by that drop, from being starved, hard,  or foul,
And life, by this death abled, shall control
Death, whom thy death slew; nor shall to me
Fear of first or last death, bring misery
If in thy little book my name thou enrol,
Flesh in that long sleep is not putrified,
But made that there, of which, and for which 'twas;
Nor can by other means be glorified.
May then sins sleep, and deaths soon from me pass,
That waked from both, I again risen may
Salute the last, and everlasting day.

and a poem I enjoyed with my youngest son, John this morning...
  "Evening" by Thomas Miller


The day is past, the sun is set,
And the white stars are in the sky;
While the long grass with dew is wet,
And through the air the bats now fly.
The lambs have now lain down to sleep,
The birds have long since sought their nests;
The air is still; and dark, and deep
On the hill side the old wood rests.
Yet of the dark I have no fear,
But feel as safe as when 'tis light;
For I know God is with me there,
And He will guard me through the night.
For God is by me when I pray,
And when I close mine eyes to sleep,
I know that He will with me stay,
And will all night watch by me keep.
For He who rules the stars and sea,
Who makes the grass and trees to grow.
Will look on a poor child like me,
When on my knees I to Him bow.
He holds all things in His right hand,
The rich, the poor, the great, the small;
When we sleep, or sit, or stand,
He is with us, for He loves us all.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Course of Empire: The Pastoral State; Pachelbel Fantasia in D Minor; and John Donne - Crucifying

The second painting in Thomas Cole's series, "The Course of Empire" is The Pastoral State.  You can find more information about it and a zoom capability at the link below:
Thomas Cole:  The Course of Empire - The Arcadian or Pastoral State

We continue this week with a biographical sketch of Johann Pachelbel and another piece of his music.  It is interesting to note that Johann Pachelbel taught Johann Sebastian Bach when he was a young child.  The following link has a biographical sketch of Johann Pachelbel -
Our musical selection for this week is Fantasia in D Minor.  You can listen to it performed at the following link:

John Donne is a complicated poet and the beauty of his words and ideas may be lost on small children, but adults and older children can enjoy his rich use of words and ideas.  

By miracles exceeding power of man,
He faith in some, envy in some begat,
For, what weak spirits admire, ambitious, hate;
In both affections many to him ran,
But Oh! the worst are most, they will and can,
Alas, and do, unto the immaculate,
Whose creature fate is, now prescribe a fate,
Measuring self-life's infinity to a span,
Nay to an inch.  Lo, where condemned he
Bears his own cross, with pain, yet by and by,
When it bears him, he must bear more and die,
Now thou art lifted up, draw me to thee,
And at thy death giving such liberal dole,
Moist, with one drop of thy blood, my dry soul.

John Donne

Friday, June 3, 2011

Johann Pachelbel, Thomas Cole's The Course of Empire - The Savage State, and John Donne - Death Be Not Proud

I would like to continue with another series of Thomas Cole's paintings called, The Course of Empire.  The first painting is called "The Savage State".  You can learn more about it and view an enlarged version with zoom capability on the following link:

The Course of Empire: The Savage State by Thomas Cole

We are going to begin exploring a new composer this week, Johann Pachelbel.  The only piece of his I am familiar with yet is one of my favorite pieces of classical music - Canon in D.  As I've researched a bit I found that he has other pieces and we will explore some of these in the coming weeks.  You can learn more about Johann Pachelbel and Canon in D on the following two links :

Listen to it performed on the You Tube links below.  The first is performed with the original instrumentation, the second is piano and the third, guitar.

Our new poet is John Donne.  As my dad was passing to glory this week, Mom quoted from one of his poems, Death Be Not Proud, and I chose it for this week's poem.  We will look into other poems of his in the weeks to come.  You can find interesting information on his life and writings on the following link: 

                      Death Be Not Proud
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, death, thou shalt die.