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, December 26, 2013

Rosa Bonheur - Changing of Meadow, Arcangelo Corelli - Trio Sonatas Opus 3, John Oxenham - Kapiolani

Even Rosa Bonheur's boat pictures are full of animals....  I love the wonderful pastel colors in the waves and mountains! 

File:Rosa Bonheur - Changement de pâturages.jpg
Rosa Bonhuer - Changing of Meadow

Trio Sonatas Opus 3 is the next section of our music by Arcangelo CorelliHere is a link to his complete works. 

A long and moving story poem today - 
Kapiolani by:  John Oxenham

Where the great green combers break in thunder on the barrier reefs,--
Where, unceasing, sounds the mighty diapason of the deep,--
Ringed in bursts of wild wave-laughter, ringed in leagues of flying
Long lagoons of softest azure, curving beaches white as snow,
Lap in sweetness and in beauty all the isles of Owhyhee.

Land more lovely sun ne'er shone on than these isles of Owhyhee,
Spendthrift Nature's wild profusion fashioned them like fairy bowers;
Yet behind--below the sweetness,--underneath the passion-flowers,
Lurked grim deeds, and things of horror, grisly Deaths, and ceaseless
Fears and Deaths that walked in Darkness, grisly Deaths and ceaseless

Mauna Loa--Mona Lo-ah.



On the slope of Mauna Loa, in the pit of Kilauea,
In the lake of molten lava, in the sea of living fire,
In the place of Ceaseless Burnings, in her home of Wrath and Terror,
Dwelt the dreadful goddess Pele--Pele of the Lake of Fire;
Pele of the place of torment, Pele of the Lake of Fire.

In the dim far-off beginnings, Pele flung the islands up
From the bottom of the ocean, from the darksome underworld;
Built them for a house to dwell in, built them for herself alone,
So she claimed them and their people, claimed them as her very own,
And they feared her, and they worshipped--
Pele, the Remorseless One.

But, at times, when she lay sleeping, underneath the lake of fire,
They forgot to do her reverence, they forgot the fiery one;
Then in wrath the goddess thundered from the Lake of Ceaseless
Flamed and thundered in her anger, till the very skies were red,
Poured black ruin on the island, shook it to its rocky bed.

Then in fear the people trembled and bethought them of their sins,
And the great high priest of Pele came like Death down Mauna Loa,
Came to soothe the awful goddess, came to choose the sacrifice,
Chose the fairest youth or maiden, pointed with a deadly finger,
Led them weeping up the mountain, victims to the Lake of Fire.

On the snowy beach of coral, youths and maidens full of laughter,
Flower-bedecked and full of laughter, sported gaily in the sun;
Up above, the slender palm-trees swung and shivered in the trade-wind,
All around them flowers and spices,--red hibiscus, sweet pandanus,
And behind, the labouring mountain groaned and growled unceasingly.

        "_Sea and sunshine,
        Care is moonshine,
      All our hearts are light with laughter.
        We are free
        As sun and sea,
  What care we for what comes after?"


  "Life was sweet before Love found her,
    In his faery bowers.
        Life is sweeter,
        And completer,
        Since he found her,
        There, and crowned her
        With his fadeless flowers."

  "Love sought long before he found her,
  Ne'er was love like ours!
  Long he sought her,
  E'er he caught her.
  But he found her
  There, and bound her
  With his fadeless flowers."

    "Gaily sporting,
    Pleasure courting,
  Nought know we of care or sorrow.
    We are free
    As sun and sea,
  What care we what comes to-morrow_?"

Louder still and louder, Pele roars within her lake of fire,
And the youths and maidens trembling look in fear up Mauna Loa,
Dreading sight of that grim figure stalking down the mountain side;
For when Pele claims her victims none the summons may avoid.
Pele calls for whom she chooses--whom she chooses goes,--and dies.

See! He comes! They start in terror. There, along the mountain side,
Death comes stalking, slowly, surely,--_Pele must be satisfied_.
Which among them will he summon, with his dreadful pointing finger?
All their hearts become as water, all their faces blanch with fear,
Deaths they suffer in the waiting, while dread Death draws near.

Now he stands in dreadful menace, seeking with a baleful eye
For the sweetest and the fairest--for the meetest sacrifice.
"Choose, O choose!"--they cry in terror; "choose your victim and be
For we each die deaths while waiting, till dread Pele's choice be
Choose your victim, Priest of Pele, choose your victim and be gone!"

Slowly points the dreadful finger, marks the newly-wedded bride;
All the rest, save one, fall from her, as the living from the dead.
From the first of time's beginnings Pele ne'er has been gainsayed;
Pele chooses whom she chooses, each and all the choice abide,
For the common good and safety,--_Pele must be satisfied_!

Still the mountain reels and shudders, still the awful thunders peal,
Like a snake the ruthless finger holds them all in terror still;
One is there whose life is broken, parted from his chosen bride,
But the threatening finger, heedless of the lives it may divide,
Lights upon a tiny maiden,--_Pele must be satisfied_!

Slow, the grim high-priest of Pele turns to climb the mountain side;
Slow, the victims turn and follow,--_Pele must be satisfied_.
And the rest shrink, dumb and helpless, daring not to lift an eye,
And beyond, the labouring mountain cracks and belches living fires,
Till the island reels and shudders at dread Pele's agonies.

But a greater one than Pele walked the mountain side that day;--
To them, climbing, dumb and dim-eyed--like a flash of heavenly flame,
Swift and bright as saving angel, fair Kapiolani came,
Swiftly as a saving angel, gleaming like a heavenly flame,
Thirsting like a sword for battle, fair Kapiolani came.

Radiant with the faith of martyrs, all aglow with new-born zeal,
Burning to release the people from the bondage and the thrall,
From the deadly thrall of Pele, from the ever-threatening doom,
From the everlasting menace, from the awful lake of fire,
Like a bright avenging angel fair Kapiolani came!

"Hear me now, you priest of Pele, and ye men of Owhyhee!
Hearken! ye who cringe and tremble, at the sound of Kilauea,
Fearful of the wrath of Pele, fearful of the lake of fire!--
Priest, I say there is no Pele! Pele is not--never was!
Pele lives but in your legends--there is only one true God!"

"Cursed, thrice accursed, you who thus great Pele do defy,
Here, upon her sacred mountain, of a surety you shall die!
Pele, mighty Pele, Vengeance! Strike her with thy dreadful doom!
So let every scoffer perish!--Pele! Pele! Pele! come!"
And Kapiolani answered--"Pele! Pele! Pele! come!"

Loud the mountain roared and thundered; shuddered all who heard and
Dauntless stood Kapiolani, dauntless with her faithful few.
"Come!" she cried again. "Come, Pele! Smite me with thy dreadful doom!
I am waiting, mighty Pele!--Pele! Pele! Pele! come!"
And the mountain roared and thundered;--but the goddess did not come.

"Hearken, Priest! You have deceived us. All your life has been a lie,
Black your heart is, red your hands are, with the blood of those who
All these years you have misled us with your awful threats of doom.
Now it ends! I do defy you, and your goddess I defy.
Pele, is not, never has been. All your worship is a lie.

"I will climb your sacred mountain. I will dare your lake of fire.
I will eat your sacred berries. I will dare your goddess there,
There and then to wreak her vengeance, then and there to come in fire,
And with awful burnings end me, now and for eternity;
But if Pele does not end me, then her worship ends this day."

Then the great high priest of Pele turned to fiery Kilauea.
"Come!" he said, "the goddess calls you!"--and they climbed the
        mountain side,
Up the slopes of Mauna Loa, to the hell of Kilauea,
With the bright blue sky above them, with the blazing sun above them,
While the mountain shook beneath them, and its head was wrapped in

Fearful, hopeful, all the people crept along the shaking path,
Hardly breathing at their daring, thus to brave dread Pele's wrath,
Bending low lest she should see them, breathing soft lest she should
Certain that Kapiolani would be sacrificed that day,
To the vengeance of the goddess, to the anger of Pele.

        "_As little child
        On mother's breast,
        O rest, my heart,
        Have rest!
        Who rests on Him
        Is surely blest.
        So rest, my heart,
        Have rest_!
        _As warrior bold
        His foes among,
        Be strong, my heart,
        Be strong!
        Who rests on Him
        Shall ne'er go wrong.
        Be strong, my heart,
        Be strong_!"

Thus, Kapiolani, dauntless, singing softly as she went,
With a face as calm and fearless as a child on pleasure bent,
Climbed the side of Mauna Loa, to the dreadful lake of fire,
While the mountain shook and thundered, while the people blanched and
Climbed to Hale-Mau-Mau,--to the dreadful lake of fire.

All the people waited trembling, stood afar off pale and trembling,
While Kapiolani, fearless, climbed up to the lake of fire,
With the fiery glow all round her, with a heavenly light about her.
Shining with a radiance brighter than since time began had shone
From the Lake of Ceaseless Burnings, from the dreadful lake of fire.

"Here," she cried, "I pluck your berries, Pele,--and I give you none!
See! I eat your sacred berries, Pele,--and I give you none!
Pele, here I break your tabus! Come, with all your dreadful fires!
Burn me, Pele! I defy you!--Pele! Pele! Pele! come!"
Come now, Pele, or for ever own that you are overcome!

"Pele comes not. Is she sleeping? Is she wandering to-day?
Is she busy with her burnings? Has the goddess nought to say?
Hear me, friends!--There is no Pele! One true God alone there is.
His, this mountain! His, these burnings! You, and I, and all
Goodness, Mercy, Loving-Kindness, Life Eternal--all are His!

"From this day, let no man tremble, when he feels the mountain shake!
From this day, no man or maiden shall be killed for Pele's sake!
From this day, we break the thraldom of the dreadful lake of fire.
From this day, we pass for ever from the scourge of Pele's rod.--
From this day, Thou, Lord Jehovah, be our one and only God!"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rosa Bonheur - Cattle on a Pasture, Arcangelo Corelli - Trio Sonatas Opus 2, John Oxenham

Rosa Bonheur was very skilled at portraying animals but I enjoy her backgrounds too.  Notice how she has made the trees in the far distance blue and indistinct so they look far away.  I love all the light behind the trees and on the cattle.  How would you like to have cattle in your front yard?

File:Rosa Bonheur - Bétail sur un pâturage.jpg

Arcangelo Corelli - Trio Sonatas Opus 2 - here.

This link is to the complete works of Corelli which includes the above piece if you want to listen to hours of Corelli as background music.  

My dad who went home to be with the LORD over a year ago used to say that death is a door - this beautiful poem by John Oxenham likens it to going to sleep and waking in Heaven. 

This mortal dies,--
But, in the moment when the light fails here,
The darkness opens, and the vision clear
Breaks on his eyes.
The vail is rent,--
On his enraptured gaze heaven's glory breaks,
He was asleep, and in that moment wakes.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Rosa Bonheur - Deer in the Forest, Arcangelo Corelli - Trio Sonatas Opus 3, John Oxenham - What Can a Little Chap Do?

This painting by Rosa Bonhuer is done in pencil, watercolor and gummy arabicum (a bonding agent used with watercolors).  It would be fun to try in colored pencil.
Here  again is the link to the paintings we will be studying this winter by Rosa Bonhuer in case you want to print them ahead.  

If you want links to biographical sketches of our new artist, composer and poet please look at last week's post.  

File:Rosa Bonheur - Cerfs dans la forêt de Fontainebleau.jpg

Here is a link to about 8 hours of music by Arcangelo Corelli.  We've been listening to it as background music all week and enjoying it.

I've chosen Trio Sonatas Opus 1 for this week's featured piece.  It is one of the pieces included in the above link - you can listen to it here.  It is long - over an hour so you may want to use it as background music for other activities.  It is lovely and peaceful. 

Today's poem by John Oxenham would be a wonderful piece to memorize...

What Can a Little Chap Do?
What can a little chap do
For his country and for you?
What CAN a little chap do?

He can play a straight game all through;-
That’s one good thing he can do.

He can fight like a Knight
For the Truth and the Right;-
That’s another good thing he can do.

He can shun all that’s mean,
He can keep himself clean,
Both without and within;-
That’s a very fine thing he can do.

His soul he can brace
Against everything base.
And the trace will be seen
All his life in his face;-
That’s an excellent thing he can do.

He can look to the light,
He can keep his thoughts white,
He can fight the great fight,
He can do with his might
What is good in God’s sight;-
Those are truly great things he can do.

And-in each little thing
He can follow the King.
Yes-in each smallest thing
He can follow the King.
He can follow the Christ, the King.
That’s the very best thing he can do.

If you want a holiday post - you can check out the one from last year, December 6, 2012 "Celebrating the Birth of Christ".  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

1Rosa Bonheur - The Highland Shepherd, Arcangelo Corelli - Preludio (Largo), John Oxenham - The Christ

I've been reading books by George MacDonald lately - many set in Scotland, so this painting of a Highland Shepherd caught my interest when I was looking through paintings by our new artist Rosa Bonhuer.  It's amazing that she can paint this many sheep and make them each look unique.

Here  is Wikipedia's article on Rosa Bonhuer and
Here is Art History Archive's biographical sketch of her life.

Here is a link to a Picasa Web Album with the paintings I've chosen for our Rosa Bonheur study in case you want to copy them ahead.

File:Rosa Bonheur - The Highland Shepherd.jpg
The Highland Shepherd - Rosa Bonheur

Our new composer Arcangelo Corelli was a violinist as well as a composer and teacher and he was widely influential. Corelli was a generation before Bach and Handel and his work was foundational for what they later accomplished.    If you use the Vox Music Masters "The Story of..." CD's Corelli and Vivaldi are together on one CD.

Here  is a link to a concise biographical article on Arcangelo Correlli. or you can view Wikipedia's article on him here.

Our first work by Corelli will be Preludio (Largo)

Our new poet is John Oxenham.  I first discovered this poet in an old, now unused library housed in a tiny cabin at a camp where I was attending family camp. Loving old books I decided to spend some free time there. John Oxenham's book of poetry, Bees in Amber, caught my eye and I enjoyed it so much I borrowed the book for a day and copied a couple of his poems into my journal.  Selected Poems of John Oxenham by Charles L. Wallis has a nice biographical sketch by John Oxenham's daughter.  I would print it here, but the book isn't quite old enough to be in the public domain.  I hope you can find a copy and enjoy both the poems and the biographical sketch.

Here is a link to poems by John Oxenham

                        THE CHRIST

The good intent of God became the Christ.
And lived on earth--the Living Love of God,
That men might draw to closer touch with heaven,
Since Christ in all the ways of man hath trod.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot Paintings, John Philip Sousa - Prince Charming, Prince Charming, Robert Louis Stevenson - Evensong, John Milton - On His Deceased Wife

Two final paintings by Jean-Baptiste- Camille Corot.  Both have a red cap to make a child stand out in the landscape, the impressionistic trees, and the dots of white in the foreground indicating wildflowers.  Neither sky is as dramatic or beautiful as many of his we have looked at but both seem somehow similar to me in their chalky lines - almost like pastels. 

Souvenir of the Bresle at Incheville - Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot -

Souvenir of Italy - Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot -

Our final march by John Philip Sousa is Prince Charming, Prince Charming

This lovely poem by Robert Louis Stevenson is new to me.


From Songs of Travel
The embers of the day are red
Beyond the murky hill.
The kitchen smokes: the bed
In the darkling house is spread:
The great sky darkens overhead,
And the great woods are shrill.
So far have I been led,
Lord, by Thy will:
So far I have followed, Lord, and wondered still.

The breeze from the enbalmed land
Blows sudden toward the shore,
And claps my cottage door.
I hear the signal, Lord - I understand.
The night at Thy command
Comes.  I will eat and sleep and will not question more.

A sad but moving poem by John Milton today -

On His Deceased Wife

METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused Saint
   Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave,
   Whom Joves great Son to her glad Husband gave,
   Rescu'd from death by force though pale and faint.
Mine as whom washt from spot of child-bed taint,
   Purification in the old Law did save,
   And such, as yet once more I trust to have
   Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:
   Her face was vail'd, yet to my fancied sight,
   Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd
So clear, as in no face with more delight.
   But O as to embrace me she enclin'd
   I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, John Philip Sousa - el Capitan,

Just want to remind you that these posts are not time sensitive so if you don't like a given artist, musician or poet you can go back in the archives and find one you prefer.  If you are new to this blog, some of my favorites have already been covered and it would be a shame to miss out on some of them, so feel free to browse back through the old posts.  When I first started, I staggered the introduction of a new artist, musician and poet to make it easier to take time for biographical introductions, but more recently I have been switching quarterly - three months on one artist, musician and poet.  This is our last week with the current ones so next week they will all be new for the winter quarter.  Here is a link to the Picasa Web album with all of our upcoming paintings for this quarter in case you want to print them ahead.

Even in this plain blue sky, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot manages to have an active, realistic sky, adding pink, blue and purple to his otherwise green and tan landscape.  Notice all the diagonal lines in this painting.  Diagonal lines give a painting motion and action.  Again, I like his use of light and shadow to sharply define things.  I'd love to scramble up the stairs and see the view from the top of the hill.... 

Rien Poortvliet was a dutch artist (1932-1995) whose paintings our family has enjoyed very much and I'd like to recommend several of his books. Noah's Ark is full of wonderful animal paintings.  Rien has a wonderful sense of humor and we have enjoyed this book very much.  It is quite expensive, even used, but I have ordered it in through our local library.  

 He was One of Us is a powerful portrayal of the life of Christ - I highly recommend this book!!  The expressions on the faces of his people are amazing.

The Living Forest is full of wonderful animal paintings and Dutch Treat has interesting details about the Dutch country and history all illustrated with Rien's wonderful paintings.  He is best known for his Gnome books.  His paintings are too new to be in the public domain so I won't be featuring him on my blog but I thought you might enjoy his work through his books.

Today's piece by John Philip Sousa is El Capitan.  You can listen to it here.

"El Capitan is an operetta in three acts by John Philip Sousa and has a libretto by Charles Klein (with lyrics by Charles Klein and Tom Frost).  The piece was Sousa's first successful operetta and his most successful stage work."  Here is the link to the rest of this Wikipedia article.

I don't feel ready for winter, but in our part of the world it's here anyway, maybe this poem by Robert Louis Stevenson will help....


From Child's Garden of Verses
Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.

John Milton wrote several sonnets.  Here is Sonnet VI and its translation.

Sonnet VI.

Giovane piano, e semplicetto amante
Poi che fuggir me stesso in dubbio sono,
Madonna a voi del mio cuor l'humil dono
Faro divoto; io certo a prove tante
L'hebbi fedele, intrepido, costante,
De pensieri leggiadro, accorto, e buono;
Quando rugge il gran mondo, e scocca il tuono,
S 'arma di se, e d' intero diamante,
Tanto del forse, e d' invidia sicuro,
Di timori, e speranze al popol use       
Quanto d'ingegno, e d' alto valor vago,
E di cetra sonora, e delle muse:
Sol troverete in tal parte men duro
Ove amor mise l 'insanabil ago.

(As translated in The Poems of John Milton by James Holly Hanford
Enamoured, artless, young, on foreign ground,
  Uncertain whither from myself to fly,
  To thee, dear Lady, with an humble sigh
  Let me devote my heart, which I have found
By certain proofs, not few, intrepid, sound,
Good, and addicted to conceptions high:
  When tepests shake the world, and fire the sky,
  It rests in adamant self-wrapt around,
As safe from envy, and from outrage rude,
  From hopes and fears that vulgar minds abuse,
  As fond of genius and fixed fortitude,
Of the resounding lyre, and every muse.
  Weak you will find it in one only part,
Now pierced by Love's immedicable dart.

Here is another translation I found online (quite different from the first)
 Of lovers I, a simpleton content
To flee himself (great little understood)
Do bid you take, my Lady, if you would,
My humble heart, with proof in such extent:

It was intrepid and of faith unbent,
With graceful thoughts, most courteous and good;
When exploits roaring rent the starry hood
It armed its might in native adament;

Shunning resentment and from chance secure,
Its bulk inured from hope and fear's abuses,
Kept kin to genius, proffers brave of heart,

As lyric strains amongst its arduous muses,
And only, you will find, can less endure
In that one spot where Love has put his dart.

~John Milton, sonnet 6 (from the Italian)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Mary Jane Q Cross, John Philip Sousa - Hands Across the Sea, Robert Louis Stevenson - The Moon, John Milton - Song on May Morning

I'd like to try something new - I've made a Picasa Web Album of paintings I plan to feature with our new artist coming up so if you want to copy them ahead you can.  We'll be starting with Rosa Bonheur in two weeks. My Picasa Web Album of Rosa Bonheur paintings is here. Let me know if you use this and find it helpful.  

I love the fall colors and light and shadows in this autumn scene.  Of course it has reflective water and a boat too and another of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's wonderful skies.  Hope you enjoy this painting, too.

Autumn Landscape 1867 - Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot -

I'd like to feature another contempory artist today.  I admire this artist greatly and I enjoy her paintings.  Mary Jane Q Cross paints with her fingertips.
Here is a documentary about her life and her work.
Return to product informationHere is a link to her website and finally, the title of a book of her poetry and paintings, Poems of a Painter, Paintings of a Prayer.  Mary Jane's poetry is beautiful, deep and moving as are her paintings.  

Hands Across the Sea by John Philip Sousa

                  The Moon

by Robert Louis Stevenson

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

Song On May Morning

by John Milton

Now the bright morning Star, Dayes harbinger,
  Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
  The Flowry May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow Cowslip, and the pale Primrose.
  Hail bounteous May that dost inspire 
  Mirth and youth, and warm desire,
  Woods and Groves, are of thy dressing,
  Hill and Dale, doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early Song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Howard Sivertson, John Philip Sousa - New Mexico march, Robert Louis Stevenson - Escape at Bedtime, John Milton - On Time

I don't usually feature current artists because their work doesn't become copyright free until they are 100 years old, when they are free to copy.  But there are some wonderful artists who are alive yet today and you may want to study some of them.  Two ways to do this easily would be buying a calendar of their work or sometimes their work is in book form.  Here is a link to the website of Howard Sivertson, an artist from my home state.  I have looked at several of his books and hope to purchase one sometime soon.  You could also check your library for works by Howard Sievertson.  Here are a couple of his books.  They have fun stories of life on Lake Superior.    
Tales of the Old North ShoreSchooners, Skiffs, and SteamshipsOnce Upon An Isle

I've featured mostly landscapes by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot partly because even though his portraits are skillfully painted most of his people are women who look unhappy.  Just personal tastes I guess, but this picture of a monk appealed to me because of the sharp lines and contrasts between light and dark.  Also, loving the Bible myself,  I liked his intent expression as he reads it.  The colors, contrasts and shapes remind me a bit of last week's landscape.

Monk in White, Seated, Reading - Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot -

Our march this week by John Philip Sousa is New Mexico March

  Robert Louis Stevenson

                  Escape at Bedtime

The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out
      Through the blinds and the windows and bars;
And high overhead and all moving about,
      There were thousands of millions of stars.
There ne’er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,
      Nor of people in church or the Park,
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,
      And that glittered and winked in the dark.

The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,
      And the star of the sailor, and Mars,
These shown in the sky, and the pail by the wall
      Would be half full of water and stars.
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,
      And they soon had me packed into bed;

But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
      And the stars going round in my head.

A beautiful poem today by John Milton on Time

                     On Time

Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race,   
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,   
Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace;   
And glut thy self with what thy womb devours,   
Which is no more then what is false and vain,  
And meerly mortal dross;   
So little is our loss,   
So little is thy gain.   
For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,   
And last of all, thy greedy self consum'd,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss   
With an individual kiss;   
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood,   
When every thing that is sincerely good   
And perfectly divine,  
With Truth, and Peace, and Love shall ever shine   
About the supreme Throne   
Of him, t'whose happy-making sight alone,   
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall clime,   
Then all this Earthy grosnes quit,  
Attir'd with Stars, we shall for ever sit,   
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee O Time.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, John Philip Sousa - Willow Blossoms, Robert Louis Stevenson - Where Go the Boats?, John Milton - Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity

This picture by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot looks fairly simple but there is a lot of contrast here. The texture of the rocks contrasts with the fluid, frothy waves and the soft clouds behind.  The massive rocks and buildings and the tiny people.  The immovable rocks and motion of the waves and clouds. What do you see?

Rocks in Amalfi - Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot -

Are you enjoying the marches of John Philip Sousa?  I think now I could recognize his style even if it was a new song.  I guess that is part of the benefit of studying the music of a particular composer over a period of time. Today's piece - Willow Blossoms  is a little different than some of his others, yet is still recognizable as a piece by John Philip Sousa.

Another wonderful poem by  Robert Louis Stevenson From Child's Garden of Verses 

Where Go the Boats?

Dark brown is the river,
     Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
     With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
     Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating--
     Where will all come home?

On goes the river
     And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
     Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
     A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
     Shall bring my boats ashore.

John Milton leaves us plenty to chew on with his powerful imagery and wonderful words.  Here is his account of the birth of Christ.

Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity

IT was the Winter wilde,
While the Heav'n-born-childe,
   All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in aw to him
Had doff't her gawdy trim,
   With her great Master so to sympathize:
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the Sun her lusty Paramour.

Only with speeches fair
She woo's the gentle Air
   To hide her guilty front with innocent Snow,
And on her naked shame,
Pollute with sinfull blame,
   The Saintly Vail of Maiden white to throw,
Confounded, that her Makers eyes
Should look so neer upon her foul deformities.

But he her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-eyd Peace,
   She crown'd with Olive green, came softly sliding
Down through the turning sphear
His ready Harbinger,
   With Turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing,
And waving wide her mirtle wand,
She strikes a universall Peace through Sea and Land.

No War, or Battails sound
Was heard the World around,
   The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
The hooked Chariot stood
Unstain'd with hostile blood,
   The Trumpet spake not to the armed throng,
And Kings sate still with awfull eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.

But peacefull was the night
Wherin the Prince of light
   His raign of peace upon the earth began:
The Windes with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kist,
   Whispering new joyes to the milde Ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While Birds of Calm sit brooding on the charmeed wave.

The Stars with deep amaze
Stand fixt in stedfast gaze,
   Bending one way their pretious influence,
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,
   Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence;
But in their glimmering Orbs did glow,
Untill their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

And though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,
   The Sun himself with-held his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferiour flame,
   The new enlightn'd world no more should need;
He saw a greater Sun appear
Then his bright Throne, or burning Axletree could bear.

The Shepherds on the Lawn,
Or ere the point of dawn,
   Sate simply chatting in a rustick row;
Full little thought they than,
That the mighty Pan
   Was kindly com to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or els their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busie keep.

When such musick sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,
   As never was by mortall finger strook,
Divinely-warbled voice
Answering the stringed noise,
   As all their souls in blisfull rapture took
The Air such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echo's still prolongs each heav'nly close.

Nature that heard such sound
Beneath the hollow round
   Of Cynthia's seat, the Airy region thrilling,
Now was almost won
To think her part was don,
   And that her raign had here its last fulfilling;
She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all Heav'n and Earth in happier union.

At last surrounds their sight
A Globe of circular light,
   That with long beams the shame-fac't night array'd,
The helmed Cherubim
And sworded Seraphim,
   Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displaid,
Harping in loud and solemn quire,
With unexpressive notes to Heav'ns new-born Heir.

Such musick (as 'tis said)
Before was never made,
   But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator Great
His constellations set,
   And the well-ballanc't world on hinges hung,
And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the weltring waves their oozy channel keep.

Ring out ye Crystall sphears,
Once bless our human ears,
   (If ye have power to touch our senses so)
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time;
   And let the Base of Heav'ns deep Organ blow
And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full consort to th'Angelike symphony.

For if such holy Song
Enwrap our fancy long,
   Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold,
And speckl'd vanity
Will sicken soon and die,
   And leprous sin will melt from earthly mould,
And Hell it self will pass away,
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.

Yea Truth, and Justice then
Will down return to men,
   Th'enameld Arras of the Rain-bow wearing,
And Mercy set between,
Thron'd in Celestiall sheen,
   With radiant feet the tissued clouds down stearing,
And Heav'n as at som festivall,
Will open wide the Gates of her high Palace Hall.

But wisest Fate sayes no,
This must not yet be so,
   The Babe lies yet in smiling Infancy,
That on the bitter cross
Must redeem our loss;
   So both himself and us to glorifie:
Yet first to those ychain'd in sleep,
The wakefull trump of doom must thunder through the deep,

With such a horrid clang
As on mount Sinai rang
   While the red fire, and smouldring clouds out brake:
The aged Earth agast
With terrour of that blast,
   Shall from the surface to the center shake;
When at the worlds last session,
The dreadfull Judge in middle Air shall spread his throne.

And then at last our bliss
Full and perfect is,
   But now begins; for from this happy day
Th'old Dragon under ground
In straiter limits bound,
   Not half so far casts his usurped sway,
And wrath to see his Kingdom fail,
Swindges the scaly Horrour of his foulded tail.

The Oracles are dumm,
No voice or hideous humm
   Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
   With hollow shreik the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance, or breathed spell,
Inspire's the pale-ey'd Priest from the prophetic cell.

The lonely mountains o're,
And the resounding shore,
   A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament;
From haunted spring, and dale
Edg'd with poplar pale,
   The parting Genius is with sighing sent,
With flowre-inwov'n tresses torn
The Nimphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.

In consecrated Earth,
And on the holy Hearth,
   The Lars, and Lemures moan with midnight plaint,
In Urns, and Altars round,
A drear, and dying sound
   Affrights the Flamins at their service quaint;
And the chill Marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat

Peor, and Baalim,
Forsake their Temples dim,
   With that twise-batter'd god of Palestine,
And mooned Ashtaroth,
Heav'ns Queen and Mother both,
   Now sits not girt with Tapers holy shine,
The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn,
In vain the Tyrian Maids their wounded Thamuz mourn.

And sullen Moloch fled,
Hath left in shadows dred,
   His burning Idol all of blackest hue,
In vain with Cymbals ring,
They call the grisly king,
   In dismall dance about the furnace blue;
The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
Isis and Orus, and the Dog Anubis hast.

Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian Grove, or Green,
   Trampling the unshowr'd Grasse with lowings loud:
Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest,
   Naught but profoundest Hell can be his shroud,
In vain with Timbrel'd Anthems dark
The sable-stoled Sorcerers bear his worshipt Ark.

He feels from Juda's Land
The dredded Infants hand,
   The rayes of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Nor all the gods beside,
Longer dare abide,
   Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine:
Our Babe to shew his Godhead true,
Can in his swadling bands controul the damned crew.

So when the Sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red,
   Pillows his chin upon an Orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale,
Troop to th'infernall jail,
   Each fetter'd Ghost slips to his severall grave,
And the yellow-skirted Fayes,
Fly after the Night-steeds, leaving their Moon-lov'd maze.

But see the Virgin blest,
Hath laid her Babe to rest.
   Time is our tedious Song should here have ending,
Heav'ns youngest teemed Star,
Hath fixt her polisht Car,
   Her sleeping Lord with Handmaid Lamp attending:
And all about the Courtly Stable,
Bright-harnest Angels sit in order serviceable.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Corot - a path in the woods, John Philip Sousa - The Washington Post March, Robert Louis Stevenson - The Sun's Travels, John Milton - Paradise Lost

Today's painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot looks like a lovely path to take for a nature walk.  There's an interesting story here  about another Corot painting and a neighbor of his.  The article suggests that today's painting is based on this same area.

John Philip Sousa's march featured today is The Washington Post March.  It was familiar to me, I don't know if it will be to you or not - either way I hope you enjoy it.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote so many wonderful children's poems, I find them wonderful for memorizing and quoting.  Even though they were written for children they still appeal to me as an adult!  
We're studying astronomy this year, this poem fits well with our study of the sun....  

The Sun's Travels 
From Child's Garden of Verses

The sun is not a-bed, when I
At night upon my pillow lie;
Still round the earth his way he takes,
And morning after morning makes.

While here at home, in shining day,
We round the sunny garden play,
Each little Indian sleepy-head
Is being kissed and put to bed.

And when at eve I rise form tea,
Day dawns beyond the Atlantic Sea;
And all the children in the west
Are getting up and being dressed.

The more I read John Milton's poems the more I admire him. I've been reading The Poems of Milton by James Holly Hanford this week.  The introduction gives a wonderful overview of his life and then he gives a short introduction to each of the poems in the book.  I read part of Paradise Lost today, which is broken down into 12 books or sections.  The following is a beautiful section from book three describing a conversation between God and His Son in Heaven as Satan is making his way to the garden to tempt Adam and Eve. Here is a link to the whole poem.   A short excerpt follows:

Onely begotten Son, seest thou what rage [ 80 ]
Transports our adversarie, whom no bounds
Prescrib'd, no barrs of Hell, nor all the chains
Heapt on him there, nor yet the main Abyss
Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems
On desparate reveng, that shall redound [ 85 ]
Upon his own rebellious head. And now
Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way
Not farr off Heav'n, in the Precincts of light,
Directly towards the new created World,
And Man there plac't, with purpose to assay [ 90 ]
If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert
For man will heark'n to his glozing lyes,
And easily transgress the sole Command,
Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fall, [ 95 ]
Hee and his faithless Progenie: whose fault?
Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of mee
All he could have; I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all th' Ethereal Powers [ 100 ]
And Spirits, both them who stood and them who faild;
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have givn sincere
Of true allegiance, constant Faith or Love,
Where onely what they needs must do, appeard, [ 105 ]
Not what they would? what praise could they receive?
What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
When Will and Reason (Reason also is choice)
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoild,
Made passive both, had servd necessitie, [ 110 ]
Not mee. They therefore as to right belongd,
So were created, nor can justly accuse
Thir maker, or thir making, or thir Fate,
As if predestination over-rul'd
Thir will, dispos'd by absolute Decree [ 115 ]
Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed
Thir own revolt, not I: if I foreknew,
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
So without least impulse or shadow of Fate, [ 120 ]
Or aught by me immutablie foreseen,
They trespass, Authors to themselves in all
Both what they judge and what they choose; for so
I formd them free, and free they must remain,
Till they enthrall themselves: I else must change [ 125 ]
Thir nature, and revoke the high Decree
Unchangeable, Eternal, which ordain'd
Thir freedom, they themselves ordain'd thir fall.
The first sort by thir own suggestion fell,
Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: Man falls deceiv'd [ 130 ]
By the other first: Man therefore shall find grace,
The other none: in Mercy and Justice both,
Through Heav'n and Earth, so shall my glorie excel,
But Mercy first and last shall brightest shine.
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd [ 135 ]
All Heav'n, and in the blessed Spirits elect
Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd:
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious, in him all his Father shon
Substantially express'd, and in his face [ 140 ]
Divine compassion visibly appeerd,
Love without end, and without measure Grace,
Which uttering thus he to his Father spake.
O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd
Thy sovran sentence, that Man should find grace; [ 145 ]
For which both Heav'n and Earth shall high extoll
Thy praises, with th' innumerable sound
Of Hymns and sacred Songs, wherewith thy Throne
Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest.

Here is a link to Librivox's audio version of Paradise Lost.  You can listen to it book by book (read by various authors).  Librivox also has other recordings of poems by John Milton.  

If you are enjoying Milton and want to study him further or have older students who would enjoy knowing more,  you may enjoy a Yale University course free online here.  The link Here  is to a Youtube video of the above instructor's lecture on the third book of Paradise Lost including his interpretation and ideas about the above section of the poem.