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

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.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Granville, Fishing Boats, John Philip Sousa - The Thunderer, Robert Louis Stevenson - My Shadow, John Milton - On Shakespeare

This week's painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot is another scene with water and reflections.  I like the lovely pastels in the water and the reflected white sails.This looks like a painting that could be done with pastels - perhaps on lavender paper with the paper peeking through.

Granville, Fishing Boats, c.1860 - Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot -

Our March this week by John Phillip Sousa is The Thunderer played by the National Youth Band of Canada.  

Here  is an interesting article on music and its effects on us.

I remember my mother quoting My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson to me as a child.

My Shadow
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

I'm finding John Milton's poetry challenging and a bit difficult to understand, how about you? Still somehow I feel that it is beautiful and worthy. 

On Shakespeare. 1630

What needs my Shakespeare for his honoured bones,
The labor of an age in pilèd stones,
Or that his hallowed relics should be hid   
Under a star-ypointing pyramid?
Dear son of Memory, great heir of fame,
What need’st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thyself a live-long monument.
For whilst to th’ shame of slow-endeavouring art,   
Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart   
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book
Those Delphic lines with deep impression took,   
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,   
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
And so sepúlchred in such pomp dost lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot - The Boatman of Montefontaine and Souvenir de Mortefontaine, John Philip Sousa - King Cotton March, John Milton - How Soon Hath Time, and Robert Louis Stevenson - Foreign Lands

The following two paintings by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot  have the same setting - both with the wonderful serene lake in the background and fascinating tree shapes.  I think these two paintings will be fun to compare - what is alike and what is different.  I was drawn to the soft colors and peace of the first painting but I like the mother and children in the second and the warm colors.  This setting would be a fun one to try copying in watercolor.  The following is a link to a wikipedia article about these paintings: Wikipedia - Souvenir de Montefontaine
The Boatman of Montefontaine

File:Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 012.jpg
Souvenir de Mortefontaine (Recollection of Mortefontaine)

Another of John Philip Sousa's wonderful marches - King Cotton March.

A longer biographical article on John Milton from the Poetry Foundation can be found here. (I didn't read this article in it's entirety myself, so don't assign it to your children without first checking it). 

 I've been reading John Milton: A Hero of Our Time.  It's challenging reading and I'm learning a lot but I'm wondering if a lot of the author's own beliefs color his thoughts and conclusions about Milton.  I need to read more of Milton's own writings myself.  Though I don't agree with all of Hawke's conclusions I admire John Milton for what I see of him "between the lines" and in the quotes in this book.   He loved reading and studying languages and classics and began writing poetry at a young age.  One thing that struck me is that he saw his own life as a chance to live out his message and though he was outspoken politically he lived authentically and was true to his own beliefs - he was a man of integrity.

How Soon Hath Time    

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stoln on his wing my three and twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on wtih full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven;
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Taskmaster's eye.

Our poem today by Robert Louis Stevenson
From Child's Garden of Verses
      Foreign Lands
Up into the cherry tree
Who should climb but little me?
I held the trunk with both my hands
And looked abroad in foreign lands.

I saw the next door garden lie,
Adorned with flowers, before my eye,
And many pleasant places more
That I had never seen before.

I saw the dimpling river pass
And be the sky's blue looking-glass;
The dusty roads go up and down
With people tramping in to town.

If I could find a higher tree
Farther and farther I should see,
To where the grown-up river slips
Into the sea among the ships,

To where the road on either hand
Lead onward into fairy land,
Where all the children dine at five,
And all the playthings come alive.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Jean Baptiste Camille Corot-Orpheus Leading Eurydice From the Underworld, John Philip Sousa - Semper Fidelis, Robert Louis Stevenson - Autumn Fires, and John Milton - Light

This painting by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot is based on a Greek Myth about two young lovers Orpheus and Eurydice.  You can read a brief account here.
Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld, 1861 - Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot -

John Philip Sousa's march, Semper Fidelis is the official march of the United States Marine Corps.  Listen here.

I thought you might enjoy a Fall poem by Robert Louis Stevenson 

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall! 

Today's poem by John Milton also includes a reference to the music of Orpheus or at least his lyre.  Makes me thankful that I can see, that the natural light God has given is a gift I enjoy, but more than that that the Celestial Light shines in my heart.

by: John Milton (1608-1674)
      AIL holy light, ofspring of Heav'n first-born,
      Or of th' Eternal Coeternal beam
      May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light,
      And never but in unapproachèd light
      Dwelt from Eternitie, dwelt then in thee,
      Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
      Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream,
      Whose Fountain who shall tell? before the Sun,
      Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice
      Of God, as with a Mantle didst invest
      The rising world of waters dark and deep,
      Won from the void and formless infinite.
      Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
      Escap't the Stygian Pool, though long detain'd
      In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
      Through utter and through middle darkness borne
      With other notes then to th' Orphean Lyre
      I sung of Chaos and Eternal Night,
      Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
      The dark descent, and up to reascend,
      Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
      And feel thy sovran vital Lamp; but thou
      Revisit'st not these eyes, that rowle in vain
      To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
      So thick a drop serene hath quencht thir Orbs,
      Or dim suffusion veild. Yet not the more
      Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
      Cleer Spring, or shadie Grove, or Sunnie Hill,
      Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
      Thee Sion and the flowrie Brooks beneath
      That wash thy hallowd feet, and warbling flow,
      Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
      Those other two equal'd with me in Fate,
      So were I equal'd with them in renown.
      Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
      And Tiresias and Phineus Prophets old.
      Then feed on thoughts, that voluntarie move
      Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful Bird
      Sings darkling, and in shadiest Covert hid
      Tunes her nocturnal Note. Thus with the Year
      Seasons return, but not to me returns
      Day, or the sweet approach of Ev'n or Morn,
      Or sight of vernal bloom, or Summers Rose,
      Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
      But cloud in stead, and ever-during dark
      Surrounds me, from the chearful waies of men
      Cut off, and for the Book of knowledge fair
      Presented with a Universal blanc
      Of Natures works to mee expung'd and ras'd,
      And wisdome at one entrance quite shut out.
      So much the rather thou Celestial light
      Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
      Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
      Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
      Of things invisible to mortal sight.