Introduction and Welcome

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fitz Henry Lane - Boston Harbor Boston, Henry Purcell- Dido's Lament, Rose Fyleman - Fairies, John Keats - Written on the Day that Mr. Leigh Hunt Left Prison

Our picture this week by Fitz Henry Lane is a lovely golden sunset.  There are lots of different kinds of boats in this painting.  The mood is very different from last week's stormy sea.

Boston Harbor by Fitz Henry Lane

Here's a link to Museum of Fine Art's copy of this painting if you want a larger clearer copy of this painting.  The color seems a little duskier there, too.

 Henry Purcell - When I am Laid in Earth This hauntingly sad song sometimes called Dido's Lament, from the opera Dido and Aeneas.  The melody is beautiful - I'm not especially fond of the words, I wonder how hard it would be to adjust one of the lament Psalms to fit it - if any of you or your children try it, please share your work in the comments.... Thanks.

Lyrics:  When I am laid, am laid in earth, may my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in, in thy breast.
When I am laid, am laid in earth, may my wrongs create
No trouble, no trouble in, in thy breast.
Remember me, remember me, but ah!
Forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah!
Forget my fate.
Remember me, remember me, but ah!
Forget my fate.
Remember me, but ah!
Forget my fate.

Another fairy poem by Rose Fyleman this week - titled simply, "Fairies"

    THERE are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
    It's not so very, very far away;
    You pass the gardner's shed and you just keep straight ahead --
    I do so hope they've really come to stay.
    There's a little wood, with moss in it and beetles,
    And a little stream that quietly runs through;
    You wouldn't think they'd dare to come merrymaking there--
          Well, they do.
    There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
    They often have a dance on summer nights;
    The butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze,
    And the rabbits stand about and hold the lights.
    Did you know that they could sit upon the moonbeams
    And pick a little star to make a fan,
    And dance away up there in the middle of the air?
          Well, they can.
    There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
    You cannot think how beautiful they are;
    They all stand up and sing when the Fairy Queen and King
    Come gently floating down upon their car.
    The King is very proud and very handsome;
    The Queen--now you can guess who that could be
    (She's a little girl all day, but at night she steals away)?
          Well -- it's Me!

And I found a poem by John Keats that touched me this week in the copy of Keats poetry that I found at a used book store.  We're reading Bold as a Lamb, the story of Samuel Lamb, a Chinese pastor who spent years in prison as a Christian, and three of our daughters recently volunteered at camp Moria on the island of Lesbos in Greece, so prison walls resonated with me.  I do think that an education in all things beautiful would give one, things to think on, remember and meditate on if we found ourselves imprisoned for our faith.  Spenser and Milton are both mentioned in this poem. If you're interested in more about who Leigh Hunt was see the paragraph following this poem.


What though, for showing turth to flatter'd state,
  Kind Hunt was shut in prison, yet has he,
  In his immortal spirit, been as free
As the sky-searching lark, and as elate.
Minion of grandeur! think you he did wait?
   Think you he nought but prison walls did see,
  Till, so unwilling, thou unturn'dst the key?
Ah, no! far happier, nobler was his fate!
In Spenser's halls he stayed, and bowers fair,
  Culling enchanted flowers; and he flew
With daring Milton through the firelds of air:
  To regions of his own his genius true
Took happy flights.  Who shall his fame impair
  When thou art dead, and all thy wretched crew?

Leigh Hunt, in 1808 became editor of the Examiner, a newspaper founded by his brother, John.  The journal soon acquired a reputation for unusual political independence; it would attack any worthy target.  An attack on the Prince Regent, based on substantial truth, resulted in prosecution and a sentence of two years' imprisonment for each of the brothers --Leigh Hunt served his term at the Surrey County Gaol.  

The above information came from This Wikipedia article on Leigh Hunt.

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