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 23, 2016

Henry Fitz Lane - Wreck of the Roma, Henry Purcell - Pasaclaglia from King Arthur, Rose Fyleman - The Balloon Man, John Keats - Robin Hood

Our painting this week by Fitz Henry Lane  - Wreck of the Roma is full of movement and activity with its huge waves and people busy at various activities centered around the wrecked ship off to the right. 

Wreck of the Roma
for a larger view click here.

Henry Purcell Pasaclaglia from King Arthur

Are you getting a feeling for Rose Fyleman's poetry?  I like her style, rhyming and meter though she has a few too many fairies for my taste. Today's poem  is a little different in that it doesn't have any fairies in it.  

        The Balloon Man

He always comes on market days,
   And holds balloons--a lovely bunch--
And in the market square he stays,
   And never seems to think of lunch.

They're red and purple, blue and green,
   And when it is a sunny day
Tho- carts and people get between 
   You see them shining far away.

And some are big and some are small,
    All tied together with a string,
And if there is a wind at all
   They tug and tug like anything.

Some day perhaps he'll let them go
   And we shall see them sailing high,
And stand and watch them from below--
   They would look pretty in the sky!

John Keats had such a beautiful way with words.  Today's topic is Robin Hood.  He wrote this poem in response to a couple of sonnets on the same subject sent to him by a friend.  It would be fun to read those sonnets, too.  For a brief introduction and explanation of this poem look at this introduction.   What do you think he meant by his last line - "Let us two a burden try"?

                Robin Hood

 No! those days are gone away,
  And their hours are old and gray,
  And their minutes buried all
  Under the down-trodden pall
  Of the leaves of many years:
  Many times have winter's shears,
  Frozen North, and chilling East,
  Sounded tempests to the feast
  Of the forest's whispering fleeces,
  Since men knew nor rent nor leases.                          10 
 No, the bugle sounds no more,
  And the twanging bow no more;
  Silent is the ivory shrill
  Past the heath and up the hill;
  There is no mid-forest laugh,
  Where lone Echo gives the half
  To some wight, amaz'd to hear
  Jesting, deep in forest drear.

    On the fairest time of June
  You may go, with sun or moon,                                20
  Or the seven stars to light you,
  Or the polar ray to right you;
  But you never may behold
  Little John, or Robin bold;
  Never one, of all the clan,
  Thrumming on an empty can
  Some old hunting ditty, while
  He doth his green way beguile
  To fair hostess Merriment,
  Down beside the pasture Trent;                               30
  For he left the merry tale
  Messenger for spicy ale.

    Gone, the merry morris din;
  Gone, the song of Gamelyn;
  Gone, the tough-belted outlaw
  Idling in the "grenè shawe;"
  All are gone away and past!
  And if Robin should be cast
  Sudden from his turfed grave,
  And if Marian should have                                    40
  Once again her forest days,
  She would weep, and he would craze:
  He would swear, for all his oaks,
  Fall'n beneath the dockyard strokes,
  Have rotted on the briny seas;
  She would weep that her wild bees
  Sang not to her--strange! that honey
  Can't be got without hard money!

    So it is: yet let us sing,
  Honour to the old bow-string!                                50
  Honour to the bugle-horn!
  Honour to the woods unshorn!
  Honour to the Lincoln green!
  Honour to the archer keen!
  Honour to tight little John,
  And the horse he rode upon!
  Honour to bold Robin Hood,
  Sleeping in the underwood!
  Honour to maid Marian,
  And to all the Sherwood-clan!                                60
  Though their days have hurried by
  Let us two a burden try. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Henry Fitz Lane - Boston Harbor, Henry Purcell - Indian Queen, John Keats - I Stood on Tip-toe , Rose Fyleman - The Fountain

Notice the sun rays shining from behind the cloud in this busy harbor scene, called "Boston Harbor" by Fitz Henry Lane.  The bits of red, a man here, a flag there, draw your eye.  This painting has the horizon at about the 1/3 mark giving lots of room for the gorgeous colors in the sky.  This light is reflected on the water in the middle of the picture and on some of the ships while others seem to be in shadow.  All different kinds of boats are featured in this paining including one in the foreground to the left that looks like it goes on steam rather than sails.

Boston Harbor
Our Henry Purcell piece this week is selected instrumental parts from Indian Queen.

Reading through Selected Poems and Letters by John Keats edited by Douglas Bush, I found this beautifully descriptive poem:

This poem by John Keats is a bit long but you can listen here if you prefer -  
I Stood Tiptoe Upon a Little Hill  as read on Librivox and posted on You-tube .

   I Stood Tip-toe Upon a Little Hill

I STOOD tip-toe upon a little hill,
The air was cooling, and so very still,
That the sweet buds which with a modest pride
Pull droopingly, in slanting curve aside,
Their scantly leaved, and finely tapering stems,
Had not yet lost those starry diadems
Caught from the early sobbing of the morn.
The clouds were pure and white as flocks new shorn,
And fresh from the clear brook; sweetly they slept
On the blue fields of heaven, and then there crept
A little noiseless noise among the leaves,
Born of the very sigh that silence heaves:
For not the faintest motion could be seen
Of all the shades that slanted o’er the green.
There was wide wand’ring for the greediest eye,
To peer about upon variety;
Far round the horizon’s crystal air to skim,
And trace the dwindled edgings of its brim;
To picture out the quaint, and curious bending
Of a fresh woodland alley, never ending;
Or by the bowery clefts, and leafy shelves,
Guess where the jaunty streams refresh themselves.
I gazed awhile, and felt as light, and free
As though the fanning wings of Mercury
Had played upon my heels: I was light-hearted,
And many pleasures to my vision started;
So I straightway began to pluck a posey
Of luxuries bright, milky, soft and rosy.

A bush of May flowers with the bees about them;
Ah, sure no tasteful nook would be without them;
And let a lush laburnum oversweep them,
And let long grass grow round the roots to keep them
Moist, cool and green; and shade the violets,
That they may bind the moss in leafy nets.

A filbert hedge with wildbriar overtwined,
And clumps of woodbine taking the soft wind
Upon their summer thrones; there too should be
The frequent chequer of a youngling tree,
That with a score of light green breth[r]en shoots
From the quaint mossiness of aged roots:
Round which is heard a spring-head of clear waters
Babbling so wildly of its lovely daughters
The spreading blue bells: it may haply mourn
That such fair clusters should be rudely torn
From their fresh beds, and scattered thoughtlessly
By infant hands, left on the path to die.

Open afresh your round of starry folds,
Ye ardent marigolds!
Dry up the moisture from your golden lids,
For great Apollo bids
That in these days your praises should be sung
On many harps, which he has lately strung;
And when again your dewiness he kisses,
Tell him, I have you in my world of blisses:
So haply when I rove in some far vale,
His mighty voice may come upon the gale.

Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper fingers catching at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny rings.

Linger awhile upon some bending planks
That lean against a streamlet’s rushy banks,
And watch intently Nature’s gentle doings:
They will be found softer than ring-dove’s cooings.
How silent comes the water round that bend;
Not the minutest whisper does it send
To the o’erhanging sallows: blades of grass
Slowly across the chequer’d shadows pass.
Why, you might read two sonnets, ere they reach
To where the hurrying freshnesses aye preach
A natural sermon o’er their pebbly beds;
Where swarms of minnows show their little heads,
Staying their wavy bodies ’gainst the streams,
To taste the luxury of sunny beams
Temper’d with coolness. How they ever wrestle
With their own sweet delight, and ever nestle
Their silver bellies on the pebbly sand.
If you but scantily hold out the hand,
That very instant not one will remain;
But turn your eye, and they are there again.
The ripples seem right glad to reach those cresses,
And cool themselves among the em’rald tresses;
The while they cool themselves, they freshness give,
And moisture, that the bowery green may live:
So keeping up an interchange of favours,
Like good men in the truth of their behaviours[.]
Sometimes goldfinches one by one will drop
From low hung branches; little space they stop;
But sip, and twitter, and their feathers sleek;
Then off at once, as in a wanton freak:
Or perhaps, to show their black, and golden wings
Pausing upon their yellow flutterings.
Were I in such a place, I sure should pray
That nought less sweet, might call my thoughts away,
Than the soft rustle of a maiden’s gown
Fanning away the dandelion’s down;
Than the light music of her nimble toes
Patting against the sorrel as she goes.
How she would start, and blush, thus to be caught
Playing in all her innocence of thought.
O let me lead her gently o’er the brook,
Watch her half-smiling lips, and downward look;
O let me for one moment touch her wrist;
Let me one moment to her breathing list;
And as she leaves me may she often turn
Her fair eyes looking through her locks auburne.
What next? A tuft of evening primroses,
O’er which the mind may hover till it dozes;
O’er which it well might take a pleasant sleep,
But that ’tis ever startled by the leap
Of buds into ripe flowers; or by the flitting
Of diverse moths, that aye their rest are quitting;
Or by the moon lifting her silver rim
Above a cloud, and with a gradual swim
Coming into the blue with all her light.
O Maker of sweet poets, dear delight
Of this fair world, and all its gentle livers;
Spangler of clouds, halo of crystal rivers,
Mingler with leaves, and dew and tumbling streams,
Closer of lovely eyes to lovely dreams,
Lover of loneliness, and wandering,
Of upcast eye, and tender pondering!
Thee must I praise above all other glories
That smile us on to tell delightful stories.
For what has made the sage or poet write
But the fair paradise of Nature’s light?
In the calm grandeur of a sober line,
We see the waving of the mountain pine;
And when a tale is beautifully staid,
We feel the safety of a hawthorn glade:
When it is moving on luxurious wings,
The soul is lost in pleasant smotherings:
Fair dewy roses brush against our faces,
And flowering laurels spring from diamond vases;
O’erhead we see the jasmine and sweet briar,
And bloomy grapes laughing from green attire;
While at our feet, the voice of crystal bubbles
Charms us at once away from all our troubles:
So that we feel uplifted from the world,
Walking upon the white clouds wreath’d and curl’d.
So felt he, who first told, how Psyche went
On the smooth wind to realms of wonderment;
What Psyche felt, and Love, when their full lips
First touch’d; what amorous and fondling nips
They gave each other’s cheeks; with all their sighs,
And how they kist each other’s tremulous eyes:
The silver lamp,- the ravishment, - the wonder -
The darkness, - loneliness,- the fearful thunder;
Their woes gone by, and both to heaven upflown,
To bow for gratitude before Jove’s throne.

So did he feel, who pull’d the boughs aside,
That we might look into a forest wide,
To catch a glimpse of Fawns, and Dryades
Coming with softest rustle through the trees;
And garlands woven of flowers wild, and sweet,
Upheld on ivory wrists, or sporting feet:
Telling us how fair, trembling Syrinx fled
Arcadian Pan, with such a fearful dread.
Poor Nymph,- poor Pan,- how did he weep to find,
Nought but a lovely sighing of the wind
Along the reedy stream; a half heard strain,
Full of sweet desolation - balmy pain.

What first inspired a bard of old to sing
Narcissus pining o’er the untainted spring?
In some delicious ramble, he had found
A little space, with boughs all woven round;
And in the midst of all, a clearer pool
Than e’er reflected in its pleasant cool,
The blue sky here, and there, serenely peeping
Through tendril wreaths fantastically creeping.
And on the bank a lonely flower he spied,
A meek and forlorn flower, with naught of pride,
Drooping its beauty o’er the watery clearness,
To woo its own sad image into nearness:
Deaf to light Zephyrus it would not move;
But still would seem to droop, to pine, to love.
So while the Poet stood in this sweet spot,
Some fainter gleamings o’er his fancy shot;
Nor was it long ere he had told the tale
Of young Narcissus, and sad Echo’s bale.

Where had he been, from whose warm head out-flew
That sweetest of all songs, that ever new,
That aye refreshing, pure deliciousness,
Coming ever to bless
The wanderer by moonlight? to him bringing
Shapes from the invisible world, unearthly singing
From out the middle air, from flowery nests,
And from the pillowy silkiness that rests
Full in the speculation of the stars.
Ah! surely he had burst our mortal bars;
Into some wond’rous region he had gone,
To search for thee, divine Endymion!

He was a Poet, sure a lover too,
Who stood on Latmus’ top, what time there blew
Soft breezes from the myrtle vale below;
And brought in faintness solemn, sweet, and slow
A hymn from Dian’s temple; while upswelling,
The incense went to her own starry dwelling.
But though her face was clear as infant’s eyes,
Though she stood smiling o’er the sacrifice,
The Poet wept at her so piteous fate,
Wept that such beauty should be desolate:
So in fine wrath some golden sounds he won,
And gave meek Cynthia her Endymion.

Queen of the wide air; thou most lovely queen
Of all the brightness that mine eyes have seen!
As thou exceedest all things in thy shine,
So every tale, does this sweet tale of thine.
O for three words of honey, that I might
Tell but one wonder of thy bridal night!

Where distant ships do seem to show their keels,
Phoebus awhile delayed his mighty wheels,
And turned to smile upon thy bashful eyes,
Ere he his unseen pomp would solemnize.
The evening weather was so bright, and clear,
That men of health were of unusual cheer;
Stepping like Homer at the trumpet’s call,
Or young Apollo on the pedestal:
And lovely women were as fair and warm,
As Venus looking sideways in alarm.
The breezes were ethereal, and pure,
And crept through half closed lattices to cure
The languid sick; it cool’d their fever’d sleep,
And soothed them into slumbers full and deep.
Soon they awoke clear eyed: nor burnt with thirsting
Nor with hot fingers, nor with temples bursting:
And springing up, they met the wond’ring sight
Of their dear friends, nigh foolish with delight;
Who feel their arms, and breasts, and kiss and stare,
And on their placid foreheads part the hair.
Young men, and maidens at each other gaz’d
With hands held back, and motionless, amaz’d
To see the brightness in each others’ eyes;
And so they stood, fill’d with a sweet surprise,
Until their tongues were loos’d in poesy.
Therefore no lover did of anguish die:
But the soft numbers, in that moment spoken,
Made silken ties, that never may be broken.
Cynthia! I cannot tell the greater blisses,
That follow’d thine, and thy dear shepherd’s kisses:
Was there a Poet born? - but now no more,
My wand’ring spirit must no further soar. -

Do you have a "wishing-bone"? Rose Fyleman's poems are so whimsical and full of imagination.  Today's is again about a fairy.

         The Fountain

Upon the terrace where I play
A little fountain sings all day
     A tiny tune;
It leaps and prancess in the air--
I saw a little fairy there
     This afternoon.

The jumping fountain never stops--
He sat upon the highest drops
     And bobbed about;
His legs were waving in the sun,
He seemed to think it splendid fun--
     I heard him shout.

The sparrows watched him from a tree,
A robin bustled up to see
     Along the path;
I thought my wishing-bone would break,
I wished so much that I could take
     A fairy bath.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fitz Henry Lane - Owl's Head, Penobscot Bay, Maine, Henry Purcell - No Stars Again Shall Hurt You, Rose Fyleman-The Spring, John Keats - Ode to Autumn

Our Fitz Henry Lane painting this week, "Owl's Head, Penobscot Bay, Maine, is a contrast of peaceful water and sky, with the busyness of the many little details that draw your eye in and around through the picture.  Again I am drawn to the wonderful pinks and peach pastel colors in sky and water!  If you've ever tried to paint a sunset while outside you realize the challenges as the sky is constantly changing as you work. Perhaps he saved the scene and colors in his mind like Charlotte Mason taught her students to do.  I've been challenging my children to save a "picture" in their minds of something they like while on our nature outings.  I've found myself very weak in being able to retain the details of a scene in my mind.  Probably this skill needs exercise to improve, which is also one of the wonderful benefits of picture study.

Owl's Head, Penobscot Bay, Maine
 Henry Purcell - No Stars Again Shall Hurt You
If you're new to this blog, or haven't studied these yet, I would recommend you go back to the beginning posts and find some of the fun children's music we enjoyed back then, Peter and the Wolf, The Carnival of the Animals, or search for "The Creation" by Franz Joseph Haydn.  I think children would be more naturally drawn to these than to Henry Purcell's music.  

Another Rose Fyleman poem from Favorite Poems Old and New,

       The Spring

A little mountain spring I found
That fell into a pool;
I made my hands into a cup
And caught the sparkling water up--
It tasted fresh and cool.

A solemn little frog I spied
Upon the rocky brim;
He looked so boldly in my face,
I'm certain that he thought the place
Belonged by rights to him.

Our John Keats poem is full of lovely descriptions of nature in the Fall of the year - 

        Ode to Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cell.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,---
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.