Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ring Out, Wild Bells


Listen to:

Ring Out, Wild Bells (1:46)

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson 



Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In Drear-Nighted December


Listen to:

In Drear-Nighted December (:59)

by John Keats 



In drear nighted December,
   Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
   Their green felicity—
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them
Nor frozen thawings glue them
   From budding at the prime.

In drear-nighted December,
   Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember
   Apollo’s summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
   About the frozen time.

Ah! would ‘twere so with many
   A gentle girl and boy—
But were there ever any
   Writh’d not of passed joy?
The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it
Nor numbed sense to steel it,
   Was never said in rhyme.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Jack Frost

Listen to:

Jack Frost (1:20)

by Cotton Noe 


In a pixy chariot, drawn,

Not by deer, but elfin fawn,

Thou hast come, Jack Frost and gone.
Silently, unheralded,

O'er the earth thy chariot sped;

Dear Jack Frost, where hast thou fled?
Thou the child's and poet's friend,

Brings't us blessings without end,

Joys the world can not transcend.
Naught but beauty now remains—

Flowers, ferns and fairy fanes,

Wrought upon the window panes;
Fields and forests all aglow,—

Colors only thou dost know:

How the heart doth overflow!
Purple clusters thine and mine,

Winter-wild and muscadine,

Bursting with the wine of vine!
Haws, persimmons, berries red,

Nuts the earth have overspread—

Dear Jack Frost, why hast thou fled?
Old Chris we hail with all his boast,

His jolly fun and merry cost,

But oh, we love Jack Frost, Jack Frost!


Monday, December 28, 2015

The Ice-King of the South

Listen to:

The Ice-King of the South [excerpt] (1:44)

by Cotton Noe 


He came, proud monarch of the Land of Snows,

Triumphant, in his argent chariot, decked

With jewels mined in regions of the polar zones!

He came! his fifty snowy steeds were swift

As howling north-winds, and their flowing manes

Were flecked with diamonds brighter than Brazilian stones!

He came! To celebrate his triumph, first

He spread a fleecy mantle o'er the earth—

A frozen shroud symbolic of the Death he wrought.

And then to every pendent branch he hung

A glittering sword,—the tyrant's right to rule,—

Demanding greater homage than ever warrior sought.
More brilliant pageant than the Ice-King's in

The Land of Flowers, never graced return

Of oriental monarch from victorious wars.

But oh! beneath the sparkle and the gleam

Of crystal beauty beats an icy heart,

And a sullen silence his splendid triumph mars;

The waterfalls that leap from jutting ledge

In happy song, are speechless as the tomb,

And every melody that haunts the woods and streams

Has vanished from the earth, and Nature's voice

That erstwhile woke the matin in the mead

Is silent now as music of forgotten dreams.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Winter

Listen to:

Winter (:57)

by Robert Southey 




A wrinkled crabbed man they picture thee, 

Old Winter, with a rugged beard as grey 

As the long moss upon the apple-tree; 

Blue-lipt, an icedrop at thy sharp blue nose, 

Close muffled up, and on thy dreary way 

Plodding alone through sleet and drifting snows. 

They should have drawn thee by the high-heapt hearth, 

Old Winter! seated in thy great armed chair, 

Watching the children at their Christmas mirth; 

Or circled by them as thy lips declare 

Some merry jest, or tale of murder dire, 

Or troubled spirit that disturbs the night, 

Pausing at times to rouse the mouldering fire, 

Or taste the old October brown and bright.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Frost at Midnight

Listen to:

Frost at Midnight [excerpt] (1:07)

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge 



The Frost performs its secret ministry,

Unhelped by any wind. The owlet’s cry

Came loud--and hark, again! loud as before.

The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,

Have left me to that solitude, which suits

Abstruser musings: save that at my side

My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.

’Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs

And vexes meditation with its strange

And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,

This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,

With all the numberless goings-on of life,

Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame

Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;

Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,

Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Hallow'd Season

Listen to:

Hallow’d Season (:32)

by William Shakespeare

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode



Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.

Marcellus in Hamlet, Act I, Scene 1

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Visit from St. Nicholas

Listen to:

A Visit from St. Nicholas (3:41)

by Clement Clark Moore 




‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Winter

Listen to:

Winter (:46)

by Walter de la Mare 


 Clouded with snow 

The cold winds blow, 

And shrill on leafless bough 

The robin with its burning breast 

Alone sings now. 



The rayless sun,

Day's journey done, 

Sheds its last ebbing light 

On fields in leagues of beauty spread 

Unearthly white. 



Thick draws the dark, 

And spark by spark, 

The frost-fires kindle, and soon 

Over that sea of frozen foam 

Floats the white moon.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Winter-Time

Listen to:

Winter-Time (1:08)

by Robert Louis Stevenson 


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.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Jack Frost

Listen to:

Jack Frost (1:36)

by Gabriel Setoun 



The door was shut, as doors should be,

Before you went to bed last night;

Yet Jack Frost has got in, you see,

And left your window silver white.
He must have waited till you slept;

And not a single word he spoke,

But pencilled o'er the panes and crept

Away again before you woke.
And now you cannot see the hills

Nor fields that stretch beyond the lane;

But there are fairer things than these

His fingers traced on every pane.
Rocks and castles towering high;

Hills and dales, and streams and fields;

And knights in armor riding by,

With nodding plumes and shining shields.
And here are little boats, and there

Big ships with sails spread to the breeze;

And yonder, palm trees waving fair

On islands set in silver seas,
And butterflies with gauzy wings;

And herds of cows and flocks of sheep;

And fruit and flowers and all the things

You see when you are sound asleep.
For, creeping softly underneath

The door when all the lights are out,

Jack Frost takes every breath you breathe,

And knows the things you think about.
He paints them on the window-pane

In fairy lines with frozen steam;

And when you wake you see again

The lovely things you saw in dream.








Thursday, December 17, 2015

True Poem of Riches


Listen to:

True Poem of Riches (1:29)

[excerpt from Starting from Paumanok]

by Walt Whitman

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


I will make the true poem of riches,
To earn for the body and the mind whatever adheres and goes forward
    and is not dropt by death;
I will effuse egotism and show it underlying all, and I will be the
    bard of personality,
And I will show of male and female that either is but the equal of
    the other,
...

And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present, and
    can be none in the future,
And I will show that whatever happens to anybody it may be turn'd to
    beautiful results,
And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death,
And I will thread a thread through my poems that time and events are
    compact,
And that all the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each
    as profound as any.

I will not make poems with reference to parts,
But I will make poems, songs, thoughts, with reference to ensemble,
And I will not sing with reference to a day, but with reference to
    all days,
And I will not make a poem nor the least part of a poem but has
    reference to the soul,
Because having look'd at the objects of the universe, I find there
    is no one nor any particle of one but has reference to the soul.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dead Poets, Philosophs, Priests


Listen to:

Dead Poets, Philosophs, Priests ()

 [excerpt from Starting from Paumanok]

by Walt Whitman

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Dead poets, philosophs, priests,
Martyrs, artists, inventors, governments long since,
Language-shapers on other shores,
Nations once powerful, now reduced, withdrawn, or desolate,
I dare not proceed till I respectfully credit what you have left
    wafted hither,
I have perused it, own it is admirable, (moving awhile among it,)
Think nothing can ever be greater, nothing can ever deserve more
    than it deserves,
Regarding it all intently a long while, then dismissing it,
I stand in my place with my own day here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Starting from Paumanok


Listen to:

Starting from Paumanok [excerpt](1:27)

by Walt Whitman

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Starting from fish-shape Paumanok where I was born,
Well-begotten, and rais'd by a perfect mother,
After roaming many lands, lover of populous pavements,
Dweller in Mannahatta my city, or on southern savannas,
Or a soldier camp'd or carrying my knapsack and gun, or a miner
    in California,
Or rude in my home in Dakota's woods, my diet meat, my drink from
    the spring,
Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep recess,
Far from the clank of crowds intervals passing rapt and happy,
Aware of the fresh free giver the flowing Missouri, aware of
    mighty Niagara,
Aware of the buffalo herds grazing the plains, the hirsute and
    strong-breasted bull,
Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers experienced, stars, rain, snow,
    my amaze,
Having studied the mocking-bird's tones and the flight of the
    mountain-hawk,
And heard at dawn the unrivall'd one, the hermit thrush from the
    swamp-cedars,
Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Poets to Come


Listen to:

Poets to Come (:55)

by Walt Whitman

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Poets to come! orators, singers, musicians to come!
Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for,
But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than
    before known,
Arouse! for you must justify me.

I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future,
I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness.

I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a
    casual look upon you and then averts his face,
Leaving it to you to prove and define it,
Expecting the main things from you.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

I Hear America Singing


Listen to:

I Hear America Singing (1:14)

by Walt Whitman 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
    singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as
    he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning,
    or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
    or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day--at night the party of young
    fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

One's Self I Sing


Listen to:

One's Self I Sing (:43)

by Walt Whitman 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

One's-self I sing, a simple separate person,
Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse.

Of physiology from top to toe I sing,
Not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the Muse, I say
    the Form complete is worthier far,
The Female equally with the Male I sing.

Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine,
The Modern Man I sing.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Of English Verse


Listen to:

Of English Verse (1:49)

by Edmund Waller 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode



     Poets may boast, as safely vain,
     Their works shall with the world remain:
     Both bound together, live or die,
     The verses and the prophecy.

     But who can hope his line should long
     Last, in a daily-changing tongue?
     While they are new, envy prevails;
     And as that dies our language fails.

     When architects have done their part,
     The matter may betray their art:
     Time, if we use ill-chosen stone,
     Soon brings a well-built palace down.

     Poets, that lasting marble seek,
     Must carve in Latin or in Greek:
     We write in sand, our language grows,
     And, like the tide, our work o'erflows.

     Chaucer his sense can only boast,
     The glory of his numbers lost!
     Years have defac't his matchless strain,
     And yet he did not sing in vain.

     The beauties which adorn'd that age,
     The shining subjects of his rage,
     Hoping they should immortal prove,
     Rewarded with success his love.

     This was the gen'rous poet's scope,
     And all an English pen can hope;
     To make the fair approve his flame,
     That can so far extend their fame.

     Verse thus design'd has no ill fate,
     If it arrive but at the date
     Of fading beauty, if it prove
     But as long-liv'd as present love.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

No Platonic Love


Listen to:

No Platonic Love (1:36)

by William Cartwright 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Tell me no more of minds embracing minds,
    And hearts exchang’d for hearts;
That spirits spirits meet, as winds do winds,
    And mix their subt’lest parts;
That two unbodied essences may kiss,
And then like Angels, twist and feel one Bliss.

I was that silly thing that once was wrought
    To practise this thin love;
I climb’d from sex to soul, from soul to thought;
    But thinking there to move,
Headlong I rolled from thought to soul, and then
From soul I lighted at the sex again.

As some strict down-looked men pretend to fast,
    Who yet in closets eat;
So lovers who profess they spirits taste,
    Feed yet on grosser meat;
I know they boast they souls to souls convey,
Howe’r they meet, the body is the way.

Come I will undeceive thee, they that tread
    Those vain aerial ways,
Are like young heirs and alchemists misled
    To waste their wealth and days,
For searching thus to be for ever rich,
They only find a med’cine for the itch.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sonnet: To Science


Listen to:

Sonnet: To Science (:58)

by Edgar Allan Poe 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
   Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart,
   Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
   Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
   Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car,
   And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
   Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I Remember, I Remember


Listen to:

I Remember, I Remember (1:19)

by Thomas Hood

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white,
The vi'lets, and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,—
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from heav'n
Than when I was a boy.



luburnum — noun
any of several small trees belonging to the genus Laburnum, of the legume family, having elongated clusters of pendulous yellow flowers, especially L. alpinum, the Scotch laburnum.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Silence


Listen to:

Silence (1:02)

by Thomas Hood

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


There is a silence where hath been no sound,
   There is a silence where no sound may be,
   In the cold grave—under the deep deep sea,
Or in the wide desert where no life is found,
Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
   No voice is hush’d—no life treads silently,
   But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
That never spoke, over the idle ground:
But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
   Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
Though the dun fox, or wild hyena, calls,
   And owls, that flit continually between,
Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan,
There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Poets


Listen to:

The Poets (:57)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

O ye dead Poets, who are living still

Immortal in your verse, though life be fled,

And ye, O living Poets, who are dead

Though ye are living, if neglect can kill,

Tell me if in the darkest hours of ill,

With drops of anguish falling fast and red

From the sharp crown of thorns upon your head,

Ye were not glad your errand to fulfil?

Yes; for the gift and ministry of Song

Have something in them so divinely sweet,

It can assuage the bitterness of wrong;

Not in the clamor of the crowded street,

Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng,

But in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

On the Departure of the Nightingale


Listen to:

On the Departure of the Nightingale (1:05)

by Charlotte Smith

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Sweet poet of the woods, a long adieu!
   Farewell soft mistrel of the early year!
Ah! ’twill be long ere thou shalt sing anew,
   And pour thy music on the night’s dull ear.
Whether on spring thy wandering flights await,
   Or whether silent in our groves you dwell,
The pensive muse shall own thee for her mate,
   And still protect the song she loves so well.
With cautious step the love-lorn youth shall glide
   Through the lone brake that shades thy mossy nest;
And shepherd girls from eyes profane shall hide
   The gentle bird who sings of pity best:
For still thy voice shall soft affections move,
And still be dear to sorrow and to love!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Poetry and Sorrow


Listen to:

Poetry and Sorrow (1:01)

by Charlotte Smith

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Should the lone wanderer, fainting on his way,
Rest for a moment of the sultry hours,
And, though his path through thorns and roughness lay,
Pluck the wild rose or woodbine's gadding flowers;
Weaving gay wreaths beneath some sheltering tree,
The sense of sorrow he awhile may lose:
So have I sought thy flowers, fair Poesy!
So charmed my way with friendship and the Muse.
But darker now grows life's unhappy day,
Dark with new clouds of evil yet to come;
Her pencil sickening Fancy throws away,
And weary Hope reclines upon the tomb,
And points my wishes to that tranquil shore,
Where the pale spectre, Care, pursues no more!



gad verb (used without object), gadded, gadding.
to move restlessly or aimlessly from one place to another: to gad about.

from Elegiac Sonnets and other Poems, by Charlotte Smith, 1797.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ode on the Poets


Listen to:

Ode on the Poets (1:59)

by John Keats

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions new?
—Yes, and those of heaven commune      
With the spheres of sun and moon;
With the noise of fountains wond'rous
And the parle of voices thund'rous;
With the whisper of heaven's trees
And one another, in soft ease
Seated on Elysian lawns
Browsed by none but Dian's fawns;
Underneath large blue-bells tented,
Where the daisies are rose-scented,
And the rose herself has got
Perfume which on earth is not;
Where the nightingale doth sing
Not a senseless, tranc├Ęd thing,
But divine melodious truth;
Philosophic numbers smooth;
Tales and golden histories
Of heaven and its mysteries.

  Thus ye live on high, and then
On the earth ye live again;
And the souls ye left behind you
Teach us, here, the way to find you,
Where your other souls are joying,
Never slumber'd, never cloying.
Here, your earth-born souls still speak
To mortals, of their little week—
Of their sorrows and delights,
Of their passions and their spites,
Of their glory and their shame,
What doth strengthen and what maim:—
Thus ye teach us, every day,
Wisdom, though fled far away.

  Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Ye have souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions new!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Grasshopper and the Cricket


Listen to:

The Grasshopper and the Cricket (1:04)

by Leigh Hunt

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Green little vaulter in the sunny grass,

  Catching your heart up at the feel of June,

  Sole voice that ’s heard amidst the lazy noon,

  When even the bees lag at the summoning brass;

And you, warm little housekeeper, who class
     
  With those who think the candles come too soon,

  Loving the fire, and with your tricksome tune

  Nick the glad silent moments as they pass;

O sweet and tiny cousins, that belong

  One to the fields, the other to the hearth,
     
  Both have your sunshine; both, though small, are strong

At your clear hearts; and both seem given to earth

  To sing in thoughtful ears this natural song,—

  In doors and out, summer and winter, Mirth.


December, 1816.


Written in the Vale of Health, Hampstead, and in companionship with that of Keats, on the same subject.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November


Listen to:

November (1:05)

by William Cullen Bryant

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapory air,
Ere, o’er the frozen earth, the loud winds run,
Or snows are sifted o’er the meadows bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,
And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
And the blue gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Thrush in the Moonlight


Listen to:

A Thrush in the Moonlight (:53)

by Witter Bynner

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


In came the moon and covered me with wonder,
Touched me and was near me and made me very still.
In came a rush of song, like rain after thunder,
Pouring importunate on my window-sill.

I lowered my head, I hid it, I would not see nor hear,
The birdsong had stricken me, had brought the moon too near.
But when I dared to lift my head, night began to fill
With singing in the darkness. And then the thrush grew still.
  And the moon came in, and silence, on my window-sill.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

To Anyone



Listen to:

To Anyone (:26)

by Witter Bynner

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Whether the time be slow or fast,
  Enemies, hand in hand,
Must come together at the last
  And understand.
 
No matter how the die is cast      
  Nor who may seem to win,
You know that you must love at last—
  Why not begin?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Fields


Listen to:

The Fields (:27)

by Witter Bynner

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Though wisdom underfoot
  Dies in the bloody fields,
Slowly the endless root
  Gathers again and yields.
 
In fields where hate has hurled      
  Its force, where folly rots,
Wisdom shall be unfurled
  Small as forget-me-nots.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto I Part 4


Listen to:

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto I Part 4 (3:13)

by George Gordon, Lord Byron

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


A few short hours, and he will rise
   To give the morrow birth;
And I shall hail the main and skies,
   But not my mother earth.
Deserted is my own good hall,
   Its hearth is desolate;
Wild weeds are gathering on the wall,
   My dog howls at the gate.

'Come hither, hither, my little page:
   Why dost thou weep and wail?
Or dost thou dread the billow's rage,
   Or tremble at the gale?
But dash the tear-drop from thine eye,
   Our ship is swift and strong;
Our fleetest falcon scarce can fly
   More merrily along.'

'Let winds be shrill, let waves roll high,
   I fear not wave nor wind;
Yet marvel not, Sir Childe, that I
   Am sorrowful in mind;
For I have from my father gone, 
   A mother whom I love,
And have no friend, save these alone,
   But thee--and One above.

'My father blessed me fervently,
   Yet did not much complain;
But sorely will my mother sigh
   Till I come back again.' -
'Enough, enough, my little lad!
   Such tears become thine eye;
If I thy guileless bosom had,
   Mine own would not be dry.

'Come hither, hither, my staunch yeoman,
   Why dost thou look so pale?
Or dost thou dread a French foeman,
   Or shiver at the gale?' -
'Deem'st thou I tremble for my life?
   Sir Childe, I'm not so weak;
But thinking on an absent wife
   Will blanch a faithful cheek.

'My spouse and boys dwell near thy hall,
   Along the bordering lake;
And when they on their father call,
   What answer shall she make?' -
'Enough, enough, my yeoman good,
   Thy grief let none gainsay;
But I, who am of lighter mood,
   Will laugh to flee away.'

For who would trust the seeming sighs
   Of wife or paramour?
Fresh feeres will dry the bright blue eyes
   We late saw streaming o'er.
For pleasures past I do not grieve,
   Nor perils gathering near;
My greatest grief is that I leave
   No thing that claims a tear.  

And now I'm in the world alone,
   Upon the wide, wide sea;
But why should I for others groan,
   When none will sigh for me?
Perchance my dog will whine in vain
   Till fed by stranger hands;
But long ere I come back again
   He'd tear me where he stands.

With thee, my bark, I'll swiftly go
   Athwart the foaming brine;
Nor care what land thou bear'st me to,
   So not again to mine.
Welcome, welcome, ye dark blue waves!
   And when you fail my sight,
Welcome, ye deserts, and ye caves!
   My Native Land--Good Night!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto I Part 3


Listen to:

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto I Part 3 (1:59)

by George Gordon, Lord Byron

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


XI.

   His house, his home, his heritage, his lands,
   The laughing dames in whom he did delight,
   Whose large blue eyes, fair locks, and snowy hands,
   Might shake the saintship of an anchorite,
   And long had fed his youthful appetite;
   His goblets brimmed with every costly wine,
   And all that mote to luxury invite,     may, might
   Without a sigh he left to cross the brine,
And traverse Paynim shores, and pass earth's central line.    

XII.

   The sails were filled, and fair the light winds blew
   As glad to waft him from his native home;
   And fast the white rocks faded from his view,
   And soon were lost in circumambient foam;
   And then, it may be, of his wish to roam
   Repented he, but in his bosom slept
   The silent thought, nor from his lips did come
   One word of wail, whilst others sate and wept,
And to the reckless gales unmanly moaning kept.

XIII.

   But when the sun was sinking in the sea,
   He seized his harp, which he at times could string,
   And strike, albeit with untaught melody,
   When deemed he no strange ear was listening:
   And now his fingers o'er it he did fling,
   And tuned his farewell in the dim twilight,
   While flew the vessel on her snowy wing,
   And fleeting shores receded from his sight,
Thus to the elements he poured his last 'Good Night.'

Adieu, adieu! my native shore
   Fades o'er the waters blue;
The night-winds sigh, the breakers roar,
   And shrieks the wild sea-mew.      
Yon sun that sets upon the sea
   We follow in his flight;
Farewell awhile to him and thee,
   My Native Land--Good Night!  


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto I Part 2


Listen to:

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto I Part 2 (2:46)

by George Gordon, Lord Byron

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


VI.

   And now Childe Harold was sore sick at heart,
   And from his fellow bacchanals would flee;
   'Tis said, at times the sullen tear would start,
   But pride congealed the drop within his e'e:
   Apart he stalked in joyless reverie,
   And from his native land resolved to go,
   And visit scorching climes beyond the sea;
   With pleasure drugged, he almost longed for woe,
And e'en for change of scene would seek the shades below.

VII.

   The Childe departed from his father's hall;
   It was a vast and venerable pile;
   So old, it seemed only not to fall,
   Yet strength was pillared in each massy aisle.
   Monastic dome! condemned to uses vile!
   Where superstition once had made her den,
   Now Paphian girls were known to sing and smile;
   And monks might deem their time was come agen,
If ancient tales say true, nor wrong these holy men.

VIII.

   Yet ofttimes in his maddest mirthful mood,
   Strange pangs would flash along Childe Harold's brow,
   As if the memory of some deadly feud
   Or disappointed passion lurked below:
   But this none knew, nor haply cared to know;
   For his was not that open, artless soul
   That feels relief by bidding sorrow flow;
   Nor sought he friend to counsel or condole,
Whate'er this grief mote be, which he could not control.

IX.

   And none did love him:  though to hall and bower
   He gathered revellers from far and near,
   He knew them flatterers of the festal hour;
   The heartless parasites of present cheer.
   Yea, none did love him--not his lemans dear -  
   But pomp and power alone are woman's care,
   And where these are light Eros finds a feere;    
   Maidens, like moths, are ever caught by glare,
And Mammon wins his way where seraphs might despair.

X.

   Childe Harold had a mother--not forgot,
   Though parting from that mother he did shun;
   A sister whom he loved, but saw her not
   Before his weary pilgrimage begun:
   If friends he had, he bade adieu to none.
   Yet deem not thence his breast a breast of steel;
   Ye, who have known what 'tis to dote upon
   A few dear objects, will in sadness feel
Such partings break the heart they fondly hope to heal.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto I Part 1



Listen to:

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Canto I Part 1 (2:48)

by George Gordon, Lord Byron

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


I.

   Oh, thou, in Hellas deemed of heavenly birth,
   Muse, formed or fabled at the minstrel's will!
   Since shamed full oft by later lyres on earth,
   Mine dares not call thee from thy sacred hill:
   Yet there I've wandered by thy vaunted rill;
   Yes! sighed o'er Delphi's long-deserted shrine
   Where, save that feeble fountain, all is still;
   Nor mote my shell awake the weary Nine
To grace so plain a tale--this lowly lay of mine.

II.

   Whilome in Albion's isle there dwelt a youth,
   Who ne in virtue's ways did take delight;
   But spent his days in riot most uncouth,
   And vexed with mirth the drowsy ear of Night.
   Ah, me! in sooth he was a shameless wight,
   Sore given to revel and ungodly glee;
   Few earthly things found favour in his sight
   Save concubines and carnal companie,
And flaunting wassailers of high and low degree.

III.

   Childe Harold was he hight: --but whence his name
   And lineage long, it suits me not to say;
   Suffice it, that perchance they were of fame,
   And had been glorious in another day:
   But one sad losel soils a name for aye,  
   However mighty in the olden time;
   Nor all that heralds rake from coffined clay,
   Nor florid prose, nor honeyed lines of rhyme,
Can blazon evil deeds, or consecrate a crime.


IV.

   Childe Harold basked him in the noontide sun,
   Disporting there like any other fly,
   Nor deemed before his little day was done  
   One blast might chill him into misery.
   But long ere scarce a third of his passed by,
   Worse than adversity the Childe befell;    
   He felt the fulness of satiety:
   Then loathed he in his native land to dwell,
Which seemed to him more lone than eremite's sad cell.

V.

   For he through Sin's long labyrinth had run,
   Nor made atonement when he did amiss,
   Had sighed to many, though he loved but one,
   And that loved one, alas, could ne'er be his.
   Ah, happy she! to 'scape from him whose kiss
   Had been pollution unto aught so chaste;
   Who soon had left her charms for vulgar bliss,
   And spoiled her goodly lands to gild his waste,
Nor calm domestic peace had ever deigned to taste.


Monday, November 23, 2015

London


Listen to:

London (:59)

by William Blake

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Poison Tree


Listen to:

A Poison Tree (:57)

by William Blake

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night.
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.

And into my garden stole,
When the night had veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Garden of Love


Listen to:

The Garden of Love (:49)

by William Blake

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And Thou shalt not. writ over the door;
So I turn'd to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my joys & desires.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Smile


Listen to:

The Smile (:54)

by William Blake

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

There is a Smile of Love
And there is a Smile of Deceit
And there is a Smile of Smiles
In which these two Smiles meet

And there is a Frown of Hate
And there is a Frown of disdain
And there is a Frown of Frowns
Which you strive to forget in vain

For it sticks in the Hearts deep Core
And it sticks in the deep Back bone
And no Smile that ever was smild
But only one Smile alone

That betwixt the Cradle & Grave
It only once Smild can be
But when it once is Smild
Theres an end to all Misery

Thursday, November 19, 2015

To Morning


Listen to:

To Morning (:43)

by William Blake

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


O holy virgin! clad in purest white,
Unlock heav'n's golden gates, and issue forth;
Awake the dawn that sleeps in heaven; let light
Rise from the chambers of the east, and bring
The honied dew that cometh on waking day.
O radiant morning, salute the sun,
Rouz'd like a huntsman to the chace; and, with
Thy buskin'd feet, appear upon our hills.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

To the Mocking-Bird


Listen to:

To the Mocking-Bird (1:09)

by Richard Henry Wilde (1789–1847)

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Winged mimic of the woods! thou motley fool!
  Who shall thy gay buffoonery describe?
Thine ever ready notes of ridicule
  Pursue thy fellows still with jest and gibe.
  Wit, sophist, songster, Yorick of thy tribe,
Thou sportive satirist of Nature’s school,
  To thee the palm of scoffing we ascribe,
Arch-mocker and mad Abbot of Misrule!
  For such thou art by day—but all night long
Thou pourest a soft, sweet, pensive, solemn strain,
  As if thou didst in this thy moonlight song
Like to the melancholy Jacques complain,
  Musing on falsehood, folly, vice, and wrong,
And sighing for thy motley coat again.



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Tortoise and the Hare


Listen to:

The Tortoise and the Hare (1:01)

by Babrius

turned into English metre by James Davies, M.A. (1860)

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

To the shy hare the tortoise smiling spoke,
When he about her feet began to joke:
"I'll pass thee by, though fleeter than the gale."
"Pooh!" said the hare, "I don't believe thy tale.
Try but one course, and thou my speed shalt know."
"Who'll fix the prize, and whither we shall go?"
Of the fleet-footed hare the tortoise asked.
To whom he answered, "Reynard shall be tasked
With this; that subtle fox, whom thou dost see."
The tortoise then (no hesitater she!)
Kept jogging on, but earliest reached the post;
The hare, relying on his fleetness, lost
Space, during sleep, he thought he could recover
When he awoke. But then the race was over;
The tortoise gained her aim, and slept her sleep.
From negligence doth care the vantage reap.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Lamp


Listen to:

The Lamp (:32)

by Babrius

turned into English metre by James Davies, M.A. (1860)

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

A lamp that swam with oil, began to boast
At eve, that it outshone the starry host,
And gave more light to all. Her boast was heard:
Soon the wind whistled; soon the breezes stirred,
And quenched its light. A man rekindled it,
And said, "Brief is the faint lamp's boasting fit,
But the starlight ne'er needs to be re-lit."

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Woman and Her Maid-Servants


Listen to:

The Woman and Her Maid-Servants (:54)

by Babrius

turned into English metre by James Davies, M.A. (1860)

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

A very careful dame, of busy way,
Kept maids at home, and these, ere break of day,
She used to raise as early as cock-crow.
They thought 'twas hard to be awakened so,
And o'er wool-spinning be at work so long;
Hence grew within them all a purpose strong
To kill the house-cock, whom they thought to blame
For all their wrongs. But no advantage came;
Worse treatment than the former them befell:
For when the hour their mistress could not tell
At which by night the cock was wont to crow,
She roused them earlier, to their work to go.
A harder lot the wretched maids endured.
Bad judgment oft hath such results procured.