Tuesday, June 30, 2015

First Player's Speech from Hamlet

Listen to:

First Player's Speech from Hamlet (2:55)

by William Shakespeare

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Hamlet receives a troupe of traveling players to Elsinore. An avid fan of theatre, Hamlet requests from the leader of the troupe a "passionate speech," specifically Aeneas' tale to Dido. With just one false start, Hamlet begins the speech:

"The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous horse,
Hath now this black and dread complexion smear'd
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot 
Now is he total gules; horridly trick'd
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and damned light
To their vile murders: roasted in wrath and fire,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks."

Then Hamlet tells the actor to continue the speech and the actor complies with:

First Player

'Anon he finds him
Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command: unequal match'd,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage strikes wide;
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear: for, lo! his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seem'd i' the air to stick:
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood,
And like a neutral to his will and matter,
Did nothing.
But, as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless and the orb below
As hush as death, anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region, so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
Aroused vengeance sets him new a-work;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour forged for proof eterne
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.
Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,
In general synod 'take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,
As low as to the fiends!'


‘But who, O, who had seen the mobled queen
Run barefoot up and down, threatening the flames
With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins,
A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up;
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd,
'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have
But if the gods themselves did see her then
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
The instant burst of clamour that she made,
Unless things mortal move them not at all,
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven,
And passion in the gods.'

Monday, June 29, 2015

On the Prospect of Planting Arts & Learning

"American Progress" (1873) by George Crogut

Listen to:

On the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning (1:43)

by George Berkeley

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The Muse, disgusted at an age and clime
  Barren of every glorious theme,
In distant lands now waits a better time,
  Producing subjects worthy fame.

In happy climes, where from the genial sun      
  And virgin earth such scenes ensue,
The force of art by nature seems outdone,
  And fancied beauties by the true;

In happy climes, the seat of innocence,
  Where nature guides and virtue rules,      
Where men shall not impose for truth and sense
  The pedantry of courts and schools:

There shall be sung another golden age,
  The rise of empire and of arts,
The good and great inspiring epic rage,      
  The wisest heads and noblest hearts.

Not such as Europe breeds in her decay;
  Such as she bred when fresh and young,
When heavenly flame did animate her clay,
  By future poets shall be sung.      

Westward the course of empire takes its way;
  The first four acts already past,
A fifth shall close the drama with the day;
  Time’s noblest offspring is the last.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

That Time of Year

Listen to:

That Time of Year (:57)

by William Shakespeare

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Sonnet 73
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Little Love God

Listen to:

The Little Love-God (:55)

by William Shakespeare

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Sonnet 154
The little Love-god lying once asleep,
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vowed chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warmed;
And so the General of hot desire
Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarmed.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy,
For men diseased; but I, my mistress' thrall,
Came there for cure and this by that I prove,

Love's fire heats water, water cools not love.

Friday, June 26, 2015

No, Time, Thou Shalt Not Boast

Listen to:

No, Time, Thou Shalt Not Boast (:57)

by William Shakespeare

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Sonnet 123

No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change:
Thy pyramids built up with newer might
To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;
They are but dressings of a former sight.
Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire
What thou dost foist upon us that is old;
And rather make them born to our desire
Than think that we before have heard them told.
Thy registers and thee I both defy,
Not wondering at the present nor the past,
For thy records and what we see doth lie,
Made more or less by thy continual haste.
This I do vow and this shall ever be;
I will be true despite thy scythe and thee.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

John Milton

Listen to:

When I Consider How My Light Is Spent (:59)

by John Milton

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Sonnet 19

Text of Poem

When I consider how my light is spent,
   Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
   And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
   My true account, lest He returning chide;
   "Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
   Either man's work or His own gifts. Who best
   Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed,
   And post o'er land and ocean without rest;

   They also serve who only stand and wait."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Silver Swan

Listen to:

The Silver Swan (:36)

by Orlando Gibbons

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Text of Poem

The silver swan, who living had no note,
When death approached, unlocked her silent throat;
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
Thus sung her first and last, and sung no more:
“Farewell, all joys; Oh death, come close mine eyes;
More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Happy the Man

Listen to:

Happy the Man (:33)

by Horace (translation by John Dryden)

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Book III of Odes
Ode 29, section 8

 Happy the man, and happy he alone,
 He who can call today his own:
 He who, secure within, can say,
 Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.
 Be fair or foul or rain or shine
 The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
 Not Heaven itself upon the past has power,
 But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ulysses (II)

Listen to:

Ulysses (II) (1:50)

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
    There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
    Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought
            with me—
    That ever with a frolic welcome took
    The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
    Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
    Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
    Death closes all: but something ere the end,
    Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
    Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
    The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
    The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
    Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
    'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
    Push off, and sitting well in order smite
    The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
    To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
    Of all the western stars, until I die.
    It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
    It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
    And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
    Though much is taken, much abides; and though
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Hyades - a constellation of stars associated with rain

The Happy Isles -  the Elysian Fields, believed by some to be the resting place of heroes after death;