Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Speak the Speech

Charles Cattermole, Hamlet and the Players (1878)
Folger Digital Image Collection

Listen to:
Speak the Speech (3:09)
Hamlet's Advice to the Players
from Hamlet
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Hamlet Act III, scene II

Hamlet advises the traveling players on how to perform the speech he has written for them to insert into the evening’s entertainment, The Murder of Gonzago.

HAMLET 
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to
you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it,
as many of your players do, I had as lief the
town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air
too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget
a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it
offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to
very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who
for the most part are capable of nothing but
inexplicable dumbshows and noise: I would have such
a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it
out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it.

...


HAMLET 
Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion
be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is
from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the
first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the
mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of
the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone,
or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
censure of the which one must in your allowance
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be
players that I have seen play, and heard others
praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely,
that, neither having the accent of Christians nor
the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so
strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of
nature's journeymen had made men and not made them
well, they imitated humanity so abominably.

And let those that play
your clowns speak no more than is set down for them;
for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to
set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh
too; though, in the mean time, some necessary
question of the play be then to be considered:
that's villanous, and shows a most pitiful ambition
in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I Know Thee Not, Old Man


Listen to:
from Henry IV, Part II
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Henry IV, part 2 – Act V, Scene 4
Prince Henry, having indeed redeemed himself in his father’s eyes,  
upon the death of his father now King Henry V, 
walks along a London street, where he passes Falstaff, 
his profligate former mentor of vices. 
The old sinner calls out piteously to him, 
“My king! my Jove! I speak to thee, my heart!” 
King Henry replies:

KING HENRY V 
I know thee not, old man: fall to thy prayers;
How ill white hairs become a fool and jester!
I have long dream'd of such a kind of man,
So surfeit-swell'd, so old and so profane;
But, being awaked, I do despise my dream.
Make less thy body hence, and more thy grace;
Leave gormandizing; know the grave doth gape
For thee thrice wider than for other men.
Reply not to me with a fool-born jest:
Presume not that I am the thing I was;
For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn'd away my former self;
So will I those that kept me company.
When thou dost hear I am as I have been,
Approach me, and thou shalt be as thou wast,
The tutor and the feeder of my riots:
Till then, I banish thee, on pain of death,
As I have done the rest of my misleaders,
Not to come near our person by ten mile.
For competence of life I will allow you,
That lack of means enforce you not to evil:
And, as we hear you do reform yourselves,
We will, according to your strengths and qualities,
Give you advancement. Be it your charge, my lord,
To see perform'd the tenor of our word. Set on.

Monday, September 28, 2015

I Will Redeem All This

Jeremy Irons as King Henry IV and Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal in The Hollow Crown (2012)

Listen to:
from Henry IV, Part I
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

In Act 3, scene 2, Hal has audience with the king, his father. 
The prince’s lewd behavior, “barren pleasures and rude society” 
greatly pain his father, 
who accuses him of being more an enemy to him 
than Henry Percy, know as Hotspur, 
his rival for the throne. 
Thoroughly shamed by the accusation, 
Prince Hal answers his father:

PRINCE HENRY 
Do not think so; you shall not find it so:
And God forgive them that so much have sway'd
Your majesty's good thoughts away from me!
I will redeem all this on Percy's head
And in the closing of some glorious day
Be bold to tell you that I am your son;
When I will wear a garment all of blood
And stain my favours in a bloody mask,
Which, wash'd away, shall scour my shame with it:
And that shall be the day, whene'er it lights,
That this same child of honour and renown,
This gallant Hotspur, this all-praised knight,
And your unthought-of Harry chance to meet.
For every honour sitting on his helm,
Would they were multitudes, and on my head
My shames redoubled! for the time will come,
That I shall make this northern youth exchange
His glorious deeds for my indignities.
Percy is but my factor, good my lord,
To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf;
And I will call him to so strict account,
That he shall render every glory up,
Yea, even the slightest worship of his time,
Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart.
This, in the name of God, I promise here:
The which if He be pleased I shall perform,
I do beseech your majesty may salve
The long-grown wounds of my intemperance:
If not, the end of life cancels all bands;
And I will die a hundred thousand deaths
Ere break the smallest parcel of this vow.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I Know You All

Listen to:
from Henry IV, Part I
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Henry IV, Part I – Act I, scene ii – Prince Hal

Prince Henry, or Hal, the wayward son of Henry IV, 
wastes his afternoon bandying wits with Falstaff 
and his crew of low-lifes, 
even agreeing to accompany them 
in their plans for robbery. 
But when they leave the stage, 
Hal reveals his darker purpose – 
to cast them all aside when the time is ripe:

PRINCE HENRY 
I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humour of your idleness:
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at,
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But when they seldom come, they wish'd for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So, when this loose behavior I throw off
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

This Was the Noblest Roman of Them All

from Julius Caesar
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Act V, scene v
Antony’s word indeed stir the hearts of the people and civil war quickly breaks out, with Antony leading the charge against Brutus and Cassius. In the end, facing eminent defeat both Cassius and then Brutus run on their swords. When Antony encounters the body of Brutus, he speaks this eulogy:


ANTONY 
This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world 'This was a man!'


Friday, September 25, 2015

If You Have Tears

Listen to:
If You Have Tears (3:13)
from Julius Caesar
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Act 3, scene 2

Antony, after much struggle to win over a hostile crowd, speaks to them over the body of Caesar:

ANTONY 
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii:
Look, in this place ran Cassius' dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb'd;
And as he pluck'd his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow'd it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock'd, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey's statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us.
O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel
The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold
Our Caesar's vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with traitors.

ANTONY 
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable:
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it: they are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man,
That love my friend; and that they know full well
That gave me public leave to speak of him:
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood: I only speak right on;
I tell you that which you yourselves do know;
Show you sweet Caesar's wounds, poor poor dumb mouths,
And bid them speak for me: but were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue
In every wound of Caesar that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

O Pardon Me, Thou Bleeding Piece of Earth


from Julius Caesar
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


One by one, the conspirators plunge their daggers into Caesar’s body.
Antony, having fled the Capitol in horror at the assassination of Caesar, warily  returns and humbly presents himself to the conspirators, deftly winning their consent to deliver Caesar’s funeral oration. When the conspirators leave the stage, Antony is left alone with the body of Caesar.

ANTONY 
O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,--
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue--
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Could Be Well Moved


Listen to:
I Could Be Well Moved (:59)
from Julius Caesar
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Act 3, scene 1
On the Ides of March, Caesar answers the plea of the conspirators for mercy on Publius Cimber.

CAESAR
I could be well moved, if I were as you:
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there's but one in all doth hold his place:
So in the world; 'tis furnish'd well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion: and that I am he,
Let me a little show it, even in this;
That I was constant Cimber should be banish'd,
And constant do remain to keep him so.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It Must Be By His Death

James Mason as Brutus from the film Julius Caesar (1953)

Listen to:
It Must Be By His Death (1:39)
from Julius Caesar
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Act II, scene i
Later that evening, Brutus contemplates the action he must take against Caesar.

BRUTUS 
It must be by his death: and for my part,
I know no personal cause to spurn at him,
But for the general. He would be crown'd:
How that might change his nature, there's the question.
It is the bright day that brings forth the adder;
And that craves wary walking. Crown him?--that;--
And then, I grant, we put a sting in him,
That at his will he may do danger with.
The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins
Remorse from power: and, to speak truth of Caesar,
I have not known when his affections sway'd
More than his reason. But 'tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round.
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend. So Caesar may.
Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
Will bear no colour for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mischievous,
And kill him in the shell.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Well, Brutus, Thou Art Noble


Listen to:
from Julius Caesar
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Promising to seriously consider Cassius’words, though wary of  intentions, Brutus leaves Cassius alone. Cassius speaks:

Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see,
Thy honourable metal may be wrought
From that it is disposed: therefore it is meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduced?
Caesar doth bear me hard; but he loves Brutus:
If I were Brutus now and he were Cassius,
He should not humour me. I will this night,
In several hands, in at his windows throw,
As if they came from several citizens,
Writings all tending to the great opinion
That Rome holds of his name; wherein obscurely
Caesar's ambition shall be glanced at:
And after this let Caesar seat him sure;
For we will shake him, or worse days endure.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Know That Virtue

John Gielgud as Cassius and James Mason as Brutus in Julius Caesar (1953)

Listen to:
from Julius Caesar
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


As Caesar enters Rome, Brutus, a Roman senator, fears the people will appoint Caesar dictator for life and torn about the honorable action to take, listens to the words of Cassius, a fellow senator.

Act I scene 2

CASSIUS
I know that virtue to be in you, Brutus,
As well as I do know your outward favour.
Well, honour is the subject of my story.
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.
I was born free as Caesar; so were you:
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter's cold as well as he:
For once, upon a raw and gusty day,
The troubled Tiber chafing with her shores,
Caesar said to me 'Darest thou, Cassius, now
Leap in with me into this angry flood,
And swim to yonder point?' Upon the word,
Accoutred as I was, I plunged in
And bade him follow; so indeed he did.
The torrent roar'd, and we did buffet it
With lusty sinews, throwing it aside
And stemming it with hearts of controversy;
But ere we could arrive the point proposed,
Caesar cried 'Help me, Cassius, or I sink!'
I, as Aeneas, our great ancestor,
Did from the flames of Troy upon his shoulder
The old Anchises bear, so from the waves of Tiber
Did I the tired Caesar. And this man
Is now become a god, and Cassius is
A wretched creature and must bend his body,
If Caesar carelessly but nod on him.
He had a fever when he was in Spain,
And when the fit was on him, I did mark
How he did shake: 'tis true, this god did shake;
His coward lips did from their colour fly,
And that same eye whose bend doth awe the world
Did lose his lustre: I did hear him groan:
Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans
Mark him and write his speeches in their books,
Alas, it cried 'Give me some drink, Titinius,'
As a sick girl. Ye gods, it doth amaze me
A man of such a feeble temper should
So get the start of the majestic world
And bear the palm alone.




CASSIUS
Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that 'Caesar'?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was famed with more than with one man?
When could they say till now, that talk'd of Rome,
That her wide walls encompass'd but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
O, you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once that would have brook'd
The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Wherefore Rejoice?


Listen to:
from Julius Caesar
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


Act 1, Scene 1
The Scene is a street in Rome, 44 B.C.
As the commoners gather to celebrate the triumphant return of Julius Caesar, Marullus, a tribune,  rebukes them.

MARULLUS
Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?

What tributaries follow him to Rome,

To grace in captive bonds his chariot-wheels?

You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!

O you hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,

Knew you not Pompey? Many a time and oft

Have you climb'd up to walls and battlements,

To towers and windows, yea, to chimney-tops,

Your infants in your arms, and there have sat

The livelong day, with patient expectation,

To see great Pompey pass the streets of Rome:

And when you saw his chariot but appear,

Have you not made an universal shout,

That Tiber trembled underneath her banks,

To hear the replication of your sounds

Made in her concave shores?

And do you now put on your best attire?

And do you now cull out a holiday?

And do you now strew flowers in his way

That comes in triumph over Pompey's blood?
Be gone!
Run to your houses, fall upon your knees,

Pray to the gods to intermit the plague

That needs must light on this ingratitude.


Friday, September 18, 2015

His Request to Julia


Listen to:
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


JULIA, if I chance to die

Ere I print my poetry,

I most humbly thee desire

To commit it to the fire:

Better 'twere my book were dead

Than to live not perfected.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

His Sailing from Julia


Listen to:
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


When that day comes, whose evening says I'm gone

Unto that watery desolation,

Devoutly to thy closet-gods then pray

That my wing'd ship may meet no remora.

Those deities which circum-walk the seas,

And look upon our dreadful passages,

Will from all dangers re-deliver me

For one drink-offering poured out by thee.

Mercy and truth live with thee ! and forbear

(In my short absence) to unsluice a tear;

But yet for love's sake let thy lips do this,

Give my dead picture one engendering kiss:

Work that to life, and let me ever dwell

In thy remembrance, Julia. So farewell.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cherries & Voice


Listen to:
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


CHERRY-PIT




Julia and I did lately sit

Playing for sport at cherry-pit:

She threw; I cast; and, having thrown,

I got the pit, and she the stone.




CHERRY-RIPE.


Cherry-Ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry,

Full and fair ones; come and buy.

If so be you ask me where

They do grow, I answer: There,

Where my Julia's lips do smile ;

There's the land, or cherry-isle,

Whose plantations fully show

All the year where cherries grow.


UPON JULIA'S VOICE




So smooth, so sweet, so silv'ry is thy voice

As, could they hear, the damn'd would make no noise,

But listen to thee, walking in thy chamber,

Melting melodious words to lutes of amber.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

To Julia


Listen to:
To Julia (1:37)
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

HOW rich and pleasing thou, my Julia, art

In each thy dainty and peculiar part!

First, for thy queenship, on thy head is set

Of flowers a sweet commingled coronet :

About thy neck a carcanet* is bound,

Made of the ruby, pearl and diamond :

A golden ring that shines upon thy thumb:

About thy wrist, the rich dardanium.*
*
Between thy breasts (than down of swans more white)

There plays the sapphire with the chrysolite.

No part besides must of thyself be known,

But by the topaz, opal, calcedon.



*Carcanet, necklace.


** Dardanium, a bracelet, from Dardanus so called.
(Note in the original edition.)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Yea, I Have a Goodly Heritage


Listen to:
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

MY vineyard that is mine I have to keep,
  Pruning for fruit the pleasant twigs and leaves.
Tend thou thy cornfield: one day thou shalt reap
  In joy thy ripened sheaves.

Or if thine be an orchard, graft and prop        5
  Food-bearing trees each watered in its place:
Or if a garden, let it yield for crop
  Sweet herbs and herb of grace.—

But if my lot be sand where nothing grows?—
  Nay, who hath said it? Tune a thankful psalm:        10
For tho’ thy desert bloom not as the rose,
  It yet can rear thy palm.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Up-Hill

Jean-Baptiste Camile Corot (1796-1875)

Listen to:
Up-Hill (1:09)
by Christina Rossetti
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

DOES the road wind up-hill all the way?
  Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
  From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?        5
  A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
  You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
  Those who have gone before.        10
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
  They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
  Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?        15
  Yea, beds for all who come.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

At Home


Listen to:
At Home (1:53)
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


WHEN I was dead, my spirit turned
  To seek the much-frequented house:
I passed the door, and saw my friends
  Feasting beneath green orange boughs:
From hand to hand they pushed the wine,        5
  They sucked the pulp of plum and peach;
They sang, they jested, and they laughed,
  For each was loved of each.

I listened to their honest chat:
  Said one: “To-morrow we shall be        10
Plod plod along the featureless sands
  And coasting miles and miles of sea.”
Said one: “Before the turn of tide
  We will achieve the eyrie-seat.”
Said one: “To-morrow shall be like        15
  To-day, but much more sweet.”

“To-morrow,” said they, strong with hope,
  And dwelt upon the pleasant way:
“To-morrow,” cried they one and all,
  While no one spoke of yesterday.        20
Their life stood full at blessed noon;
  I, only I, had passed away:
“To-morrow and to-day,” they cried;
  I was of yesterday.

I shivered comfortless, but cast        25
  No chill across the tablecloth;
I all-forgotten shivered, sad
  To stay and yet to part how loth:
I passed from the familiar room,
  I who from love had passed away,        30
Like the remembrance of a guest,
  That tarrieth but a day.


Friday, September 11, 2015

An Echo from Willowwood

(Vasily Polenov 1844-1927)

Listen to:
performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

“Oh ye, all ye that walk in willowwood.”

TWO gazed into a pool, he gazed and she,
  Not hand in hand, yet heart in heart, I think,
  Pale and reluctant on the water’s brink,
As on the brink of parting which must be.
Each eyed the other’s aspect, she and he,        5
  Each felt one hungering heart leap up and sink,
  Each tasted bitterness which both must drink,
There on the brink of life’s dividing sea.
Lilies upon the surface, deep below
  Two wistful faces craving each for each,        10
    Resolute and reluctant without speech:—
A sudden ripple made the faces flow
  One moment joined, to vanish out of reach:
    So those hearts joined, and ah! were parted so.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The River of Life


Listen to:

The River of Life (1:15)

by Thomas Campbell

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


The more we live, more brief appear
  Our life’s succeeding stages:
A day to childhood seems a year,
  And years like passing ages.

The gladsome current of our youth,      
  Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
  Along its grassy borders.

But as the care-worn cheeks grow wan,
  And sorrow’s shafts fly thicker,      
Ye Stars, that measure life to man,
  Why seem your courses quicker?

When joys have lost their bloom and breath
  And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death,      
  Feel we its tide more rapid?

It may be strange—yet who would change
  Time’s course to slower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone
  And left our bosoms bleeding?      

Heaven gives our years of fading strength
  Indemnifying fleetness;
And those of youth, a seeming length,
  Proportion’d to their sweetness.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

When I Was One and Twenty


Listen to:

When I Was One and Twenty (:57)

by A.E. Housman

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


When I was one-and-twenty

  I heard a wise man say,

‘Give crowns and pounds and guineas

  But not your heart away;


Give pearls away and rubies
     
  But keep your fancy free.

But I was one-and-twenty,

  No use to talk to me.


When I was one-and-twenty

  I heard him say again,
     
‘The heart out of the bosom

  Was never given in vain;

’Tis paid with sighs a plenty

  And sold for endless rue.’

And I am two-and-twenty,
     
  And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.