Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Birthday

Listen to:

A Birthday (:55)

by Christina Rossetti 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

In celebration of the wedding of my dear friends, Casey Rich and Jillian Smith

My heart is like a singing bird 
                  Whose nest is in a water'd shoot; 
My heart is like an apple-tree 
                  Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit; 
My heart is like a rainbow shell 
                  That paddles in a halcyon sea; 
My heart is gladder than all these 
                  Because my love is come to me. 

Raise me a dais of silk and down; 
                  Hang it with vair and purple dyes; 
Carve it in doves and pomegranates, 
                  And peacocks with a hundred eyes; 
Work it in gold and silver grapes, 
                  In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys; 
Because the birthday of my life 
                  Is come, my love is come to me. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Come Lovely and Soothing Death

Listen to:

 Come Lovely and Soothing Death (1:26)

by Walt Whitman 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

from "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d"
from Leaves of Grass
by Walt Whitman

Come lovely and soothing death,
Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
Sooner or later delicate death.

Prais'd be the fathomless universe,
For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious,
And for love, sweet love--but praise! praise! praise!
For the sure-enwinding arms of cool-enfolding death.

Dark mother always gliding near with soft feet,
Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome?
Then I chant it for thee, I glorify thee above all,
I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly.

Approach strong deliveress,
When it is so, when thou hast taken them I joyously sing the dead,
Lost in the loving floating ocean of thee,
Laved in the flood of thy bliss O death.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Listen to:

June (:41)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Mine is the Month of Roses; yes, and mine
The Month of Marriages! All pleasant sights
And scents, the fragrance of the blossoming vine,
The foliage of the valleys and the heights.
Mine are the longest days, the loveliest nights;
The mower's scythe makes music to my ear;
I am the mother of all dear delights;
I am the fairest daughter of the year.

Photo from Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Song of Joys

Listen to:

A Song of Joys (1:36)

by Walt Whitman 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Walt Whitman was born this day is 1819 in West Hills, near Huntington, Long Island

  O to make the most jubilant song!
  Full of music--full of manhood, womanhood, infancy!
  Full of common employments--full of grain and trees.

  O for the voices of animals--O for the swiftness and balance of fishes!
  O for the dropping of raindrops in a song!
  O for the sunshine and motion of waves in a song!


  O to sail to sea in a ship!
  To leave this steady unendurable land,
  To leave the tiresome sameness of the streets, the sidewalks and the
  To leave you O you solid motionless land, and entering a ship,
  To sail and sail and sail!

  O to have life henceforth a poem of new joys!
  To dance, clap hands, exult, shout, skip, leap, roll on, float on!
  To be a sailor of the world bound for all ports,
  A ship itself, (see indeed these sails I spread to the sun and air,)
  A swift and swelling ship full of rich words, full of joys.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

To all my loyal readers and listeners over this more than one year past:

I have been steadily blog-casting a classic poem each day since April 24, 2015. Due to a heavy burden of recording, writing, and performing commitments, I'll be pulling back now, blog-casting here from Eclectic Rhapsodics less frequently and not always a recorded poem, but sometimes hopefully interesting tidbits about rhapsodizing, about poetics (the workings of poetry), about voice, and about the Rhapsode Renaissance I would like to see become a reality. Sometimes I'll speak, sometimes I'll perform, sometimes I'll write. I will still be offering what I believe is content worthy of the attention of lovers of classic poetry, dramatically performed. Just not every single day.

I have started two new podcasts available free through iTunes:

The Vintage Verse Voice is currently sending out daily poems poems from my personal archive, most of which have been blog-cast from here last year and before.

Rhapsodize Audio is currently sending out daily poems from the Rhapsodize catalog of rhapsodies, a diverse collection of classic poems recorded by various members of Rhapsodize from around the world.

Podcasting through iTunes is a way to reach a different audience, ones who may not subscribe to weblogs like this one. It's also possibly a more convenient way for some of you to receive your regular doses of classic poetry, dramatically performed.

Please consider subscribing to these podcasts. They also may not continue on a daily basis, but possibly thrice weekly, or even weekly. Their content will include mini-essays on poets, poetry, poetics, rhapsodics (the art of the rhapsode), updates on the growth of the Rhapsode Renaissance, and all things related to rhapsodizing.

And please stay subscribed and on the lookout for email notices of new postings here on Eclectic Rhapsodics. I'll still be offering them, just not always every day.

Once again, thank you for your attention to my offerings in the past and I hope to keep you entertained, informed, and enriched for years to come. 


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May Song

Listen to:

May Song (1:18)

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

translated by A. S. Kline* 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

How sweetly Nature
Brightens round me!
How the sun’s shining!
How the fields gleam!

Blossoms are bursting
From every leaf,
Thousands of voices
From bushes beneath,

And joy and bliss
From every eye.
O Earth, O Sun!
O Joy, O Delight.

O Love, O Love!
So golden fair,
Like morning clouds
On the hillside there!

Your splendour blesses
The fields so fresh,
The whole wide world
In a blossoming mist.

O Darling, Darling,
How I love you!
How your eyes shine!
How you love too!

So the lark loves
Singing on high,
And flowers at dawn
The scented sky,

As I love you
With veins on fire,
You who give me
Youth, Joy, Desire

For new dances
New poetry.
Be happy forever,
As you love me!

Monday, May 23, 2016


Listen to:

Imagination  (1:08)

by John Davidson 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

There is a dish to hold the sea,
  A brazier to contain the sun,
A compass for the galaxy,
  A voice to wake the dead and done!

That minister of ministers,
  Imagination, gathers up
The undiscovered Universe,
  Like jewels in a jasper cup.
Its flame can mingle north and south;
  Its accent with the thunder strive;
The ruddy sentence of its mouth
  Can make the ancient dead alive.

The mart of power, the fount of will,
  The form and mould of every star,
The source and bound of good and ill,
  The key of all the things that are,

Imagination, new and strange
  In every age, can turn the year;
Can shift the poles and lightly change
  The mood of men, the world's career.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Listen to:

Dirge (:43)

by Edna St. Vincent Millay 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

     Boys and girls that held her dear,
       Do your weeping now;
     All you loved of her lies here.

     Brought to earth the arrogant brow,
       And the withering tongue
     Chastened; do your weeping now.

     Sing whatever songs are sung,
       Wind whatever wreath,
     For a playmate perished young,

     For a spirit spent in death.
     Boys and girls that held her dear,
     All you loved of her lies here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

If —

Listen to:

If — (2:06)

by Rudyard Kipling 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son! 

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Eternal Saki

Listen to:

The Eternal Saki (1:05)

by Omar Khayyam

translated by Edward Fitzgerald 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, verses 44, 46-47
translated by Edward Fitzgerald

    Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside,
    And naked on the Air of Heaven ride,
    Were't not a Shame--were't not a Shame for him
    In this clay carcase crippled to abide?

    And fear not lest Existence closing your
    Account, and mine, should know the like no more;
    The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has pour'd
    Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.

    When You and I behind the Veil are past,
    Oh, but the long, long while the World shall last,
    Which of our Coming and Departure heeds
    As the Sea's self should heed a pebble-cast.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Angel of the Darker Drink

Listen to:

Angel of the Darker Drink (:47)

by Omar Khayyam

translated by Edward Fitzgerald 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, verses 42-43
translated by Edward Fitzgerald

    And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press
    End in what All begins and ends in--Yes;
    Think then you are To-day what Yesterday
    You were--To-morrow You shall not be less.

    So when that Angel of the darker Drink
    At last shall find you by the river-brink,
    And, offering his Cup, invite your Soul
    Forth to your Lips to quaff--you shall not shrink.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Like an Empty Cup

Listen to:

Like an Empty Cup (:59)

by Omar Khayyam

translated by Edward Fitzgerald 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, verses 38-40
translated by Edward Fitzgerald

    And has not such a Story from of Old
    Down Man's successive generations roll'd
    Of such a clod of saturated Earth
    Cast by the Maker into Human mould?

    And not a drop that from our Cups we throw
    For Earth to drink of, but may steal below
    To quench the fire of Anguish in some Eye
    There hidden--far beneath, and long ago.

    As then the Tulip for her morning sup
    Of Heav'nly Vintage from the soil looks up,
    Do you devoutly do the like, till Heav'n
    To Earth invert you--like an empty Cup.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Secret of My Life

Listen to:

The Secret of My Life (1:04)

by Omar Khayyam

translated by Edward Fitzgerald 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, verses 35-37
translated by Edward Fitzgerald

    Then to the lip of this poor earthen Urn
    I lean'd, the Secret of my Life to learn:
    And Lip to Lip it murmur'd--"While you live
    Drink!--for, once dead, you never shall return."

    I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
    Articulation answer'd, once did live,
    And drink; and Ah! the passive Lip I kiss'd,
    How many Kisses might it take--and give!

    For I remember stopping by the way
    To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay:
    And with its all-obliterated Tongue
    It murmur'd--"Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Dance for Rain

Listen to:

A Dance for Rain (4:25)

by Witter Bynner 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Used with permission from The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry,
which retains full rights to the text of this poem. 

Painting "Embers" by Tony Abeyta

You may never see rain, unless you see
A dance for rain at Cochiti,
Never hear thunder in the air
Unless you hear the thunder there,
Nor know the lightning in the sky
If there’s no pole to know it by …
They dipped the pole just as I came,
And I can never be the same
Since this feathers gave my brow
The touch of wind that’s on it now,
Bringing over the arid lands
Butterfly gestures from Hopi hands
And holding me, till earth shall fail,
As close to earth as a fox’s tail.

I saw them, naked, dance in line 
Before the candles of a leafy shrine;
Before a saint in a Christian dress
I saw them dance their holiness,
I saw them reminding him all day long
That death is weak and life is strong
And urging the fertile earth to yield
Seed from the loin and seed from the field.
A feather in the hair and a shell at the throat
Were lifting and falling with every note
Of the chorus-voices and the drum,
Calling for the rain to come.
A fox on the back, and shaken on the thigh
Rain cloth woven from the sky,
And under the knee a turtle-rattle
Clacking with the toes of sheep and cattle —
These were the men, their bodies painted
Earthen, with a white rain slanted;
These were the men, a windy line,
Their elbows green with a growth of pine.
And in among them, close and slow,
Women moved the way things grow,
With a mesa-tablet on the head
And a little grassy creeping tread
And with sprays of pine moved back and forth,
While the dance of the men blew from the north,
Blew from the south and east and west
Over the field and over the breast.
And the heart was beating in the drum.
Beating for the rain to come.

Dead men out of earlier lives,
Leaving their graves, leaving their wives,
Were partly flesh and partly clay,
And their heads were corn that was dry and gray.
They were ghosts of men and once again
They were dancing like a ghost of rain;
For the spirits of men, the more they eat,
Have happier hands and lighter feet,
And the better they dance the better they know
How to make corn and children grow.

And so in Cochiti that day
They slowly put the sun away
And they made a cloud and they made it break
And they made it rain for the children’s sake.
And they never stopped the song or the drum
Pounding for the rain to come.

The rain made many suns to shine,
Golden bodies in a line
With leaping feather and swaying pine.
And the brighter the bodies, the brighter the rain
As thunder heaped it on the plain.
Arroyos had been empty, dry,
But now were running with the sky;
And the dancers’ feet were in a lake,
Dancing for the people’s sake.
And the hands of a ghost had made a cup
For scooping handfuls of water up;
And he poured it into a ghostly throat,
And he leaped and waved with every note
Of the dancers’ feet and the songs of the drum
That had called the rain and made it come.

For this was not a god of wood,
This was a god whose touch was good,
You could lie down in him and roll
And wet your body and wet your soul;
For this was not a god in a book,
This was a god that you tasted and took
Into a cup that you made with your hands,
Into your children and into your lands —
This was a god that you could see,

Rain, rain in Cochiti!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Python

Listen to:

The Python (:49)

by Hilaire Belloc 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

A Python I should not advise, —
It needs a doctor for its eyes,
And has the measles yearly.

However, if you feel inclined
To get one (to improve your mind,
And not from fashion merely),
Allow no music near its cage;
And when it flies into a rage
Chastise it most severely.

I had an Aunt in Yucatan
Who bought a Python from a man
And kept it for a pet.
She died because she never knew
These simple little rules and few; —
The snake is living yet.

(Python sketch by Timothy Young)

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Listen to:

Night (:31)

by Francis William Bourdillon 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.

The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies,
When love is done. 

Friday, May 13, 2016


Listen to:

Nature (:56)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

      As a fond mother when the day is o'er
      Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
      Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
      And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
      Still gazing at them through the open door,
      Nor wholly reassured and comforted
      By promises of others in their stead
      Which, though more splendid, may not please him more.
      So Nature deals with us and takes away
      Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
      Leads us to rest so gently, that we go,
      Scarce knowing if we wished to go or stay,
      Being too full of sleep to understand
      How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Your Noble Son is Mad

Listen to:

Your Noble Son is Mad (3:01)

by William Shakespeare 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

as Polonius
and with Bobby Ann Loper as Gertrude

from Hamlet, Act II, scene ii

My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

More matter, with less art.

Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.
Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains
That we find out the cause of this effect,
Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
For this effect defective comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus. Perpend.
I have a daughter--have while she is mine--
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this: now gather, and surmise.

'To the celestial and my soul's idol, the most
beautified Ophelia,'--

That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; 'beautified' is
a vile phrase: but you shall hear. Thus:

'In her excellent white bosom, these, & c.'

Came this from Hamlet to her?

Good madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful.

'Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.
'O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers;
I have not art to reckon my groans: but that
I love thee best, O most best, believe it. Adieu.
'Thine evermore most dear lady, whilst
this machine is to him, HAMLET.'

This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me,
And more above, hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means and place,
All given to mine ear.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

No Second Troy

Listen to:

No Second Troy (:50)

by William Butler Yeats 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Why should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late

Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
Had they but courage equal to desire?

What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,

With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind

That is not natural in an age like this,

Being high and solitary and most stern?

Why, what could she have done being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What Riches Have You

Listen to:

What Riches Have You (:59)

  by George Santayana  

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

What riches have you that you deem me poor,
Or what large comfort that you call me sad?
Tell me what makes you so exceeding glad:
Is your earth happy or your heaven sure?
I hope for heaven, since the stars endure
And bring such tidings as our fathers had.
I know no deeper doubt to make me mad,
I need no brighter love to keep me pure.

To me the faiths of old are daily bread;
I bless their hope, I bless their will to save,
 And my deep heart still meaneth what they said.
It makes me happy that the soul is brave,
And, being so much kinsman to the dead,
I walk contented to the peopled grave.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Nuptial Verse

Listen to:

Nuptial Verse (1:25)

by Robert Herrick 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

To Mistress Elizabeth Lee, now Lady Tracy

Spring with the lark, most comely bride, and meet 
Your eager bridegroom with auspicious feet. 
The morn's far spent, and the immortal sun 
Corals* his cheek to see those rites not done. 
Fie, lovely maid ! Indeed you are too slow, 
When to the temple Love should run, not go. 
Dispatch your dressing then, and quickly wed ; 
Then feast, and coy't a little, then to bed. 
This day is Love's day, and this busy night 
Is yours, in which you challenged are to fight 
With such an arm'd, but such an easy foe, 
As will, if you yield, lie down conquer'd too. 
The field is pitch'd, but such must be your wars, 
As that your kisses must outvie the stars. 
Fall down together vanquished both, and lie 
Drown'd in the blood of rubies there, not die.

*Corals, reddens.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

After the Sea-Ship

Listen to:

After the Sea-Ship (1:24)

by Walt Whitman 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

  After the sea-ship, after the whistling winds,
  After the white-gray sails taut to their spars and ropes,
  Below, a myriad myriad waves hastening, lifting up their necks,
  Tending in ceaseless flow toward the track of the ship,
  Waves of the ocean bubbling and gurgling, blithely prying,
  Waves, undulating waves, liquid, uneven, emulous waves,
  Toward that whirling current, laughing and buoyant, with curves,
  Where the great vessel sailing and tacking displaced the surface,
  Larger and smaller waves in the spread of the ocean yearnfully flowing,
  The wake of the sea-ship after she passes, flashing and frolicsome
      under the sun,
  A motley procession with many a fleck of foam and many fragments,
  Following the stately and rapid ship, in the wake following.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mezzo Cammin

Listen to:

Mezzo Cammin (1:05)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Half of my life is gone, and I have let 
   The years slip from me and have not fulfilled 
   The aspiration of my youth, to build 
   Some tower of song with lofty parapet. 
Not indolence, nor pleasure, nor the fret 
   Of restless passions that would not be stilled, 
   But sorrow, and a care that almost killed, 
   Kept me from what I may accomplish yet; 
Though, half-way up the hill, I see the Past 
   Lying beneath me with its sounds and sights,— 
   A city in the twilight dim and vast, 
With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights,— 
   And hear above me on the autumnal blast 
   The cataract of Death far thundering from the heights.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Two Hymns to Love

Listen to:

Two Hymns to Love (1:04)

by Robert Herrick 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

A Short Hymn to Venus

Goddess, I do love a Girl
Ruby-lipp’d, and tooth’d with Pearl:
If so be, I may but prove
Lucky in the Maid I love:
I will promise there shall be
Myrtles offer’d up to Thee.

A Hymn to Venus and Cupid

Sea-born Goddess, let me be
By thy son thus grac'd, and thee;
That whene’er I woo, I find 
Virgins coy, but not unkind.
Let me, when I kiss a maid,
Taste her lips, so over-laid
With Love-syrup, that I may,
In your Temple, when I pray,
Kiss the Altar, and confess
There’s in love no bitterness.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Light Exists in Spring

Listen to:

A Light Exists in Spring (:57)

by Emily Dickinson 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

A light exists in spring
  Not present on the year
At any other period.
  When March is scarcely here

A color stands abroad
  On solitary hills
That silence cannot overtake,
  But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;
  It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
  It almost speaks to me.
Then, as horizons step,
  Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
  It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
  Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
  Upon a sacrament.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Listen to:

May (:36)

by Sara Teasdale 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The wind is tossing the lilacs,
The new leaves laugh in the sun,
And the petals fall on the orchard wall,
But for me the spring is done.

Beneath the apple blossoms
I go a wintry way,
For love that smiled in April
Is false to me in May. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Night

Listen to:

May Night (:35)

by Sara Teasdale 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The spring is fresh and fearless
And every leaf is new,
The world is brimmed with moonlight,
The lilac brimmed with dew.

Here in the moving shadows
I catch my breath and sing--
My heart is fresh and fearless
And over-brimmed with spring. 

Monday, May 2, 2016


Listen to:

May (:40)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

from The Poet's Calendar

Hark! The sea-faring wild-fowl loud proclaim
My coming, and the swarming of the bees.
These are my heralds, and behold! my name
Is written in blossoms on the hawthorn-trees.
I tell the mariner when to sail the seas;
I waft o'er all the land from far away
The breath and bloom of the Hesperides,
My birthplace. I am Maia. I am May.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Song on May Morning

Listen to:

Song on May Morning (:47)

by John Milton 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Now the bright morning Star, Dayes harbinger,
  Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
  The Flowry May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow Cowslip, and the pale Primrose.
  Hail bounteous May that dost inspire 
  Mirth and youth, and warm desire,
  Woods and Groves, are of thy dressing,
  Hill and Dale, doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early Song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.  

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Last of April

Listen to:

The Last of April (1:09)

by John Clare 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Old April wanes, and her last dewy morn
Her death-bed steeps in tears:--to hail the May
New blooming blossoms 'neath the sun are born,
And all poor April's charms are swept away.
The early primrose, peeping once so gay,
Is now chok'd up with many a mounting weed,
And the poor violet we once admir'd
Creeps in the grass unsought for--flowers succeed,
Gaudy and new, and more to be desired,
And of the old the school-boy seemeth tired.
So with us all, poor April, as with thee!
Each hath his day;--the future brings my fears:
Friends may grow weary, new flowers rising be,
And my last end, like thine, be steep'd in tears.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls

Listen to:

The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls (1:06)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

  The tide rises, the tide falls,
  The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
  Along the sea-sands damp and brown
  The traveller hastens toward the town,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

  Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
  But the sea in the darkness calls and calls;
  The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
  Efface the footprints in the sands,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

  The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
  Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
  The day returns, but nevermore
  Returns the traveller to the shore,
    And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Galaxy

Listen to:

The Galaxy (1:01)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

      Torrent of light and river of the air,
      Along whose bed the glimmering stars are seen
      Like gold and silver sands in some ravine
      Where mountain streams have left their channels bare!
      The Spaniard sees in thee the pathway, where
      His patron saint descended in the sheen
      Of his celestial armor, on serene
      And quiet nights, when all the heavens were fair.
      Not this I see, nor yet the ancient fable
      Of Phaeton's wild course, that scorched the skies
      Wherever the hoofs of his hot coursers trod;
      But the white drift of worlds o'er chasms of sable,
      The star-dust, that is whirled aloft and flies
      From the invisible chariot-wheels of God.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Michael Robartes bids his Beloved be at Peace

Listen to:

Michael Robartes bids his Beloved be at Peace (1:15)

by William Butler Yeats 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

I hear the Shadowy Horses, their long manes a-shake,
Their hoofs heavy with tumult, their eyes glimmering white;
The North unfolds above them clinging, creeping night,
The East her hidden joy before the morning break,
The West weeps in pale dew and sighs passing away,
The South is pouring down roses of crimson fire:
O vanity of Sleep, Hope, Dream, endless Desire,
The Horses of Disaster plunge in the heavy clay:
Beloved, let your eyes half close, and your heart beat
Over my heart, and your hair fall over my breast,
Drowning love’s lonely hour in deep twilight of rest,
And hiding their tossing manes and their tumultuous feet.

from The Wind Among the Reeds (1899)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This Living Hand

Listen to:

This Living Hand (:41)

 by John Keats 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calmed—see here it is—
I hold it towards you.


Monday, April 25, 2016

The Fairies Dancing 1873

Listen to:

The Fairies Dancing (1:21)

by Walter de la Mare 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Walter de la Mare was born this day in 1873

I heard along the early hills,
  Ere yet the lark was risen up,
Ere yet the dawn with firelight fills
  The night-dew of the bramble-cup,--
I heard the fairies in a ring
  Sing as they tripped a lilting round
Soft as the moon on wavering wing.
  The starlight shook as if with sound,
As if with echoing, and the stars
  Prankt their bright eyes with trembling gleams;
While red with war the gusty Mars
  Rained upon earth his ruddy beams.
He shone alone, low down the West,
  While I, behind a hawthorn-bush,
Watched on the fairies flaxen-tressed
  The fires of the morning flush.
Till, as a mist, their beauty died,
  Their singing shrill and fainter grew;
And daylight tremulous and wide
  Flooded the moorland through and through;
Till Urdon's copper weathercock
  Was reared in golden flame afar,
And dim from moonlit dreams awoke
  The towers and groves of Arroar.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

From Fairest Creatures

Portrait of Sir John Scott

Listen to:

From Fairest Creatures (1:06)

by William Shakespeare 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Sonnet I

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel:
Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament,
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And, tender churl, mak'st waste in niggarding:
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Queen Mab

Painting by Johann Heinrich Fussli

Listen to:

Queen Mab (3:08)

by William Shakespeare  

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

William Shakespeare was most probably born this day in 1564
(inferred from his baptismal record April 26, 1564)

from Romeo and Juliet, Act I, scene iv

Romeo is on his way to crash the Capulet's party with a group of friends, including his best friend, Mercutio. They exchange this dialogue:

And we mean well in going to this mask;
But 'tis no wit to go.
Why, may one ask?
I dream'd a dream to-night.
And so did I.
Well, what was yours?
That dreamers often lie.

In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.

to which Mercutio answers:


O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the fore-finger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon-spokes made of long spinners' legs,
The cover of the wings of grasshoppers,
The traces of the smallest spider's web,
The collars of the moonshine's watery beams,
Her whip of cricket's bone, the lash of film,
Her wagoner a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight,
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees,
O'er ladies ' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are:
Sometime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometime comes she with a tithe-pig's tail
Tickling a parson's nose as a' lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice:
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five-fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night,
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes:
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage:
This is she--

Friday, April 22, 2016

How Can My Muse

Painting by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Listen to:

How Can My Muse (1:03)

by William Shakespeare 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode


How can my muse want subject to invent,
While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse
Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
O! give thy self the thanks, if aught in me
Worthy perusal stand against thy sight;
For who's so dumb that cannot write to thee,
When thou thy self dost give invention light?
Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate;
And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
Eternal numbers to outlive long date.
If my slight muse do please these curious days,
The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Love of Nature

Listen to:

Love of Nature (1:38)

by John Clare 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

  I love thee, Nature, with a boundless love!
  The calm of earth, the storm of roaring woods!
  The winds breathe happiness where'er I rove!
  There's life's own music in the swelling floods!
  My heart is in the thunder-melting clouds,
  The snow-cap't mountain, and the rolling sea!
  And hear ye not the voice where darkness shrouds
  The heavens? There lives happiness for me!
  My pulse beats calmer while His lightnings play!
  My eye, with earth's delusions waxing dim,
  Clears with the brightness of eternal day!
  The elements crash round me! It is He!
  Calmly I hear His voice and never start.
  From Eve's posterity I stand quite free,
  Nor feel her curses rankle round my heart.

  Love is not here. Hope is, and at His voice—
  The rolling thunder and the roaring sea—
  My pulses leap, and with the hills rejoice;
  Then strife and turmoil are at end for me.
  No matter where life's ocean leads me on,
  For Nature is my mother, and I rest,
  When tempests trouble and the sun is gone,
  Like to a weary child upon her breast.