Monday, February 29, 2016


Listen to:

Fulfilment (1:00)

by Paul Laurence Dunbar 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

  I grew a rose once more to please mine eyes.
  All things to aid it--dew, sun, wind, fair skies--
  Were kindly; and to shield it from despoil,
  I fenced it safely in with grateful toil.
  No other hand than mine shall pluck this flower, said I,
  And I was jealous of the bee that hovered nigh.
  It grew for days; I stood hour after hour
  To watch the slow unfolding of the flower,
  And then I did not leave its side at all,
  Lest some mischance my flower should befall.
  At last, oh joy! the central petals burst apart.
  It blossomed--but, alas! a worm was at its heart!

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Listen to:

Promise (:53)

by Paul Laurence Dunbar 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

  I grew a rose within a garden fair,
  And, tending it with more than loving care,
  I thought how, with the glory of its bloom,
  I should the darkness of my life illume;
  And, watching, ever smiled to see the lusty bud
  Drink freely in the summer sun to tinct its blood.

  My rose began to open, and its hue
  Was sweet to me as to it sun and dew;
  I watched it taking on its ruddy flame
  Until the day of perfect blooming came,
  Then hasted I with smiles to find it blushing red--
  Too late! Some thoughtless child had plucked my rose and fled!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

O, Mickle is the Powerful Grace

Listen to:

O, Mickle is the Powerful Grace (1:08)

by William Shakespeare 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give,
Nor aught so good but strain'd from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.
Within the infant rind of this small flower
Poison hath residence and medicine power:
For this, being smelt, with that part cheers each part;
Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.
Two such opposed kings encamp them still
In man as well as herbs, grace and rude will;
And where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant.

Friar Laurence
Romeo and Juliet Act II, Scene iii, lines 15-31

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Grey-Eyed Morn Smiles

Listen to:

The Grey-Eyed Morn Smiles (:55)

by William Shakespeare 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day's path and Titan's fiery wheels:
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry,
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours
With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.
The earth that's nature's mother is her tomb;
What is her burying grave that is her womb,
And from her womb children of divers kind
We sucking on her natural bosom find,
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some and yet all different.

Romeo and Juliet, Act II, scene iii, lines 1-14

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Rubaiyat - Verses LXVI-LXIX

Listen to:

Rubaiyat - Verses LXVI-LXIX (1:13)

by Omar Khayyam 

translated by Edward Fitzgerald

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

    I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
    Some letter of that After-life to spell:
    And by and by my Soul return'd to me,
    And answer'd "I Myself am Heav'n and Hell:"

    Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire,
    And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,
    Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves,
    So late emerged from, shall so soon expire.

    We are no other than a moving row
    Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go
    Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held
    In Midnight by the Master of the Show;

    But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays
    Upon this Chequer-board of Nights and Days;
    Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
    And one by one back in the Closet lays.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Listen to:

Excelsior (2:20)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The shades of night were falling fast,  
As through an Alpine village passed  
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,  
A banner with the strange device,  
His brow was sad; his eye beneath,  
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,  
And like a silver clarion rung  
The accents of that unknown tongue,  
In happy homes he saw the light  
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;  
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,  
And from his lips escaped a groan,  
"Try not the Pass!" the old man said;  
"Dark lowers the tempest overhead,  
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!"  
And loud that clarion voice replied,  
"Oh, stay," the maiden said, "and rest  
Thy weary head upon this breast!"  
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,  
But still he answered, with a sigh,  
"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!  
Beware the awful avalanche!"  
This was the peasant's last Good-night,  
A voice replied, far up the height,  
At break of day, as heavenward  
The pious monks of Saint Bernard  
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,  
A voice cried through the startled air,  
A traveller, by the faithful hound,  
Half-buried in the snow was found,  
Still grasping in his hand of ice  
That banner with the strange device,  
There, in the twilight cold and gray,  
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,  
And from the sky, serene and far,  
A voice fell, like a falling star,  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

There Shines the Morning Star

Listen to:

There Shines the Morning Star (:58)

by Wallace Stevens 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

There shines the morning star! Through the forlorn
  And silent spaces of cold heaven's height
  Pours the bright radiance of his kingly light,
Swinging in revery before the morn.
The flush and fall of many tides have worn
  Upon the coasts beneath him, in their flight
  From sea to sea ; yet ever on the night
His clear and splendid visage is upborne.
Like this he pondered on the world's first day,
  Sweet Eden's flowers heavy with the dew;
And so he led bold Jason on his way
    Sparkling forever in the galley's foam;
  And still he shone most perfect in the blue,
    All bright and lovely on the hosts of Rome.

First published in The Harvard Advocate, LXVII, 2, 10 Apr 1899 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Now I Will Do Nothing But Listen

Image by Michal_LUKASIEWICZ

Listen to:

Now I Will Do Nothing But Listen (3:01)

by Walt Whitman 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

from Song of Myself

Now I will do nothing but listen,
To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it.

I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames,
    clack of sticks cooking my meals,
I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice,
I hear all sounds running together, combined, fused or following,
Sounds of the city and sounds out of the city, sounds of the day and night,
Talkative young ones to those that like them, the loud laugh of
    work-people at their meals,
The angry base of disjointed friendship, the faint tones of the sick,
The judge with hands tight to the desk, his pallid lips pronouncing
    a death-sentence,
The heave'e'yo of stevedores unlading ships by the wharves, the
    refrain of the anchor-lifters,
The ring of alarm-bells, the cry of fire, the whirr of swift-streaking
    engines and hose-carts with premonitory tinkles and color'd lights,
The steam-whistle, the solid roll of the train of approaching cars,
The slow march play'd at the head of the association marching two and two,
(They go to guard some corpse, the flag-tops are draped with black muslin.)

I hear the violoncello, ('tis the young man's heart's complaint,)
I hear the key'd cornet, it glides quickly in through my ears,
It shakes mad-sweet pangs through my belly and breast.

I hear the chorus, it is a grand opera,
Ah this indeed is music--this suits me.

A tenor large and fresh as the creation fills me,
The orbic flex of his mouth is pouring and filling me full.

I hear the train'd soprano (what work with hers is this?)
The orchestra whirls me wider than Uranus flies,
It wrenches such ardors from me I did not know I possess'd them,
It sails me, I dab with bare feet, they are lick'd by the indolent waves,
I am cut by bitter and angry hail, I lose my breath,
Steep'd amid honey'd morphine, my windpipe throttled in fakes of death,
At length let up again to feel the puzzle of puzzles,
And that we call Being.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Garden

Listen to:

The Garden (1:26)

by Lola Ridge 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Lola Ridge was born on December 12, 1873, in Dublin. 

Bountiful Givers,
I look along the years
And see the flowers you threw…
And sprigs of gray
Sparse heather of the rocks,
Or a wild violet
Or daisy of a daisied field…
But each your best.

I might have worn them on my breast
To wilt in the long day…
I might have stemmed them in a narrow vase
And watched each petal sallowing…
I might have held them so—mechanically—
Till the wind winnowed all the leaves
And left upon my hands
A little smear of dust.

I hid them in the soft warm loam
Of a dim shadowed place…
In a still cool grotto,
Lit only by the memories of stars
And the wide and luminous eyes
Of dead poets
That love me and that I love…
Where none may see—not even ye who gave—
About my soul your garden beautiful.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Why Should Your Fair Eyes

Listen to:

Why Should Your Fair Eyes (1:04)

by Michael Drayton  

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Why should your fair eyes with such sovereign grace 
Disperse their rays on every vulgar spirit, 
Whilst I in darkness in the self-same place 
Get not one glance to recompense my merit? 
So doth the ploughman gaze the wandering star, 
And only rest contented with the light, 
That never learned what constellations are, 
Beyond the bent of his unknowing sight, 
O! why should beauty, custom to obey, 
To their gross sense apply herself so ill? 
Would God I were as ignorant as they, 
When I am made unhappy by my skill; 
Only compelled on this poor good to boast, 
Heavens are not kind to them that know them most. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Six Honest Serving Men

Listen to:

Six Honest Serving Men (1:03)

by Rudyard Kipling 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

I keep six honest serving-men
 (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When 
 And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
 I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
 I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
 For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
 For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views; 
I know a person small—
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!

She sends 'em abroad on her own affairs,
 From the second she opens her eyes—
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!

from Kipling's Just-So Story,
The Elephant's Child 

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Listen to:

Sea-Violet (:45)

by H. D. 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The white violet
is scented on its stalk,
the sea-violet
fragile as agate,
lies fronting all the wind
among the torn shells
on the sand-bank.

The greater blue violets
flutter on the hill,
but who would change for these
who would change for these
one root of the white sort?

your grasp is frail
on the edge of the sand-hill,
but you catch the light—
frost, a star edges with its fire.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Glow-Worm

Listen to:

The Glow-Worm (1:20)

by William Wordsworth 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

          Among all lovely things my Love had been;
          Had noted well the stars, all flowers that grew
          About her home; but she had never seen
          A glow-worm, never one, and this I knew.

          While riding near her home one stormy night
          A single glow-worm did I chance to espy;
          I gave a fervent welcome to the sight,
          And from my horse I leapt; great joy had I.

          Upon a leaf the glow-worm did I lay,
          To bear it with me through the stormy night:                
          And, as before, it shone without dismay;
          Albeit putting forth a fainter light.

          When to the dwelling of my Love I came,
          I went into the orchard quietly;
          And left the glow-worm, blessing it by name,
          Laid safely by itself, beneath a tree.

          The whole next day, I hoped, and hoped with fear;
          At night the glow-worm shone beneath the tree;
          I led my Lucy to the spot, "Look here,"
          Oh! joy it was for her, and joy for me!     


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

To Hope

Listen to:

To Hope (1:14)

by Charlotte Smith 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Oh, Hope! thou soother sweet of human woes!
    How shall I lure thee to my haunts forlorn!
For me wilt thou renew the wither’d rose,
    And clear my painful path of pointed thorn?
Ah come, sweet nymph! in smiles and softness drest,
    Like the young hours that lead the tender year,
Enchantress! come, and charm my cares to rest:—
    Alas! the flatterer flies, and will not hear!
A prey to fear, anxiety, and pain,
    Must I a sad existence still deplore?
Lo!—the flowers fade, but all the thorns remain,
    “For me the vernal garland blooms no more.”
Come then, “pale Misery’s love!” be thou my cure,
And I will bless thee, who, tho’ slow, art sure.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Listen to:

Snow-Flakes (1:07)

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Out of the bosom of the Air,
    Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
    Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
      Silent, and soft, and slow
      Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
    Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
      The troubled sky reveals
      The grief it feels.

This is the poem of the air,
    Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
    Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
      Now whispered and revealed
      To wood and field.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Song: To Celia

Listen to:

Song: To Celia  (:52)

by Ben Jonson 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
         And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
         And I’ll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
         Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
         I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
         Not so much honouring thee
As giving it a hope, that there
         It could not withered be.
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
         And sent’st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,

         Not of itself, but thee.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sonnet: "Lo, Even As I Passed"

Listen to:

Lo, Even As I Passed (:58)

by Wallace Stevens 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Lo, even as I passed beside the booth
Of roses, and beheld them brightly twine
To damask heights, taking them as a sign
Of my own self still unconcerned with truth;
Even as I held up in hands uncouth
And drained with joy the golden-bodied wine,
Deeming it half-unworthy, half divine,
From out the sweet-rimmed goblet of my youth.
Even in that pure hour I heard the tone
Of grievous music stir in memory,
Telling me of the time already flown
From my first youth. It sounded like the rise
Of distant echo from dead melody,
Soft as a song heard far in Paradise.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Rubaiyat - Verses XXV - XXVIII

Listen to:

Rubaiyat - Verses XXV - XXVIII (1:18)

by Omar Khayyam 

translated by Edward Fitzgerald

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

    Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
    And those that after some To-morrow stare,
    A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries    
    "Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There."

    Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
    Of the Two Worlds so wisely--they are thrust
    Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn
    Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.

    Myself when young did eagerly frequent
    Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
    About it and about: but evermore
    Came out by the same door where in I went.

    With them the seed of Wisdom did I sow,
    And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow;
    And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd--
    "I came like Water, and like Wind I go."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

God in Every Object

Listen to:

God in Every Object (2:12)

by Walt Whitman 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

from Song of Myself    


I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's self is,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own
    funeral drest in his shroud,
And I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth,
And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the
    learning of all times,
And there is no trade or employment but the young man following it
    may become a hero,
And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel'd universe,
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed
    before a million universes.

And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God,
For I who am curious about each am not curious about God,
(No array of terms can say how much I am at peace about God and
    about death.)

I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least,
Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself.

Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass,
I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is sign'd
    by God's name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoe'er I go,
Others will punctually come for ever and ever.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

If You Refuse Me Once

Listen to:

If You Refuse Me Once (3:05)

by Sir John Suckling 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Sir John Suckling was born this day in 1609 in Middlesex, England.

If you refuse me once, and think again,
            I will complain.
You are deceiv’d, love is no work of art,
            It must be got and born,
            Not made and worn,
By every one that hath a heart.

Or do you think they more than once can die,
            Whom you deny?
Who tell you of a thousand deaths a day,
            Like the old poets feign
            And tell the pain
They met, but in the common way?

Or do you think ’t too soon to yield,
            And quit the field?
Nor is that right, they yield that first entreat;
            Once one may crave for love,
            But more would prove
This heart too little, that too great.

Oh that I were all soul, that I might prove
      For you as fit a love
As you are for an angel; for I know,
None but pure spirits are fit loves for you.

You are all ethereal; there’s in you no dross,
      Nor any part that’s gross.
Your coarsest part is like a curious lawn,
The vestal relics for a covering drawn.

Your other parts, part of the purest fire
      That e’er Heav’n did inspire,
Makes every thought that is refin’d by it
A quintessence of goodness and of wit.

Thus have your raptures reach’d to that degree
      In love’s philosophy,
That you can figure to yourself a fire
Void of all heat, a love without desire.

Nor in divinity do you go less;
      You think, and you profess,
That souls may have a plenitude of joy,
Although their bodies meet not to employ.

But I must needs confess, I do not find
      The motions of my mind
So purified as yet, but at the best
My body claims in them an interest.

I hold that perfect joy makes all our parts
      As joyful as our hearts.
Our senses tell us, if we please not them,
Our love is but a dotage or a dream.

How shall we then agree? you may descend,
      But will not, to my end.
I fain would tune my fancy to your key,
But cannot reach to that obstructed way.

There rests but this, that whilst we sorrow here,
      Our bodies may draw near;
And, when no more their joys they can extend,
Then let our souls begin where they did end.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sonnet: "If we are leaves that fall"

Listen to:

Sonnet: "If we are leaves that fall" (:55)

by Wallace Stevens 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

If we are leaves that fall upon the ground
To lose our greenness in the quiet dust
Of forest-depths; if we are flowers that must
Lie torn and creased upon a bitter mound,
No touch of sweetness in our ruins found;
If we are weeds whom no one wise can trust
To live an hour before we feel the gust
Of Death, and by our side its last, keen sound;
Then let a tremor through our briefness run,
Wrapping it in with mad, sweet sorcery
Of love; for in the fern I saw the sun
Take fire against the dew; the lily white
Was soft and deep at morn; the rosary
Streamed forth a wild perfume into the light.

First published in:
The Harvard Monthly, XXVIII (Mar. 1899)

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Railway Train

Listen to:

The Railway Train (:46)

by Emily Dickinson 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks;
And then, prodigious, step

Around a pile of mountains,
And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads;
And then a quarry pare

To fit its sides, and crawl between,
Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza;
Then chase itself down the hill

And neigh like Boanerges;
Then, punctual as a star,
Stop - docile and omnipotent -
At its own stable door. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Prairie Town

Listen to:

The Prairie Town (1:05)

by Helen Hooven Santmyer

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Lovers of beauty laugh at this grey town,
     Where dust lies thick on ragged curb-side trees,
And compass-needle streets lead up and down
     And lose themselves in empty prairie seas.

Here is no winding scented lane, no hill
     Crowned with a steepled church, no garden wall
Of old grey stone where lilacs bloom, and fill
     The air with fragrance when the May rains fall.

But here is the unsoftened majesty
     Of the wide earth where all the wide streets end,
And from the dusty corner one may see
     The full moon rise, and flaming sun descend.

The long main street, whence farmers’ teams go forth,
Lies like an old sea road, star-pointed north.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Prairie Dawn

Listen to:

Prairie Dawn (:34)

by Willa Cather 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

A crimson fire that vanquishes the stars;
A pungent odor from the dusty sage;
A sudden stirring of the huddled herds;
A breaking of the distant table-lands
Through purple mists ascending, and the flare
Of water ditches silver in the light;
A swift, bright lance hurled low across the world;
A sudden sickness for the hills of home.

Friday, February 5, 2016

To the Immortal Memory of the Halibut

Listen to:

To the Immortal Memory of the Halibut (1:47)

by William Cowper 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

To the Immortal Memory of the Halibut
on Which I Dined This Day

[Written in a letter to Unwin April 25, 1784.  Published by
     Johnson, 1824.]

Where hast thou floated, in what seas pursued
Thy pastime? when wast thou an egg new-spawn'd,
Lost in th' immensity of ocean's waste?
Roar as they might, the overbearing winds
That rock'd the deep, thy cradle, thou wast safe—
And in thy minikin and embryo state,
Attach'd to the firm leaf of some salt weed,
Didst outlive tempests, such as wrung and rack'd
The joints of many a stout and gallant bark,
And whelm'd them in the unexplor'd abyss.
Indebted to no magnet and no chart,
Nor under guidance of the polar fire,
Thou wast a voyager on many coasts,
Grazing at large in meadows submarine,
Where flat Batavia just emerging peeps
Above the brine,—where Caledonia's rocks
Beat back the surge,—and where Hibernia shoots
Her wondrous causeway far into the main.
—Wherever thou hast fed, thou little thought'st,
And I not more, that I should feed on thee.
Peace therefore, and good health, and much good fish,
To him who sent thee! and success, as oft
As it descends into the billowy gulph,
To the same drag that caught thee!—Fare thee well!
Thy lot thy brethern of the slimy fin
Would envy, could they know that thou wast doom'd
To feed a bard, and to be prais'd in verse.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Prairie Sunset

Listen to:

A Prairie Sunset (:49)

by Walt Whitman 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

  Shot gold, maroon and violet, dazzling silver, emerald, fawn,
  The earth's whole amplitude and Nature's multiform power consign'd
      for once to colors;
  The light, the general air possess'd by them--colors till now unknown,
  No limit, confine--not the Western sky alone--the high meridian--
      North, South, all,
  Pure luminous color fighting the silent shadows to the last.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Listen to:

Nocturne  (:46)

by Thomas Bailey Aldrich 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Up to her chamber window
A slight wire trellis goes,
And up this Romeo's ladder
Clambers a bold white rose.

I lounge in the ilex shadows,
I see the lady lean,
Unclasping her silken girdle,
The curtain's folds between.

She smiles on her white-rose lover,
She reaches out her hand
And helps him in at the window—
I see it where I stand!

To her scarlet lip she holds him,
And kisses him many a time—
Ah, me! it was he that won her
Because he dared to climb!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

When All Things Repose

Listen to:

When All Things Repose (:48)

by James Joyce 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

James Joyce was born on this day in 1882 in Dublin.

from Chamber Music

  At that hour when all things have repose,
     O lonely watcher of the skies,
     Do you hear the night wind and the sighs
     Of harps playing unto Love to unclose
     The pale gates of sunrise?

     When all things repose, do you alone
     Awake to hear the sweet harps play
     To Love before him on his way,
     And the night wind answering in antiphon
     Till night is overgone?

     Play on, invisible harps, unto Love,
     Whose way in heaven is aglow
     At that hour when soft lights come and go,
     Soft sweet music in the air above
     And in the earth below.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog

Listen to:

Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog (1:52)

by George Gordon, Lord Byron 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

A Memorial to Boatswain
Newstead Abbey, November 30, 1808.

Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803,
And died at Newstead, Nov 18th, 1808.

When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rest below:
When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been:
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master's own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonour'd falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth:
While man, vain insect!  hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.
Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye! who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on --- it honours none you wish to mourn:
To mark a friend's remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one, --- and here he lies.