Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dirge from Cymbeline

Listen to: 

Dirge from Cymbeline (1:20)

William Shakespeare 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finish'd joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;

And renowned be thy grave!            ---  Act 4, scene 2

Monday, February 6, 2017


Listen to: 

Sunrise* (1:21)

Lizette Woodworth Reese  

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The east is yellow as a daffodil.
Three steeples—three stark swarthy arms—are thrust 
Up from the town. The gnarl├Ęd poplars thrill
Down the long street in some keen salty gust— 
Straight from the sea and all the sailing ships—
Turn white, black, white again, with noises sweet 
And swift. Back to the night the last star slips.
High up the air is motionless, a sheet
Of light. The east grows yellower apace,
And trembles: then, once more, and suddenly,
The salt wind blows, and in that moment’s space 
Flame roofs, and poplar-tops, and steeples three; 

From out the mist that wraps the river-ways,
The little boats, like torches, start ablaze. 

* I recorded this poem and posted it on March 11, 2016. Without realizing it, I recorded it again recently and am now posting this version. If you compare the two versions, there are some subtle but interesting differences. In any case, you might have missed the first version and might enjoy this other one. And good poems are worth repeating.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Richard Cory

Listen to:

Richard Cory (1:00)

by Edward Arlington Robinson 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

Whenever Richard Cory went down town, 
We people on the pavement looked at him: 
He was a gentleman from sole to crown, 
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said, 
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich, — yes, richer than a king, — 
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything 
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread; 
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,

Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Listen to:

Bacchanalia (5:04)

by Matthew Arnold 

performed by Bob Gonzalez, rhapsode

The evening comes, the fields are still. 
The tinkle of the thirsty rill, 
Unheard all day, ascends again; 
Deserted is the half-mown plain, 
Silent the swaths! the ringing wain, 
The mower's cry, the dog's alarms, 
All housed within the sleeping farms! 
The business of the day is done, 
The last belated gleaner gone. 
And from the thyme upon the height, 
And from the elder-blossom white 
And pale dog-roses in the hedge, 
And from the mint-plant in the sedge, 
In puffs of balm the night-air blows 
The perfume which the day forgoes. 
And on the pure horizon far, 
See, pulsing with the first-born star, 
The liquid sky above the hill! 
The evening comes, the fields are still. 

       Loitering and leaping, 
       With saunter, with bounds— 
       Flickering and circling 
       In files and in rounds— 
       Gaily their pine-staff green 
       Tossing in air, 
       Loose o'er their shoulders white 
       Showering their hair— 
       See! the wild Maenads 
       Break from the wood, 
       Youth and Iacchus 
       Maddening their blood. 

       See! through the quiet land 
       Rioting they pass— 
       Fling the fresh heaps about, 
       Trample the grass. 
       Tear from the rifled hedge 
       Garlands, their prize; 
       Fill with their sports the field, 
       Fill with their cries. 

       Shepherd, what ails thee, then? 
       Shepherd, why mute? 
       Forth with thy joyous song! 
       Forth with thy flute! 
       Tempts not the revel blithe? 
       Lure not their cries? 
       Glow not their shoulders smooth? 
       Melt not their eyes? 
       Is not, on cheeks like those, 
       Lovely the flush? 
       —Ah, so the quiet was! 
       So was the hush! 

The epoch ends, the world is still. 
The age has talk'd and work'd its fill— 
The famous orators have shone, 
The famous poets sung and gone, 
The famous men of war have fought, 
The famous speculators thought, 
The famous players, sculptors, wrought, 
The famous painters fill'd their wall, 
The famous critics judged it all. 
The combatants are parted now— 
Uphung the spear, unbent the bow, 
The puissant crown'd, the weak laid low. 
And in the after-silence sweet, 
Now strifes are hush'd, our ears doth meet, 
Ascending pure, the bell-like fame 
Of this or that down-trodden name, 
Delicate spirits, push'd away 
In the hot press of the noon-day. 
And o'er the plain, where the dead age 
Did its now silent warfare wage— 
O'er that wide plain, now wrapt in gloom, 
Where many a splendour finds its tomb, 
Many spent fames and fallen mights— 
The one or two immortal lights 
Rise slowly up into the sky 
To shine there everlastingly, 
Like stars over the bounding hill. 
The epoch ends, the world is still. 

       Thundering and bursting 
       In torrents, in waves— 
       Carolling and shouting 
       Over tombs, amid graves— 
       See! on the cumber'd plain 
       Clearing a stage, 
       Scattering the past about, 
       Comes the new age. 
       Bards make new poems, 
       Thinkers new schools, 
       Statesmen new systems, 
       Critics new rules. 
       All things begin again; 
       Life is their prize; 
       Earth with their deeds they fill, 
       Fill with their cries. 

       Poet, what ails thee, then? 
       Say, why so mute? 
       Forth with thy praising voice! 
       Forth with thy flute! 
       Loiterer! why sittest thou 
       Sunk in thy dream? 
       Tempts not the bright new age? 
       Shines not its stream? 
       Look, ah, what genius, 
       Art, science, wit! 
       Soldiers like Caesar, 
       Statesmen like Pitt! 
       Sculptors like Phidias, 
       Raphaels in shoals, 
       Poets like Shakespeare— 
       Beautiful souls! 
       See, on their glowing cheeks 
       Heavenly the flush! 
       —Ah, so the silence was! 
       So was the hush! 

The world but feels the present's spell, 
The poet feels the past as well; 
Whatever men have done, might do, 

Whatever thought, might think it too. 

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!