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Poem for the Day

Posted: 26 August 2013

I worship your fleece which is the perfect triangle
Of the Goddess
I am the lumberjack of the only virgin forest
O my Eldorado
I am the only fish in your voluptuous ocean
You my lovely Siren
I am the climber on your snowy mountains
O my whitest Alp
I am the heavenly archer at your beautiful mouth
O my darling quiver
I am the hauler of your midnight hair
O lovely ship on the canal of my kisses
And the lilies of your arms are beckoning me
O my summer garden
The fruits of your breast are ripening their honey for me
O my sweet-smelling orchard
And I am raising you O Madeleine O my beauty above the earth
Like the torch of all light

The Ninth Secret Poem
Guillaume Apollinaire 1880 - 1918

Poem for the Day

Posted: 25 August 2013

Wha is my shepherd weel I ken,
The Lord Himsel' is he;
He leeds me whaur the girse is green
An' burnies quaet that be.

Aft times I fain astray wad gang
An' wann'r far awa';
He fin's me oot, He pits me richt,
An brings me hame an' a'.

Tho' I pass through the gruesome cleugh,
Fin' I ken He is near;
His muckle crook will me defen',
Sae I ha'e nocht to fear.

Ilk comfort whilk a sheep could need,
His thochtfu' care provides;
Tho' wolves an' dogs may prowl aboot,
In safety me he hides.

His guidness an' His mercy baith
Nae doot will bide wi' me
While faulded on the fields o' time,
Or o' eternity.

A Scots setting of the twenty-third psalm
Anonymous

Poem for the Day

Posted: 24 August 2013

To finish this week of lyrics from G&S here is my absolutely favourite song in my favourite role in my favourite G&S opera. Believe me, this was a real nightmare to learn and sing but it always got a great response!

Love unrequited robs me of me rest;
Love, hopeless love, my ardent soul encumbers;
Love, nightmare-like, lies heavy on me chest,
And weaves itself into my midnight slumbers...

When you're lying awake with a dismal headache
And repose is taboo'd by anxiety,
I conceive you may use any language you choose
To indulge in, without impropriety;
For your brain is on fire, the bed-clothes conspire
Of usual slumber to plunder you:
First your counter-pane goes, and uncovers your toes,
And your sheet slips demurely from under you;
Then the blanketing tickles, you feel like mixed pickles,
So terribly sharp is the pricking,
And you're hot and you're cross, and you tumble and toss,
'Til there's nothing twixt you and the ticking.
Then the bedclothes all creep to the ground in a heap,
And you pick 'em all up in a tangle;
Next your pillow resigns, and politely declines
To remain at its usual angle!
When you get some repose in the form of a doze,
With hot eyeballs and head ever aching,
Your slumbering teems with such horrible dreams
That you'd very much better be waking;
For you dream you are crossing the channel, and tossing
About in a steamer from Harwich,
Which is something between a large bathing machine
And a very small second class carriage,
And you're giving a treat (penny ice and cold meat)
To a party of friends and relations,
They're a ravenous horde, and they all come aboard
At Sloane Square and South Kensington stations.
And bound on that journey, you find your attorney
(who started this morning from Devon);
He's a bit undersized and you don't feel surprised
When he tells you he's only eleven.
Well, you're driving like mad with this singular lad
(By the by, the ship's now a four-wheeler),
And you're playing round games, and he calls you bad names
When you tell him that ties pay the dealer;
But this you can't stand, so you throw up your hand,
And you find you're as cold as an icicle,
In your shirt and your socks (the black silk with gold clocks)
Crossing Salisbury Plain on a bicycle.
And he and the crew are on bicycles too,
Which they've somehow or other invested in,
And he's telling the tars all the particulars
Of a company he's interested in;
It's a scheme of devices, to get at low prices
All goods from cough mixtures to cables
(Which tickled the sailors) by treating retailers
As though they were all vegetables:
You get a good spadesman to plant a small tradesman
(first take off his boots with a boot tree),
And his legs will take root, and his fingers will shoot,
And they'll blossom and bud like a fruit tree;
From the greengrocer tree you get grapes and green peas,
Cauliflower, pineapple and cranberries,
While the pastry-cook plant cherry brandy will grant,
Apple puffs, and three corners, and banburys;
The shares are a penny and ever so many
Are taken by Rothschild and Bering,
And just as a few are allotted to you, you awake
With a shudder, despairing...

You're a regular wreck
With a crick in your neck,
And no wonder you snore
for your head's on the floor
And you've needles and pins
From your soles to your shins,
And your flesh is acreep
For your left leg's asleep,
And you've cramp in your toes
And a fly on your nose,
And some fluff in your lung
And a feverish tongue,
And a thirst that's intense
And a general sense
That you haven't been sleeping in clover;
But the darkness has passed, and it's daylight at last!
The night has been long, ditto, ditto my song,
And thank goodness they're both of them over!

The Nightmare Song
Sung by The Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe
W. S. Gilbert

Poem for the Day

Posted: 23 August 2013

A favourite G&S and a favourite role. Everyone knows about The Lord High Executioner and his "little list" of preferred victims.

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list, I've got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed, who never would be missed!
There's the pestilential nuisances who write for autographs,
All people who have flabby hands and irritating laughs,
All children who are up in dates, and floor you with 'em flat,
All persons who in shaking hands, shake hands with you like that,
And all third persons who on spoiling tête-á-têtes insist,
They'd none of 'em be missed, they'd none of 'em be missed!

He's got 'em on the list, he's got 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed, they'll none of 'em be missed.

There's the banjo serenader and the others of his race,
And the piano-organist, I've got him on the list!
And the people who eat peppermint and puff it in your face,
They never would be missed, they never would be missed!
Then the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone,
All centuries but this, and every country but his own;
And the lady from the provinces, who dresses like a guy,
And who "doesn't think she dances, but would rather like to try";
And that singular anomaly, the lady novelist,
I don't think she'd be missed, I'm sure she'd not be missed!

He's got her on the list — he's got her on the list;
And I don't think she'll be missed — I'm sure she'll not be missed!

And that Nisi Prius nuisance, who just now is rather rife,
The Judicial humorist, I've got him on the list!
All funny fellows, comic men, and clowns of private life,
They'd none of 'em be missed, they'd none of 'em be missed.
And apologetic statesmen of a compromising kind,
Such as What d'ye call him,Thing'em-bob, and likewise, Never-mind,
And 'St, 'st, 'st, and What's-his-name, and also You-know-who,
The task of filling up the blanks I'd rather leave to you.
But it really doesn't matter whom you put upon the list,
For they'd none of 'em be missed, they'd none of 'em be missed!

You may put 'em on the list — you may put 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed — they'll none of 'em be missed!

As Someday It May Happen That A Victim Must Be Found
Sung by Koko, The Lord High Executioner in The Mikado
W. S. Gilbert 1836 - 1911

Poem for the Day

Posted: 22 August 2013

One of the best known of all the G&S "patter" songs. When I appeared in this role I had to play the part in the guise of Rab C Nesbitt, complete with string vest and head bandage underneath the more traditional military uniform! I have to tell you that it is impossible to sing a G&S patter song in a Glasgow accent!

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

I'm very good at integral and differential calculus;
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

I know our mythic history, King Arthur's and Sir Caradoc's;
I answer hard acrostics, I've a pretty taste for paradox,
I quote in elegiacs all the crimes of Heliogabalus,
In conics I can floor peculiarities parabolous;
I can tell undoubted Raphaels from Gerard Dows and Zoffanies,
I know the croaking chorus from the Frogs of Aristophanes!
Then I can hum a fugue of which I've heard the music's din afore,
And whistle all the airs from that infernal nonsense Pinafore.

Then I can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform,
And tell you ev'ry detail of Caractacus's uniform:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

In fact, when I know what is meant by "mamelon" and "ravelin",
When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a javelin,
When such affairs as sorties and surprises I'm more wary at,
And when I know precisely what is meant by "commissariat",
When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery,
When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery--
In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy,
You'll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee.

For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General
Sung by Major-General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance
W. S. Gilbert 1836 - 1911

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