Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.
“Spring” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
A friend at work brought this poem to my attention by stopping by my office and quoting, “What is all this juice and all this joy?” He was alluding to the beautiful spring day of course. We have certainly enjoyed an exceptionally beautiful spring with long strings of crisp, clear days in the high 60s. Carpe diem, I say–but I am glued to a desk. Sigh.
Anyway, it is also the birthday today of Sir Thomas Beecham (29 April 1879 – 8 March 1961) who, you will recall, was an English conductor and impresario best known for his association with the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras.
From the early 20th century until his death, Beecham was a major influence on the musical life of Britain and, according to the BBC, was Britain’s first international conductor. If you are like me and my dual personality, you were brought up on Sir Thomas Beecham’s recordings. True, some may have considered him low-brow for saying things like, “I would give the whole of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos for Massenet’s Manon, and would think I had vastly profited by the exchange.” But I can’t say I disagree with him.
I remember in particular an LP titled “Beecham Bon-Bons” which included popular favorites by Faure, Delius, Sibelius, Ralph Vaughan Williams and the like.
I wiled away many an hour with Beecham’s music in the background. So a toast to Sir Thomas Beecham! And I think I’ll look him up on eBay and see what I can find.
Beecham’s grave in Surrey
By the way, the painting at the top of the page is by St. Louis artist Frank Nudercher (July 19, 1880 – October 7, 1959)–“Spring Landscape” in the St. Louis Mercantile Library collection. Nudercher is sometimes referred to as the “dean of St. Louis artists.” You can read about him here.