"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

31 October 2022


People set bonfires on hilltops for relighting their hearth fires for the winter and to frighten away evil spirits, and they sometimes wore masks and other disguises to avoid being recognized by the ghosts thought to be present ...

Thanks, Kurt. Cheers!


Unknown, Wyeth Family Halloween, c. 1970

The last night of the year in the old Celtic calendar, where it was Old Year's Night, a night for witches.


Wyeth, Mischief Night, 2002

Said we, then—the two, then—"Ah, can it
      Have been that the woodlandish ghouls—
      The pitiful, the merciful ghouls—
To bar up our way and to ban it
      From the secret that lies in these wolds—
      From the thing that lies hidden in these wolds—
Had drawn up the spectre of a planet
      From the limbo of lunary souls—
This sinfully scintillant planet
      From the Hell of the planetary souls?"

Edgar Allen Poe, from "To -- -- --. Ulalume: A Ballad"

Jethro Tull, "No Lullaby"

Happy Hallowe'en!

Keep your eyes open
And prick up your ears
Rehearse your loudest cry.
There's folk out there
Who would do you harm
So I'll sing you no lullaby.

There's a lock on the window;
There's a chain on the door:
A big dog in the hall.
But there's dragons and beasties
Out there in the night
To snatch you if you fall ...

Jethro Tull, from "No Lullaby"

30 October 2022

Happy Birthday, Schmit

Timothy B Schmit was born on this day in 1947.

"Keep on Tryin'" ...



In Cleversulzbach in the Lower Land
Hundred and thirteen years did I stand.
A good weather cock on the church spire
To show the wind and for the folks to admire.
Fell the rain so strong, blew the wind so hard
The Village below me I did guard.
Many a pale lightning bolt touched me,
Many a frost covered me.
Many a fine summer’s day,
When everyone in the shade would stay,
The sun did not shirk, I did not wail.
So I blackened in many a year,
And the shine and luster did disappear.
And in the end the folks did frown
On me and took me down.
So be it! I resign
For a new cock, shiny and fine.
Show off and dance a menuett,
The wind will teach you a lesson yet!

Eduard Mörike

Björk, "Unison "

I thrive best hermit style
With a beard and a pipe ...

The Oyster Months Notebook, revised October 2022

Into October and the Oyster Months have become "smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight."


Ripe are October's glories : Come away! 
Hushed are the waiting woods : their rustling robes 
Of mildest tints, create within my soul 
Emotions meet for melancholy song! 
See, Winter in white robes, with icy spear, 
Comes slowly o'er the northern hills snow-capp'd. 

Then pause with Nature, ye that live estranged 
Amid the city's roar ; and list the voice 
That calls you forth to cull emotions sweet, 
And gaze entranced across the garnished woods. 
Mark how the forest now hath doffed its green, 
And Nature dons her cloak of many hues; 

Now reigns the holy beauty of Decay! 
How calmly sleeps the lake : the coloured woods 
Reflected on its face in thousand tints 
Now flash across that dome of thought the mind 
And brighter lift Imagination's eye. 
Like rainbows wreck'd, all the gay woods do sing, 
The Hawthorn hedge gleams like the Pheasant's breast. 

Its silvery candelabra's lights long out 
The Chestnut sweeps, in saffron hues, the lawn. 
Skirting the field the Whin, repellant, throws 
His golden offering at grim Winter's feet; 
And, "beautiful for ever," daisies lift 
Their sleepy eyes to the receding sun. 
See how Betula dreams herself away, 
Or showers her myriad leaves on brakens brown; 
Sambucas, glittering, floods the groves with wine. 

Mark how yon boulder with the bramble burns, 
It's jetty blobs, like eyes, peer from the grass; 
And here and there along its spiny arms, 
A spray of silken blossoms yet appears 
Like aged Laurette, crowned with fruit of song, 
Still waking music in his country's heart. 

Lo, the pale Poplar like an amber tower 
Quivers beneath the Beech's flaming flag; 
The Oak, by summer's scorching rays, hath tanned 
His rugged face beside the late-robed Ash, 
Whose garments heavy drop in faded green 
Among the Rose's scarlet lamps the hips 
That to the now mute birds are light and food. 

Winding the boles th' immortal Ivy clings; 
And, sombre, over all the sturdy Pine, 
Expectant, waits its robe of ermine snow. 

From out yon nimbus cloud, the mighty sun 
Sweeps o'er the raptured woods his golden beams, 
And wakens in my soul such dulcet chords 
As harp or breathing organ never swelled. 

O, what a charm hath Nature for her child! 
Let me but lie upon her matron lap 
And gaze adoring on her lovely face 
The reflex of my God and I am bless'd! 

James Rigg

'Tis Autumn. 

REVISED October 2022 ...

A Meeting Place: Medieval & Renaissance Music for Lute & Ud
August Denhard and Münir Nurettin Beken 

Notker Balbulus: Sequnezen, Tropen & Gregorianischer Choral aud dem Kloster St. Gallen
Ordo Virtutum and Stefan Morent 

Johann Rosenmüller in Exile
Acronym and Jesse Blumberg

Thomas Morley: Fantasies to Two Voices
Jonathan Dunford & Jérôme Chaboseau

Biber: Harmonia artificioso
Musica Antiqua Köln and Reinhard Goebel

Joseph Bodin De Boismortier: The Complete Opus 37 Trio Sonatas (1732) for Flute, Viola da Gamba and Chamber Organ
Flauti Diversi

Die Weisheit des Alters: Ars moriendi im Minnesang
Ensemble Für Frühe musik Augsburg

REVISED September 2022 ...

Philipp Friedrich Buchner: Plectrum Musicum
Parnassi Musici

Le Secret de Monsieur Marais
Vittorio Ghielmi, Luca Pianca, Il Suonar Parlante Orchestra

Telemann: Sonate for Oboe, Bassoon, and Continuo
Sans Souci

Johann Jakob Walther: Hortulus Chelicus
Sills, Dirst, Dirst, and Wang (no offense)

Thomas Lupo: Fantasia

Fürchtet Euch Nicht: Bassoons & Bombards Music from the German Baroque
Syntagma Amici, Vox Lumini

Johann Georg Weichenberger: Lute Works 
Joachim Held

REVISED March 2022 ...

Fantasia! Dialogue for One
Pauline Oostenrijk

February 2022 ...

Jacon van Eyck: Der Fluyten Lust-hof
Erik Bosgraaf

Marin Marais: Pieces de Viole de Cinq Livre
Jordi Savall, Ton Koopmann, Hopkinson Smith, Christophe Coin, Anne Gallet

The Cosmopolitan: Songs by Oswald von Wolkenstein
Ensemble Leones, Marc Lewis

Toys for Two: Dowland to California
Margaret Koll and Luca Pianca

REVISED January 2022 ...

Scheidt: Ludi Musici
L'Acheron, Francois Joubert-Caillet

Handel: The Complete Sonatas for Recorder
Marion Verbruggen, Ton Koopman and Jaap ter Linden

Buxtehude: Complete Chamber Music
Ton Koopman

Songs of Olden Times: Estonian Folk Hymns and Runic Songs

Ockeghem: Requiem; Missa Mi-Mi; Missa Prolationum
Hilliard Ensemble

REVISED November 2021 ...

Masters of the Baroque Hurdy-Gurdy
Matthias Loibner

Weiss: Sonatas for Transverse Flute and Lute
Duo Inventio

Holborne: Pieces for Lute
Federico Marincola


Holborne: Pavans and Galliards, 1599
The Consort of Musicke & The Guildhall Waits, Anthony Rooley & Trevor Jones

Purcell: Sonatas Of 3 Parts, 1683
Pavlo Beznosiuk, Rachel Podger, Christophe Coin, Christopher Hogwood

Telemann: Trio Sonatas
Erik Bosgraaf (recorder), Dmitry Sinkovksy (violin)

German Lute Music of the 18th Century
Alberto Crugnola 

Happy Birthday, Adams

Morse, John Adams, 1816

John Adams was born on this day in 1735.

From Adams' Thoughts on Government: Applicable to the Present State of the American Colonies; In a Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend”

A Pamphlet by John Adams
April, 1776
All sober enquiries after truth, ancient and modern, Pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity consists in virtue. Confucius, Zoroaster, Socrates, Mahomet, not to mention authorities really sacred, have agreed in this.  

If there is a form of government then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?

Fear is the foundation of most governments; but is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men, in whose breasts it predominates, so stupid, and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.

Honor is truly sacred, but holds a lower rank in the scale of moral excellence than virtue. Indeed the former is but a part of the latter, and consequently has not equal pretensions to support a frame of government productive of human happiness.

The foundation of every government is some principle or passion in the minds of the people. The noblest principles and most generous affections in our nature then, have the fairest chance to support the noblest and most generous models of government.

29 October 2022


Every evening's last song should be Elina Garanca singing Mozart's "Laudate Dominum omnes gentes."

Peter Hook & The Light, "Dead Souls"

So much better than the original, and the original was incredible ...


We have had no good fortune since there arrived here the autumn carnival.  It seems strange to speak of such things in these enlightened days.  A poor, lame servant girl went to the fortuneteller to inquire how she might run.  Her leg mended ... and then she ran mad.

It seems they destroy people by granting their dearest wishes, as has been the way of the devil since God created the world.  Old folks of this town say they remember such a carnival of evil visiting many autumns past in the days of their youth.

The traveling people swore they would return, some other autumn.  Each time their visit ended with a most unusual storm ..."

The 1983 film-adaptation of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes ...

With great appreciation to my friend, Kurt, who introduced me to Bradbury many, many years ago.


Hansen, Sunset, 1996

Let your walks now be a little more adventurous; ascend the hills. If, about the last of October, you ascend any hill in the outskirts of our town, and probably of yours, and look over the forest, you may see——well, what I have endeavored to describe. All this you surely will see, and much more, if you are prepared to see it,—if you look for it. Otherwise, regular and universal as this phenomenon is, whether you stand on the hill-top or in the hollow, you will think for threescore years and ten that all the wood is, at this season, sear and brown. Objects are concealed from our view, not so much because they are out of the course of our visual ray as because we do not bring our minds and eyes to bear on them; for there is no power to see in the eye itself, any more than in any other jelly. We do not realize how far and widely, or how near and narrowly, we are to look. The greater part of the phenomena of Nature are for this reason concealed from us all our lives. The gardener sees only the gardener’s garden. Here, too, as in political economy, the supply answers to the demand. Nature does not cast pearls before swine. There is just as much beauty visible to us in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate,—not a grain more. The actual objects which one man will see from a particular hill-top are just as different from those which another will see as the beholders are different. 

Henry David Thoreau, from "Autumn Tints"




O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

Robert Frost

Gordon Lightfoot, "Did She Mention My Name?"

28 October 2022

Happy Birthday, Erasmus

Holbein the Younger, Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1532

I consider as lovers of books not those who keep their books hidden in their store-chests and never handle them, but those who, by nightly as well as daily use thumb them, batter them, wear them out, who fill out all the margins with annotations of many kinds, and who prefer the marks of a fault they have erased to a neat copy full of faults.

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, born on this day in 1466

27 October 2022




But, little lingerers, old esteem detains
Ye haply thus to brave the chilly air
When skies grow dull with winter's heavy rains
And all the orchard trees are nearly bare;
Yet the old chimneys still are peeping there
Above the russet thatch where summer's tide
Of sunny joys gave you such social fare
As makes you haply wishing to abide
In your old dwelling through the changing year.
I wish ye well to find a dwelling here,
For in the unsocial weather ye would fling
Gleanings of comfort through the winter wide,
Twittering as wont above the old fireside,
And cheat the surly winter into spring.

John Clare

26 October 2022


Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. You have only to persevere to save yourselves, and to save all those who rely upon you. You have only to go right on, and at the end of the road, be it short or long, victory and honor will be found.

Sir Winston Churchill, Guildhall, September 4, 1914


Sometimes you see a kite so high, so wise it almost knows the wind. It travels, then chooses to land in
one spot and no other and no matter how you yank, run this way or that, it will simply break its cord,
seek its resting place and bring you, blood-mouthed, running.

"Jim! Wait for me!"

So now Jim was the kite, the wild twine cut, and whatever wisdom was his taking him away from Will
who could only run, earthbound, after one so high and dark silent and suddenly strange.
"Jim, here I come!"
And running, Will thought, Boy, it's the same old thing. I talk. Jim runs. I tilt stones, Jim grabs the cold
junk under the stones and - lickety-split! I climb hills. Jim yells off church steeples. I got a bank account.
Jim's got the hair on his head, the yell in his mouth, the shirt on his back and the tennis shoes on his feet.
How come I think he's richer? Because, Will thought, I sit on a rock in the sun and old Jim, he prickles
his arm-hairs by moonlight and dances with hop-toads. I tend cows, Jim tames Gila monsters. Fool! I yell at Jim. Coward! he yells back. And here we - go!

And they ran from town, across fields and both froze under a rail bridge with the moon ready beyond
the hills and the meadows trembling with a fur of dew.

Ray Bradbury, from Something Wicked This Way Comes


Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods550
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,555
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
'This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.'
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,560
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
I would not change it.

William Shakespeare, from As You Like It, Act II, Scene 1, "The Forest of Arden"

Purcell, "Sound the Trumpet"

Alfred & Mark Deller perform ...


Hey! Tumblrs!


Wyeth, Jamie, The Weathervane, 1959


Good morning, weathercock,
How'd you fare last night?
Did the cold wind bite you,
Did you face up to the fright
When the leaves spin from October
And whip around your tail?
Did you shake from the blast,
Did you shiver through the gale?

Give us direction; the best of goodwill,
Put us in touch with fair winds.
Sing to us softly, hum evening's song.
Tell us what the blacksmith has done for you.

Do you simply reflect changes
In the patterns of the sky,
Or is it true to say the weather heeds
The twinkle in your eye?
Do you fight the rush of winter;
Do you hold snowflakes at bay?
Do you lift the dawn sun from the fields
And help him on his way?

Good morning Weathercock: make this day bright.
Put us in touch with your fair winds.
Sing to us softly, hum evening's song.
Point the way to better days we can share with you.

Jethro Tull, from Heavy Horses

The Smiths, "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"