Skip to comments."Midas" Poem by Henry Livingston, Jr. (1827) to Royal Wedding
Posted on 12/26/2018 2:45:07 PM PST by mairdie
Henry Livingston's version of the Greek mythology fable about Midas, a poem written the year before Henry's death, when Henry was 78 years old. The neat handwriting was because it was written in his daughter Jane's Poetry Manuscript Book. Music is "Royal Wedding" from Henry's Music Manuscript Book. One of my favorite poems.
Henry scores again.
Thanks, Mary. I enjoyed that combination.
You are helping to keep alive Western Civilization.
When I started taking music classes, I also enrolled in a poetry class, since I was writing poetry that I wished to set to music.
In the first class, the obvious Marxist asserted that Tupak Shakur was a better poet than Percy Shelley, and that any poetry that was personal and not political was not worth writing.
I dropped the class after one session. I later learned, to my surprise, that he had been fired: He was too extreme even for that leftist English Department.
There are, sadly, more people like him than like you in the arts nowadays. Keep up the good work.
What an ANGEL you are!
I’ve read poetry since I was so little that I would hide Shakespeare’s Rape of the Lock as being too shocking to admit reading. I had two boyfriends in high school who would leave poetry on my doorstep for me to find and who would recite as we walked. But what I studied for my college entrance exam was just depressingly dull and purposely obscure. If I hadn’t already developed such a love of Matthew Arnold, that would have killed my interest in the topic.
I knew my father was a poet in Greenwich Village, but all my searches for his books turned up nothing until I got into my Henry Livingston research and then FINALLY discovered one of father’s books published under a misspelled name. My gut instinct had always been that I’d understand who he was if I could only read his poetry, because I think of poetry as cutting to the essence of who you are.
And I was right!
OLD SOLDIERS’ DRUMS
I’m just too old for drilling
I can’t hike anymore;
So I’m bound for the soldiers’ graveyard
Behind an office door.
They sing - “Old soldiers never die.”
We don’t; we live on crumbs -
The shrilling, splendid bugles
An’ the thunder of the drums!
I won’t do Guard in a snowstorm
An’ I won’t hafta go an’ fire;
It’s just messin’ around an office
An’ waiting to retire.
“Approved per First Indorsement ...”
An’ through the window comes
The music of a Guardmount
An’ the cadenced, throbbin’ drums!
Twenty-three and a butt in the Doughboys;
Why, I’ve hiked a million miles!
But they said my age couldn’t stand it
An’ they detailed me to the files!
This work is nice for some men
Who can take it as it comes.
But you know their hearts ain’t achin’
For the pullin’, poundin’ drums!
D.S. 1/4C. an’ a non-combatant!
When there’s guys tha’d give their life
To piddle around an office
An’ go home at night to the wife.
But I’ll get back to formation;
There’s a day that always comes:
An’ I’ll ride on a painted cassion
With the muffled, sobbin’ drums!
By the way, have you ever looked at Henry Livingston’s music manuscript book?
I’ve been able to transcribe maybe half of it. It’s one of the largest known from that period. I don’t know anything about protestant church music, so I’m dead in the water on the religious psalms and hymns, which Henry only seems to show in the part he played. Which is driving me batty for two religious poems I had Byron narrate. Hate using old dance music for those.
THanks, as always mairdie, for making sure that not only our generation, but the ones after us have access to that great man’s poetry and work!...as well as your own in support of it!
From mother came the leavening,
From grandfather the flour.
Grandma poured her spirits in
And brother, sugar’s power.
Father was a phantom
And with him went the salt.
He died when I was just a child
So it’s really not his fault.
I stood beneath the branches
And asked his family tree
If all the nuts upon the ground
Were fruitcakes just like me.
I love it!!!
This is the serious version of the same thing.
SURNAME FORESTS, REMEMBERED LEAVES
Ash and Eucalyptus,
Chinese Elm and common Plum;
Bark of generations built from
Lansing, Bell and Livingston.
Each spring will see them waken
To their pulsing blood-red sap,
And set upon their outstretched hand
A small and fragile promise
To the wind and to the sky
That dreams of long dead leaves
Can live again and never truly die.
To trust there will be warmth again.
To trust there will be birth.
To trust that fallen leaves
Are not forgotten on the earth.
I never knew my father
And yet I’ve come to know him well
Through the stories writ in crumbled leaves
And the tales our old tree tells.
He was a soldier, and a poet,
And a lover and a man
And I feel his passion flood my veins
As I hold his phantom hand.
Thanks for sharing that. That was serendipitous! I’m glad you were able to find that from him.
I will look at that site more extensively when I have time. I am by no means expert on these things. What I can tell you is, if you are referring either to common liturgical pieces, e.g., The Doxology, or common Protestant hymns, e.g., A Mighty Fortress, each denomination tends to have its own melody (Doxology) or arrangement (Fortress).
I learned that the hard way as a student at a non-denominational prep school: Every hymnal was different. When I visited friend’s churches, I was lost. (Of course, I had no music training at the time, either.)
If I discover anything helpful, I’ll get back to you.
Thanks once again.
I am not the most widely read in poetry; I have never read anything by Matthew Arnold. I will look him up.
I have certainly always preferred my own authors to those assigned, with few exceptions.
(Prior to the Jackson films, Tolkien was generally left off all the turn-of-the-millenium all-time lists.)
I took out the actual music manuscript images when I got into a kerfuffle with the museum I built a computer system for. If any of the pages of the music manuscript interest you, let me know and I’ll put you into the original.
ROFL! at that last line!
What a marvelous, wistful poem, mairdie! It is a gem. Thanks for sharing!
Looked for info and FR and YT are at the top!
Was this read at someone’s wedding? A warning to greedy royals? Could not find more info!
The poem is from Henry’s daughter’s Poetry Manuscript Book, written by Henry in 1827.
The music is from Henry’s Music Manuscript Book. No date.
Ask a longer question and maybe I can give you a better answer.
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