Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

A Song to the Lute

It's Poetry Tuesday again, and my poem this week is the sonnet "A Song to the Lute in Musicke" by Richard Edwards. It is alluded to by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet Act IV Scene 5. The version here is from Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, compiled by Bishop Thomas Percy and published in 1847.

A Song to the Lute in Musicke
Richard Edwards

Where gripinge grefes the hart would wounde,
   And dolefulle dumps the mynde oppresse,
There musicke with her silver-sound
   With spede is wont to send redresse:
Of trobled mynds, in every sore,
Swete musicke hath a salve in store.

In joye yt maks our mirthe abounde,
   In woe yt cheres our hevy sprites;
Be-strawghted heads relyef hath founde,
   By musickes pleasaunt swete delightes:
Our senses all, what shall I say more?
Are subjecte unto musicks lore.

The Gods by musicke have theire prayse;
   The lyfe, the soul therein doth joye:
For, as the Romayne poet sayes,
   In seas, whom pyrats would destroy,
A dolphin saved from death most sharpe
Arion playing on his harpe.

O heavenly gyft, that rules the mynd,
   Even as the sterne dothe rule the shippe!
O musicke, whom the gods assinde
   To comforte manne, whom cares would nippe!
Since thow both man and beste doest move,
What beste ys he, wyll the disprove?

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