Archive for December 10, 2010

The Old Astronomer to his Pupil

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on December 10, 2010 by telescoper
Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, I would know him when we meet,
When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;
He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how
We are working to completion, working on from then to now.
Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,
Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,
And remember men will scorn it, ’tis original and true,
And the obliquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.
But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn,
You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn,
What for us are all distractions of men’s fellowship and smiles;
What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles.
You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant’s fate.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

by Sarah Williams (1837-1868)


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How are things in Glocca Morra?

Posted in Jazz with tags , , on December 10, 2010 by telescoper

As regular readers of this blog (both of them) will know, I listen to quite a lot of jazz. In the course of doing that it has often struck me that there can hardly be a tune that’s ever been written – however unpromising – that some jazz musician somewhere hasn’t taken a fancy to and done their own version. Louis Armstrong turned any amount of base metal into gold during his long career, but here’s an example from a more modern legend, Sonny Rollins, who is still going strong at the age of 80. It’s a tune called How are thing in Glocca Morra? and it was written for the 1947 musical Finian’s Rainbow (which I hate). This version, though, recorded in the mid 50s by a band led by Sonny Rollins on tenor sax, is absolutely gorgeous. It doesn’t take much to inspire a genius…


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