The fair, wild Night, with pity touched at length,
Crowned with her chaplet of out-blossoming stars,
Creeps back repentantly upon her way
To kiss the dying Day.
Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote a number of nature poems, is best known for the classic novel Anne of Green Gables. Like Dunbar’s “Dawn,” recently featured on Wrestle with the Angel, Montgomery describes the meeting of day and night as a kiss.
A Fine Picture—Some have found this the most mysterious painting by Cole. A lone figure in Renaissance dress rides through Adirondack scenery. Possibly, the painting had great significance for Cole, who was readying himself for his most ambitious project. A few months before he painted The Mountain Ford, Cole described himself as “one who, traveling through a desert, comes to a deep stream… and fears to venture in the rushing waters. But I am about to venture.” This “deep stream” was the zealous (but ultimately unrealized) dream of completing a five-part religious cycle called “The Cross and the World.” It was to contrast the life journeys of a Christian and of a worldly man.
A Little Poetry—”Eldorado” was one of Poe’s last poems. It was published on April 21, 1849, during the time of the California Gold Rush. Interestingly, Poe uses the word ‘shadow’ in each of the stanzas, and they each have a different meaning: absence of sunlight, despair, ghost, and death.
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
A Fine Picture—While other painters of the Hudson River School would merge the two in Romantic scenes, Thomas Cole chose in this painting to make clear the dichotomy between wilderness and cultivation.
Long after the painting was completed, Matthew Baigell identified the logging scars on the distant hill as Hebrew letters. Viewed upright they seem to spell the name “Noah”; viewed upside down, as though from God’s perspective, the word shaddai, “the Almighty,” is formed.
A tiny self-portrait of Thomas Cole with his easel can be spotted on the rocks in the foreground.
The painting is an entry submitted by Fiona of Vista Court.
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
Goethe said that everyone should read a little poetry and see a fine picture every day, to prevent worldly cares from overcoming our sense of the beautiful. Get your daily dose of beauty at Wrestle with the Angel.