gershon hepner

Rookie - 10 Points (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Excellently Bright - Poem by gershon hepner

With horn and tenor, Britten praised
the goddess who is excellently bright.
He meant the goddess of the moon, and gazed
at her throughout a daylike night
in which no stars could be perceived.
The moon, in battle for survival
is happy to become bereaved
of every would-be starry rival,
who might prepare to rage ungently
against the dying of the light,
which it, so bright, quite excellently,
refutes by shining all the night.

Inspired by Ben Jonson’s “Hymn, ” which is one of the many lovely songs that Benjamin Britten putt music in his quite amazing Serenade for Tenor and Horn, broadcast on 12/14/09 on KUSC, and introduced by Alan Chapman. The words “excellently bright” are sung with a heart-rending coloratura which was ideally suited to the voice Peter Pears, although Ian Bostridge also sings it with exquisite talent.

Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep:
Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright.
Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia’s shining orb was made
Heav’n to clear when day did close:
Bless us then with wishèd sight,
Goddess excellently bright.
Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short so-ever:
Thou that mak’st a day of night,
Goddess excellently bright.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, December 14, 2009

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