46d-Spring Break 2017

46d-S[romg Breal-Giuseppe_Castiglione_-_Gathering_of_Auspicious_Signs“Gathering of Auspicious Signs” by Giuseppe Castiglione.  Painted in 1723.
Public Domain.

I have one very vivid memory that recurs each year around the time of my Mom’s birthday on April 18th.  No matter what the weather was like or what was going on in our lives Mom said a birthday is a time to celebrate.  Each day is a gift no matter what we find in the box we open each morning.  We each have a role to play and bring our own unique gifts to the setting in which we participate.  Mom also held that each day is a re-birth because at the end of the day we should leave off the exhaustion, the gains and the losses and put them behind us.  Sleep was a renewing process.  All that happened the day before could be recycled and of use in the present or the future.  We just need to get on with the day ahead and not dwell too much on the past.  Answers will come in the course of time.

To illustrate this point Mom once told me that the newly found realizations are akin to Spring.  From within will blossom the knowledge we need if we just quiet the ramblings of the conscious mind and spend some time in a sweet solitude where we gather ourselves together.  “In springtime, the world is born anew!” Mom always said when it was her birthday.  She used that as a way to encourage me in the practice of seeking time out and spending it in quiet reflection.

Each year Uncle Sammy and I take a Spring break.  It is a time to rest, to socialize during the Easter holidays, visit the resting place of Josie and Sam and pray for those we are with in spirit but cannot make the visit to, whether at home or at their resting places.  We hope everyone is awakening after a very long winter and taking time to attune themselves to the cycle of renewal and rebirth going on in nature right now.  May it also happen for all of you, too.

To add an element of learning to this posting we have showcased a painting by Giuseppe Castiglione.  He was a Jesuit missionary who became a painter in the court of the Chinese Emperor during the 18th century.  We have also learned that Giuseppe Vivaldi, composer of “The Four Seasons”, wrote sonnets to accompany each of his concertos.  We present here Vivaldi’s sonnet to Spring in Italian and English which come from the website BaroqueMusic.org  Acknowledgements and links follow the sonnets.

We will return to WordPress in mid-May.

–EmilyAnn Frances May
–Sam Serrapede, Jr.
–April 9, 2017

Spring – Concerto in E Major by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.

Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.


Spring – Concerto in E Major by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
“Giunt’ è la Primavera e festosetti
La Salutan gl’ Augei con lieto canto,
E i fonti allo Spirar de’ Zeffiretti
Con dolce mormorio Scorrono intanto:
Vengon’ coprendo l’ aer di nero amanto
E Lampi, e tuoni ad annuntiarla eletti
Indi tacendo questi, gl’ Augelletti;
Tornan’ di nuovo al lor canoro incanto:”

“E quindi sul fiorito ameno prato
Al caro mormorio di fronde e piante
Dorme ‘l Caprar col fido can’ à lato.”

“Di pastoral Zampogna al suon festante
Danzan Ninfe e Pastor nel tetto amato
Di primavera all’ apparir brillante.”


“Gathering of Auspicious Signs” by Giuseppe Castiglione
Giuseppe’s Chinese name:  Lang Shi’ning
Public Domain.  Wikimedia Commons.

Giuseppe Castiglione
The Art History Archive-Chinese Art

Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” Sonnets

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons “Spring”






11f-The Italian version of “Cinderella”

Cinderella and the Birds”
English painting circa 1868
Public  Domain

“Italian Popular Tales”
by Thomas Frederick Crane, A.M.
Macmillan and Company, London, 1885
Transcribed from the original text available at Google Books


Note:  The Wikispaces version of the Italian Cinderella story mentions an evil step-mother.  The siblings are described as step-sisters.  I have located the original source from which the Wikispaces version is drawn and transcribed it. , There is no mention of either a step-mother or step-sisters. It is possible that later editions added the wicked step-mother in.  There are some interesting possibilities and explanations hidden inside of this story that give it a deeper meaning than you get upon first reading.  I have not been able to locate a 19th century painting of Cinderella by an Italian artist.  The one used here is by an English artist who I think captures the Cinderella of this tale.


Once upon a time there was a man who had three daughters.  He was once ordered to go away to work and said to them:  “Since I am about making a journey, what do you want me to bring you when I return?”  One asked for a handsome dress; the other, a fine hat and a beautiful shawl.  He said to the youngest:  “and you, Cinderella, what do you want?”  They called her Cinderella because she always sat in the chimney-corner.  “You must buy me a little bird Verdelio.”  “The simpleton! she does not know what to do with the bird!  Instead of ordering a handsome dress, a fine shawl she takes a bird.  Who knows what she will do with it!”  “Silence!” she says, “it pleases me.”  The father went, and on his return brought the dress hat, and shawl for the two sisters, and the little bird for Cinderella.  The father was employed at court, and one day the King said to him:  “I am going to give three balls; if you want to bring your daughters, do so;  they will amuse themselves a little.”  “As you wish,” he replies, “Thanks!” and accepts.  He went home and said “What do you think, girls?  His Majesty wishes you to attend his ball.”  “There, you see, Cinderella, if you had only asked for a handsome dress!  This evening we are going to the ball.”  She replied:  “It matters nothing to me!  You go; I am not coming.”  In the evening, when the time came, they adorned themselves saying to Cinderella:  “Come along, there will be room for you, too.”  “I don’t want to go; you go; I don’t want to.”  “But,” said their father, “Let us go, let us go!  Dress and come along; let her stay.”  When they had gone, she went to the bird and said:  “O Bird Verdelio, make me more beautiful than I am!”  She became clothed in a sea-green dress, with so many diamonds that it blinded you to behold her.  The bird made ready two purses of money, and said to her:  “Take these two purses of money, enter your carriage, and away!”  She set out for the ball, and left the bird Verdelio at home.  She entered the ballroom.  Scarcely had the gentlemen seen this beautiful lady (she dazzled them on all sides), when the king, just think of it, began to dance with her the whole evening.  After he had danced with her all the evening, his Majesty stopped, and she stood by her sisters.  While she was at her sisters’ side, she drew out her handkerchief, and a bracelet fell out.

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