Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Irish Ballads: Danny Boy

Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the roses falling
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide

But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine and in shadows
Oh Danny Boy, oh Danny Boy, I love you so.

But when he come, and all the flowers are dying
If I am dead, as dead I well may be
 You'll come and find the place where I am lying
 And kneel and say an "ave" there for me

 And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
 And all my grave will warm and sweeter be
  For you will bend and tell me that you love me
 And I will sleep in peace until you come to me.

This is one of my very favourite songs! I'm in a very Irish mood today, and I thought that with St. Patrick's Day fast approaching (even though it's still several weeks away), it would be very fitting to do a post about this very lovely song.
    'Danny Boy' is a ballad written by English songwriter Frederic Weatherly and is usually set to the Irish tune of "Londonderry Air". It was first published in 1913, and since then has been recorded by many different artists, including Judy Garland and Johnny Cash (when I saw that, my first thought was, really?)
    I particularly love this a cappela version sung by Celtic Woman:

It just takes your breath away, doesn't is? (I also loooove their dresses!) Celtic Woman is one of my very favourite musical groups and I think their version of this song is just gorgeous.

               Very Truly,

                   Emma Jane

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today I am......

(and have been lately.....)

History assignments for school, starting to get in the habit of posting, and beginning a novel which is tenatively called A Heart in the Highlands. Although it's not yet worthy to be called a 'novel', since right now it consists of around twenty pages or thereabouts.

Trying to finally finish The Blue and the Gray, but the going is very slow. The book is not nearly as good as the miniseries, (which is absolutley EPIC), but I am determined to finish it, and hopefully very soon since I only have a few chapters left. I finished True Grit yesterday in the library at church during the second service, and I was extremely pleased with it. It did not disappoint at all, and I really liked how the story was told from Mattie's perspective, because it truly is her story, and it really sounded like the words of a fourteen-year-old. A very wise fourteen-year-old. In short, it was a very good novel that I would highly recommend to anyone, especially if you've seen and loved the movie, like me. Also, on the side, I am reading Jane Seymour's Guide to Romantic Living, which is absolutely ridiculous but also very entertaining and occasionally inspiring. I read a very lovely paragraph this afternoon about noticing and appreciating the little things in life and not taking the beauty of the earth for granted. So I am now paying extra attention to the dazzling full moon tonight and saying little prayer thanking God for creating this beautiful earth.


The Patriot soundtrack, Braveheart soundtrack, Celtic Visions and Joshua Bell playing something-or-other by Fritz Kreisler.

Nothing tonight, but last night we started National Velvet. I'm not a huge fan, seeing how I've never really cared much for horse movies (with the exceptions of Hidalgo and Secretariat) and I happen to detest Mickey Rooney, but my older sister Molly really likes it because she used to watch it often when she was younger. A few nights ago we watched The Englishman Who Went up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, which was simply charming and made my sister Sadie and I very much wish we were Welsh. Last week we borrowed Little Dorrit from the library- hope to watch it soon!

At the beautiful moon, and for more good books to read. Also for a few kindred spirits. They seem to be quite rare these days.

About the War between the States. Actually, most of what I'm reading about it in my history book, I already know from reading other books and watching movies, so it's more like review, shall we say. Also, I'm learning not to let little things get to me, like when people neglect to remove their shoes before entering a house. Particularly when it happens to be my house. Now, in my own opinion, that is a first-degree offense and punishable by..... well, something unpleasant. But on the grand scale of things, I suppose it's not that horrible. It just seems that way at the moment.

Remarkably well, actually. This morning I thought perhaps I was catching a cold, but now I feel right as rain and very happy indeed. This afternoon I cleaned the kitchen floor after a very nasty rug was removed, leaving a horrid, yellow, dusty, sticky residue. Yuck. I took one look at the kitchen floor and burst into tears. But now all is well, and I have the marvellous sense of accomplishment I always feel after cleaning, especially after cleaning something really, truly awful. And this was definitely one of the most wretched things I have ever had to clean up.

Playing the new piano music that my dear mum just bought! It's a collection of songs from Jane Austen adaptations including the '95 Sense and Sensibility, the '95 Pride and Prejudice, the 90-something Persuasion (which I really should see one of these days,) and the 90-something Emma. Also I'm anticipating spring coming, and with it green grass and flowers!

Oh, that I didn't have to do math, that the snow would melt, that some people would not be so utterly ridiculous, that  the sun would shine, that I was Welsh, that Lynn Austin would hurry up and write another book (alright, so she just did, but if you ask me, All Things New was a bad apple and it's high time for another.) That I could be more patient and not so easily aggravated, especially by other people and their little idiosyncrasies!

Music, my house, poetry (I read The Highwayman and The Wreck of the Hesperus out loud this morning for some dramatic stimulation and I am inclined to think it worked quite well), the three little girls in my ballet class, the Sense and Sensibility soundtrack, The Patriot soundtrack, my beloved and irritating feline Oliver, Irish ballads, couscous, skirts and dresses, high heels, ridiculous mismatching socks, Charles Dickens, and John-Boy Walton. As always:)
(Sorry, but I couldn't resist!)

So there you have it. It's a very quiet and peaceful evening tonight and I was somewhat at a loss as to what to do, so I decided to share this with you. What have you been up to lately? I'd love to hear your comments!

                     Very Truly Yours,

                            Emma Jane

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Top Ten Literary Heroines

There are so many inspirational and endearing heroines in classic literature! I have decided to make a list of the ones I most admire and esteem for their goodness, loyalty, courage, and kind hearts. Without further ado, here they are:

#1 Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility
Elinor Dashwood is, in my opinion, the most endearing character Jane Austen ever created. (I'm not sure, however, if I have complete liberty to say that as I am not altogether acquainted with all of her characters.) She is kind, loyal, and constant. Her love for Edward never wavers, and yet she is patient even when she believes he can never marry her. I greatly admire her wisdom and steadiness and good sense, and hope one day I may be as loyal as she is!

  #2 Marianne Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility
Can you tell that Sense and Sensibility is my favourite Jane Austen story? :) Marianne, as we all know, is very unlike her sister, and yet they are as close as two sisters can be. They nearly always share everything with each other (I say nearly) and are genuinely concerned for each other's interests. I am much more like Marianne than Elinor, I think. Although kindhearted, she is not very sensible or prudent like her sister, and she is often impetuous and acts without thinking. Of cours she means well, but she often does not think things through thoroughly and ends up making trouble for herself. (I'm afraid such happens all too often for me!) I feel a great kinship with Marianne, and I think we should be great friends.

#3 Molly Gibson of Wives and Daughters

Molly Gibson is as absolute doll. She is wise, courageous, patient, and unfailingly loyal. I don't think I could ever be as patient as she is with that ridiculous stepmother of hers! She loves her father dearly and even though she disapproves of his decision to remarry, she accepts it gracefully.  I must say that I thought Roger was an absolute fool for wanting to marry Cynthia and was very disappointed with him for a time. It almost made me think that perhaps he didn't even deserve Molly, but then when he finally realized the foolishness of his actions, I forgave him on the spot and was so happy to see him finally tell Molly how he truly felt. I don't think anyone is more desevrving of a happy ending more than Molly!

#4 Mary Smith of Cranford

Mary Smith, I think, is one of the sweetest heroines in all of classic literature. She is very loyal and is very attentive and helpful to Miss Matty when her sister dies, and does everything she can to help when Miss Matty falls on unfortunate circumstances. I think she is the ultimate example of a constant companion, and the ladies of Cranford, especially Miss Matty, were very fortunate to have her there. I also think that she's very pretty in a quiet, sweet sort of way; not strikingly beautiful, but very pleasant in countenance. She also has a very soft and pretty voice. She is an excellent role model and I hope I can one day be as constant as she is!

#5 Margaret Hale of North and South

Margaret Hale is so strong and sensible. To some it might seem she has a rather unfortunate life, and I suppose that is true in part. She has a brother who is on the wrong side of the law and whom she may never see again. She lives in beautiful Helston with her mother and father, but then her father gives up his positon and she moves to a dreadful gray industrial town in the north. First her mother dies, then her best friend dies, and then when things couldn't possibly get any worse, her father dies too. But she bears it remarkably well and never loses her strength! I think she was fully deserving of John Thornton and I was so happy to see them end up together (of course, we all knew they would!) I've never read this book, but I think the miniseries was very well done and the music was just gorgeous. It suited Margaret and John's very passionate personalities very well.

#5 Jane Eyre of Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is nothing less than a saint. Really, her childhood was nothing less than horrific, and her life didn't get much better for a while- in fact, it may have gotten worse. There is no doubt that hers is a very tragic story indeed, but for the most part, I think she bears her troubles very well and is remarkably loyal and good, given her unfortunate circumstances. She was mistreated as a child and mistreated as a young woman, but still she is kind and gentle and courageous. In truth, I'm really not sure what to think about Mr. Rochester. Part of me wants to like him, because I think that underneath all his prickles he is an honorable man, but he is also deceitful and secretive. I can very well understand why Jane left- I would've done the same. But I was very happy that they were able to reunite at the end of it all, and that Jane had a pleasant ending to her mostly miserable life.

#7 Esther Summerson of Bleak House

Esther is my favourite Dickens heroine. She is very sweet and kind, but also strong and capable and sometimes even shrewd, which makes the character very believable and endearing. I admire her very much for bearing up against all the sorrow in her life, and for  accepting her blemishes gracefully after the smallpox took its toll. (I wanted to slap that Mr. Guppy's wrinkled face when he told her to forget he ever proposed!) At first I wasn't entirely sure if I liked Mr. Woodcourt, but then I was very glad to see that he did, indeed, really love Esther and that they were able to get married after all. As much as I loved Mr. Jarndyce, it just wouldn't have worked for Esther to marry him. She loved him as a father, not as a husband, and Mr. Jarndyce eventually realized that as well. In short, I was very pleased with the ending of this story and that Esther recieved all that she deserved.

#8 Emma Woodhouse of Emma

Emma is different from most of Jane Austen's heroines because of her social station. Unlike the others, she is wealthy, and does not need to marry but could remain happily at Hartfield for the rest of her days if she wished. Of course, she is also a bit  arrogant and that may be attributed to her social standing, but she is also endearing and clever and sweet and overall a very kindhearted young lady. She makes mistakes, of course, but so does everyone, and that makes her seem like a real person rather than a lofty storybook character. She and Mr. Knightley are so perfectly matched and the story is just so sweet. Jane Austen wrote that Emma was a character whom "nobody but myself could like", but I disagree. Everyone loves Emma!

#9 Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables

Anne Shirley is just a classic. I have yet to meet anyone who does not like her. She is imaginative, bright, witty, clever, and kindhearted. Of course she is also very mischevious and gets herself into a lot of unnecessary trouble, but that only makes her more dear. She is strong and capable and does what she needs to, and is always trying to help others. I have always admired her greatly, and never understood why she didn't like her red hair! Anne is probably one of the first literary heroines I was ever introduced to, and I have been watching the movies with my sisters ever since I was very young, so she has a very special place in my heart.

#10 Mattie Ross of True Grit

Mattie Ross has true grit. There's no question about it. She is probably the strongest and most capable fourteen-year-old heroine in all of literature. I watched the movie two years ago and was absolutely amazed, and I have just started the book and am about halfway through. The story is brilliant, and Mattie is a very rare kind of character. I, being fourteen myself, very much doubt if I would go off into the wilderness with a hardened U.S. marshal (with an affinity for drinking) and a pompous Texas ranger to avenge my father's death. It sounds honorable, but in reality I'd be far too frightened. But not Mattie. In fact, she doesn't seem to be frightened in the least. I admire her for her strength and courage, and of course, her true grit. :)


      Emma Jane

Patience is a Virtue

I must ask you, my potential readers, to please be patient with me as I try to figure out this terribly confusing and complicated business of blogging! (If you ask me, it's a great deal more complicated than it ought to be.)Goodness knows I am trying to be patient with myself as I try to learn everything. I'm not exactly sure how to add pictures to the sidebar yet, because everything I try ends up terribly wrong and leaves me very discouraged indeed, so right now I'm sure my blog looks awfully dull. But I shall learn! I hope you will have patience with me and return again as I make improvements, and hopefully there will be many!

                Adieu and best regards,
                        Emma Jane

 (See, I do know something! This picture has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this post, but I think it is just beautiful, and plus, she looks very patient, don't you think?)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Welcome to For the Beauty of the Earth!

Good day to you! Welcome to my blog. I'm Emma Jane, a fourteen-year-old daughter, sister, and passionate individual! For the Beauty of the Earth is dedicated to my love of music, period dramas, literature, ballet, and other such delights. I hope that what I post will be interesting and a blessing to you, and that you come back often!

 Here are a few tidbits about me:

-I have been homeschooled all my life.

-I am infatuated with history.

-My favourite things to eat are couscous and popcorn.

-I have a stuffed rabbit named Elbert who has been my constant companion ever since I was two years old!

-My favourite authors are Lynn Austin and Linda Byler.

-I adore classic poetry, especially John Keats and Robert Burns.

-I am just a little obsessed (even though I don't much care for that particular word, I can't think of another one to use in this instance:) with movie soundtracks.

-I could play the piano for hours (and very often do!)

-I hope to visit England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland someday.

-I love peppermint tea!

-My favourite book of the Bible is Proverbs.

-I just love a good western!

-I adore the music of British violinist Charlie Siem. (He's also very pleasant to look at:)

-Old musicals from the '40s and '50s and '60s make me so happy!

-I love Irish ballads.

- I was raised with the stories of Beatrix Potter and Tasha Tudor, my two favourite author/artists.

-My very favourite book ever is Hidden Places by Lynn Austin, which I've re-read three times and still haven't tired of!

-I grew up with Dr. Quinn and The Waltons (I am desperately in love with John-Boy Walton.)

-I love to dance.

-I have an entirely impossible dream of being an actress and ballet dancer in Britain in the '90s. The only problem is I'm not British, and the year is 2013.

-My favourite Bible verse is Proverbs 4:18:

            The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

  Thank you for stopping by!

         Very Truly,

                    Emma Jane


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