Friday, January 4, 2013

Lyric Poetry Corridor

Lyric Poetry is the decoration theme in the South Mosaic Corridor, First Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress.

Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress

Today I'm spotlighting info from On These Walls: Inscriptions and Quotations in the Buildings of the Library of Congress about the Lyric Poetry corridor.

Above the window at the west end of the corridor is a banner with a quotation from William Wordsworth:
THE POETS, WHO ON EARTH HAVE MADE US HEIRS
OF TRUTH AND PURE DELIGHT BY HEAVENLY LAYS.
The ceiling of the corridor has the names of lyric poets in its mosaic.

Ceiling, Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress

Six Americans are honored on the north side: LONGFELLOW, LOWELL, WHITTIER, BRYANT, WHITMAN, and POE. Poets honored on the south side are the Europeans HEINE, HUGO, MUSSET, BYRON, SHELLEY, and BROWNING. The names of ancient poets are inscribed in the center of the vault: THEOCRITUS, PINDAR, ANACREON, SAPPHO, CATULLUS, HORACE, PETRARCH, and RONSARD.

Henry Oliver Walker's mural Lyric Poetry--found at the east end of the corridor--provides the general theme. In it, Lyric Poetry stands with a lyre in the center. Around her are Mirth, Beauty, Passion, Pathos, Truth, and Devotion.

Alfred Tennyson's poem "Ganymede" is one of six poems depicted in paintings by Walker in the corridor. The most famous poet of the Victorian age, Tennyson is well-represented throughout the Jefferson Building; his name is in the ceiling of the Great Hall, and his poetry is also found in the Southwest Corridor on the first floor (The Greek Heroes) and the Great Hall's second floor North Corridor.

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I have a poem by Tennyson today: "Love is and was my Lord and King"

Love is and was my Lord and King,
And in his presence I attend
To hear the tidings of my friend,
Which every hour his couriers bring.
Love is and was my King and Lord,
And will be, tho' as yet I keep
Within his court on earth, and sleep
Encompass'd by his faithful guard,
And hear at times a sentinel
Who moves about from place to place,
And whispers to the worlds of space,
In the deep night, that all is well.

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Matt at Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme is our Poetry Friday host.

11 comments:

Linda at teacherdance said...

I've never seen this, Tabatha, how wonderful it looks. Thank you for telling about it. And that poem, to be re-read more than once. I remember him as such a glorious story teller, & this is different, more introspective.

Robyn Hood Black said...

I haven't seen it either - what a treat! Thank you for sharing, Tabatha, and putting it on my "to go to" list. Thank you, too, for the elegant Tennyson poem.

BJ Lee said...

I never knew about this either. Thanks for posting the pics and the Tennyson poem. I'm wondering, though, what about the narrative poets :>)

Author Amok said...

Hi, Tabatha. Thank you for sharing this poem and the gorgeous photographs. I've never been to the Library of Congress, even though we've lived in Maryland 13 years. I'll have to get down there!

Ruth said...

How great is this? I have to go visit that Library of Congress...

I'm Jet . . . said...

I had no idea! Fabulous, Tabatha!

Carol said...

I didn't know anything about this either, Tabatha. (much more intellectual and uplifting than puppies, which, by the way, do NOT go there unless you want to get addicted and have to check in several times each day-- spoken by a total puppy addict!). The Tennyson poem makes me think of the Bible verse, pretty sure it is in ! Corinthians 13, "And now faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest of these is love." Like several others, I think this is a poem I need to swish around in my brain for awhile. Thanks!

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Now that ceiling alone has made me fall in love with the place. And Tennyson... "Love is and was my King and Lord" forever timeless. And naturally, I was reminded of that Tennyson quote as well from Skyfall that sent me the chills:
"Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
Happy New Year, dearest Tabatha!

Joyce Ray said...

Tabatha, this is a beautiful post. Thank you for showing us the richness that awaits in the LOC. I look forward to exploring the On These Walls site. Already I like a quote there in the East corridor: FOR A WEB BEGUN GOD SENDS THREAD-an old proverb. This echos a quote from Goethe I just found in a cleaning spree. In part, it says "the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too."

Mary Lee said...

Now THAT would be something to see!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Wow...just stunning! This goes on my list of must see places, now. Thanks, Tabatha!