by H.L. Mencken

"The Rape of the Sabine Women" by Adrian Backer

Wagner - The rape of the Sabines... a kommers in Olympus.

Beethoven - The glory that was Greece... the grandeur that was Rome... a laugh.

Haydn - A siedel on the table... a girl of your knee... another and different girl in your heart.

Chopin - Two embalmers at work upon a minor poet... the scent of tuberoses... Autumn rain.

Richard Strauss - Old Home Week in Gomorrah.

Johann Strauss - Forty couple dancing... one by one they slip from the hall... sounds of kisses... the lights go out.

Puccini - Silver macaroni, exquisitely tangled.

Debussy - A pretty girl with one blue eye and one brown one.

Bach - Genesis I, I.

FROM the Smart Set, may 1912
H.L. Mencken

J.S. Bach: The Master

"Bach - Genesis I, I."


Coming by evening through the wintry city
We said that art is out of love with life.
Here we approach a love that is not pity.

This antique discipline, tenderly severe,
Renews belief in love yet masters feeling,
Asking of us a grace in what we bear.

Form is the ultimate gift that love can offer -
The vital union of necessity
With all that we desire, all that we suffer.

A too-compassionate art is half an art.
Only such proud restraining purity
Restores the else-betrayed, too-human heart.

Adrienne Rich