Seven Ghosts

By Libby Larsen

I.Grace and Glory

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784), arrived in Boston in 1761 on the slave-trade schooner Phillis. She was purchased by Susanna Wheatley, wife of the wealthy merchant John Wheatley. Tutored in the Wheatley home, she rapidly became one of the great poets of her time. As such, Phillis was freed from slavery in 1773. She married John Peters and bore three children. In 1775, while traveling the east coast marketing her poems, she met George Washington. The meeting occasioned this poem of entreaty and encouragement. It was subsequently published in both the Pennsylvania Magazine and the Virginia Gazette.



I have taken the freedom to address your Excellency in the enclosed poem, and entreat your acceptance, though I am not insensible of its inaccuracies. Your being appointed by the Grand Continental Congress to be Generalissimo of the armies of North America, together with the fame of your virtues, excite sensations not easy to suppress. Your generosity, therefore, I presume, will pardon the attempt. Wishing your Excellency all possible success in the great cause you are so generously engaged in, I am,

Your Excellency's most obedient humble servant,


Celestial choir! enthron'd in realms of light,
Columbia's scenes of glorious toils I write.
While freedom's cause her anxious breast alarms,
She flashes dreadful in refulgent arms.
See mother earth her offspring's fate bemoan,
And nations gaze at scenes before unknown!
See the bright beams of heaven's revolving light
Involved in sorrows and the veil of night!
The goddess comes, she moves divinely fair,
Olive and laurel binds her golden hair: .......
Muse! bow propitious while my pen relates
How pour her armies through a thousand gates:......

In bright array they seek the work of war,
Where high unfurl'd the ensign waves in air.
Shall I to Washington their praise recite?
Thee, first in place and honours,- we demand
The grace and glory of thy martial band.....
Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side,
Thy ev'ry action let the goddess guide.
A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine,
With gold unfading, WASHINGTON! be thine.

II. Jenny Lind to Harriet Beecher Stowe

Jenny Lind toured the United States between 1850 and 1852. Wherever she sang she was immediately beloved for both her magnificent voice and her extraordinary humanity. She regularly closed her concerts with the song " Home Sweet Home". Jenny Lind took a particular interest in abolition, making contributions to the causes of Harriet Beecher Stowe, whom she greatly admired. The two met in New York while Stowe was being interviewed about Uncle Tom's Cabin and Lind was about to give her farewell concert. Lind gave Stowe tickets to her concert. For a thank you to Jenny, Harriet sent Jenny a note and a copy of Uncle Tom s Cabin. In return this letter was written.

Chorus: Home Sweet Home

Mid pleasures and palaces, wherever you may roam
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
which seek through the world is never met with elsewhere.

John Howard Payne

Solo Soprano:

"My Dear Madam,

-Allow me to express my sincere thanks for your (very)
kind letter,..

You must... know what a deep impression "Uncle
Tom's Cabin" has made upon every heart that can feel
for the dignity of human existence: so I with my
miserable English would not even try to say a word
....but I must thank you for the great joy I have felt over
that book......

I have the feeling about "Unde Tom's Cabin" that great
changes will take place by and by,... and that the
writer of that book can fall asleep to-day...with the
bright, sweet conscience of having been a strong means
in the Creator's hand of... essential good... God bless
and protect you and yours,.... and certainly God's hand
will remain with a blessing over your head.....

Yours most truly,
Jenny Goldschmidt, nee Lind "

III.Blinlding Pluto

At the age of 24, Clyde William Tombaugh (1906 - ) discovered the planet Pluto at the Lowell observatory in Flagstaff, Arzona. The only American to discover a major planet Tombaugh was a self-taught astronomer growing up on a farm in Burdette Kansas. Hired to facilitate the third and final search for "Planet X " Tombaugh devised his own methodology in which he studied photographed 30,000 to 60,000 stars in a days work. He discovered Pluto on February 20, 1930.

A brilliant night,
fair, with light wind.
I work all night long
in an unheated dome, in winter.

The objects drift
from day to day.
Aquarius and Pisces
to Aries;
Gemini and Taurus
to Scorpius
and Sagitarius

Blinking, searching,
Thirty thousand,
Forty thousand,
Fifty thousand,
Sixty thousand,
One hundred thousand stars....
each day....
and more.....

I work all night long
in an unheated dome, in winter
each day....
and more...
in winter.

Centered on the starfield Delta Geminorium,
blinking the east half
blinking - from the south end,
Thirty thousand
Forty thousand
Fifty thousand
Sixty thousand
One hundred thousand stars....

I spied an object popping in and out.
That's it!

IV. Myself with wings

Grandson of the Swedish ex-patriot August Lindbergh (Ola Mansson) son of Congressman Charles August Lindbergh, Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) grew up simultanesouly on a farm in Little Falls, Minnesota and in Washington, DC. He bought his first barnstonning airplane in l923. He enlisted in the army where he flew night mail in 1925/26. In 1927 Charles Lindbergh made the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris in the "Spirit of St. Louis" immediately catapulting him into world notoriety. He lived his life as an aviator, scientist, soldier, conservationist, and advisor to the government on industry and flight. His intergity as a person infiltrated every area in which he worked.

" I used to imagine myself with wings on which I could swoop down off our roof into the valley, soaring through the air from on river bank to another. Flying!"

V. United Hot Clubs of America
Louis Armstrong (1900 - 1971)

In 1935 the United Hot Clubs of Amenca was launched with six clubs to which musicians could belong for$2 a year. In these clubs musicians could jam anytime day or night. The six onginal clubs were: New York Hot Club, Yale Hot Club, Chicago Hot Club, Boston Hot Club, Cleueland Hot Club, Los Angeles Hot Club.


" When we got back to London, I went over to have a look at Paris and take a little rest for a week before I had to get back home. I landed in New York the day President Roosevelt was elected, November 2, 1932. It had been a short trip but I got home thinking swing music was a lot more important than I knew before, and I guess maybe I was feeling a little important about my own playing, too - you know how you can get sometimes. Those High C's certainly did wow'em. Man!"

Chorus: a choral/instrumental jam session quoting from the following:

Basin Street Blues, Lady Be Good, Tiger Rag, Clair de Lune, Brahms Piano Serenade in Ab major, When the Saints Go Marching In.

Libby Larsen - Seven Ghosts

Page Created September 10, 1996
Page last updated 9/17/04
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