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I listened to the land a profile of a nation in terms of its living language. This week a sampler of popular favorites. By sharing aloud the writings of our country past and present. We can come to a fuller appreciation of those things which are meaningful to us as Americans and perhaps of the nature of our role in a contemporary world. Listen to the land is produced by station w h y y Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Now here is your host and narrator Richard as Bertie with the first of this week's samples from a sampler of popular favorites. I tear her tattered ends and Don long as it waved on high and many an eye has danced to see that banner in the sky beneath it run the battle shout and burst the cannons roar the
meteor of the ocean air shall sweep the clouds no more her deck once red with Heroes blood where knelt the vanquished foe when winds were hurrying out of the flood and waves were white below no more shall feel the victor's trad or know the conquered need the harpies of the shore shall pluck the eagle of the sea. Or better that her shattered hull should sink beneath the waves her thunders shook the mighty deep bend there should be her grave nailed to the mast her holy flag set every threadbare sail and give her to the God of storms the lightning and the gale. And of course was Old Ironsides written by Oliver Wendell Holmes when he was a student at Harvard Law School. The poem made Holmes famous and it saved the frigate
Constitution from the scrap yard where there was room to be dismantled and abandoned. Today it's a national shrine one well worth visiting as gym killers told you this week we're going to reply to some requests to raid some old favorites. And with so many to select from we're bound to miss some that you'd like to hear but we'll try to include at least one classic item for each taste. Now that word classic is a very flexible one. Webster defines it as ov or pertaining to the first class or rank. That definition certainly applies to this next item which although not a classic in the quote classical unquote sense rates the honor because of its popular appeal through the years. I'm speaking of the shooting of Dan McGrew who by Robert W. Service. Service was the poet laureate of the Alaskan gold rush and of all his rhyme yarns of the Yukon. This one is the most durable.
A bunch of the boys were whooping it up and I'm out a mute saloon and a kid that handles the music box was hitting a jagged dime to the back of the bar when a solo game sat Dangerous Dan McGrew and watching his luck was his light alone. A lady that's known as Lou went out of the night which was 50 below and into the den in the glare there stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks dog dirty loaded for bear. It looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse yelled. He tilted a poke of dust on the bar and he called for drinks on the house. It was none could place the stranger's face so we searched ourselves for a clue. But we drank his health and the last drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew. Now those men that somehow just rip your eyes and hold them hard like a spell and such was
he. And he looked to me like a man who had lived in hell. With a face most care and the dreary stare of a dog whose day is done as he watered the green stuff in his glass and the drops fell one by one and I got to figuring who it was and wondering what he'd do. And I turned my head. And there watching him was the lady that's known as Lou. His eyes went rubbering around the room and he seemed in a kind of daze to let Last Battle pay and fell in the way of his wandering gaze. The ragtime kid was having a drink there was no one else on the stool so the stranger stumbles across the room and flops down there like a fool in a buckskin shirt was glazed with dirty sat and I saw him sway and he clutched the keys with his talon hands. I got but that man could play. Were you ever out in the great along when the moon was awful clear in the icy mountains hemmed you in with the
silence you could almost hear but only the hollow of a timber wolf and you camped there in the cold a half dead thing and a stark dead world clean made for the muck called gold while high overhead and green yellow and red the north lights swept in bars and then you hunch what the music meant Unger and night and the stars. And hunger not of the belly kind that's banished with bacon and beans but the gnawing hunger of lonely men for our home and all that it means for a fireside far from the cares that our four walls and a roof above but so crammed full of cozy joy and crowned with a woman's love a woman dearer than all the world and true heaven is true how ghastly she looks to her rouge the lady that's known as Lou. Then on a sudden the music changed so soft that you scarce could hear
but you felt that your life had been looted clean of all that it once held dear that someone had stolen the woman you loved but her love was a devil's lie that your guts were gone and the best for you was to crawl away and die. It was the crowning cry of a heart's despair and it thrilled you through and through. I guess I'll make it a spread Missouri said Dangerous Dan McGrew. The music almost died away and I'd burst like a pent up flood and it seemed to say rip a rip a and my eyes were blind with blood. The thought came back of an ancient wrong that stung like a frozen lash and the lust awoke to kill to kill then the music stopped with a crash. And the stranger turned in his eyes they burned in a most peculiar way in a buckskin shirt that was glazed with a dirty sack and I saw him sway and
his lips went in a kind of grin and he spoke and his voice was calm and boys says he. You don't know me and none of you care a damn. But I want to state and my words are straight and I'll bet my poke there Drew that one of you was on hound of hell and that one is Dan McGrew and I ducked my head and the lights went out and two guns blazed in the dark and a woman screamed and the lights went up and two men lay stiff and stark pitched on his head and pumped full of lead was Dangerous Dan McGrew while the man from the creeks lay clutched to the breast of the lady that's known as Lou. These are the simple facts of the case and I guess you ought to know. They said that the stranger was crazed with which and I'm not denying it so I'm not so wise as the lawyer guys.
But strictly between us two the woman that kissed him and pinched his poke was the lady that's known as Lou. Not long ago newspaper readers were moved by a picture published in picking papers across the land of a little dog sitting faithfully beside the body of his 12 year old master who had been struck and killed by a car in Denver Colorado. At first the dog wouldn't even let the police approach the body. It was an example of a picture being worth a thousand words. And yet George G vast once wrote a eulogy of a dog in about a thousand words more or less which has been reprinted many times since the year it was written. It's become a kind of classic among dog lovers which I guess should include just about everybody except maybe cats. Gentlemen of the jury the best friend a man has in
this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter whom he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their fate. The money that a man has he may lose it flies away from him. Perhaps when he needs it most a man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill considered action. The people who are prone to fall on the need to do us on our own successes with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its clouds upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world the one that never deserts him the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. Gentleman of the
jury. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty in help and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground when the wind when three winds blow in the snow drives fiercely. If only he can be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his papa master as if he were a prince when all other friends desert he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world friendless and homeless the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than not of
accompanying him to guard against danger to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all calms and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground. No matter of all other friends pursue their way there or by his graveside will the noble dog be found his head between his paws his eyes sad but open and alert watchfulness faithful and true even unto death. In 1899 a poem was published that someone called the Battle Cry of the next thousand years. It was called The Man with the hoe and it was written by a San Francisco poet named. And when Markham this poem which was inspired by Malays famous painting was one in
which Markham summed up and spiritualize the social unrest that was in the air at the time. In the bleak figure of a dull non-thinking an imaginative man with a hole Mark and drew a picture of men in the mines men in the sweat shops men working without joy without hope. And he crystallized the expression of outrage of the period. God made man in his own image in the image of God made he him. Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans upon his hoe and gazes on the ground. The emptiness of ages in his face and on his back the burden of the world who made him dead to rapture and despair a thing that grieves not and never hopes stolid and stunned a brother to the ox who loosened and let down his brutal
jaw. Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow whose breath blew out the light within this brain. Is this the thing the Lord God made and gave to have dominion over sea and land to trace the stars and search the heavens for Apollo to feel the passion of eternity. Is this the dream he dreamed to shape the Suns and mark their ways upon the ancient deep down all the caverns of the hell to their last Gulf. There is no shape more terrible than this. More tongues would censure of the world blind greed more filled with signs and portents for the soul more packed with danger to the universe. What goals between him and the Serafin sleeve of the wheel of labor what to him are Plato and the swing of Pleiades. What the long reaches of the peaks of
song the rift of dawn the reddening of the rose. Through this dread shape the suffering ages look time's tragedy is in that aching stoop. Through this dread shape humanity betrayed plundered profane and disinherited cries of protest to the powers that made the world a protest but as also prophecy. Oh masters lords and rulers and all lands. Is this the handiwork you give to God. This monstrous thing distorted and soul quench. How will you ever straighten up this shape. Touch it again with immortality. Give back the upward looking and the light. Rebuilding at the music in the dream. Make right the immemorial infamies perfidious wrongs in medical woes. Oh masters lords and rulers in all lands how will the future reckon with this man. How answer his brood question in that hour when where a Winds of rebellion
shake all shores how will it be with kingdoms and with Kings where those who shaped him to the thing he is. When this dumb terror shall rise to judge the world after the silence of the centuries. Edwin Markham used a bleak intellectual mode of expression to achieve. The disturbing effect of the man with the hoe. A poet of genius says Markham was can be equally effective with a simple personalise style. And if he is truly a genius in as few as twenty one words for example the fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over
harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on. Carl Sandra. Carl Sandburg can also write with vigor with sledgehammers sock and drive and with a sweeping energy as in Chicago is most famous and perhaps his most durable certainly his most individuals to call him No. Close up of America in terms of popular favorites would be complete without Chicago. Ah but you're for the world toolmaker stacker of wheat player with railroads and the nation's freight handler stormy husky brawling city of the Big Shoulders. They tell me you all like it and I believe them or I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys and they tell me you are crooked and I answer
yes it is true. I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again. And they tell me you are brutal in my reply as on the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger. And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city and I give them back the sneer and say to them Come and show me and others that he would lift I've had SINGING SO PROUD TO BE ALIVE AND course I'm strong and cunning flinging magnetic curses on the toil of piling job on job here as a tall bold slug or set vivid against the little soft city's fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness bare headed shoveling wrecking planning building breaking rebuilding under the smoke dust all over his mouth laughing with white teeth under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs laughing even as an
ignorant fighter Lapps who has never lost a battle bragging and drew laughing under his wrists. Is the pope under his ribs the heart of the people laughing. Laughing That's still me. I scream brawling laughter of youth half maken sweating. Proud to be hugged but your toolmaker stacker of wheat player with railroads and for a time go to the nation. The Secure rational expressiveness of Carl's fat Sandberg vigorous though it may be and sometimes unorthodox in its metered forms provides a vivid contrast to the inward turning 12 method writings of Edgar Allen Poe. I suppose pose best known work written in 1845 is the poem called The Raven. Once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered weak and weary over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore while I nodded. Nearly
napping. Suddenly there came a tapping as of some one gently rapping rapping at my chamber door. Tis some visitor I muttered tapping at my chamber door. Only this and nothing more distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December in each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor eagerly I wished the morrow vainly I had sought to borrow from my books search seas of sorrow sorrow for the last hour for the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named when no name was here for evermore. And the silken sad uncertain wrestling of each purple curtain thrilled me filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before so that now the still the beating of my heart I stood repeating his some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door. Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door. This it is and
nothing more. Presently my soul grew stronger as a dating one no longer sir said I or not I'm drooling off a given as I am Klara But the fact is I was napping and so gently you came rapping and so faintly you came tapping tapping at my chamber door that I scarce was sure I heard you ere I opened wide the door. Doctor was there and nothing more deep into the darkness peering long I stood there wondering fearing doubting dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. But the silence was unbroken and the darkness gave no token and the only word there spoken was the whispered word than all merely this and nothing more. Back into the chamber turning all my soul within me burning soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. Surely said I surely that is something at my
window lattice. Let me see then what the right has and this mystery explore let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore. Tis the wind nothing more. Open here I flung the shutter when with many a flirt and flutter in there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore not the least obese and maybe not an instant stop to state but would mean of lord or lady perched above my chamber door perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door perched and sat and nothing more than this Ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy and a smiling by the grave and stern decorum a countenance that wore the like Crest to be shorn unshaven by I said Art short note Craven ghastly grim an ancient Raven wandering from the nightly shore. Tell me what the title arly name is on the night's Plutonian Shore Quoth the raven nevermore.
Much I marvel this on gamely followed here discourse so plainly though its answer little meaning little relevancy bill. We cannot help agreeing that no living human being ever yet was blessed with seeing bird about his chamber door or bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door with such name as never more. But the raven sitting lonely on the placid bust spoke only that one word as if his soul and that one word he did outpour nothing further than he uttered not a feather then he fluttered to lie scarcely more than muttered. No other friends have flown before on the morrow he will leave me as my hopes have flown before. Then the bird said never more startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken doubtless And I want it utters is its only stock instore caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden
bore till the dirges of his hope one melancholy burden bore of never more. But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling straight I wheel a cushion seat in front of bird and bust and dog then upon the velvet sinking I betook myself to linking fancy into fancy thinking what this ominous bird of yore what this grim ungainly ghastly gaunt an ominous bird of yore meant in croaking Nevermore as I sat engaged in guessing but no syllable expressing to the fall whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom score this and more I sat divining with my head at ease reclining on the cushions velvet lining of the lamplight. Go to door but whose velvet Violet lining with a lamp like voting or she could press ever more. And we thought the air good dense here perfumed from an unseen sensor
swung by Sarah Fenn whose foot falls tinkled on the tufted floor. Wretch I cried My God up lengthy. Why these angels who get sent they rest but rest but the Nepenthe from the memories of Lenore classful class this kind of Panther and forget those lost one or both the raven Nevermore prophet said I think of evil prophet still of bird of devil wideout heaven the bends above us by that god we both adore. Tell of this soul with sorrow laden if within the distant Adan it your class but seated maiden whom the Angels name nor clasp of fair and radiant maiden whom the Angels name monarch. Quoth the raven Nevermore be that word our sign of parting bird off a nice treat jumpstarting get they back into the tempest and the mice Plutonian Shore Leave no black plume as a token of that
wide eyed soul outspoken. Leave my loneliness on broken quipped the bust above my door. Take thy beat from up my heart and take my form from off my dawn with the Raven Nevermore and the raven never floating still is sitting still is sitting in the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door and his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is reaming and the lamp light or I'm streaming throws a shadow on the floor and my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted nevermore. And so the land has spoken to us and diverse familiar voices those of Oliver Wendell Holmes Robert W. Service George G vest Edwin
Markham Carl Sandburg Edgar Allan Poe. Perhaps this will inspire you to seek out for yourself those favorite pieces which we didn't have time for. Or perhaps what you haven't read for oh how long. Last week we attempted a profile in prose of Abraham Lincoln. Next week we're going to have a go at another presidential profile this time out of George Washington. We call it the man behind the statue. And that gives you an idea of what it's going to be like. Washington is one of the best known and least understood presidents America has produced. Next week we'll try to meet him face to face heart to heart in writings about him and by him. I hope you plan to be here until then. This is Dick Burdick saying thanks for listening and so long. Listen to the land was produced and recorded at station w h y y Philadelphia under a
grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is James Keeler inviting you to be with us next week for the program. George Washington of the man behind the statue on listen to the line with your host on the right here Richard S. Bernie. This is the n AB Radio Network.
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Listen to the land
Sampler of popular favorites
Producing Organization
WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-m9023j6s).
Episode Description
This program focuses on a variety of exceptional American writings.
Series Description
America's literary heritage is explored through readings of short stories, poems, folklore, journalism and legends. The series is narrated by Richard S. Burdick.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Announcer: Keeler, James
Host: Burdick, Richard S.
Producing Organization: WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Writer: Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849
Writer: Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894
Writer: Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967
Writer: Vest, George Graham, 1830-1904
Writer: Markham, Edwin, 1852-1940
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-54-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:02
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Chicago: “Listen to the land; Sampler of popular favorites,” 1960-11-08, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Listen to the land; Sampler of popular favorites.” 1960-11-08. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Listen to the land; Sampler of popular favorites. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from