March 31, 2009

Evening Solace

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--Description: Bronte C., 19th C, Love, Sorrow-



The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;--
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.
And days may pass in gay confusion,
And nights in rosy riot fly,
While, lost in Fame's or Wealth's illusion,
The memory of the Past may die.

But there are hours of lonely musing,
Such as in evening silence come,
When, soft as birds their pinions closing,
The heart's best feelings gather home.
Then in our souls there seems to languish
A tender grief that is not woe;
And thoughts that once wrung groans of anguish
Now cause but some mild tears to flow.

And feelings, once as strong as passions,
Float softly back--a faded dream;
Our own sharp griefs and wild sensations,
The tale of others' sufferings seem.
Oh! when the heart is freshly bleeding,
How longs it for that time to be,
When, through the mist of years receding,
Its woes but live in reverie!

And it can dwell on moonlight glimmer,
On evening shade and loneliness;
And, while the sky grows dim and dimmer,
Feel no untold and strange distress--
Only a deeper impulse given
By lonely hour and darkened room,
To solemn thoughts that soar to heaven
Seeking a life and world to come.




--Did You Know:  She was a British novelist, the eldest of the three famous Brontë sisters whose novels have become standards of English literature. Charlotte Brontë, who used the pen name Currer Bell, is best known for Jane Eyre, one of the most famous of English novels.

--Word of the Day: idiopathy (id-ee-OP-uh-thee), noun
Meaning: A disease of unknown origin or one having no apparent cause.
Example: "Beneath the complexity and idiopathy of every cancer lies a limited number of 'mission critical' events that have propelled the tumour cell and its progeny into uncontrolled expansion and invasion."
(Gerald I Evan and Karen H Vousden; Proliferation, Cell Cycle And Apoptosis*in Cancer; Nature (London, UK); May 17, 2001.)


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March 30, 2009

A Red, Red Rose

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--Description: Burns R., 18th C, Adoration, Love--



My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June :
My love is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel a while !
And I will come again, my love,
Thou’ it were ten thousand mile.




--Did You Know:  Burns was also known as Rabbie Burns, Scotland's favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as simply The Bard.  He was a poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide.


--Word of the Day: nubilous (NOO-buh-luhs, NYOO-), adjective
Meaning: 1. Cloudy, misty, or foggy.  2. Vague or obscure.
Example: "All of which nubilous musing serves little purpose, except to show that cloud-gazing, as a way of passing time, has appealed to all humanity since the earliest of times."
(Andy Drought; We Really Don't Know Clouds At All; The Herald (Glasgow, UK); Oct 27, 2001.)

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March 28, 2009

Concord Hymn

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--Description: Emerson R., 19th C, Patriotism, Politics--


Sung at the Completion of the Concord Monument, April 19th, 1836
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.





--Did You Know:  Emerson was considered one of the great orators of the time, Emerson's enthusiasm and respect for his audience enraptured crowds. His support for abolitionism late in life created controversy, and at times he was subject to abuse from crowds while speaking on the topic.


--Word of the Day: dramatis personae (DRAM-uh-tis puhr-SO-nee), noun
Meaning: 1. The characters in a play or story  2. The people involved in an event.
Example: "The same scene would replay itself again in 2008 with a slight change in the dramatis personae."
(Kofi Amenyo; Can the NPP Ever Elect A Non-Twi Speaker; Ghana News; Jan 12, 2009.)


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March 26, 2009

Meeting at Night

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--Description: Browning R., 19th C, Love, Passion--



The gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
Then the two hearts beating each to each!




--Did You Know:  Ironically, Browning’s style, which seemed modern and experimental to Victorian readers, owes much to his love of the seventeenth century poems of John Donne with their abrupt openings, colloquial phrasing and irregular rhythms .


--Word of the Day: cohere (ko-HEER), verb
Meaning: To be united; to work or hold together.
Example: "I learned to slip back and forth between my black and white worlds,understanding that each possessed its own language and customs and structures of meaning, convinced that with a bit of translation on my part the two worlds world eventually cohere."
(Barack Obama; Dreams From My Father; Times Books; 1995.)


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March 24, 2009

The Snow Storm

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--Description: Emerson R., 19th C, Nature, Seasons--


Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hill and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delated, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.
Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hiddden thorn;
Fills up the famer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and at the gate
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.





--Did You Know:  Emerson was an American essayist, philosopher, poet, and leader of the transcendentalist movement in the early 19th century. His teachings directly influenced the growing New Thought movement of the mid 1800s.

--Word of the Day: ex parte (eks PAHR-tee), adverb
Meaning: Involving one side only.
Example: A notice was served to the company but as no official turned up on its behalf, it was proceeded ex parte."
Telephone Company Told to Pay Damages; The Times of India (New Delhi); Jan 13, 2009.

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March 23, 2009

The Sun Rising

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--Description: Donne J., 17th C, Nature, Seasons--


Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows and through curtains call on us ?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run ?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys, and sour ’prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the King will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices ;
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams, so reverend and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long :
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and tomorrow late tell me,
Whether both the Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou left’st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw’st yesterday
And thou shalt hear, ‘All here in one bed lay.’
She’s all States, and all Princes I ;
Nothing else is.
Princes do play us ; compared to this,
All honour’s mimic ; all wealth alchemy.
Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world’s contracted thus ;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that’s done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;
This bed thy centre is, these walls thy sphere.




--Did You Know:  Donne was an English Jacobean poet, preacher and a major representative of the metaphysical poets of the period. His works are notable for their realistic and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons.

--Word of the Day: ecumenical (ek-yoo-MEN-i-kuhl, ee-kyoo-), adjective
Meaning: 1. Having a mix of diverse elements. 2. Universal; general. 3. Pertaining to the whole Christian church; concerned with promoting unity among churches or religions. 
Example: "An ecumenical group of Cincinnati area leaders called for an end Wednesday to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Gaza Strip."
(Rebecca Goodman; Area Groups Call For End to Gaza Conflict; Cincinnati Enquirer; Dec 31, 2008.)

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March 21, 2009

Music

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--Description: Baudelaire C., 19th C, Music--


MUSIC doth uplift me like a sea
Towards my planet pale,
Then through dark fogs or heaven's infinity
I lift my wandering sail.

With breast advanced, drinking the winds that flee,
And through the cordage wail,
I mount the hurrying waves night hides from me
Beneath her sombre veil.

I feel the tremblings of all passions known
To ships before the breeze;
Cradled by gentle winds, or tempest-blown

I pass the abysmal seas
That are, when calm, the mirror level and fair
Of my despair!


Charles Baudelaire

--Did You Know:  Baudelaire was a slow and fastidious worker, often sidetracked by indolence, emotional distress and illness, and it was not until 1857 that he published his first and most famous volume of poems, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) .

--Word of the Day:  titivate (TIT-i-vayt), verb 
Meaning: To make smarter; to spruce up; to decorate.
Example: "[Karen Kilimnik's] journey has been marked by theatricality -- such as putting small, roughly painted pictures in a Venetian palazzo titivated with flowers and feathers."
(Philippa Stockley; A Wacky Take on the 18th Century; Evening Standard London, UK); Feb 21, 2007.)

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March 19, 2009

Jerusalem

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--Description: Blake W., 19th C, Christianity, Patriotism--


And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear : O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire.

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and; pleasant Land.


William Blake

--Did You Know:  Although Blake only once journeyed farther than a day's walk outside London during his lifetime, he produced a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced 'imagination' as "the body of God", or "Human existence itself" .

--Word of the Day:   jackanapes (JAK-uh-nayps), noun
Meaning: An impertinent conceited person.
Example: "It turned out some jackanapes of a whippersnapper at my publisher's had appended his own subtitle to a forthcoming book of mine and announced it on Amazon."
(Mark Steyn; Michael Ignatieff's Home-ophobia; Macleans (Toronto, Canada);Oct 19, 2006.)

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March 18, 2009

Love in a Life

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--Description: Browning R., 19th C, Love --


Room after room,
I hunt the house through
We inhabit together.
Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her―
Next time, herself!―not the trouble behind her
Left in the curtain, the couch’s perfume!
As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew:
Yon looking-glass gleamed at the wave of her feather.

Yet the day wears,
And door succeeds door;
I try the fresh fortune―
Range the wide house from the wing to the centre.
Still the same chance! She goes out as I enter.
Spend my whole day in the quest,―who cares?
But ’tis twilight, you see,―with such suites to explore,
Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune!


Robert Browning

--Did You Know:  Browning was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets.

--Word of the Day:  praetorian or pretorian (pree-TOR-ee-uhn), adjective
Meaning: Corruptible; fraudulent.
Example: "If Nigeria is ever going to mature as a free and democratic society, the judiciary, nay, the various sitting tribunals must be ready and willing to demonstrate an unequal boldness as well as courage to curb electoral banditry by praetorian politicians that subverted the April  2007 elections."
(Mike Igini; Amaechi - Error or Good Reason?; Vanguard (Apapa, Nigeria); Oct 1, 2007.)

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March 17, 2009

The Sea

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-- Description:  Carroll L., 20th C, Children, Fantasy --


There are certain things -a spider, a ghost,
The income-tax, gout, an umbrella for three -
That I hate, but the thing that I hate the most
Is a thing they call the SEA.

Pour some salt water over the floor -
Ugly I'm sure you'll allow it to be:
Suppose it extended a mile or more,
That's very like the SEA.

Beat a dog till it howls outright -
Cruel, but all very well for a spree;
Suppose that one did so day and night,
That would be like the SEA.

I had a vision of nursery-maids;
Tens of thousands passed by me -
All leading children with wooden spades,
And this was by the SEA.

Who invented those spades of wood?
Who was it cut them out of the tree?
None, I think, but an idiot could -
Or one that loved the SEA.

It is pleasant and dreamy, no doubt, to float
With `thoughts as boundless, and souls as free';
But suppose you are very unwell in a boat,
How do you like the SEA.

There is an insect that people avoid
(Whence is derived the verb `to flee')
Where have you been by it most annoyed?
In lodgings by the SEA.

If you like coffee with sand for dregs,
A decided hint of salt in your tea,
And a fishy taste in the very eggs -
By all means choose the SEA.

And if, with these dainties to drink and eat,
You prefer not a vestige of grass or tree,
And a chronic state of wet in your feet,
Then -I recommend the SEA.

For I have friends who dwell by the coast,
Pleasant friends they are to me!
It is when I'm with them I wonder most
That anyone likes the SEA.

They take me a walk: though tired and stiff,
To climb the heights I madly agree:
And, after a tumble or so from the cliff,
They kindly suggest the SEA.

I try the rocks, and I think it cool
That they laugh with such an excess of glee,
As I heavily slip into every pool,
That skirts the cold, cold SEA.


Lewis Carroll


--Did You Know:  Carroll's facility at word play, logic, and fantasy has delighted audiences ranging from children to the literary elite, and beyond this his work has become embedded deeply in modern culture, directly influencing many artists.

--Word of the Day: ipso facto (IP-so FAK-to), adverbMeaning: By the very fact or action.
Example: "'Spiritually, I'm a New Yorker,' [Norman Mailer] said. 'If you grow up in Brooklyn, you're a New Yorker ipso facto.'"

(Colin Miner; Mailer on Bush, Obama & Writing; The Sun (New York); Jan 22, 2007.)

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March 15, 2009

The Thrush's Nest

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--Description: Clare J., 19th C, Nature, Seasons--


Within a thick and spreading hawthorn bush
That overhung a molehill large and round,
I heard from morn to morn a merry thrush
Sing hymns to sunrise, and I drank the sound
With joy; and often, an intruding guest,
I watched her secret toil from day to day -
How true she warped the moss to form a nest,
And modelled it within with wood and clay;
And by and by, like heath-bells gilt with dew,
There lay her shining eggs, as bright as flowers,
Ink-spotted over shells of greeny blue;
And there I witnessed, in the sunny hours,
A brood of nature's minstrels chirp and fly,
Glad as the sunshine and the laughing sky.


John Clare

--Did You Know: Clare became an agricultural labourer whilst still a child, however he attended school in Glinton church until he was twelve. Since his formal education was brief, Clare resisted the use of the increasingly-standardised English grammar and orthography in his poetry and prose.

--Word of the Day: lepidopterology (lep-i-dop-tuh-ROL-uh-jee), noun
Meaning: The study of butterflies and moths
Example: "Mr. Sokolenko's exhibition comes at a time when Nabokov's reputation is on an upswing in the rarefied world of lepidopterology. During his lifetime some lepidopterists, perhaps jealous of his literary fame, carped about his lack of formal training."
(Alexander Osipovich; St. Petersburg Exhibition Shows Nabokov Under (and Behind) a Microscope; The New York Times; Jul 26, 2006.)

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