Mar. 23, 1998
Ode to Intimations of Immortality
Today's Reading: "Ode to Intimations of Immortality" by William Wordsworth.
It's the birthday of AKIRA KUROSAWA, the Japanese film director, born in Tokyo in 1910. He started off as a painter and illustrator before writing his first screenplays in the 30s. His Rashomon, from 1950, was the first Japanese film to make it big in the West, winning the 1951 Venice Film Festival grand prize. He followed that up in 1954 with another popular film, The Seven Samurai.
It was on this date in 1743 that HANDEL'S Messiah was performed for George II in London. At the "Hallelujah Chorus" George rose to his feet. Since he was the King, everybody else in the hall stood too, which is what people still do to this day.
THE STAMP ACT went into effect on this day in 1765, Britain's attempt to raise money from the American colonists which led to the Revolutionary War. A couple years earlier, Britain had won the French and Indian War, and it needed more money to defend the new territories it had gotten during the war. Under the Stamp Act, practically anything printed in the colonies got taxed, from newspapers and pamphlets to legal and business papers, even dice! Colonists held stamp burnings, riots, and simply refused to buy the stamps. A year later the Act was repealed but the whole thing helped unite the colonists against British rule.
Ten years later on this day, in 1775, PATRICK HENRY stood up before the Virginia Assembly and gave his most famous speech: war with Britain was inevitable, he said, and the colonists should arm themselves. He went on, "There is no retreat but in submission to slavery. Our chains are already forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. Is life so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®