Apr. 23, 1998
Sonnet 94: They that have power to hurt and will do none
Today's Reading: "Sonnet 94" ("They that have power to hurt and will do none") by William Shakespeare.
ROY ORBISON was born on this day in Vernon, Texas, 1936. He grew up in the little Texas panhandle town of Wink, and his first band was a country group named the Wink Westerners. Johnny Cash told him to sign up with Sun Records in Memphis, and he had a minor hit, "Ooby Dooby," with them in 1956. Then he joined Monument Records, put on his sunglasses, black jacket, slicked back his hair - and by the early '60s placed 22 songs in the Top 100 charts, songs like "Only the Lonely," "Dream Baby," and "Oh, Pretty Woman" where his three-octave voice sold millions of records.
It's the birthday in Stockholm, 1930, of the Swedish writer, MARGARETA EKSTROM. Her books have all been translated into English, and though she's written novels and poetry, she's best known as a short story writer, with collections like The Day I Began My Studies in Philosophy, and Death's Midwives, which came out in the 1980s. The second one contains the story "Left Alone," in which an elderly woman looks for meaning after the death of her sister.
It's the day we celebrate the birth of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, 1564. No one is really sure about the exact date, but he was baptized on the 25th and since that usually occurred three days after birth back then, the best guess is that he was born on the 23rd. He spent his first 20 years in his hometown of Stratford-on-Avon, then made his way to London where his early plays - The Comedy of Errors, and Titus Andronicus - became hits for a company called Pembroke's Men. He wrote the plays, acted in them, and directed. Plague closed the London theaters for two years in the early 1590s, and Shakespeare turned to writing poetry. The best way for a writer back then to make a living was by dedicating long, book-length poems to royalty in hopes of getting patronage. Shakespeare wrote two big poems to the Earl of Southhampton, and the Earl kept Shakespeare afloat until the theaters opened again. He also wrote his 154 sonnets around then. Between 1596 and 1608, he created about two plays a season; tragedy, comedy, and plays based on the lives of kings and queens. His writing made him a wealthy man, and he spent his last years back in Stratford overseeing his investments in land and grain. His last play was The Tempest (Act IV):
"Our revels now are ended. These our actors
(As I foretold you) were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air,
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And like this insubstantial pageant faded
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®