Nov. 28, 1998

How sweet I roam'd from field to field

by William Blake

I wander thro each charter'd street

by William Blake


Poem: Two poems by William Blake, "I wander thro each charter'd street," from SONGS OF EXPERIENCE; and "How sweet I roam'd from field to field," from SONGS OF INNOCENCE.

It was on this day in 1520 that the Portuguese explorer, FERDINAND MAGELLAN, on his quest to be the first to circumnavigate the globe, emerged from the winding, 350-mile long strait between South America and Tierra del Fuego into the body of water Magellan named the Pacific Ocean. It would be another two years before they reached their home port in Spain again. The famous passage, a shortcut around Cape Horn, was named the Strait of Magellan.

It's the birthday of the Puritan preacher and writer JOHN BUNYAN, born in Bedfordshire, 1628, and best known for his book-length allegory of the Christian life, The Pilgrim's Progress. Bunyan was thrown in jail when he was 32 years old, charged with holding a service not in accordance with Church of England customs. He was given the opportunity to promise never again to do so, but he refused, and spent the next 12 years in jail.

It's the birthday of the British poet and artist WILLIAM BLAKE, born in London, 1757, best known for two sets of lyric poems called Songs of Innocence and Experience. He wrote them in the 1780s and '90s when he was in his 30s and, though they didn't attract much attention at the time, they were part of the beginning of the Romantic movement in English literature.

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