Nov. 28, 1999

Come, O Come, My Life's Delight

by Thomas Campion

Broadcast Date: SUNDAY: November 28, 1999

Poem: "Come, O Come, My Lifes Delight" by Thomas Campion.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the Sunday nearest on the calendar to St. Andrew's day.

Today is the birthday of physicist Russel Alan Hulse [hullss], born in New York City (1950)—who shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for Physics with his former teacher, astro-physicist John H. Taylor, for their discovery of the first binary pulsar. (A pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star that emits rapid, regular bursts of radio waves.) Their pulsar also provided the first means of detecting and measuring gravity waves—and was the first confirmation of gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein in his general theory of relativity (1916).

It s the birthday of novelist Rita Mae Brown, born in Hanover, Pennsylvania (1944). Her novels include Rubyfruit Jungle (1973), Plain Brown Rapper (1976), and High Hearts (1986).

On this day in 1925, the forerunner of the Grand Ole Opry opened in Nashville, Tennessee. Called the WSM Barn Dance, the hour-long show featured groups with names like the Possum Hunters, Gulley Jumpers, Fruit Jar Drinkers and Dixieliners. They were mostly pickers and fiddlers; Uncle Dave Macon, a 5-string banjo player, did the singing—such standards as "Rock About My Sara Jane" and "Bully of the Town." Within a year the show was renamed The Grand Ole Opry. Outgrowing its small studio space, it moved first to Nashville s Hillsboro Theater, then to the Dixie Tabernacle in East Nashville—and finally, in 1943, to the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, where it remained until 1974, when it moved to Opryland on the east side of town.

It s the birthday of Italian novelist Alberto Moravia [al-BAIR-to mo-RAHV-yuh] (original name Alberto Pincherle [pin-CARE-lay]), born in Rome (1907). At 8 he caught tuberculosis of the leg bones, a crippling disease that was eventually cured but left him with a bad limp and kept him out of school, bedridden, during much of his childhood. He began his first novel while recovering in a sanatarium. His titles include The Conformist (1951), Conjugal Love (1951), and Two Women (1958).

It s the birthday of Socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels, born in Barmen, Prussia (1820). From his early twenties he lived mostly in England; in 1844 he met Karl Marx, with whom he collaborated on the Communist Manifesto (1848).

It s the birthday of mystic poet William Blake, born in London (1757), where he lived his entire life. Apprenticed young, he painted watercolors and made engravings for magazines, and at 25 published his first collection of poems, Poetical Sketches (1783), followed by Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794). Of his many prints and engravings, the finest are his 21 Illustrations to the Book of Job (1826), completed when he was nearly 70. With the help of his wife Catherine, he printed his etching plates on his own press—using colored ink he made himself—then watercolored the printed pages and stitched them into paper covers. Lines of text alternated with images of graceful youths and brooding tyrants amid arching trees, trailing vines and swirling flames, giving a full, colorful expression to his vision. Ignored by the public of his day, he was often called mad. He lived on the edge of poverty and died in neglect.

On this day in 1582, after paying a bond of 40 pounds, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway were issued their marriage license in Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare was 18; Anne Hathaway was 26; their daughter Susanna was born 6 months later.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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