Feb. 22, 2000
Dirge Without Music
Poem: "Dirge Without Music" by Edna St. Vincent Millay from her Collected Poems (Harper).
It's the birthday of Gothic cartoonist Edward Gorey, born in Chicago, 1925. He's famous for his cryptic stories illustrated with morbid, pen-and-ink drawings of beady-eyed, blank faced people in Edwardian clothes. His titles include The Unstrung Harp (1953), The Hapless Child (1961), and The Doubtful Guest (1978).
It's the birthday of author Jane (Auer) Bowles, born in New York City, 1917. Her work includes the story collection Plain Pleasures (1966), and the novel Two Serious Ladies (1943), a book deliberately written without a plot.
It's the birthday of short story writer Sean O'Faolain (John Francis Whelan), born in Cork, Ireland (1900). He's the author of the autobiography Vive Moi (1964), and Midsummer Night Madness and Other Stories (1932). He said, "As I see it, a short story, if it is a good one, is like a child's kitea small wonder, a brief, bright moment."
It's the birthday of Edna St. Vincent Millay, born in Rockland, Maine (1892). She moved to Greenwich Village and became a legend with her careless bohemian ways, her brief love affairsand her poetry. Her poem "First Fig," which brought her renown, contained the lines, "My candle burns at both ends;/It will not last the night;/But, ah my foes, and oh, my friends/It gives a lovely light."
Even though yesterday was celebrated as Presidents' Day, today is the birthday of George Washington, the father of our country, born in Bridge's Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia (1732), the great-grandson of an immigrant from Northhamptonshire, England. From age 11, when his father died, he was raised by his half brother-Lawrence. At 20, he inherited Lawrence's estate of Mount Vernon, and became a prominent farmer. He volunteered as a colonial officer for the British during the French and Indian War. In 1759 he married Martha Dandridge Custis. At 43, he was made Commander-in-Chief of the colonial military forces (1775). His response to being chosen was succinct: "I can answer for but three things: a firm belief in the justice of our cause, close attention in the prosecution of it, and the strictest integrity."
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