Nov. 13, 2000

Blow, Blow, thou Winter Wind

by Anonymous

Broadcast date: MONDAY, 13 November 2000

Poem: “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind,” by William Shakespeare, from As You Like It.

    Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
    Thou art not so unkind
        As man's ingratitude;
    Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
        Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
    Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
        This life is most jolly.

    Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
    That dost not bite so nigh
        As benefits forgot:
    Though thou the waters warp,
         Thy sting is not so sharp
    As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing , heigh-ho! unto the green holly . . .

It’s the birthday of crime writer George V. Higgins, born in Brockton, Massachusetts (1939). At Stanford, he studied under novelist Wallace Stegner.  After graduating, he drove a soft-drink delivery truck—where he learned, he said, “to swear between syllables.” He became a newspaper reporter, and became acquainted with the New England underworld later featured in his crime novels. Covering local trials, he felt he could do better than the prosecutors he was observing, and decided to go to law school. He prosecuted a number of underworld murders in the late 1960s. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1972) was a huge success, and was quickly followed by The Digger’s Game (1973) and Cogan’s Trade (1974), and other books.

It’s the birthday of French dramatist Eugene Ionesco, born in Slatina, Romania (1909).  After his university years in Bucharest, he earned a doctorate in Paris, and settled there permanently at age 26. He came to playwriting by an odd route: while learning English, he was amused by the stilted phrases of his English grammar textbook, and constructed his first play, The Bald Soprano (1950), out of the meaningless formal conversations in the textbook. His work often combines a dream or nightmare atmosphere with grotesque, bizarre, and whimsical humor.  Together with Samuel Beckett, Ionesco helped create the "Theater of the Absurd" movement in Paris.  Perhaps his best known play is Rhinoceros (1960).

It’s the birthday of historian C. Vann Woodward, born in Vanndale, Arkansas (1908), who wrote about the South after the Civil War. His most widely read book is The Strange Case of Jim Crow (1955), in which he showed that the legal segregation of blacks and whites did not go back centuries, as many Southerners claimed, but took form only after the 1890s: for at least two decades following the Civil War, blacks had lived on basically equal terms with whites.

It’s the birthday of novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson, born in Edinburgh (1850).  He wrote Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886) and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885). He spent the last five years of his life in Samoa, where he died of tuberculosis a month after his 44th birthday.

On this day in 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to a friend in which he said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

It’s the birthday of Saint Augustine, born in the Mountains of Numidia, in what is now Algeria (354 A.D.).  After a restless youth he was converted to Christianity, at age 32, and became the Bishop of Hippo (now known as Annaba, Algeria), at 42.  Among his many writings are his Confessions, and The City of God, written after Rome fell to the barbarians.

“All the devastation, the butchery, the plundering, the conflagrations, and all the anguish, which accompanied the recent disaster at Rome, were in accordance with the general practice of warfare.”

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




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