Nov. 24, 2000

Winter Winds, Cold and Bleak

by John Clare

Broadcast date: FRIDAY, 24 November 2000

Poem: “Winter Winds Cold and Blea,” by John Clare.

Winter winds cold and blea
Chilly blows o'er the lea:
Wander not out to me,
    Jenny so fair,
Wait in thy cottage free.
    I will be there.

Wait in thy cushioned chair
Wi' thy white bosom bare.
Kisses are sweetest there:
    Leave it for me.
Free from the chilly air
    I will meet thee.

How sweet can courting prove,
How can I kiss my love
Muffled in hat and glove
    From the chill air?
Quaking beneath the grove,
    What love is there!

Lay by thy woollen vest,
Drape no cloak o'er thy breast:
Where my hand oft hath pressed,
    Pin nothing there:
Where my head droops to rest,
    Leave its bed bare.

It’s the birthday of editor and commentator William F. (Frank) Buckley, Jr., born in New York City (1925), the grandson of an immigrant who amassed a huge fortune in the oil industry. In 1955, Buckley founded the conservative journal National Review.

It’s the birthday of journalist Eric Severeid, born in Velva, North Dakota (1912). For thirty-eight years he was a correspondent and commentator for CBS, first on radio and then on the CBS Evening News. He came out with a memoir, Not So Wild a Dream, in 1976.

It’s the birthday of American composer and pianist Scott Joplin, “the King of Ragtime,” born in Bowie county, Texas (1868). He came to fame with The Maple Leaf Rag (1899).

It’s the birthday of American architect Cass Gilbert, born in Zanesville, Ohio (1859). He joined the New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White which sent him to oversee some work in St. Paul, Minnesota. He got his first big break in 1896, when he was commissioned to design the new Minnesota State Capitol. Gilbert then moved to New York, where he received the commission for the U.S. Custom House (1899-1905), and the 60-story Woolworth Building. He also designed the monumental Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C., and the campuses of the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), the University of Texas (Austin), and Oberlin College, in Ohio.

On this day in 1859, Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species was first published, selling out its first printing of 1,250 copies on the first day. The full title of Darwin’s book is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Species in the Struggle for Life. Darwin presented the evidence for the process of evolution, and sought to explain it by means of the theory of “natural selection,” often referred to as “the survival of the fittest.”

It’s the birthday of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, born in Albi, France (1864). In the 1880’s he settled in Montmartre, and became known for his paintings of prostitutes, barmaids and cabaret stars, as in “At the Moulin Rouge” (1892).

It’s the birthday of Italian author Carlo Lorenzini, who wrote under the name Carlo Collodi, in Florence, Tuscany (1826). As a young man, Collodi was an ardent supporter of the Risorgimento--the movement for Italian independence from Austria. He worked as a journalist to support the cause, and in 1848, when independence was achieved with the founding of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, Collodi began to write books for children. His most famous book was Pinocchio (1880), about a wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy.

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