Jan. 24, 2001

Never love unlesse you can

by Thomas Campion

Broadcast date: WEDNESDAY, 24 January 2001

Poem: by Thomas Campion.

Never love unlesse you can
Beare with all the faults of man:
Men sometimes will jealous bee
Though but little cause they see,
    And hang the head, as discontent,
    And speake what straight they will repent.

Men that but one Saint adore
Make a shew of love to more:
Beauty must be scorn'd in none,
Though but truly serv'd in one:
    For what is courtship, but disguise?
    True hearts may have dissembling eyes.

Men when their affairs require,
Must a while themselves retire:
Sometimes hunt, and sometimes hawke,
And not ever sit and talke.
    If these, and such like, you can beare,
    Then like, and love, and never feare.

Today is the Chinese New Year, the first day in the Year of the Snake. According to tradition, Chinese homes are given an annual housecleaning today that sweeps the dirt of the past year out of every corner of the house. Children are given good-luck money wrapped in red paper, and everyone is supposed to be on their best behavior—no cursing, fibbing, or yelling. And for today, no one will use knives, scissors, or other sharp objects, for fear of cutting short the luck of the New Year.

Today is the feast day of Saint Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalists. His Introduction to a Devout Life (1609) claimed spiritual perfection was possible for people busy with the affairs of the world and not only, as many believed at the time, for those who withdrew from society.

It's the birthday of zoologist Desmond Morris, born in Wiltshire, England (1928). In his best-seller, The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal (1967), he wrote:

"Human beings are animals. They are sometimes monsters, sometimes magnificent, but always animals. They may prefer to think of themselves as fallen angels, but in reality they are risen apes."

It's the birthday of abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell, born in Aberdeen, Washington (1915), a leader of what is called the "New York School" of art.

It's the birthday of Edith Wharton, born Edith Newbold Jones, in New York City (1862), author of Ethan Fromme (1911), The Age of Innocence (1920), and an autobiography, A Backward Glance.

On this day in 1848, a man named James Marshall, standing in the South Fork of the American River in northern California, yelled out "Boys, by God, I believe I have found a gold mine!"It was the start of the California Gold Rush.

It's the birthday of playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, born in Paris (1732), who wrote the stories for "The Marriage of Figaro," set to music by Mozart, and "The Barber of Seville," set to music by Rossini.

It's the birthday of playwright and poet William Congreve, born in West Yorkshire, England (1670), most famous for his Restoration Comedy, The Way of the World (1700). His characters are people of nobility and fashion, for whom manners are more important than morals; Mirabell and Millamant, the lovers in The Way of the World, establish an unconventional marriage arrangement. It was controversial in its day, but famous for its sparkling dialogue:

"Defer not till tomorrow to be wise.Tomorrow's sun to thee may never rise."

"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."

"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak."

"Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure; Married in haste, we may repent at leisure."

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




  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
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