Feb. 4, 2001

Sonnet 64: When I have seen by Time's fell hand defac'd

by William Shakespeare

Broadcast date: SUNDAY, 4 February 2001

Poem: Sonnet 64, by William Shakespeare.

When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age,
When sometimes lofty towers I see down-razed,
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the watery main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay,
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate
That Time will come and take my love away.
    This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
    But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

It's the birthday of novelist and children's writer, Russell Hoban, born in Lansdale, Pennsylvania (1925). He was good at drawing, and expected to be an artist when he grew up. His first children's book, What Does It Do, and How Does It Work (1959), included his sketches of machinery used at construction sites. He wrote a well-known series of children's books about Frances, the badger, starting with Bedtime for Frances (1960). His adult novels include Turtle Diary (1975), and Ridley Walker (1980).

It's the birthday of feminist and author Betty Friedan, born in Peoria, Illinois (1921). In the late 1950s, she passed around a questionnaire to her old college classmates and found that many of them were unhappy as wives and mothers. She described her findings in her first book, The Feminine Mystique (1963), which became a best-seller, and led to the foundation of the National Organization for Women.

It's the birthday of Charles Lindbergh, born in Detroit, Michigan (1902). He grew up in Little Falls, Minnesota, the son of a Minnesota congressman. During his second year at the University of Wisconsin, he dropped out in order to go to flying school in Lincoln, Nebraska. He bought a World War I surplus Curtiss-Jenny plane, and made stunt-flying tours across the Midwest. When he was 25, he made the thirty-three and a half hour trip across the Atlantic, solo, in The Spirit of St. Louis. His book, The Spirit of St. Louis (1953), describing his flight to Paris, won him the Pulitzer prize.

It's the birthday of French poet and screenwriter Jacques Prevert, born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France (1900). His poetry collections include Words (1945), and Stories (1946), but he's probably best known for his film scripts for The Visitors of the Evening (1942) and The Children of Paradise (1944).

On this day in 1861, delegates from South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana convened in Montgomery, Alabama to establish the Confederate States of America. Five days later, they elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as their first president.

It's the birthday of naturalist and minister John Bachman, born in Rhinebeck, New York (1790), who wrote the text for John James Audubon's book, The Birds of America (1840-44).

On this day in 1789, George Washington was elected the first president of the United States by all sixty-nine presidential electors. The electors represented ten of the eleven states that had ratified the Constitution.

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