Jun. 14, 2001

Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?

by William Shakespeare

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Poem: Sonnet 18, "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?" by William Shakespeare.

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall Death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
    So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

It's the birthday of writer and historian Howard Mansfield, born in Huntington, New York, in 1957, and author of many articles on architecture and history. He is also the author of several books, including Skylark: The Life, Lies, and Inventions of Harry Atwood.

It's the birthday of novelist Cindy Bonner, born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1953. She is the author of many historical novels set in McDade, Texas, including The Passion of Dellie O'Barr, Right from Wrong, and other books.

It's the birthday of writer Jill Nelson, born in New York City in 1952. She was a writer for many years with the Washington Post, and also the author of the essay collection Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience. She also wrote Straight, No Chaser: How I Became a Grown-Up Black Woman.

It's the birthday of novelist John Armistead, born in Mobile, Alabama, in 1941, who served as a Baptist preacher for over 20 years before writing his first book, A Legacy of Vengeance, which came out when he was 52. He is the author of mysteries set in the Mississippi hill country and featuring Sheriff Grover Bramlett.

The German Army took Paris on this day in 1940, entering the city at 6:30 in the morning, then spreading out into the neighborhoods. By 11:00 in the morning, the swastika was flying from the Eiffel Tower, and nine days later, Hitler toured the city.

It's the birthday in Markbreit, Germany, 1864, of psychiatrist and pathologist Alois Alzheimer, who in 1906 performed an autopsy on a 55-year old who had died with severe dementia, and he noticed plaque and tangled fibers in the brain. The following year he wrote about it in a medical journal and his name became associated with the dementia that usually starts after 60, but can begin as early as 40. More than 4 million older Americans have it.

It's the birthday of Harriet Beecher Stowe, born in Litchfield, Connecticut, in1811, and author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, which came out in 1852. It's the story of the slave, Uncle Tom, and his friendship with little Eva St. Clare, the daughter of his master. Tom saves the girl's life and she asks her father to free all the slaves. Before he can do so, however, he dies, and Tom is eventually whipped to death. Uncle Tom's Cabin sold 300,000 copies in its first year, fueling the conflict that led to the Civil War.

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