Sep. 23, 2001

To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time

by Robert Herrick

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Poem: "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," by Robert Herrick.

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
    Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
    The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
    And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
    When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
    Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
    And, while ye may, go marry;
For, having lost but once your prime,
    You may forever tarry.

It's the birthday of singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen, born in Freehold, New Jersey (1949). Although his father objected to his musical ambitions, after high school graduation, Springsteen moved to New York to try to break into the folk scene. When that didn't happen, he returned to Jersey and hooked up with several local bands, until he settled with the Bruce Springsteen Band (which later became the E-Street Band), which included Clarence Clemmons on sax and Steven Van Zandt on guitar. Their first album was 1973's Greetings from Asbury Park N.J., followed quickly by The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle. Both albums sold moderately well, but achieved critical acclaim. What brought "The Boss" to national attention was the 1975 album Born to Run, with the single hit, Thunder Road. In 1982, Springsteen changed directions and recorded an artistic acoustic album, Nebraska, which was recorded into a cassette recorder in his New Jersey home. Switching gears again, Springsteen's next album was his best selling. Born in the USA (1984) sold over 12 million copies worldwide. Bruce Springsteen, who said: "When I was growing up, there were two things that were unpopular in my house. One was me and the other was my guitar. We had this grate, like the heat was supposed to come through, except it wasn't hooked up to any of the heating ducts. It was just open straight down to the kitchen, and there was a gas stove right underneath it. When I used to start playing, my pop used to turn on the gas jets and try to smoke me out of the room. I had to go hide on the roof."

It's the birthday of author and journalist Walter Lippmann, born in New York City (1889). In 1913, he published his first book, A Preface to Politics, and one year later co-founded the political weekly, The New Republic. In 1920, Lippman left The New Republic to edit The New York World until it folded in 1931. He then moved to the New York Herald Tribune, where his column, "Today and Tomorrow" first appeared. It ran for 30 years, was syndicated in more than 250 newspapers around the world, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1958 and 1962.

It's the birthday of surgical pioneer William Steward Halsted, born in New York City (1852), who made many important discoveries in the medical field. In 1881 he discovered that blood, once aerated, could be re-infused into a patient's body. In 1889, he was appointed the first surgeon in chief of the new Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and there he established the first surgical school in the United States and introduced the concept of hospital residencies for training surgeons. Another important innovation by Halsted was his introduction in 1890 of the use of thin surgical rubber gloves in the operating theater.

In 1806 on this day, the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis after a journey across the American wilderness to the Pacific coast. The explorers and their party covered 8,000 miles over a period of two years, four months, and nine days. They brought back invaluable information for mapmakers, as well as specimens of previously unknown wildlife. Their arrival in St. Louis was an extremely joyous occasion, as they were believed to be dead.

In 1642 on this day, Harvard College held its first commencement. A brochure, published in 1643, explains the purpose of the College: "To advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministry to the Churches."

It's the birthday, in 63 BC, of the emperor Caesar Augustus, born in Italy. Caesar Augustus helped Rome achieve great glory and restored peace after 100 years of civil war. He maintained a sound system of currency, built highways that connected Rome to its empire, developed a good postal service, and encouraged the work of architects, artists and writers, including Virgil, Ovid, and Horace. He died in the year 14 AD.

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