Oct. 27, 2001
Sonnet 27: Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed
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Poem: "Sonnet 27," by William Shakespeare.
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head,
To work my mind, when body's work's expired:
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see:
Save that my soul's imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous and her old face new.
Lo, thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee and for myself no quiet find.
It's the birthday of novelist and biographer A(ndrew) N(orman) Wilson, born in Stone, Staffordshire, England (1950). He became known in the late 1970s for his farcical novels about the eccentricities of British social life. His first novel was The Sweets of Pimlico (1977). His other novels include Who Was Oswald Fish? (1981), Love Unknown (1986), and, most recently, God's Funeral (1999). In the 1980s, he gained further acclaim as a biographer, and has written well-regarded biographies of Sir Walter Scott, Tolstoy, C.S. Lewis, and the Apostle Paul.
It's the birthday of poet Sylvia Plath, born in Boston (1932). She published only two books before her death in 1963: a volume of poetry called the Colossus and Other Poems (1960) and the autobiographical novel The Bell Jar (1963), about a young woman's struggle with mental illness. Other books of poetry followed after her death, including a volume of The Collected Poems in 1981. She attended Smith College, where she was a gifted writing student. On the first day of her creative writing class, Professor Alfred Kazin looked over her writing sample and asked her, "If you can write like this, why the dickens do you need a creative writing class?" She replied, "I'm lonesome here, and I want to talk to you." In the winter of 1963, she was living with her children in a cold flat in London when she turned on the gas on the kitchen stove and committed suicide.
It's the birthday of painter Roy Lichtenstein, born in New York City (1923). He's most famous for Pop Art paintings borrowing the style of comic books.
It's the birthday of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, born in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales (1914). He married at the age of 22. With a wife and three children to support, he took a job writing radio scripts for the British Ministry of Information. He was an aircraft gunner during WWII, and after the war became a commentator on poetry for the BBC. The demands of earning a living, combined with a fast-paced and hard-drinking lifestyle, kept his poetic output small. What he did write was hugely successful. In 1952 and 1953, he toured widely in the United States, drinking and lecturing and reading poetry in his hypnotic Welsh brogue. In early November 1953, he collapsed outside the White Horse Tavern in New York City and died several days later. He's best known for his Collected Poems (1952) and for the radio play Under Milk Wood (1953).
It's the birthday of novelist and playwright Enid Bagnold, born in Rochester, Kent, England (1889). Her wartime experiences provided material for her earliest novels, A Diary Without Dates (1917) and The Happy Foreigner (1920). But she's best known for her 1935 novel, National Velvet, about a 14-year old girl who wins England's Grand National Steeplechase on a horse she bought for 10 pounds.
It's the birthday of British explorer Captain James Cook, born in Marton-in-Cleveland, Yorkshire, England (1728). When the Royal Society organized its first scientific expedition to the Pacific in 1768, 44-year-old James Cook was chosen as commander. On the ship H.M.S. Endeavour, he and his team of scientists observed the transit of Venus across the sun, charted all of New Zealand, and successfully navigated the Great Barrier Reef. In 1772, he embarked on a second scientific voyage, which took him to the coast of Antarctica and the South Pacific. On a third voyage, in 1776, he was killed by Polynesian natives in Hawaii.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®