Apr. 18, 2005
Poem: "The Advice," by Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset.
Wou'd you in Love succeed, be Brisk, be Gay,
Cast all dull Thoughts and serious Looks away;
Think not with down cast Eyes, and mournful Air,
To move to pity, the Relentless Fair,
Or draw from her bright Eyes a Christal Tear.
This Method Foreign is to your Affair,
Too formal for the Frolick you prepare:
Thus, when you think she yields to Love's advance,
You'll find 'tis no Consent, but Complaisance.
Whilst he who boldly rifles all her Charms,
Kisses and Ravishes her in his Arms,
Seizes the favour, stays not for a Grant,
Alarms her Blood, and makes her sigh and pant;
Gives her no time to speak, or think't a Crime,
Enjoys his Wish, and well imploys his time.
Literary and Historical Notes:
In 1934 on this day, the first laundromat opened in America. J.F. Cantrell opened the Washateria in Fort Worth, Texas with four electric washing machines. He charged by the hour for use of his machines.
In 1923 on this day, Yankee Stadium opened in New York City. Opening day, it was Yankees versus the Boston Red Sox. The official count was seventy-four thousand, two hundred fans who packed the stands before the fire department ordered the gates closed. The Yankees won the game that day, capped by a three-run homer by Babe Ruth himself.
In 1906 on this day, there was a great earthquake in San Francisco that killed five hundred people and destroyed three thousand acres in the heart of the city.
In 1775 on this day, Paul Revere took the famous ride that was immortalized in poetry by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. At the time, the British regulars wanted to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams (who were in Lexington) and made what they thought were secret plans to capture the two men. Their plans were discovered, however, and Revere had made arrangements to signal the patriots by lighting two lanterns in Boston's North Church steeple if the British were coming by sea, and one if they were coming by land. Revere rode out on the night of April 18th to warn Hancock and Adams that the British were on their way. Longfellow immortalized the day with these lines:
From The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere:
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town tonight,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light -
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country fold to be up and to arm.
It's the birthday of publisher Clifton Keith Hillegass, born in Rising City, Nebraska (1918), who is known to high school English students everywhere, even if they've never heard his name. He is the founder of Cliff Notes, the condensed accounts of literary classics used as study guides by millions of students since 1958. He borrowed four thousand dollars and created the black-and-yellow striped books in his basement, which he marketed to bookstore owners he knew through his publishing work, and by advertising in teen magazines like Seventeen and Scholastic.
It's the birthday of journalist and author Richard Harding Davis, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1864), who is known as the first famous American war correspondent. He started out as a reporter on two Philadelphia newspapers, but soon moved to the New York Evening Sun, where he was noted for his melodramatic writing style. In 1891, Davis published Gallegher and Other Stories, a collection of tales about a newsboy-detective. He then became editor of Harper's Weekly magazine, but left after two years to pursue the more "romantic" career of war correspondent. During the Spanish American War, he covered the exploits of Theodore Roosevelt, portraying him in extremely heroic terms. He then covered the Boer War in South Africa, with reporting blatantly in favor of the Boers. His war dispatches were frequently more colorful than they were accurate. Davis returned to America and produced several novels and plays, including Captain Macklin (1902), Ranson's Folly (1904) and Miss Civilization (1905). These successes allowed him to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle. When he was sent to France to cover World War One, however, his perspectives on life and war were changed. He no longer saw war as a romantic adventure, and began to take note of its human costs. His coverage of this war is considered some of his best. He returned to America with a new regard for his family and for himself as a writer. Unfortunately, though, he died only one year later at the age of fifty-two, leaving behind a young wife and baby.
It's the birthday of lawyer and writer Clarence (Seward) Darrow, born in Kinsman, Ohio (1857). He once said: "I never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a lot of pleasure."
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®