Feb. 12, 2002

Now Winter Nights Enlarge

by Thomas Campion

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Poem: "Now Winter Nights Enlarge," by Thomas Campion.

Now Winter Nights Enlarge

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours,
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o'erflow with wine;
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine!
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques and Courtly sights,
Sleep's leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
With lovers' long discourse;
Much speech hath some defence,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well;
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys,
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys,
They shorten tedious nights.

It's the birthday of the opera and film director Franco Zeffirelli, born in Florence (1923). He became famous for his lavish set designs for Luchino Visconti's opera productions, and made a name for himself with his film version of Romeo and Juliet (1968).

It was on this day in 1909 that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People-the NAACP-was founded in New York City.

It's the birthday of the composer Roy Harris, born in 1898 in a log cabin in Lincoln County, Oklahoma. He was a truck driver until he started studying music at the age of 24. Perhaps because he was born on Lincoln's birthday, his two symphonies are titled The Gettysburg Address (1944) and the Abraham Lincoln symphony (1965).

It's the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the16th president of the United States, born in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky (1809). When he was a small child his family moved to Indiana, where his step-mother inspired the boy to educate himself. When he was twenty-one, the family moved to Illinois, where he began to study law on his own. He served in the Illinois state legislature for six years, without any particular distinction, and then began a successful law practice in Springfield, representing railroads and other business interests. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 1858, against the Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. He lost the election, but Lincoln's anti-slavery positions won him the presidential nomination of the new Republican party in 1860. And though he received only 40% of the popular vote, he won a majority of the votes in the electoral college, and was elected president. He had said he was willing to tolerate slavery where it existed, but didn't want to see it expanded to the territories. Nonetheless, the southern states seceded, and the Civil War began.

It's the birthday of the Renaissance poet and composer Thomas Campion, born in London (1567).

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