Feb. 25, 2002

Sonnet 65: Since brass nor stone nor boundless sea

by William Shakespeare

Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: "Sonnet 65," by William Shakespeare.

Sonnet 65

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o'ersways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O how shall summer's honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of batt'ring days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong but time decays?
O fearful meditation, where alack,
Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back,
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.

On this day in 1950, "Your Show of Shows" debuted, one of the most successful variety shows television has ever seen. Starring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, it featured ninety minutes of original comedy sketches performed live in front of a studio audience. Writers for the show included Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and Neil Simon. When asked recently why he was not still performing, Caesar replied that he'd looked a tape of himself and said, "I'm never going to do it as well as I did when I was 25 and 30 and 35. Rather than not do it well, I'd rather not do it."

It's the birthday of novelist, Anthony Burgess, born in Manchester, England (1917). The author of more than fifty books and dozens of musical compositions, he's best known as the author of A Clockwork Orange (1962).

It's the birthday of journalist Will Yolen, born in Waterbury, Connecticut (1908). He worked as a journalist and in public relations, but his real passion was kite flying. He once kept 178 kites in the air at one time.

It's the birthday of publisher John C. Farrar, born in Burlington, Vermont (1896). He got into publishing in 1927 as an editor at Doubleday. Later he founded the firm of Farrar and Rinehart, which later became Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. He also founded the Breadloaf Writer's Conference at Middlebury College in Vermont.

It's the birthday of writer and playwright Marcel Paul Pagnol, born in Aubagne, France (1895). He's best known for his novels Jean de Florette, and Manon of the Spring, both adapted into films.

It's the birthday of tenor Enrico Caruso, born in Naples, Italy (1873). He sang at the Metropolitan Opera in New York for eighteen years, and was the first major tenor to be recorded on gramophone records.

It's the birthday of painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, born in Limoges, France (1841). He and several of his fellow students and artists-including Monet, Cézanne, and Pissarro-began to break away from the traditions of nineteenth century painting. They got out of the studio and painted directly from nature, employing a style characterized by short brush strokes of bright colors to represent the effect of light on objects. The style came to be known as Impressionism.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show