Mar. 5, 2002

Sonnet 71: No longer mourn for me when I am dead

by William Shakespeare

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Poem: Sonnet 71, "No Longer Mourn For Me When I Am Dead," by William Shakespeare.

No Longer Mourn For Me When I Am Dead

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.

It's the birthday of novelist, short story writer, and poet Leslie Marmon Silko, born in Albuquerque, New Mexico (1948). Silko was raised on a Pueblo Reservation in the Laguna tradition of matrilineal families, where women own the houses and the fields, and are the authority figures. Silko studied law at the University of New Mexico, but changed her mind after taking a creative writing class. A story she wrote for the class, The Man to Send Rain Clouds (1967), was published in the New Mexico Quarterly, and started her writing career. Her first major success came in 1977, with her novel Ceremony, which tells the story of a half-breed's struggle to re-enter society after returning home from World War Two. Silko's latest novel, Gardens in the Dunes, was published in April of 2000.

It's the birthday of musician and composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1887). In 1905, he traveled throughout Brazil, collecting folklore themes he would later incorporate into his music. He returned to Rio to study at the National Institute of Music, but could not stand the strict curriculum. He went on several expeditions up the Amazon in search of authentic folk music. Soon, he began to write his own music, combining his classical knowledge with Indian melodies, rhythms, and instruments. During his lifetime, Villa-Lobos composed more than two thousand works.

It's the birthday of author Frank Norris, born in Chicago, Illinois (1870), who is known for the realistic stories that helped usher in the era of the American naturalistic novel. Norris traveled to Paris in 1887 to study art. While there, however, he began writing a medieval romance, which he sent back home in installments. In 1899, Norris began work on what he intended to be a trilogy about wheat - first its production in California, second it distribution in Chicago, and third its consumption in Europe. He completed the first two volumes, The Octopus: A Story of California (1901), and The Pit: A Story of Chicago (1902), and was working on the third when he died at the age of thirty-two from an attack of appendicitis.

It's the birthday of author and illustrator Howard Pyle, born in Wilmington, Delaware (1853). He wrote and illustrated several other books, including The Garden Behind the Moon (1895), a story of the necessity of accepting death, prompted by the death of his own seven-year-old son. Other works include The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903), The Rose of Paradise (1888), and Jack Ballister's Fortunes (1895).

It's the anniversary of the Boston Massacre on King's Street in Boston on this day in 1770. It was a skirmish between British troops and a crowd of civilians who were taunting them. This resulted in five colonists being killed. One of them was a runaway slave.

It's the birthday of cartographer Gerhardus Mercator, born in Rupelmonde, Belgium (1512), who was a true Renaissance man, versed in mathematics, astronomy, geography, theology, calligraphy, and engraving. He is best known, however, for his contributions to mapmaking. He published the first modern maps of Europe and Britain, and in 1569, published a map of the world designed for seamen, for which he developed the concepts of longitude and latitude in what is known as the Mercator Projection.

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