Apr. 24, 2002

Sonnet 109: O! never say that I was false of heart

by William Shakespeare

Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: Sonnet CIX, "O, never say that I was false of heart," by William Shakespeare.

Sonnet CIX, "O, never say that I was false of heart."

O, never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seem'd my flame to qualify.
As easy might I from myself depart
As from my soul, which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love: if I have ranged,
Like him that travels, I return again;
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe, though in my nature reign'd
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stain'd,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose; in it thou art my all.

It's the birthday of playwright and actor Eric Bogosian, born in Boston, Massachusetts (1953). He got his start in New York City with his one-man show Careful Moment (1977), in which he played a wide range of different characters. It was the first of several satirical one-man shows that enjoyed successful off-Broadway runs. These include Drinking in America (1986), Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll (1988), and Pounding Nails in the Floor with My Forehead (1994), all of which won Obie Awards. His show Talk Radio (1988) was made into a film by director Oliver Stone.

On this day in 1916, Irish nationalists, led by the poet Patrick Pearse, stormed the Dublin post office in what became known as the Easter Uprising. Four days later, the British Army was shelling the post office; by the end of the week, Pearse had surrendered and more than four hundred and fifty people lay dead. Support for the nationalist cause grew after the British commander in chief ordered the execution of fifteen leaders of the uprising, including Pearse. George Bernard Shaw wrote: "It is absolutely impossible to slaughter a man in this position without making him a martyr and a hero even though the day before the rising he may have only been a minor poet."

It's the birthday of American poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren, born in Guthrie, Kentucky (1905). He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1947 for his novel All the King's Men (1946), based on the career of Louisiana politician Huey Long. He won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry twice, in 1957 and 1979-for Promises: Poems, 1954-1956 and Now and Then: Poems, 1976-1978.

It's the birthday of English novelist Elizabeth Goudge, born in Wells, Somersetshire, England (1900). She's the author of light, old-fashioned novels set in small English towns. Green Dolphin Street (1944) is her best known book.

It's the birthday of English novelist Anthony Trollope, born in London (1815). After his father failed at various business enterprises, Anthony Trollope's mother Frances began to support the family by writing. Trollope himself went to work in the post office, and in 1841 was transferred to Ireland as a postal surveyor. For the first time in his life, he was secure and happy, and able to turn his attention to writing. His first success as a novelist came with The Warden (1855), the first of six novels that make up the Barsetshire Novels. He moved back to London in 1859, retired from the post office, and continued to write at a prodigious rate of a thousand words an hour. This added up to more than one and a half books a year. He did most of his writing before breakfast, then went out hunting or played whist at his club. "A small daily task," he said, "if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules." His long list of novels includes Barchester Towers (1857), Can You Forgive Her? (1864), The Eustace Diamonds (1873), and The Way We Live Now (1875). He said: "Of all the needs a book has, the chief need is that it be readable."

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