Jun. 10, 2002

So We'll Go No More A-Roving

by George Gordon Byron

MONDAY, 10 JUNE 2002
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Poem: "So We'll Go No More A-Roving," by George Gordon, Lord Byron.

So We'll Go No More A-Roving

So we'll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And Love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.

It's the birthday of biologist and writer Edward O. Wilson, born in Birmingham, Alabama (1929). When he was a boy, his father's job as a government accountant forced the family to move often. He attended fourteen different public schools over eleven years, and with each move had to make a new set of friends. In his autobiography, Naturalist (1994), he wrote: "A nomadic existence made Nature my companion of choice, because the outdoors was the one part of my world I perceived to hold rock steady." His research was presented in the books Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975) and the Pulitzer Prize-winning On Human Nature (1978). He received a second Pulitzer Prize for The Ants (1990). His other books include Biophilia (1984), The Diversity of Life (1992), and The Future of Life (2002).

It's the birthday of writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, born in Brooklyn, New York (1928). He was often sick as a child, and spent his time drawing pictures of what he saw from his bedroom window. After high school, he went on to work as a window dresser for F.A.O. Schwartz, the famous toy store in Manhattan. It was while he was working there that his drawings caught the attention of the children's book editor at Harper and Row, who hired him to illustrate Marcel Aymé's Wonderful Farm (1951). The first book that he both wrote and illustrated was Kenny's Window (1956). But his most famous book is Where the Wild Things Are (1963), which was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1964.

It's the birthday of novelist and short story writer James Salter, born James Horowitz, in New York City (1925). He attended West Point and became a pilot in the Air Force. He flew one hundred combat missions during the Korean War, and served as a squadron leader in Europe before retiring in 1957 to become a writer. His first two novels, The Hunters (1957) and The Arm of Flesh (1960), were based on his experiences as a combat pilot. Next came what he called "the first good thing I wrote," A Sport and a Pastime (1967), a novel about the love affair between a Yale dropout living in Paris and a working-class French girl. James Salter said: "The writer's life exists for only a small number. It can be glorious, especially after death. There are provincial, national and world writers-one should compete in one's class, despise riches, as Whitman says, and take off your hat to no one."

It's the birthday of novelist Saul Bellow, born in Lachine, Quebec, Canada (1915). His parents emigrated from Russia to Montreal, and from there moved to Chicago, where he grew up from the age of nine. His third novel, and first major success, was about a poor Jewish boy from Chicago trying to make sense out of life in the twentieth century. The novel was The Adventures of Augie March (1953), and it won the National Book Award in 1954. He followed it up with Henderson the Rain King (1959), Herzog (1964), Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970), the Pulitzer Prize winning Humboldt's Gift (1975), and More Die of Heartbreak (1987). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. Saul Bellow said: "I do believe that I have something of importance to transmit. I think of myself as speaking to an inviolate part of other people, around which there is a sort of nearly sacred perimeter, a significant space, a place where the human being really has removed to, with all his most important spiritual possessions."

It's the birthday of English playwright Terence Rattigan, born in London, England (1911). During the Forties and Fifties, his popularity as a playwright in England was rivaled only by that of Noel Coward. He became known for such plays as Separate Tables (1945), The Winslow Boy (1946), and The Browning Version (1948). He said: "A novelist may lose his readers for a few pages; a playwright never dares lose his audience for a minute."

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