Aug. 20, 2002

A Hymn to God the Father

by John Donne

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Poem: "A Hymn to God the Father," by John Donne.

A Hymn to God the Father

Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
          Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin through which I run,
          And do run still, though still I do deplore?
              When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
                  For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
          Others to sin and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
          A year, or two, but wallowed in a score?
              When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
                  For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
          My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
Swear by thyself that at my death Thy Son
          Shall shine as He shines now, and heretofore;
              And having done that, Thou hast done,
                  I fear no more.

On this day in 1940, in Mexico City, Leon Trotsky, a leader of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, was murdered, on the orders of Joseph Stalin, by a Soviet secret agent.

Also in 1940 on this date, the British first used their new invention, Radio Detection And Ranging: radar. Using radar, the Royal Air Force was alerted to the approach of Luftwaffe bombers, 75 miles away, and so had enough time to put their planes in the air and meet the Luftwaffe pilots before they could drop their bombs. Winston Churchill paid tribute to the British pilots with his stirring statement: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

It's the birthday of romance fiction writer Jacqueline Susann, born in Philadelphia (1921). She was 45 when her first novel, Valley of the Dolls (1966), went to the top of the best seller lists.

It's the birthday of psychobiologist Roger Sperry, born in Hartford, Connecticut (1913)-who shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine (1981) for his studies of the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

It's the birthday of jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden (Weldon John Teagarden), born in Vernon, Texas (1905). Entirely self-taught, he began playing the trombone at age seven, and went on to develop a widely imitated style that seemed to have occurred to him fully formed. He performed with Louis Armstrong (1947-51), and was also a great jazz singer.

On this day in 1904, the Abbey Theatre was established in Dublin. The theater was founded to foster Irish drama and culture and to serve Irish audiences. Yeats's On Baile's Strand and Lady Gregory's Spreading the News were the first plays performed there. In 1924, the Abbey became the first state-subsidized theater in the English-speaking world.

It's the birthday of horror writer H(oward) P(hillips) Lovecraft, born in Providence, Rhode Island (1890), author of macabre short novels and stories, and the 20th century's first master of the Gothic tale of terror.

It's the birthday of theologian Paul Tillich, born in Starzeddel, Germany (1886), the son of a pastor. He's the author of the three-volume Systematic Theology (1951-63). Paul Tillich said, "Faith comprises both itself and doubt of itself."

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




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