Sep. 19, 2002

Who would true valour see

by John Bunyan

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Poem: "Who would true valour see," by John Bunyan.

Who would true valour see

      Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather.
There's no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avow'd intent,
To be a pilgrim.

      Whoso beset him round
With dismal stories,
Do but themselves confound,
His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright,
He'll with a giant fight,
But he will have a right
To be a pilgrim.

      Hobgoblin, nor foul fiend,
Can daunt his spirit;
He knows he at the end
Shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away,
He'll fear not what men say,
He'll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim.

It's the birthday of Arthur Rackham, born in London, England (1867). He was an illustrator and publisher of children's books, most notably Rip Van Winkle and A Wind in the Willows.

On this day in 1783, the first hot air balloon, designed by the French Montgolfier brothers, went up, with a sheep, a rooster, and a duck.

It's the birthday of Leon Jaworski, special prosecutor in the Watergate trials, born in Waco Texas (1905).

It's the birthday of Penelope Mortimer, the author of The Pumpkin Eater, born in Rhyl, Flintshire, Wales (1918).

It's the birthday of George Cadbury, born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England (1839). He turned his father's failing business into the successful cocoa- and chocolate-manufacturing firm.

It's the birthday of true crime writer Thomas H. Cook, born in Ft. Payne, Alabama (1947). He wrote The Chatham School Affair, which won the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Award for best novel of the year. He said, "If you're going to write about people, you have to write about families. Family is the binding fiber of human experience. I could be reading about a thousand people consumed by a flood, but if my daughter suddenly cried out, all of that would vanish, and the world would be no larger than the space that separated us." He said that the hardest thing about writing a mystery novel is working out the "surprise." "With each new novel readers get more savvy about your tricks and harder to fool."

It's the birthday of William Golding, born in St. Columb Minor in Cornwall, England (1911). He is most famous for his novel, Lord of the Flies, about a group of British schoolboys that are stranded on a Pacific island during a global atomic war. They end up fighting, and become savages who are obsessed with hunting, both animals and each other. They chant, "Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!" Golding was in the Royal Navy, and helped with the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck. He witnessed the storming of the Normandy beaches. He said of the war, "Anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey, must have been blind or wrong in the head." He said, "When I was young, before the war, I did have some airy-fairy views about man…But I went through the war and that changed me." He was an avid reader of Greek mythology. He said he did so "not because it was the snobbish thing to do or even the most enjoyable, but because this is where the meat is."

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