Sep. 23, 2002

279 Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord,

by Emily Dickinson


by Alexander Pope

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Poem: "You should at times go out," by Elizabeth Daryush.

You should at times go out

You should at times go out
        from where the faithful kneel,
visit the slums of doubt
        and feel what the lost feel;

you should at times walk on,
        away from your friends' ways,
go where the scorned have gone,
        pass beyond blame and praise;

and at times you should quit
        (ah yes) your sunny home,
sadly awhile should sit,
        even, in wrong's dark room

or ever, suddenly
        by simple bliss betrayed,
you shall be forced to flee,
        unloved, alone, afraid.

On this day in 1939, Sigmund Freud died in his home in Hampstead, London. He had undergone thirty-three operations for cancer of the palate and the jaw, and was in constant pain. He had difficulty hearing and speaking; finally, he could no longer eat. His doctor, Max Schur, came to see him, and Freud grasped him by the hand. "My dear Schur," he said, "you remember our first talk. You promised to help me when I could no longer carry on. It is only torture now, and it has no longer any sense." Schur gave Freud a third of a grain of morphine; he fell into a coma, and died thirty-six hours later. He said: "The Ego is not master in his own house," and "It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggression."

It's the birthday of John William Coltrane, born in Hamlet, North Carolina (1926). He played with Johnny Hodges, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis before forming his own quartet in 1961. He quit drugs cold turkey after Davis fired him for falling asleep on stage, and he said the month he locked himself in an empty room was a spiritual awakening for him; he asked God for "the means and the privilege" to play music for people and make them happy.

It's the birthday of Victoria Claflin Woodhull, born in Homer, Ohio (1838). She is often described now as a leader in the women's suffrage movement, but she horrified Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony with her talk of free love, and they edged away from her as soon as they could. Woodhull decided to run for President against Ulysses S. Grant in 1872; she started a newspaper, Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly, which lobbied for legalized prostitution, and resorted to blackmail when subscription fees ran low. She was sued for libel when she published a story about Henry Ward Beecher's affair with a parishioner, and spent all her money fighting the charges. She was found not guilty, and she moved to England and married a banker.

It's the birthday of William Holmes McGuffey, born near Claysville, Pennsylvania (1800). In 1836 the first of his Peerless Pioneer Readers appeared, more commonly known as McGuffey's Readers. The readers were so popular that printing licenses were granted to multiple publishing houses; they sold one hundred twenty-two million copies.

It's the birthday of Euripides, who tradition says was born on the day the Greeks defeated the Persians at the Battle of Salamis, in 480 BC (some sources give 484 BC). Euripides wrote over ninety plays, including Medea and The Trojan Women. Most are lost to us.

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




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