Jul. 3, 2005

Much Ado About Nothing Act II Scene iii

by William Shakespeare

SUNDAY, 3 JULY, 2005
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Poem: From "Much Ado About Nothing" by William Shakespeare. Public domain.

From Much Ado About Nothing    Act II Scene iii

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
     Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea and one on shore,
     To one thing constant never:
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
     And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
     Into Hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no more,
     Of dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
     Since summer first was leafy:
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
     And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
     Into Hey nonny, nonny.

Literary and Historical Notes:

It's the birthday of George M. Cohan, born in Providence, Rhode Island, (1878). He gave us "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "You're a Grand Old Flag."

It's the birthday of M(ary) F(rancis) K(ennedy) Fisher, born in Albion, Michigan (1908). She is the author of many books about food and eating. She is best known for How to Cook a Wolf and The Gastronomical Me.

It's the birthday of the playwright Tom Stoppard, born Thomas Straussler, in Czechoslovakia (1937). He is the author of many plays, including his recent trilogy, The Coast of Utopia.

It's the birthday of humorist Dave Barry, born in Armonk, New York (1947). He is a syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and the author of many books. Dave Barry said, "I always wanted to write when I was a kid; it just never occurred to me that you could have a job that didn't involve any actual work ... I felt it would be fun to have a job like that where you could make stuff up and be irresponsible and get paid for it."

It's the birthday of Franz Kafka, born in Prague (1883). He is the author of many novels and short stories about strange, terrible things happening to innocent people. The Trial begins, "Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K. for without having done anything wrong, he was arrested one fine morning." And The Metamorphosis begins, "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."

Franz Kafka had a difficult relationship with his own father. He had to live at home after college, and slept in the room between his parents' bedroom and the living room. He tried to write at night but was annoyed by all the sounds his parents made. Kafka once wrote is father a 50-page letter, telling him all about their terrible relationship. He gave the letter to his mother, but she never passed it on and his father never read it.

The first love of his life was a woman named Felice Bauer. Kafka spent 10 days writing her a letter to introduce himself and then wrote to her almost every day for the next five years. They got engaged, but Kafka started to wonder if he should get married. He was worried that it would ruin the privacy he needed to be a writer. He said, "I need solitude for my writing. Not like a hermit—that wouldn't be enough—but like a dead man."

He started having an affair with Felice Bauer's best friend, and got her pregnant. He later found out that he had tuberculosis, so he never did get married.

Kafka's best friend was a sickly, hunchbacked man named Max Brod, who worshipped the ground that Kafka walked on. He hung out with him at cafés, went to brothels with him, and wrote articles about him before anybody else had ever heard about Franz Kafka. Near the end of his life, Kafka asked Max Brod to burn all of his unpublished work, which Brod refused to do. And so we have him to thank for preserving those novels.

It was Franz Kafka who said, "I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."

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




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