Fun_People Archive
2 Oct
LIT BITS V3 #276

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon,  2 Oct 100 20:11:48 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: LIT BITS V3 #276

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Excerpted-from: LITERARY CALENDAR V3 #276

Today is Tuesday, 3 October 2000; on this day,

151 years ago (1849),

     During electioneering in Baltimore, Edgar Allan Poe is kept drunk by
     a gang of political hacks who have him vote repeatedly at the polls;
     in four days he is dead.

105 years ago (1895),

     Stephen Crane's _The Red Badge of Courage_ is published in book form.

104 years ago (1896),

     English designer, poet, and early socialist, whose designs for
     furniture, wallpaper, and other decorative products generated the Arts
     and Crafts Movement, William Morris, dies in Hammersmith, near London.
     He achieved success as a poet with the romantic narrative, _The Life
     and Death of Jason_ (1867), and _The Earthly Paradise_ (1868-70), a
     series of narrative poems based upon classical and medieval sources.

100 years ago (1900),

     Novelist Thomas Wolfe is born in Asheville, North Carolina. He will
     later complain: "I can find plenty of women to sleep with but the kind
     of woman that is really hard for me to find is a typist who can read
     my writing."

75 years ago (1925),

     Gore Vidal--novelist, playwright, and politician--is born in West
     Point, New York.

Today's poem:

            The Earthly Paradise: Apology

     Of Heaven or Hell I have no power to sing,
     I cannot ease the burden of your fears,
     Or make quick-coming death a little thing,
     Or bring again the pleasure of past years,
     Nor for my words shall ye forget your tears,
     Or hope again for aught that I can say,
     The idle singer of an empty day.

     But rather, when aweary of your mirth,
     From full hearts still unsatisfied ye sigh,
     And, feeling kindly unto all the earth,
     Grudge every minute as it passes by,
     Made the more mindful that the sweet days die--
     --Remember me a little then I pray,
     The idle singer of an empty day.

     The heavy trouble, the bewildering care
     That weighs us down who live and earn our bread,
     These idle verses have no power to bear;
     So let em sing of names remember{`e}d,
     Because they, living not, can ne'er be dead,
     Or long time take their memory quite away
     From us poor singers of an empty day.

     Dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time,
     Why should I strive to set the crooked straight?
     Let it suffice me that my murmuring rhyme
     Beats with light wing against the ivory gate,
     Telling a tale not too importunate
     To those who in the sleepy region stay,
     Lulled by the singer of an empty day.

     Folk say, a wizard to a northern king
     At Christmas-tide such wondrous things did show,
     That through one window men beheld the spring,
     And through another saw the summer glow,
     And through a third the fruited vines a-row,
     While still, unheard, but in its wonted way,
     Piped the drear wind of that December day.

     So with this Earthly Paradise it is,
     If ye will read aright, and pardon me,
     Who strive to build a shadowy isle of bliss
     Midmost the beating of the steely sea,
     Where tossed about all hearts of men must be;
     Whose ravening monsters mighty men shall slay,
     Not the poor singer of an empty day.

                                              William Morris

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