Fun_People Archive
9 Oct
LIT BITS V3 #283

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon,  9 Oct 100 17:50:15 -0700
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Subject: LIT BITS V3 #283

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Excerpted-from: LITERARY CALENDAR V3 #283

Today is Tuesday, 10 October 2000; on this day,

282 years ago (1718),

     Irish poet, essayist, and friend of Alexander Pope, Thomas Parnell,
     dies in Chester, England. Among his best poems are "An Elegy to an
     Old Beauty" and "Night Piece on Death," said to have influenced Thomas
     Gray's _An Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard_.

166 years ago (1834),

     In Nurmijarvi, the father of the Finnish novel, dramatist, and the
     creator of Finland's modern literature, Aleksis Kivi is born. His
     _Seitseman veljesta_ (_Seven Brothers_, 1870) will be the first novel
     written in Finnish. Though he struggled throughout his life against
     poverty and hostile criticism, his works are now regarded as classics.

75 years ago (1925),

     Janet Flanner's (Genet's) first "Letter from Paris" appears in _The
     New Yorker_. In _Paris Was Yesterday_ she recalls: "All I really knew
     about what [Harold] Ross wished me to write was that it must be
     precisely accurate, highly personal, colorful, and ocularly
     descriptive; and that for sentence style, Gibbon was as good a model
     as I could bring to mind."

57 years ago (1943),

     American writer of short stories and novels featuring characters who
     are shaped by the impersonal suburban environments in which they live,
     brother of writer Donald, Frederick Barthelme, is born in Houston,
     Texas. _Rangoon_, a collection of surreal short fiction, drawings,
     and photographs, will be published in 1970, followed by his first
     novel _War & War_. His 1983 collection of short stories, _Moon Deluxe_,
     written in the present tense and almost all in the first person, will
     bring his widest audience.

40 years ago (1960),

     Brendan Behan appears on the Jack Paar Show, sings a song, smokes a
     cigar, and denies that he's entered a buttermilk-drinking contest with
     Jackie Gleason.

Also of literary concern,

     "'There's another queer old customer,' said Waterloo, 'comes over, as
     punctual as the eleven o'clock on the tenth of October.'"
     In _Reprinted Pieces_, by Charles Dickens.

Today's poem:

                   A Hymn to Contentment

     Lovely, lasting peace of mind!
     Sweet delight of human-kind!
     Heavenly-born, and bred on high,
     To crown the fav'rites of the sky
     With more of happiness below,
     Than victors in a triumph know!
     Whither, O whither art thou fled,
     To lay thy meek, contented head;
     What happy region dost thou please
     To make the seat of calms and ease!

     Ambition searches all its sphere
     Of pomp and state, to meet thee there.
     Increasing Avarice would find
     Thy presence in its gold enshrin'd.
     The bold advent'rer ploughs his way
     Through rocks amidst the foaming sea,
     To gain thy love; and then perceives
     Thou wert not in the rocks and waves.
     The silent heart which grief assails,
     Treads soft and lonesome o'er the vales,
     Sees daisies open, rivers run,
     And seeks (as I have vainly done)
     Amusing thought; but learns to know
     That solitude's the nurse of woe.
     No real happiness is found
     In trailing purple o'er the ground;
     Or in a soul exalted high,
     To range the circuit of the sky,
     Converse with stars above, and know
     All nature in its forms below;
     The rest it seeks, in seeking dies,
     And doubts at last, for knowledge, rise.

     Lovely, lasting peace, appear!
     This world itself, if thou art here,
     Is once again with Eden blest,
     And man contains it in his breast.

     'Twas thus, as under shade I stood,
     I sung my wishes to the wood,
     And lost in thought, no more perceiv'd
     The branches whisper as they wav'd:
     It seem'd, as all the quiet place
     Confess'd the presence of the Grace.
     When thus she spoke--"Go rule thy will,
     Bid thy wild passions all be still,
     Know God--and bring thy heart to know
     The joys which from religion flow:
     Then ev'ry Grace shall prove its guest,
     And I'll be there to crown the rest."

     Oh! by yonder mossy seat,
     In my hours of sweet retreat,
     Might I thus my soul employ,
     With sense of gratitude and joy!
     Rais'd as ancient prophets were,
     In heavenly vision, praise, and pray'r;
     Pleasing all men, hurting none,
     Pleas'd and bless'd with God alone:
     Then while the gardens take my sight,
     With all the colours of delight;
     While silver waters glide along,
     To please my ear, and court my song;
     I'll lift my voice, and tune my string,
     And thee, great source of nature, sing.

     The sun that walks his airy way,
     To light the world, and give the day;
     The moon that shines with borrow'd light;
     The stars that gild the gloomy night;
     The seas that roll unnumber'd waves;
     The wood that spreads its shady leaves;
     The field whose ears conceal the grain,
     The yellow treasure of the plain;
     All of these, and all I see,
     Should be sung, and sung by me:
     They speak their maker as they can,
     But want and ask the tongue of man.

     Go search among your idle dreams,
     Your busy or your vain extremes;
     And find a life of equal bliss,
     Or own the next begun in this.

                                              Thomas Parnell

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