Archive for the ‘Major Authors’ Category

The seasons send their ruin as they go,

For in the spring the narciss shows its head

Nor withers till the rose has flamed to red,

And in the autumn purple violets blow,

And the slim crocus stirs the winter snow;

Wherefore yon leafless trees will bloom again

And this grey land grow green with summer rain

And send up cowslips for some boy to mow.


But what of life whose bitter hungry sea

Flows at our heels, and gloom of sunless night

Covers the days which never more return?

Ambition, love and all the thoughts that burn

We lose too soon, and only find delight

In withered husks of some dead memory.


                                                 ~ Oscar Wilde, born on this day in 1854


Oscar Wilde with "Poems" (Napoleon Sarony, New York, 1882)

Oscar Wilde with “Poems” (Napoleon Sarony, New York, 1882)

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From childhood’s hour I have not been

As others were – I have not seen

As others saw – I could not bring

My passions from a common spring –

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow – I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone –

And all I lov’d – I lov’d alone –

Then – in my childhood – in the dawn

Of a most stormy life – was drawn

From ev’ry depth of good and ill

The mystery which binds me still –

From the torrent, or the fountain –

From the red cliff of the mountain –

From the sun that ’round me roll’d

In its autumn tint of gold –

From the lightning in the sky

As it pass’d me flying by –

From the thunder, and the storm –

And the cloud that took the form

(When the rest of Heaven was blue)

Of a demon in my view –


                                  ~ Edgar Allan Poe, died on this day in 1849


"Тамара и демон" ("Tamara and Demon") by Konstantin Makovsky, 1889

“Тамара и демон” (“Tamara and Demon”) by Konstantin Makovsky, 1889

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It is therefore of the utmost importance that those who have any intention of deviating from the beaten roads of life, and requiring a reputation superior to names hourly swept away by time among the refuse of fame, should add to their reason, and their spirit, the power of persisting in their purposes; acquire the art of sapping what they cannot batter, and the habit of vanquishing obstinate resistance by obstinate attacks.


~ Samuel Johnson, born on this day in 1709


Portrait of Samuel Johnson by Joshua Reynolds, 1775 Johnson's "A Dictionary of the English Language" was published in 1755 and has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship."

Portrait of Samuel Johnson by Joshua Reynolds, 1775.  Johnson’s “A Dictionary of the English Language” was published in 1755 and has been described as “one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship.”

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He didn’t remember that a mere book might reek of sex, possibility, fecundity.  Yet a book has a ripe furrow and a yielding spine, he thought, and the nuances to be teased from its pages are nearly infinite in their variety and coquettish appeal.  And what new life can emerge from a book.  Any book, maybe.


~ A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire, born on this day in 1954


Photograph by Tom Woodward

Photograph by Tom Woodward

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When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past,

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,

And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:

Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,

For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,

And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,

And moan th’ expense of many a vanish’d sight;

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restor’d, and sorrows end.


~ William Shakespeare, died on this day in 1616


"Meditation" by Wilhelm Amberg, circa 1880

“Meditation” by Wilhelm Amberg, circa 1880

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Old forms and phrases began to have a sense that frightened her.  She had a new feeling, the feeling of danger; on which a new remedy rose to meet it, the idea of an inner self or, in other words, of concealment.  She puzzled out with imperfect signs, but with a prodigious spirit, that she had been a centre of hatred and a messenger of insult, and that everything was bad because she had been employed to make it so.  Her parted lips locked themselves with the determination to be employed no longer.  She would forget everything, she would repeat nothing, and when, as a tribute to the successful application of her system, she began to be called a little idiot, she tasted a pleasure new and keen.  When therefore, as she grew older, [they] in turn announced before her that she had grown shockingly dull, it was not from any real contraction of her little stream of life.  She spoiled their fun, but she practically added to her own.  She saw more and more; she saw too much.


~ From What Maisie Knew by Henry James, born on this day in 1843



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Take this kiss upon the brow!

And, in parting from you now,

Thus much let me avow –

You are not wrong, who deem

That my days have been a dream;

Yet if hope has flown away

In a night, or in a day,

In a vision, or in none,

Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.


I stand amid the roar

Of a surf-tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand –

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep – while I weep!

O God! Can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O God! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?


                ~ Edgar Allan Poe, born on this day in 1809


Thomas Pollock Anshutz, circa 1900

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, circa 1900

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