Happy is England! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own;
To feel no other breezes than are blown
Through its tall woods with high romances blent:
Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
And half forget what world or worldling meant.
Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters;
Enough their simple loveliness for me,
Enough their whitest arms in silence clinging:
Yet do I often warmly burn to see
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing,
And float with them about the summer waters.
– John Keats
1871 Orville Wright (aviation pioneer – The Wright Brothers)
1977 Groucho Marx (comedian – Marx Brothers)
On This Day:
1919 Afghanistan declares its independence (from Britain)
Have a good Sunday, 19th August
Men of England, wherefore plough
For the lords who lay ye low?
Wherefore weave with toil and care
The rich robes your tyrants wear?
Wherefore feed and clothe and save,
From the cradle to the grave,
Those ungrateful drones who would
Drain your sweat — nay, drink your blood?
Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
Many a weapon, chain, and scourge,
That these stingless drones may spoil
The forced produce of your toil?
Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,
Shelter, food, love’s gentle balm?
Or what is it ye buy so dear
With your pain and with your fear?
The seed ye sow another reaps;
The wealth ye find another keeps;
The robes ye weave another wears;
The arms ye forge another bears.
Sow seed, — but let no tyrant reap;
Find wealth, — let no imposter heap;
Weave robes, — let not the idle wear;
Forge arms, in your defence to bear.
Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells;
In halls ye deck another dwells.
Why shake the chains ye wrought? Ye see
The steel ye tempered glance on ye.
With plough and spade and hoe and loom,
Trace your grave, and build your tomb,
And weave your winding-sheet, till fair
England be your sepulchre!
– Percy Bysshe Shelley
1969 Christian Slater (actor – Robin Hood)
1227 Genghis Khan (Mongol leader and conqueror)
On This Day:
Hungary adopts in constitution
Have a good Saturday, 18th August
Oh! England! Shall I miss those brimming shores
that plague the words of this songs sad refrain?
If I must depart vanquished from your door!
Leave my love! Till your white walls rise again!
What childish joy familiar sights contain
the smells of home and beauty’s native call
ancestral pride like blood runs through my veins
and all my dreams of glory seem so small,
my eyes can’t grasp the distance as they fall.
– Captain Cur
1930 Ted Hughes (British Poet Laureate)
1850 Jose de San Martin (Revolutionary and General in South America leading in Argentina, Chile and Peru for independence from Spain)
On This Day:
1950 Indonesia gains independence (from The Netherlands)
England! awake! awake! awake!
Jerusalem thy Sister calls!
Why wilt thou sleep the sleep of death
And close her from thy ancient walls?
Thy hills and valleys felt her feet
Gently upon their bosoms move:
Thy gates beheld sweet Zion’s ways:
Then was a time of joy and love.
And now the time returns again:
Our souls exult, and London’s towers
Receive the Lamb of God to dwell
In England’s green and pleasant bowers.
– William Blake