Month: June 2017

Work And Contemplation

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The woman singeth at her spinning-wheel
A pleasant chant, ballad or barcarole;
She thinketh of her song, upon the whole,
Far more than of her flax; and yet the reel
Is full, and artfully her fingers feel
With quick adjustment, provident control,
The lines–too subtly twisted to unroll–
Out to a perfect thread. I hence appeal
To the dear Christian Church–that we may do
Our Father’s business in these temples mirk,
Thus swift and steadfast, thus intent and strong;
While thus, apart from toil, our souls pursue
Some high calm spheric tune, and prove our work
The better for the sweetness of our song.

 

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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30th June – On This Day In History

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Born:

1941 Peter Pollock (South African cricketer)

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Died:

2012 Yitzhak Shamir (Israeli Prime Minister)

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On This Day:

1894 Tower Bridge (London) opens

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Have a good Friday, 30th June

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The Landing Of The Pilgrim Fathers

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The breaking waves dashed high
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods, against a stormy sky,
Their giant branches tost;

And the heavy night hung dark
The hills and water o’er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted, came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear, –
They shook the depths of the desert’s gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard and the sea;
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free.

The ocean-eagle soared
From his nest by the white wave’s foam,
And the rocking pines of the forest roared –
This was their welcome home!

There were men with hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band:
Why had they come to wither there,
Away from their childhood’s land?

There was woman’s fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love’s truth;
There was manhood’s brow serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of the seas? the spoils of war? –
They sought a faith’s pure shrine!

Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod!
They have left unstained what there they found –
Freedom to worship God!

 

– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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29th June – On This Day In History

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Born:

1930 Robert Evans (director – The Godfather)

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Died:

1861 Elizabeth Barrett Browning (poet)

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On This Day:

1916 The first Boeing aircraft flies

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Have a good Thursday, 29th June

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The Old Homestead

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‘Tis an old deserted homestead
On the outskirts of the town,
Where the roof is all moss-covered,
And the walls are tumbling down;
But around that little cottage
Do my brightest mem’ries cling,
For ’twas there I spent the moments
Of my youth,–life’s happy spring.

I remember how I used to
Swing upon the old front gate,
While the robin in the tree tops
Sung a night song to his mate;
And how later in the evening,
As the beaux were wont to do,
Mr. Perkins, in the parlor,
Sat and sparked my sister Sue.

There my mother–heaven bless her!–
Kissed or spanked as was our need,
And by smile or stroke implanted
In our hearts fair virtue’s seed;
While my father, man of wisdom,
Lawyer keen, and farmer stout,
Argued long with neighbor Dobbins
How the corn crops would turn out.

Then the quiltings and the dances–
How my feet were wont to fly,
While the moon peeped through the barn chinks
From her stately place on high.
Oh, those days, so sweet, so happy,
Ever backward o’er me roll;
Still the music of that farm life
Rings an echo in my soul.

Now the old place is deserted,
And the walls are falling down;
All who made the home life cheerful,
Now have died or moved to town.
But about that dear old cottage
Shall my mem’ries ever cling,
For ’twas there I spent the moments
Of my, youth,–life’s happy spring.

 

– Paul Laurence Dunbar

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28th June – On This Day In History

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Born:

1491 Henry VII (King of England, founder of the Church of England)

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Died:

1914 Franz Ferdinand (assassination sparked the start of World War 1)

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On This Day:

1820 tomatoes are proven to not be poisonous

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Have a good Wednesday, 28th June

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The Old Cabin

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In de dead of night I sometimes,
Git to t’inkin’ of de pas’
An’ de days w’en slavery helt me
In my mis’ry — ha’d an’ fas’.
Dough de time was mighty tryin’,
In dese houahs somehow hit seem
Dat a brightah light come slippin’
Thoo de kivahs of my dream.
An’ my min’ fu’gits de whuppins
Draps de feah o’ block an’ lash
An’ flies straight to somep’n’ joyful
In a secon’s lightnin’ flash.
Den hit seems I see a vision
Of a dearah long ago
Of de childern tumblin’ roun’ me
By my rough ol’ cabin do’.
Talk about yo’ go’geous mansions
An’ yo’ big house great an’ gran’,
Des bring up de fines’ palace
Dat you know in all de lan’.
But dey’s somep’n’ dearah to me,
Somep’n’ faihah to my eyes
In dat cabin, less you bring me
To yo’ mansion in de skies.
I kin see de light a-shinin’
Thoo de chinks atween de logs,
I kin hyeah de way-off bayin’
Of my mastah’s huntin’ dogs,
An’ de neighin’ of de hosses
Stampin’ on de ol’ bahn flo’,
But above dese soun’s de laughin’
At my deah ol’ cabin do’.
We would gethah daih at evenin’,
All my frien’s ‘ud come erroun’
An’ hit wan’t no time, twell, bless you,
You could hyeah de banjo’s soun’.
You could see de dahkies dancin’
Pigeon wing an’ heel an’ toe, —
Joyous times I tell you people
Roun’ dat same ol’ cabin do’.
But at times my t’oughts gits saddah,
Ez I riccolec’ de folks,
An’ dey frolickin’ an’ talkin’
Wid dey laughin’ an’ dey jokes.
An’ hit hu’ts me w’en I membahs
Dat I’ll nevah see no mo’
Dem ah faces gethered smilin’
Roun’ dat po’ ol’ cabin do’.

 

– Paul Laurence Dunbar

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