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13th September – On This Day In History

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Born:

1916 Roald Dahl (author – Charlie And The Chocolate Factory)

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Died:

1996 Tupac Shakur (rapper & actor)

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On This Day:

1979 Venda is granted independence by South Africa (but not recognised outside of South Africa)

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Have a good Thursday, 13th September

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Boy And The Angel

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Morning, evening, noon and night,
“Praise God!; sang Theocrite.

Then to his poor trade he turned,
Whereby the daily meal was earned.

Hard he laboured, long and well;
O’er his work the boy’s curls fell.

But ever, at each period,
He stopped and sang, “Praise God!”

Then back again his curls he threw,
And cheerful turned to work anew.

Said Blaise, the listening monk, “Well done;
“I doubt not thou art heard, my son:

“As well as if thy voice to-day
“Were praising God, the Pope’s great way.

“This Easter Day, the Pope at Rome
“Praises God from Peter’s dome.”

Said Theocrite, “Would God that I
“Might praise him, that great way, and die!”

Night passed, day shone,
And Theocrite was gone.

With God a day endures alway,
A thousand years are but a day.

God said in heaven, “Nor day nor night
“Now brings the voice of my delight.”

Then Gabriel, like a rainbow’s birth,
Spread his wings and sank to earth;

Entered, in flesh, the empty cell,
Lived there, and played the craftsman well;

And morning, evening, noon and night,
Praised God in place of Theocrite.

And from a boy, to youth he grew:
The man put off the stripling’s hue:

The man matured and fell away
Into the season of decay:

And ever o’er the trade he bent,
And ever lived on earth content.

(He did God’s will; to him, all one
If on the earth or in the sun.)

God said, “A praise is in mine ear;
“There is no doubt in it, no fear:

“So sing old worlds, and so
“New worlds that from my footstool go.

“Clearer loves sound other ways:
“I miss my little human praise.”

Then forth sprang Gabriel’s wings, off fell
The flesh disguise, remained the cell.

‘Twas Easter Day: he flew to Rome,
And paused above Saint Peter’s dome.

In the tiring-room close by
The great outer gallery,

With his holy vestments dight,
Stood the new Pope, Theocrite:

And all his past career
Came back upon him clear,

Since when, a boy, he plied his trade,
Till on his life the sickness weighed;

And in his cell, when death drew near,
An angel in a dream brought cheer:

And rising from the sickness drear
He grew a priest, and now stood here.

To the East with praise he turned,
And on his sight the angel burned.

“I bore thee from thy craftsman’s cell
“And set thee here; I did not well.

“Vainly I left my angel-sphere,
“Vain was thy dream of many a year.

“Thy voice’s praise seemed weak; it dropped—
“Creation’s chorus stopped!

“Go back and praise again
“The early way, while I remain.

“With that weak voice of our disdain,
“Take up creation’s pausing strain.

“Back to the cell and poor employ:
“Resume the craftsman and the boy!”

Theocrite grew old at home;
A new Pope dwelt in Peter’s dome.

One vanished as the other died:
They sought God side by side.

 

– Robert Browning

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A Ninth Birthday

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Three times thrice hath winter’s rough white wing
Crossed and curdled wells and streams with ice
Since his birth whose praises love would sing
Three times thrice.

Earth nor sea bears flower nor pearl of price
Fit to crown the forehead of my king,
Honey meet to please him, balm, nor spice.

Love can think of nought but love to bring
Fit to serve or do him sacrifice
Ere his eyes have looked upon the spring
Three times thrice.

II.

Three times thrice the world has fallen on slumber,
Shone and waned and withered in a trice,
Frost has fettered Thames and Tyne and Humber
Three times thrice,

Fogs have swoln too thick for steel to slice,
Cloud and mud have soiled with grime and umber
Earth and heaven, defaced as souls with vice,

Winds have risen to wreck, snows fallen to cumber,
Ships and chariots, trapped like rats or mice,
Since my king first smiled, whose years now number
Three times thrice.

III.

Three times thrice, in wine of song full-flowing,
Pledge, my heart, the child whose eyes suffice,
Once beheld, to set thy joy-bells going
Three times thrice.

Not the lands of palm and date and rice
Glow more bright when summer leaves them glowing,
Laugh more light when suns and winds entice.

Noon and eve and midnight and cock-crowing,
Child whose love makes life as paradise,
Love should sound your praise with clarions blowing
Three times thrice.

 

– Algernon Charles Swinburne

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Little Boy Lost

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‘Father, father, where are you going?
Oh do not walk so fast!
Speak, father, speak to you little boy,
Or else I shall be lost.’

The night was dark, no father was there,
The child was wet with dew;
The mire was deep, and the child did weep,
And away the vapour flew.

 

– William Blake

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The Chimney-Sweeper: When My Mother Died I Was Very Young

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When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ‘Weep! weep! weep! weep!’
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.

There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved; so I said,
‘Hush, Tom! never mind it, for, when your head’s bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.’

And so he was quiet, and that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight! —
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black.

And by came an angel, who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins, and let them all free;
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing, they run,
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.

Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind;
And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy,
He’d have God for his father, and never want joy.

And so Tom awoke, and we rose in the dark,
And got with our bags and our brushes to work.
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm:
So, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.

 

– William Blake

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The Sailor Boy

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He rose at dawn and, fired with hope,
Shot o’er the seething harbour-bar,
And reach’d the ship and caught the rope,
And whistled to the morning star.

And while he whistled long and loud
He heard a fierce mermaiden cry,
“O boy, tho’ thou are young and proud,
I see the place where thou wilt lie.

“The sands and yeasty surges mix
In caves about the dreary bay,
And on thy ribs the limpet sticks,
And in thy heart the scrawl shall play.”

“Fool,” he answer’d , “death is sure
To those that stay and those that roam,
But I will nevermore endure
To sit with empty hands at home.

“My mother clings about my neck,
My sisters crying, ‘Stay for shame;’
My father raves of death and wreck,-
They are all to blame, they are all to blame.

“God help me! save I take my part
Of danger on the roaring sea,
A devil rises in my heart,
Far worse than any death to me.”

 

– Alfred Lord Tennyson

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A Good Boy

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I woke before the morning, I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word, but smiled and stuck to play.

And now at last the sun is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy, for I know that I’ve been good.

My bed is waiting cool and fresh, with linen smooth and fair,
And I must be off to sleepsin-by, and not forget my prayer.

I know that, till to-morrow I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind, no ugly sight my eyes.

But slumber hold me tightly till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing in the lilacs round the lawn.

 

– Robert Louis Stevenson

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Young Boy in a Plaid Shirt Looking Directly to the Camera