A languid atmosphere, a lazy breeze,
With labored respiration, moves the wheat
From distant reaches, till the golden seas
Break in crisp whispers at my feet.
My book, neglected of an idle mind,
Hides for a moment from the eyes of men;
Or lightly opened by a critic wind,
Affrightedly reviews itself again.
Off through the haze that dances in the shine
The warm sun showers in the open glade,
The forest lies, a silhouette design
Dimmed through and through with shade.
A dreamy day; and tranquilly I lie
At anchor from all storms of mental strain;
With absent vision, gazing at the sky,
“Like one that hears it rain.”
The Katydid, so boisterous last night,
Clinging, inverted, in uneasy poise,
Beneath a wheat-blade, has forgotten quite
If “Katy DID or DIDN’T” make a noise.
The twitter, sometimes, of a wayward bird
That checks the song abruptly at the sound,
And mildly, chiding echoes that have stirred,
Sink into silence, all the more profound.
And drowsily I hear the plaintive strain
Of some poor dove . . . Why, I can scarcely keep
My heavy eyelids–there it is again–
“Coo-coo!”–I mustn’t–“Coo-coo!”–fall asleep!
– James Whitcomb Riley
How plain and height
With dewdrops are bright!
How pearls have crown’d
The plants all around!
How sighs the breeze
Thro’ thicket and trees!
How loudly in the sun’s clear rays
The sweet birds carol forth their lays!
But, ah! above,
Where saw I my love,
Within her room,
Small, mantled in gloom,
Where sunlight was drown’d,
How little there was earth to me,
With all its beauteous majesty!
– Wolfgang von Goethe
1769 Napoleon Bonaparte (Emperor of France 1804 – 1813, 1814 – 1815)
1983 Anthony Costello (actor)
On This Day:
1947 India gains independence from Great Britain (but remains a dominion until 1950)
Have a good Saturday, 15th August
It is a sultry day; the sun has drank
The dew that lay upon the morning grass,
There is no rustling in the lofty elm
That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint
And interrupted murmur of the bee,
Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
Instantly on the wing. The plants around
Feel the too potent fervors; the tall maize
Rolls up its long green leaves; the clover droops
Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms.
But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills,
With all their growth of woods, silent and stern,
As if the scortching heat and dazzling light
Were but an element they loved. Bright clouds,
Motionless pillars of the brazen heaven;–
Their bases on the mountains–their white tops
Shining in the far ether–fire the air
With a reflected radiance, and make turn
The gazer’s eye away. For me, I lie
Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf,
Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun,
Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind
That still delays its coming. Why so slow,
Gentle and voluble spirit of the air?
Oh, come and breathe upon the fainting earth
Coolness and life. Is it that in his caves
He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge,
The pine is bending his proud top, and now,
Among the nearer groves, chesnut and oak
Are tossing their green boughs about. He comes!
Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in wives!
The deep distressful silence of the scene
Breaks up with mingling of unnumbered sounds
And universal motion. He is come,
Shaking a shower of blossoms from the shrubs,
And bearing on the fragrance; and he brings
Music of birds, and rustling of young boughs,
And soun of swaying branches, and the voice
Of distant waterfalls. All the green herbs
Are stirring in his breath; a thousand flowers,
By the road-side and the borders of the brook,
Nod gaily to each other; glossy leaves
Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew
Were on them yet, and silver waters break
Into small waves and sparkle as he comes.
– William Cullen Bryant
1945 Steve Martin (actor and comedian)
1988 Enzo Ferrari (maker of iconic sports cars)
On This Day:
1880 Construction of the Cologne Cathedral is completed (began in 1248)
Have a great Friday, 14th August.
Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come,
For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom,
And the crow is on the oak a-building of her nest,
And love is burning diamonds in my true lover’s breast;
She sits beneath the whitethorn a-plaiting of her hair,
And I will to my true lover with a fond request repair;
I will look upon her face, I will in her beauty rest,
And lay my aching weariness upon her lovely breast.
The clock-a-clay is creeping on the open bloom of May,
The merry bee is trampling the pinky threads all day,
And the chaffinch it is brooding on its grey mossy nest
In the whitethorn bush where I will lean upon my lover’s breast;
I’ll lean upon her breast and I’ll whisper in her ear
That I cannot get a wink o’sleep for thinking of my dear;
I hunger at my meat and I daily fade away
Like the hedge rose that is broken in the heat of the day.
– John Clare
Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.
Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.
The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.
Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy’s inmost nook.
Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.
– Robert Louis Stevenson
1931 William Goldman (author – Lord of the Flies)
30BC Cleopatra (last ruler of Egypt from the Ptolemaic Dynasty)
On This Day:
1908 Henry Ford’s company builds the first Model T
Have a good Wednesday, 12th August.