literature

18th July – On This Day In History

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Born:

1918 Nelson Mandela (South African leader and iconic statesman)

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Died:

1817 Jane Austin (novelist – Pride and Prejudice)

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On This Day:

2012 Kim Jong-un is appointed the Supreme Leader of North Korea

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Have a good Wednesday, 18th July

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Church – Door Should Still Stand Open

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Church-doors should still stand open, night and day,
Open to all who come for praise or prayer,
Laden with gift of love or load of care,
Nimbused with gold, or flecked with locks of gray,
Mother, or snow-white bride, or pallid clay,
The blithe, the sad, the uncomely as the fair,
Each on his secret errand wending there,
Nor even the mighty and strong be turned away.
And so the poet’s heart should ever be
Portal of joy and welcomer of woe,
That makes the deaf to hear, the blind to see,
Open confessional for high and low,
An unshut shrine where all may come and go,
And by their tears an enriched sanctuary.

 

– Alfred Austin

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The Evening Light

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I
Angels their silvery trumpets blow,
At dawn, to greet the Morning Glow,
And mortals lift adoring eyes
To see the glorious sun arise.
Then, winged by Faith, and spurred by Hope
Youth scans the hill, youth scales the slope.
Its pulses bound, its thoughts exult,
It finds no danger difficult,
Quickens its pace, disdaining ease
Victor before it comes and sees,
Feeling the Universe its own,
The Sovereign of a Self-made Throne.

II
Each hope fulfilled, obtained each prayer,
We glory in the Noonday Glare.
Welcome the blinding heat of strife,
Deeming resistance part of life.
We deal the blow, return the stroke,
Fighting our way through dust and smoke,
Until, our battle-banner furled,
We tower above a conquered World;
Whether one leads mankind along
By gift of speech or grace of song,
Seizes by forceful hand the helm,
Or adds an Empire to the Realm,
Confronts the sun with forehead bare,
Exulting in the Noonday Glare.

III
But, as the lengthening shadows glide
Silent towards the eventide,
And dew baptizes leaf and flower
In twilight’s sanctuary hour,
A sacred Something haunts the air,
Tender as love, devout as prayer,
And in the lofty dome afar
Glimmers one bright outriding star,
Announcing to the watchful sight
Coming battalions of the Night.
Then Noonday Glare and Morning Glow
Fade into shadowy Long-ago.
One feels Earth’s vain ambitions fade
Into the vanished dust they made.

All that the glow of dawn foretold,
And all the glare of noon unrolled,
Seem nothing to the quiet joy
No clamour mars, no cares destroy,
‘Twixt restless day and restful night,
That cometh with the Evening Light.

 

– Alfred Austin

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To Robert Louis Stevenson

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I never saw you, never grasped your hand,
Nor wrote nor read lines absence loves to trace,
Ne’er with you sate in your accustomed place,
Nor waited for your coming on sea or land.
But this I know, if along unseen strand,
Or anywhere in God’s eternal space,
You heard my voice, or I beheld your face,
That we should greet, and both would understand.
So, till that hour, wherever you abide,
On circling star, or interstellar sea,
Or where, from man’s imagination free,
There moves no planet and there sounds no tide,
Welcome, as though from friend long known and tried,
This gift of loving fellowship from me.

– Alfred Austin

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A Twilight Song

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Why, rapturous bird, though shades of night
Muffle the leaves and swathe the lawn,
Singest thou still with all thy might,
As though ’twere noon, as though ’twere dawn?
Silence darkens on vale and hill,
But thou, unseen, art singing still.

‘Tis because, though in dusky bower,
With love delighted still thou art;
Nor hath the deepening twilight power
To lay a curfew on thy heart.
Thou lovest; and, loving, dost prolong
The sense of sunlight with thy song.

Thus may love’s rapture haunt me still
When life’s full radiance fadeth slow
Along the faltering west, and fill
With melody my afterglow,
And something of Song’s morning might
Linger, to make you doubt ’tis night.

 

– Alfred Austin

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The Lark Confined In His Cage

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The lark confinèd in his cage,
And captive in his wing,
Though fluttering with imprisoned rage,
Forbeareth not to sing.

But still the strain, though loud and long,
Is but the mock of mirth,
Not that dawn-dewy nuptial song
That weddeth Heaven with Earth.

Voice that in freedom seems so soft,
Fettered, sounds harsh and rough.
Listen! He shrilleth far too oft,
Nor faltereth half enough.

And I, still feebler it not free,
Do hourly more and more
Grow silent in captivity,
And, if I sing, must soar.

And as the lark’s free carol floats
High on a sea of sound,
So let me fling my random notes
To ripple round and round.

Hark! now he shakes the towering skies,
A carillon of light,
Then dwindleth to a faint surmise,
Still singing out of sight.

And, though in clearest light arrayed
The Poet’s song should shine,
Sometimes his far-off voice will fade
Into the dim divine.

Then we with following ear and heart
Should listen to the end,
Though we descry may but in part,
And dimly apprehend.

Lo! soon he quits his heavenly quest,
Slow-carolling into sight,
Then, quavering downward, strikes his nest,
Earthward aerolite.

So doubt not, dear, that if I soar
Where none longwhile may dwell,
Though Heaven at times may be my home,
Home is my Heaven as well.

 

– Alfred Austin

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13th July – On This Day In History

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Born:

100 BC Julius Caesar (Roman general and leader)

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Died:

2014 Nadine Gordimer (author & Novel laureate) 

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On This Day:

2016 Theresa May is elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May smiles during a bilateral meeting with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos at 10 Downing Street in London

 

Have a good Friday, 13th July