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5th December – On This Day In History

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Born:

1901 Walt Disney (animator, co-founder of Walt Disney Company)

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Died:

2013 Nelson Mandela (South African president and inspirational statesman)

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On This Day:

1872 The Mary Celeste is found – her crew mysteriously missing

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Have a good Wednesday, 5th December

 

A Song Of Comfort

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“Sleep, weary ones, while ye may —
Sleep, oh, sleep!”
Eugene Field.

Thro’ May time blossoms, with whisper low,
The soft wind sang to the dead below:
“Think not with regret on the Springtime’s song
And the task ye left while your hands were strong.
The song would have ceased when the Spring was past,
And the task that was joyous be weary at last.”

To the winter sky when the nights were long
The tree-tops tossed with a ceaseless song:
“Do ye think with regret on the sunny days
And the path ye left, with its untrod ways?
The sun might sink in a storm cloud’s frown
And the path grow rough when the night came down.”

In the grey twilight of the autumn eves,
It sighed as it sang through the dying leaves:
“Ye think with regret that the world was bright,
That your path was short and your task was light;
The path, though short, was perhaps the best
And the toil was sweet, that it led to rest.”

 

– John McCrae

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Anarchy

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I saw a city filled with lust and shame,
Where men, like wolves, slunk through the grim half-light;
And sudden, in the midst of it, there came
One who spoke boldly for the cause of Right.

And speaking, fell before that brutish race
Like some poor wren that shrieking eagles tear,
While brute Dishonour, with her bloodless face
Stood by and smote his lips that moved in prayer.

“Speak not of God! In centuries that word
Hath not been uttered! Our own king are we.”
And God stretched forth his finger as He heard
And o’er it cast a thousand leagues of sea.

 

– John McCrae

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In Flanders Fields

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 

– John McCrae

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The Anxious Dead

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O guns, fall silent till the dead men hear
Above their heads the legions pressing on:
(These fought their fight in time of bitter fear,
And died not knowing how the day had gone.)

O flashing muzzles, pause, and let them see
The coming dawn that streaks the sky afar;
Then let your mighty chorus witness be
To them, and Caesar, that we still make war.

Tell them, O guns, that we have heard their call,
That we have sworn, and will not turn aside,
That we will onward till we win or fall,
That we will keep the faith for which they died.

Bid them be patient, and some day, anon,
They shall feel earth enwrapt in silence deep;
Shall greet, in wonderment, the quiet dawn,
And in content may turn them to their sleep.

 

John MccRae

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The Unconquered Dead

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“. . . defeated, with great loss.”

Not we the conquered! Not to us the blame
Of them that flee, of them that basely yield;
Nor ours the shout of victory, the fame
Of them that vanquish in a stricken field.

That day of battle in the dusty heat
We lay and heard the bullets swish and sing
Like scythes amid the over-ripened wheat,
And we the harvest of their garnering.

Some yielded, No, not we! Not we, we swear
By these our wounds; this trench upon the hill
Where all the shell-strewn earth is seamed and bare,
Was ours to keep; and lo! we have it still.

We might have yielded, even we, but death
Came for our helper; like a sudden flood
The crashing darkness fell; our painful breath
We drew with gasps amid the choking blood.

The roar fell faint and farther off, and soon
Sank to a foolish humming in our ears,
Like crickets in the long, hot afternoon
Among the wheat fields of the olden years.

Before our eyes a boundless wall of red
Shot through by sudden streaks of jagged pain!
Then a slow-gathering darkness overhead
And rest came on us like a quiet rain.

Not we the conquered! Not to us the shame,
Who hold our earthen ramparts, nor shall cease
To hold them ever; victors we, who came
In that fierce moment to our honoured peace.

 

– John McCrae

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20th November – On This Day In History

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Born:

1923 Nadine Gordimer (author & Nobel Prize winner)

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Died:

1910 Leo Trotsky (author – War And Peace)

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On This Day:

1917 Ukraine declares itself a republic 

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Have a good Tuesday, 20th November

11th November – On This Day In History

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Born:

1974 Leonardo DiCaprio (actor)

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Died:

2004 Yasser Arafat (Palestinian leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner)

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On This Day:

1889 Washington becomes the 42nd State of the USA

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Have a good Sunday, 11th November

On Virtue

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O Thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach.
I cease to wonder, and no more attempt
Thine height t’ explore, or fathom thy profound.
But, O my soul, sink not into despair,
Virtue is near thee, and with gentle hand
Would now embrace thee, hovers o’er thine head.
Fain would the heav’n-born soul with her converse,
Then seek, then court her for her promis’d bliss.
Auspicious queen, thine heav’nly pinions spread,
And lead celestial Chastity along;
Lo! now her sacred retinue descends,
Array’d in glory from the orbs above.
Attend me, Virtue, thro’ my youthful years!
O leave me not to the false joys of time!
But guide my steps to endless life and bliss.
Greatness, or Goodness, say what I shall call thee,
To give me an higher appellation still,
Teach me a better strain, a nobler lay,
O thou, enthron’d with Cherubs in the realms of day.

 

– Phillis Wheatley

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7th October – On This Day In History

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Born:

1931 Desmond Tutu (South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner)

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Died:

1849 Edgar Allan Poe (poet)

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On This Day:

1919 KLM, the worlds oldest still operating airline, is established

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Have a good Sunday, 7th October