1540 – The German reformer Martin Luther said in a sermon on this day that “‘Faith is the ‘yes’ of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes one’s life.”
1785 – Today is the birthday of Jacob Grimm (1/4/1785 – 9/20/1863). He was a German scholar and the author, with Wilhelm Carl Grimm, of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales,” many of which were very grim indeed (as evidenced by the short one found below).
There were once upon a time two sisters, one of whom had no children and was rich, and the other had five and was a widow, and so poor that she no longer had food enough to satisfy herself and her children. In her need, therefore, she went to her sister, and said, my children and I are suffering the greatest hunger. You are rich, give me a mouthful of bread. The very rich sister was as hard as a stone, and said, I myself have nothing in the house, and drove away the poor creature with harsh words. After some time the husband of the rich sister came home, and was just going to cut himself a piece of bread, but when he made the first cut into the loaf, out flowed red blood. When the woman saw that she was terrified and told him what had occurred. He hurried away to help the widow and her children, but when he entered her room, he found her praying. She had her two youngest children in her arms, and the three eldest were lying dead. He offered her food, but she answered, for earthly food have we no longer any desire. God has already satisfied the hunger of three of us, and he will hearken to our supplications likewise. Scarcely had she uttered these words than the two little ones drew their last breath, whereupon her heart broke, and she sank down dead. The End.
1965 – On this day the great American or English (depending upon which side of the Atlantic you live on) Poet T. S. Eliot died at age 76. Below is a short section of his his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Is there anyone reading this today who did not have to read this classic poem during High School? I thought not.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute win reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?
Several of his more famous quotes follow.
“At twenty you have many desires which hide the truth, but beyond forty there are only real and fragile truths -your abilities and your failings.”
“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
“A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.”
“For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.”
+Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.”
1970 – The Beatles have their last recording session at EMI studios. Here is the song “The Long and Winding Road” from their last studio album “Let It Be.”