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Ye juster Powers of Love and Fate,
Give me the reason why
A lover crost
And all hopes lost
May not have leave to die.
It is but just ; and Love needs must
Confess it is his part,
When she doth spy
One wounded lie,
To pierce the other’s heart.
But yet if he so cruel be
To have one breast to hate,
If I must live
And thus survive,
How far more cruel ‘s Fate ?
In this same state I find too late
I am ; and here ‘s the grief :
Cupid can cure,
Death heal, I’m sure,
Yet neither sends relief.
To live or die, beg only I :
Just Powers, some end me give ;
Thus force me not
Without a heart to live.
–Sir John Suckling, The Invocation (ca. 1646) in The Works of Sir John Suckling, p. 45 (A.H. Thompson ed. 1910)
Listen to John Dowland’s “Weep You No More Sad Fountains” from the Third Booke of Songs (1603) in a performance by Paul Agnew:
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”