The Muses Companion

The Muses Companion – June 2, 2024

Good day, readers. Today is June 2nd, the 154th day of the year 2024, with 212 days remaining.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Today in Literary History:

On this day in 1740, the Marquis de Sade, a French nobleman and writer whose works and lifestyle gave rise to the term “sadism,” was born. His controversial novels and plays, which explored the darkest corners of the human psyche and society, continue to provoke debate and analysis for their bold exploration of desire and power.

Notable Birthdays:

Thomas Hardy, born on June 2, 1840, was an English novelist and poet whose works are seminal in Victorian literature. Known for Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd, Hardy’s writings often illustrate the tragic nature of life and the inexorable force of fate, set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing society.

Today’s Readings:

From Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: “A strong woman who recklessly throws away her strength, she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away.”

Literary Fact of the Day:

On June 2nd, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms in Westminster Abbey. The ceremony, steeped in tradition and pageantry, has been depicted in numerous works of historical fiction and biography, exploring its significance in the context of British and world history.

Poem of the Day:

“To a Mouse” by Robert Burns

Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murdering pattle!

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
‘S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turned out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

This poignant poem by Robert Burns captures the universal truth that even the best-laid plans often go awry, as expressed through the poet’s apology to a mouse whose home he has accidentally destroyed with his plow. Burns reflects on the shared vulnerability of all earthly creatures, creating a deep emotional resonance with the reader.

Advice for Writers:

Inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s encouragement to follow one’s dreams, consider how your writing can embody the aspirations and ideals you hold. Whether through fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, use your unique voice to express and navigate the dreams that drive you, offering readers a vision of life as it could be, informed by your deepest convictions.

Have a visionary and confident day, dear readers. Until tomorrow, may your journey through literature help you live the life you’ve always imagined.

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