FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY
AUGUST READING GUIDE
(Please proceed to the “Harvard Classics” under the section “Categories” on a daily basis)
Now westlin winds and slaught’ring guns
Bring Autumn’s pleasant weather. . . .
Now waving grain, wide o’er the plain,
Delights the weary farmer. . . .
BURNS (Vol. 6, p. 45)
1. His Influence Still Lives
Steadfast allegiance to duty, simple living and adherence to plain,
honest, homely doctrines are Calvin’s principles. Are not these
same old-fashioned truths followed to-day?
(Calvin issues “Dedication,” Aug. 1 , 1536.)
Read from Calvin’s DEDICATION Vol. 39, pp. 27-33
2. Poems from a Heart of Love
“Here is the pleasant place—and nothing wanting is, save She,
alas!” How often we too are faced with like adversity. So
sings Drummond—a master songster and composer.
Read from DRUMMOND’S POEMS Vol. 40, pp. 326-330
3. When the Greeks Sacked Troy
They battered down the palace gates and ravaged with fire and
sword the chambers of K i n g Priam’s hundred wives. Through
halls resounding with shrieks of terror, Priam and his household
fled to sanctuary.
Read from Virgil’s AENEID Vol. 13, pp. 110-117
4. World’s Greatest Bedtime Stories
Hans Christian Andersen had an extraordinary capacity for amusing
children. Were he living to-day he might be in great demand
as a radio bedtime story man.
(H. C. Andersen died Aug. 4, 187;.)
Read: ANDERSEN’S TALES Vol. 17, pp. 221-230
5. Joys of the Simple Life
“Cotter’s Saturday Night” for generations to come will remain
the choicest picture of Scotch home life. Into this poem Burns
instills the sense of all-pervading peace and happiness that comes
at the end of a well-spent day.
(Robert Burns married Jean Armour, Aug. 5, 1788.)
Read: Burns’ COTTERS’ SATURDAY NIGHT Vol. 6, pp. 134-140
6. A Prophet of Aerial Warfare
“For I dipt into the future—saw the nation’s airy navies grappling
in the central blue.” We are amazed at the accuracy of
Tennyson’s prediction. But he also foretells “the federation of
the world”—yet to be fulfilled.
(Alfred Lord Tennyson born Aug. 6, 1809.)
Read: Tennyson’s LOCKSLEY HALL Vol. 42, pp. 979-986
7. The Last Golden Words of Socrates
The death sentence of Socrates could not be executed until the
return of the sacred ship from Delos. One day his friends learned
that the ship had returned. They hastened to the prison to listen
to the last words of Athens’ sage.
Read from Plato’s PFLEDO Vol. 2, pp. 45-54
8. Men Transformed by Circe’s Wand
Unfavorable winds sent by angry gods blew the ships of Odysseus
far off their course. The sailors were cast upon a remote island,
governed by an enchantress where, for their coarse manners, they
were put under a magic spell.
Read from Homer’s ODYSSEY Vol. 22, pp. 133-144
9. English Bridal Party Jailed
Minister and witness, bride and groom were arrested by an enraged
father when John Donne married his employer’s niece.
Donne was soon released, but he found himself without money,
position or bride.
(Isaak. Walton born Aug. 9, IS93-)
Read from Walton’s LIFE OF DR. DONNE Vol. 15, pp. 326-334
10. “Give Them Cake,” said the Queen
When the people of Paris howled because they had no bread to
eat, Queen Marie Antoinette exclaimed: “Well, then, let them
eat cake!” Such an attitude hastened the revolution.
(French royal family imprisoned, Aug. 10, 1792.)
Read from Burke’s THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE Vol. 24, pp. 143-157
11. Clever Repartee of Epictetus
Epictetus advises that if a person speaks ill of you, make no defense,
but answer: “He surely knew not of my other faults, else
he would not have mentioned these only.”
Read from Epictetus’ GOLDEN SAYINGS Vol. 2, pp. 176-182
12. Zekle’s Courtin’
Huldy, the rustic belle, sat alone peeling apples. She was bashful
in her consciousness that Zekle would come soon. When he did,
she merely blushed and timidly said: “Ma’s sprinklin’ does,” and
Read: LOWELL’S POEMS Vol. 42, pp. 1376-1379
13. Too Close to See the Battle
(Battle of Blenheim, Aug. 13, 1704.)
England and France came to battle near Blenheim. Years later
the people of Blenheim called it a “famous victory,” but could
not tell whose victory it was.
Read: Southey’s AFTER BLENHEIM and other poems. . . Vol. 41, pp. 732-735
14. A College Boy Goes to Sea
Leaving Harvard on account of ill health, Dana sought adventure
and thrilling experience aboard a sailing vessel that rounded
Cape Horn. He turned the dangers, hardships, and keen joys
of a sailor’s life into a fascinating story.
(Dana begins famous two-year voyage, Aug. 14, 1834.)
Read from Dana’s Two YEARS BEFORE THE MAST Vol. 23, pp. 30-37
15. Into Death’s Face He Flung This Song
(Roland died at Roncesvaux, Aug. 15, 778.)
Charlemagne’s rear guard was attacked by the Basques in the
valley of Roncesvaux. Roland, its leader, fought a courageous
fight, and, though conquered, became immortal.
Read from THE SONG OF ROLAND Vol. 49, pp. 166-173
16. Inspiring Ritual of Temple Worship
David—the psalm singer—knew the wondrous ways of the Lord
and praised H im in his psalms. Burdened souls in all ages have
found comfort in these songs that once were used in the gorgeous
ritual of Jerusalem’s temple.
Read from THE PSALMS Vol. 44, pp. 286-295
17. Three Walls Luther Saw-
Luther declared that the unreformed church had drawn its doctrines
like three walls so closely about the people that they served
not as protection but were the cause of untold misery and distress.
This he hoped to relieve by the Reformation.
Read: Luther’s ADDRESS TO THE NOBILITY Vol. 36, pp. 263-275
18. “I Took Her b y the Hair and Dragged Her Up and Down”
In Cellini’s day the model’s life was a hazardous one. Cellini’s
Autobiography reveals how some models were treated. You
will find it more thrilling than the most modern novel.
Read from CELLINI’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY Vol. 31, pp. 312-323
19. Roses Boiled in Wine
Astonishing treatments and cures are related by Ambroise Par£,
famed surgeon of the fifteenth century. One remedy, for instance,
used to cure a distinguished nobleman, was red roses
boiled in white wine,—and it was effective.
Read from Park’s JOURNEYS IN DIVERSE PLACES Vol. 38, pp. 50-58
20. Plot Against Eve
Driven from Heaven, Satan meditated revenge. He decided
his greatest opportunity to injure God was to bring sin to mankind.
Satan’s plot against Eve is told by Milton.
(“Paradise Lost” published Aug. 20, 1667.)
Read from Milton’s PARADISE LOST Vol. 4, pp. 154-164
21. Hidden Treasures in an Old Book
A certain man was willed a Bible. He scorned the legacy until
one day, penniless and downcast, he turned to the book for consolation.
Imagine his amazement on finding hundred dollar
bills between the pages. St. Augustine explains how he found
even greater treasures in the Bible.
Read from CONFESSIONS OF ST. AUGUSTINE Vol. 7, pp. 118-126
22. Aboard the Old Sailing Ships
In the days when sailing ships plied the seven seas, common
sailors were often subject to a brutal captain whose whim was
law. Dana, a Boston college boy, makes an exciting story of his
Read from Dana’s Two YEARS BEFORE THE MAST Vol. 23, pp. 99-111
23. Which Is a Beautiful Woman?
The Hottentot thinks his wife beautiful. Every American believes
his wife also to be beautiful. But the American and the
Hottentot are quite different. What, after all, is Beauty?
Read from Burke’s ON THE SUBLIME AND BEAUTIFUL. . . .Vol. 24, pp. 78-88
24. Survivor’s Story of Vesuvius
(Pliny witnessed eruption oj Vesuvius, Aug. 24, 79 A. D.)
The eruption of Vesuvius that demolished Pompeii and buried
thousands of people was witnessed by Pliny. He describes his
panic-stricken flight with his mother from the doomed villa
through falling ashes and sulphurous fumes. His famous uncle,
the elder Pliny, lost his life while investigating the eruption and
Read from Pliny’s LETTERS Vol. 9, pp. 284-291
25. Britain Saved by a Full Moon
We to-day know that there is a direct relation between the moon
and tides. When Julius Caesar went to conquer Britain his transports
were wrecked because he did not know the tides on the
English coast; a knowledge of which might have changed the
whole course of history.
(Kelvin delivers lecture on “Tides,” Aug. 2$, 1882.)
Read from Kelvin’s TIDES Vol. 30, pp. 274-285
26. The Prince of Wales Wins His Spurs
(Battle of Crecy, Aug. 26, 1346.)
A brilliant victory for the English k i n g was gained in this battle,
a fight in which vast numbers of French nobility, many princes,
and the aged K i n g John of Bohemia were slain. Froissart describes
all in detail.
Read from FROISSART’S CHRONICLES Vol. 35, pp. 27-33
27. Priceless Treasures of Memory
” A man’s a man for a’ that.” “Should auld acquaintance be forgot.”
“To see her is to love her and love but her forever.” “Flow
gently, sweet Afton.” Every stanza of Burns is treasured. How
many have you stored up?
Read from Burns’ POEMS AND SONGS Vol. 6, pp. 317, 417, 442, 511
28. The World’s Love Tragedy
“Almighty God, I am undone.” With this cry of despair, Margaret
witnessed the fiendish work of Faust, her lover, who bartered
his immortal soul for worldly pleasure. A thrilling drama, based
on a famous medieval legend.
(fohann Wolfgang Goethe born Aug. 28, 1749.)
Read from Goethe’s FAUST Vol. 19, pp. 158-167
29. Cleopatra Bewitches Mark Antony
Cleopatra rode to meet Antony in a gilded barge with sails of
purple; oars of silver beat time to the music of flutes and fifes
and harps. She went as Venus, and her attendants were dressed
as Cupids and Nymphs.
(Cleopatra dies after Antony’s suicide, Aug. 29, 30 B. C.)
Read from Plutarch’s ANTONY Vol. 12, pp. 339-349
30. Simple Life in a Palace
Every luxury, all the wealth in the world at his command—yet
Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of haughty Rome, led a simple life
even in a palace. He left his secret in his “Meditations.”
Read from Marcus Aurelius’ MEDITATIONS Vol. 2, pp. 222-228
31. America’s Greatest Thinker
Emerson was included in Dr. Eliot’s recent selection of the
world’s ten greatest educators of all time. Here the great thinker
discusses this force within man that makes h im a scholar.
(Emerson delivers “American Scholar” lecture, Aug. 31, 1837.)
Read: Emerson’s AMERICAN SCHOLAR Vol. 3, pp. 5-15
Ambroise Pare, a French army surgeon, devised in 1557 a method
of treating battle wounds that superseded cautery. (See Reading
Assignment for August 19th.)
AS GOOD, ALMOST, KILL A MAN AS KILL A GOOD BOOK.