June

FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY

JUNE READING GUIDE
(Please proceed to the “Harvard Classics” under the section “Categories” on a daily basis)

When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,And merry larks are ploughmen’s clocks,When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,And maidens bleach their summer smocks.SHAKESPEARE (Vol. 40, p. 265).
1. Thrilling Play by Tutor of ShakespeareFor the best blank verse in English, read “Dr. Faustus,” the masterpieceof Marlowe, who gave Shakespeare lessons in playwriting.This genius knew the secret of gripping drama.(Marlowe died ]une 1, 1593.)Read from Marlowe’s DR. FAUSTUS Vol. 19, pp. 241-250

2. “Back to Nature ” in the Seventeenth CenturyA “Back to Nature” movement in the seventeenth century washeaded by Rousseau, who believed that civilization was degrading.To save money for his work, he entrusted each of his childrento the tender mercies of a foundling house.(Jean Jacques Rousseau born June 2, 1712.)Read from Rousseau’s A SAVOYARD VICAR Vol. 34, pp. 239-249

3. Pulse Aids Epochal DiscoveriesGalileo, by holding his pulse while watching a swinging cathedrallamp, evolved a theory that made clocks possible. Harvey,by feeling his pulse, educed that arteries carry blood.(Dr. William Harvey died June 3, 1657.)Read from MOTION OF THE HEART AND BLOOD Vol. 38, pp. 75-86

4. ‘Neath the Iron Hand of SpainSpain sent the Duke of Alva to subdue the Netherlands. Inquelling disorder he killed the people’s hero, Count Egmont.From this story Goethe made a famous play.(Egmont sentenced to death June 4, 1658.)Read from Goethe’s EGMONT Vol. 19, pp. 253-259

5. The Rent of Land from Human FoodEven to-day rent is paid in terms of human food. It soundsprimitive, but it happens right at your door—here in the UnitedStates, in compliance with a l aw as old as man.(Adam Smith born June 5, 1723.)Read from Adam Smith’s WEALTH OF NATIONS Vol. 10, pp. 149-157

6. A Shrill Cry in the Night!A crew faced the hazardous prospect of rounding the bleak CapeHorn in midwinter. Imagine the terror when a sudden screampierced the misery-laden air. What was it? A man overboardor a lost soul?(R. H. Dana on watch, night of June 6, 1836.)Read from Dana’s Two YEARS BEFORE THE MAST Vol. 23, pp. 285-295

7. “There’s Rosemary—that’s for Remembrance!”Do you know the rest of Ophelia’s famous line? “Hamlet” isthe most popular play in the entire world. It has been quoted so often that reading it is like meeting an old friend.(Edwin Booth, famed Shakespearian actor, died June 7, 1893.)Read from HAMLET Vol. 46, pp. 176-183

8. Eloquence Wins Over PrejudiceThe plain, homely appearance of Woolman impressed unfavorablythe orthodox Quakers in London whom he was sent tomeet. They told him his coming was not necessary. ButWoolman spoke with such simplicity and sincerity that eventhose most opposed became his friends.(John Woolman arrives in London for Friends’ meeting, June 8, 1772.)Read from WOOLMAN’S JOURNAL Vol. 1, pp. 302-312

9. Enchanting Songs of DavidThe songs of David pleased King Saul, but when David becametoo popular with the people, the king feared for his throne andbanished him.Read from THE PSALMS Vol. 44, pp. 168-179

10. Horrible Prophecy FulfilledKing CEdipus of Thebes as a babe was abandoned on MountCithaeron to die. Years after he was thought dead he returnsto Thebes and unknowingly slays his father, marries his mother—and thus fulfills the word of the oracle.Read from Sophocles’ CEDIPUS, KING OF THEBES Vol. 8, pp. 209-223

11. He Sang of His Beautiful ElizabethTo commemorate his marriage to the beautiful Elizabeth, Spenserwrote one of the most enchanting nuptial hymns.(Edmund Spenser married Elizabeth Boyle, June 1 1 , 1594.)Read: Spenser’s THE EPITHALAMIUM Vol. 40, pp. 234-245

12 Vishnu Holds Up a BattleTwo armies of ancient India were about to engage in a momentousbattle. Arjuna, heroic leader of the Pandu hosts, foreseeinggreat slaughter, hesitates. He implores the divine Vishnu tointervene. The conversation of the warrior and the god is agem of Hindu literature.Read from THE BHAGAVAD-GITA Vol. 45, pp. 785-798

13. Athens Flouts AristidesAthenians gave Aristides the title of “The Just.” Later theywanted to banish him. One voter wanted Aristides banishedmerely because he was weary of hearing him called ” The Just.”Read from Plutarch’s ARISTIDES Vol. 12, pp. 85-94

14. A Philosopher Prefers Prison CellJ.T” Socrates unceasingly strove for beauty, truth, and perfection.Sentenced to death on a false charge, he refused to escape fromthe death cell, even when opportunity was offered.Read: Plato’s CRITO Vol. 2, pp. 31-43

15. Strikers Storm the Tower of LondonLed by Wat Tyler in 1381, great troops of villagers and rusticsmarched on London—laid siege to the Tower—sacked the apartmentsof the K i n g and murdered his ministers. Froissart givesfirst-hand information of this rebellion.(Wat Tyler’s Rebellion suppressed June 75, 1381.)Read from Froissart’s WAT TYLER’S REBELLION Vol. 35, pp. 60-72

16. Spirits at the Top of the WorldThe inaccessible mountain tops were ever venerated as the hauntsof all mysteries. Manfred, hero of Byron’s play, seeks upon thehigh Alps the aid of spirits, specters, and goblins. What unearthlyadventures await him!(Byron publishes “Manfred,” June 16, 1817.)Read from Byron’s MANFRED Vol. 18, pp. 415-428

17. Risked His Scalp in PrayerJohn Eliot put his life at the mercy of the redmen to get themto listen to his preachings. He wrote vividly about his settlementsof Christian Indians. Now villages and Indians have disappeared.Only his story remains.(John Eliot holds Indian prayer meeting June 17, 1670.)Read: Eliot’s BRIEF NARRATIVE Vol. 43, pp. 138-146

18. Cinderella Lives To-dayCinderella inspires all alike—the artist’s brush, the author’s pen,the child’s fancy. To-day she is a living, vital character to be seenon stage and screen. No one ever forgets her lightning change.Read from GRIMM’S TALES Vol. 17, pp. 98-104

19. Freaks of the Dog Fad in EnglandA writer of Elizabethan times said that no other country had asmany dogs as England. Once Henry VII ordered all mastiffsto be hung because they “durst presume to fight against thelion,” England’s regal beast.Read: Holinshed’s OUR ENGLISH DOGS Vol. 35, pp. 350-356

20. No Salt for These BirdsGalapagos Islands are the home of fearless birds, to which horses,cows, and men are only roosting places. Darwin saw the SouthPacific when few travelers knew that wonderland.Read from Darwin’s VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE Vol. 29, pp. 403-413

21. Would You Converse w i t h Royalty?Why gossip with lesser persons when you might be talking toqueens and kings? Just how we may get to talk to queensand kings, Ruskin delightfully points out and escorts us to thevery doors of the audience chamber.Read from Ruskin’s SESAME Vol. 28, pp. 99-110

22. Pliny Tells Ghost StoriesPliny, who lived in the first century after Christ, tells of a ghostwho dragged his jangling chains through a house in Athens andso terrified the inmates that they fled panic-stricken. But theghost met his equal.Read from Pliny’s LETTERS Vol. 9, pp. 311-314

23. Greek Scholar at ThreeJohn Stuart Mill—one of the greatest intellects in England—tellshow his father educated him. At the early age of three yearshe began the study of Greek, and at twelve started writing abook of his own .(James Mill, lather of John Stuart Mill, died June 23, 1836.)Read from Mill’s AUTOBIOGRAPHY Vol. 25, pp. 9-20

24. Had No Right HandA handsome young man was seen to eat only with his left hand,which was contrary to the customs of Arabia. The youth, whenurged, told why he used only his left hand, and revealed astory of love and adventure and the lover’s need for gold—allhappening in ancient Cairo.Read from THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS Vol. 16, pp. 120-133

25. Advice t o Virgins from a Wise Man”Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying;And this same flower that smiles today, to-morrow will bedying? ” Herrick was only a humble country minister with awealth of wisdom and a keen appreciation of life, which heexpressed in lyrics of wonderful beauty and melody.Read: HERRICK’S POEMS Vol. 40, pp. 334-340

26. In the Lair of t h e Green-Eyed MonsterAt the bottom of the ocean was the home of the monster whohad desolated the king’s halls. Beowulf, bravest of warriors,descended beneath the waves to fight the beast. The king’smen, waiting above, saw the waves become colored with blood.Hero or monster—who had won?Read from BEOWULF Vol. 49, pp. 45-50

27. Do You Take Poison Daily?There is a human trait most poisonous to a man’s blood. Manseeks to avoid it because he knows that it lies like a curse uponhim. Just what is the poisonous human failing? Who are mostsubject to it? Bacon tells you in one of his best essays.(Francis Bacon enrolled at Cambridge University, June 27, 1576.)Read from BACON’S ESSAYS Vol. 3, pp. 22-26

28. Pages from the Pampas Book of EtiquetteA very definite etiquette is followed by a stranger on the vastplains of South America. “Ave Maria” is the common salutation.If the stranger is on horseback, he does not alight untilinvited to do so by his host. Once in the house, the stranger mustconverse a while before asking shelter for the night.Read from Darwin’s VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE Vol. 29, pp. 51-60

29 “Is That a Dagger I See Before Me?”Macbeth, spurred on by the ambitious and crafty Lady Macbeth,committed murder to secure the crown of Scotland. But hepaid dearly for his gain. Ghostly guests appeared at his banquetand threatened him with dire threats.{Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre burned June 29, 1613.)Read from Shakespeare’s MACBETH Vol. 46, pp. 357-365

30. Rather King Than Majority”Democracy” has not always been the choice of oppressed people.The tyranny of the majority is a recognized evil as harmful as themisrule of a king. And rather than exchange a lesser evil for agreater, a rule by k i n g has often been preferred to a republic.Read: Mill’s ON LIBERTY Vol. 25, pp. 195-203.
Escape from prison is offered Socrates, but his conscientious principlesregarding man’s relations to the laws caused him to refuse thisopportunity and face the death decreed by his judges. (See ReadingAssignment for June 14.)

IF YOU READ TEN PAGES OF A GOOD BOOK, LETTER BYLETTER — THAT IS TO SAY, WITH REAL ACCURACY — YOUARE FOREVER MORE IN SOME MEASURE AN EDUCATEDPERSON.—JOHN RUSKIN.

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