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THE HARVARD CLASSICS

The Five-Foot Shelf of Books

THE HARVARD CLASSICS
EDITED BY CHARLES W. ELIOT , L.L.D.

Fifteen Minutes a Day

The Reading Guide


[Introduction] [January] [February] [March] [April] [May] [June] [July] [August] [September] [October] [November] [December]

Also check out:
An older perspective on words in books.
An MIT Museum article on Charles Eliot.


66 FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY

AUGUST

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 (more) 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 (more) 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 King Priam's hundred wives. Through halls resounding with shrieks of terror, Priam and his household fled to sanctuary.
Read from Virgil's ÆNEID 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, 1875.)
Read from 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

FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY 67

AUGUST Reading Guide

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 PHÆDO 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, 1593.)
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

68 FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY

AUGUST Reading Guide

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' clo'es," and then -
Read: LOWELL'S (more) POEMS Vol. 42, pp. 1376-1379

13 Too Close to See the Battle
(Battle of Blenheim, Aug. 13. 1704.)
England and France caine 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 Him 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

FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY 69

AUGUST Reading Guide

18 "I Took Her by 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 Paré, 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 Paré'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 sea experiences.
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

70 FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY

AUGUST Reading Guide

24 Survivor's Story of Vesuvius
(Pliny witnessed eruption of 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 aiding refugees.
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 Cæsar 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. 25, 1882.)
Read from Kelvin's (more, more) 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 king was gained in this battle, a fight in which vast numbers of French nobility, many princes, and the aged King 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 (also), 442 (also), 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.
(Johann Wolfgang Goethe born Aug. 28, 1749.)
Read from Goethe's FAUST Vol. 19, pp. 158-167

FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY 71

AUGUST Reading Guide

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 him a scholar.
(Emerson delivers "American Scholar" lecture, Aug. 31, 1837.)
Read: Emerson's AMERICAN SCHOLAR Vol. 5, pp. 5-15

Treating Battle Wounds
Ambroise Pare, a French army surgeon, devised in 1537 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.
- JOHN MILTON.

[Introduction] [January] [February] [March] [April] [May] [June] [July] [August] [September] [October] [November] [December]

Also check out:
An older perspective on words in books.
An MIT Museum article on Charles Eliot.


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