Saturday, June 30, 2012

If you believe you'll have another beer, you won't write anything

Playwright Lillian Hellman (The Little Foxes) died on this day in 1984. She wrote:

"If you believe, as the Greeks did, that man is at the mercy of the gods, then you write tragedy. The end is inevitable from the beginning. But if you believe that man can solve his own problems and is at nobody's mercy, then you will probably write melodrama."

Saturday, June 23, 2012

And be a good pitcher, too

(Steven) Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States, died on this day in 1908.

Reviews are mixed on Cleveland's two acts as President. He made some disastrous political decisions but even his critics priased him for his honesty, integrity, and courage of his convictions. His last words:

"I have tried so hard to do right."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy to have known you

Legendary actress Ethel Barrymore died on this day in 1959, at the age of 80. Her reported last words:

"Is everybody happy? I want everybody to be happy. I know I'm happy."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Death, his bosom friend

Joseph Addison, English politician and co-author with Richard Steele of two famous periodicals, The Tatler and The Spectator, died on this day in 1719. His highly apocryphal last words were:

"See in what peace a Christian can die."

These were supposedly uttered as a challenge to his stepson, Lord Warwick. However, as there is no evidence that Warwick led anything but a blameless existence, the tale is probably a romance.

Addison did, indubitably, say or write the following:

"I have somewhere met with the epitaph on a charitable man which has pleased me very much. I cannot recollect the words, but here is the sense of it: ''What I spent I lost; what I possessed is left to others; what I gave away remains with me.'"

"The fear of death often proves mortal, and sets people on methods to save their lives, which infallibly destroy them."

"How beautiful is death, when earn'd by virtue!"

"We are always doing something for posterity, but I would fain see posterity do something for us."

And this, not apropos of death but just some words to remember:

"There is no defense against criticism except obscurity."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

So sorry, baby

American novelist Stephen Crane (The Red Badge of Courage) died on this day in 1900, of tuberculosis. He was 29.

"We should weep for men at their birth, not at their death." -- Montesquieu.