In praise of November... and not

In praise of November... and not

Great! It's November! The month of staying cozy, staying home and reading... well, the cozy part's new, and the staying home is a bit longer because of my lack of an elevator. But in general, November's great for writers -- as these in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations reminded me.

My favorite poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796), wasn't necessarily a supporter of November, but he did describe it well:

"When chill November's surly blast

Made fields and forests bare."

-- from "Man Was Made to Mourn" (1786)

Another Scotsman, Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), was cheerier in his second line, at least:

"November's sky is chill and drear,

November's leaf is red and sear."

-- from "Marmion" (1808), introduction to Canto I

Then there's one I used to think was by the ever-prolific Anonymous. But now I know who to get mad at: Thomas Hood (1798-1845):

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,

No comfortable feel in any member --

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,


-- from "No" (undated)

But actually, Anonymous did get into the act -- and this post -- with a famous reminder that will be recited until tomorrow:

"Please to remember the Fifth of November,

Gunpowder Treason and Plot."

-- Guy Fawkes's Rhyme, traditional in England since the 17th century

Nov. 5 is full of memories for me -- and they included hearing that rhyme, so maybe that's why they stuck.

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  • Wonderful post!

    I'm also reminded of this, from Shakespeare, beginning lines of Sonnet LXXIII---

    That time of year thou mayst in me behold
    When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
    Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
    Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Ah, that's a lovely addition! Thank you!

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    WG, you quote from the best. I've committed these lines to memory too. A nod to Margaret Serious. Shakespeare was a sweet bard. indeed.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    A nod back to you, my friend. He's not my favorite, but I can't deny Shakespeare's beauty and lingering influence on our language.

  • Is there a poem on "it's dark at 4:30"? Or "Trader Joe's Turkey en croute is garbage?"

  • In reply to jack:

    I don't think so, but give me my Bartlett's and time, and we'll see!

  • How great is November?
    It isn't December!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Hmm... there's an idea for next month!

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