When was the last time you sat down and willfully read a work of classic literature? Not however long ago in some classroom someplace, but on your own and just because a book was interesting and worth a bit of time and concentration?

Not that there's a tremendous amount of borderline-archaic material being taught recently; increasingly, contemporary works written by a more multicultural group of authors are starting to take prominence in classrooms. While this may be for the better in an increasingly global human society, there's still something to be said for the traditional classics, the Greeks and Romans and German philosophers and English Romanticists. If you get a chance during this indoor season, I highly recommend an attempt at something venerable.

Really: Take the example of owen-magnetic, who must be up on his Romanticist lit because his response to a Japanese midair collision will doubtless have every English department in the country cheering:

`Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look -
(The Pilot made reply)
I am afeared' -`Push on, push on!'
Said the Hermit cheerily.

The bird came closer to the plane,
But I nor spake nor stirred;
The bird came right into the nose
And straight a sound was heard.

In the air it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread:
It reached the ship, it split the cone;
And stuck to us like gum.

Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote,
Like one that hath been seven days drowned
My body lay afloat;
But swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the Pilot's plane.

Upon the whirl where struck the bird
The plane shook up and down;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.

I moved my lips -the Pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.

I took the stick: the Pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.
`Ha! ha!' quoth he, `full plain I see,
The Devil knows how to fly.'


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