Apr 19 • 8M


George Herbert ( Poem of the Week Audio)

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Debra Esolen
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I was a senior at Princeton, just coming out of my shell, because I was pretty shy in those days. And it was a high time for me besides, because I’d won a tremendous fellowship for doctoral studies, a fine year of courses was coming to its close, the weather was warm and sunny, and a wonderful and kindly professor, Earl Miner, had invited me and the rest of our class in Seventeenth Century Literature to his house for an end-of-semester dinner. Professor Miner was a lover of things oriental, so I believe we had a Japanese dinner, sitting with him on the carpeted floor of his living room, and enjoying our conversation.   

He had a lot of old books available, and from the shelf he took a very special one, the collected poems of one William McGonagall.  He turned to me and asked me to read, with solemn drama, the old Scotsman’s poem on a railway disaster over the River Tay.  What I did not know, and what the good professor sprung on us at the last moment, was that McGonagall had the repu…

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