Readersforum's Blog

February 9, 2013

Richard Burton Reads John Donne’s Poem “The Flea”

by Maria Popova

Though beloved poet John Donne’s exact date of birth remains unknown, it is believed to be between January 24th and June 19th, 1572. As inconveniencing as this flexibility might be for history’s exacting annals, it gives us the luxurious five-month elasticity of choosing when to celebrate his birth. Like, for instance, today: In this beautiful recording, found in the altogether fantastic collection Richard Burton Reads the Poetry of John Donne, the celebrated Welsh actor and Academy Award winner reads Donne’s poem “The Flea,” originally recorded in the 1960s but only released posthumously in 2009, a quarter century after Burton’s death. Inhale and enjoy:

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March 31, 2012

Donne, Marvell, Memento Mori

Filed under: Today in Literature — Tags: , , , — Henry Greeff @ 6:19 pm
On this day in 1631 John Donne died at the age of fifty-eight. Although his earlier poems and life were decidedly joie de vivre, Donne’s last years were all memento mori – his famous “for whom the bell tolls” Meditation was published in 1624, his final sermon was described by contemporaries as his own funeral oration, and his final weeks were spent sleeping beside his funeral shroud.

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