Poetic Spotlight: Count That Day Lost

English: George Eliot

By Sir Frederick Burton: George Eliot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Mary Anne Evans, or rather, George Eliot as she is more likely to be known, was a writer’s writer of the 19th century–a scribbler, yes, but also a journalist and a translator as well. What’s more, her skill with a pen helped her to go on to be renowned as one of the foremost writers of the Victorian era.

 

First thing’s first: you may, in fact, be wondering about the rather stark difference of name. Yes, she was a female author that took upon herself a male pen name–an act, she noted, undertaken to guarantee her works would be taken seriously, and likely to safeguard her privacy as well. The limitations the stereotypes of gender put upon an author, she seemed to feel, were that women struck up romances, while men took up the loftier works of society–thank goodness time has beaten that engrained belief into a fine and scattered pulp.

 

Born to life on a farm, education was, for her, nevertheless a thing of voracious appetite. She devoured all that tutors, school, and her own explorations could unveil. Eventually, she would go on to editorship (officially, assistant editor–but she actually did most the running of the business) of The Westminster Review. Though she began to contribute pieces to this magazine, her works also began to make gradual prods out into the larger market. Success lay in her future, however–by the end of her days, Queen Victoria of England herself proved to be an avid reader and promoter of Eliot’s work by the end of her days.

 

Many of her works were rural in setting, and deeply psychological. She had a knack for character, and her methods and skill would go on to inspire future writers as well, Virginia Woolf among them.

 

Count That Day Lost

 

If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And, counting, find
One self-denying deed, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard,
One glance most kind
That fell like sunshine where it went –
Then you may count that day well spent.

 

But if, through all the livelong day,
You’ve cheered no heart, by yea or nay –
If, through it all
You’ve nothing done that you can trace
That brought the sunshine to one face–
No act most small
That helped some soul and nothing cost –
Then count that day as worse than lost.

 

~George Eliot

 

New Beginnings

Well fellows, when last we met I was pulling into my new life in Golden, Colorado – in mountains and prairie and that open air of the American West.

It’s been a strange week since then, one with its ups and its downs. Being my natural clumsy self, within the first 48 hours I managed to get in a bike accident that took off most of the skin on the bottom of my palms. However, I also managed a great deal of exploration, photographic discovery, and plenty of quality time with family and their friends.

It’s an interesting place, Colorado, and the land is made infinitely better by family. Undoubtedly, in the days to come I’ll have more to say on the mountainous terrain – more pictures and more poems to give homage to the majesty to be found here, but today, to start this new week out, and to re-establish the normal flow of things around the Waking Den, I would like to kick things off with the latest Quote of the Week, with this week’s focus being family, in all its wonder. Cheers, all.

“An ounce of blood is worth more than a pound of friendship.” 
~Spanish Proverb

“What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.” 
~George Eliot