Jan 29 2011

On This Day in History January 29

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 29 is the 29th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 336 days remaining until the end of the year (337 in leap years).

On this day in 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem “The Raven,” beginning “Once upon a midnight dreary,” is published on this day in the New York Evening Mirror.

“The Raven” is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in January 1845. It is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man’s slow descent into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem makes use of a number of folk and classical references.

Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay “The Philosophy of Composition”. The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett‘s poem “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship”, and makes use of internal rhyme as well as alliteration throughout.

 904 – Sergius III comes out of retirement to take over the papacy from the deposed antipope Christopher.

1676 – Feodor III becomes Tsar of Russia.

1814 – France defeats Russia and Prussia in the Battle of Brienne.

1834 – US President Andrew Jackson orders first use of federal soldiers to suppress a labor dispute.

1845 – “The Raven” is published in the New York Evening Mirror, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe

1850 – Henry Clay introduces the Compromise of 1850 to the U.S. Congress.

1856 – Queen Victoria institutes the Victoria Cross.

1861 – Kansas is admitted as the 34th U.S. state.

1886 – Karl Benz patents the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.

1891 – Liliuokalani is proclaimed Queen of Hawaii, its last monarch.

1900 – The American Legue is organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with 8 founding teams.

1916 – World War I: Paris is first bombed by German zeppelins.

1918 – Ukrainian-Soviet War: The Bolshevik Red Army, on its way to besiege Kiev, is met by a small group of military students at the Battle of Kruty.

1918 – Ukrainian-Soviet War: An armed uprising organized by the Bolsheviks in anticipation of the encroaching Red Army begins at the Kiev Arsenal, which will be put down six days later.

1936 – The first inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame are announced.

1940 – Three trains on the Sakurajima Line, in Osaka, Japan, collide and explode while approaching Ajikawaguchi Station. 181 people are killed.

1943 – The first day of the Battle of Rennell Island, U.S. cruiser Chicago is torpedoed and heavily damaged by Japanese bombers.

1944 – World War II: The Battle of Cisterna takes place in central Italy.

1944 – World War II: Approximately 38 men, women, and children die in the Koniuchy massacre in Poland.

1944 – In Bologna, Italy, the Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio is destroyed in an air-raid.

1963 – The first inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame are announced.

1967 – The “ultimate high” of the hippie era, the Mantra-Rock Dance, takes place in San Francisco and features Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, and Allen Ginsberg.

1979 – Brenda Spencer kills two people and wounds eight at the Grover Cleveland Elementary School shootings.

1985 – Final recording session of We Are The World, by the supergroup USA for Africa.

1989 – Hungary establishes diplomatic relations with South Korea, making it the first Eastern Bloc nation to do so

1991 – Gulf War: The Battle of Khafji, the first major ground engagement of the war, as well as its deadliest, begins.

1996 – President Jacques Chirac announces a “definitive end” to French nuclear weapons testing.

1996 – La Fenice, Venice’s opera house, is destroyed by fire.

1998 – In Birmingham, Alabama, a bomb explodes at an abortion clinic, killing one and severely wounding another. Serial bomber Eric Robert Rudolph is suspected as the culprit.

2001 – Thousands of student protesters in Indonesia storm parliament and demand that President Abdurrahman Wahid resign due to alleged involvement in corruption scandals.

2002 – In his State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush describes “regimes that sponsor terror” as an Axis of Evil, in which he includes Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

2005 – The first direct commercial flights from mainland China (from Guangzhou) to Taiwan since 1949 arrived in Taipei. Shortly afterwards, a China Airlines flight lands in Beijing.

2009 – Egyptian identification card controversy: The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt rules that people who do not adhere to one of the three government-recognised religions are also eligible to receive government identity documents.

Holidays and observances

   * Christian Feast Day:

         o Juniper

         o Valerius of Treves

         o January 29 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

   * Constitution Day (Gibraltar)

   * Earliest day on which Fat Thursday can fall, while March 4 is the latest; celebrated on Thursday before Ash Wednesday. (Christianity)


  1. TMC
  2. Translator, aka Dr. David W. Smith

    The Bells.  Legend has it that he wrote it on the spot because of a request from a fan, but the truth is that he did write it because of a suggestion, but it took him a long time, and it was not actually published until after his untimely death.  I often ask my fans for topics, and still do so, but want to be alive to respond to comments!  Here it is:

    The Bells, by Poe

     Hear the sledges with the bells –

                  Silver bells!

    What a world of merriment their melody foretells!

          How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,

             In the icy air of night!

          While the stars that oversprinkle

          All the heavens seem to twinkle

             With a crystalline delight;

          Keeping time, time, time,

          In a sort of Runic rhyme,

    To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells

        From the bells, bells, bells, bells,

                  Bells, bells, bells –

     From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


          Hear the mellow wedding bells –

                  Golden bells!

    What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!

          Through the balmy air of night

          How they ring out their delight!

            From the molten-golden notes,

                  And all in tune,

            What a liquid ditty floats

     To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats

                  On the moon!

          Oh, from out the sounding cells

    What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!

                  How it swells!

                  How it dwells

          On the Future! – how it tells

          Of the rapture that impels

        To the swinging and the ringing

          Of the bells, bells, bells,

          Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,

                Bells, bells, bells –

    To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!


          Hear the loud alarum bells –

                   Brazen bells!

    What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!

          In the startled ear of night

          How they scream out their affright!

            Too much horrified to speak,

            They can only shriek, shriek,

                   Out of tune,

    In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,

    In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,

              Leaping higher, higher, higher,

              With a desperate desire,

            And a resolute endeavor

            Now – now to sit or never,

          By the side of the pale-faced moon.

              Oh, the bells, bells, bells!

              What a tale their terror tells

                   Of Despair!

            How they clang, and clash, and roar!

            What a horror they outpour

          On the bosom of the palpitating air!

              Yet the ear it fully knows,

                   By the twanging

                   And the clanging,

              How the danger ebbs and flows;

            Yet the ear distinctly tells,

                   In the jangling

                   And the wrangling,

            How the danger sinks and swells,

    By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells –

                   Of the bells,

            Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,

                 Bells, bells, bells –

     In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!


           Hear the tolling of the bells –

                    Iron bells!

    What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!

           In the silence of the night,

           How we shiver with affright

         At the melancholy menace of their tone!

           For every sound that floats

           From the rust within their throats

                    Is a groan.

         And the people – ah, the people –

         They that dwell up in the steeple,

                    All alone,

         And who tolling, tolling, tolling,

           In that muffled monotone,

         Feel a glory in so rolling

           On the human heart a stone –

         They are neither man nor woman –

         They are neither brute nor human –

                    They are Ghouls:

           And their king it is who tolls;

           And he rolls, rolls, rolls,


             A paean from the bells!

           And his merry bosom swells

             With the paean of the bells!

           And he dances, and he yells;

           Keeping time, time, time,

           In a sort of Runic rhyme,

             To the paean of the bells,

                 Of the bells –

           Keeping time, time, time,

           In a sort of Runic rhyme,

             To the throbbing of the bells,

           Of the bells, bells, bells –

             To the sobbing of the bells;

           Keeping time, time, time,

             As he knells, knells, knells,

           In a happy Runic rhyme,

             To the rolling of the bells,

           Of the bells, bells, bells –

             To the tolling of the bells,

         Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,

             Bells, bells, bells –

    To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

    Sister Jennifer really liked that poem, too, and I have given you a picture of her here lately.  I am told that she is very happily married now and living in Little Rock, Arkansas with her husband and children.

    Warmest regards,


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