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As upbeat as...

Posted by ESC on October 13, 2007

As upbeat as a roomful of Rotarians - "Once a year, as another December gives way to a chill January, Chief Justice John Roberts rereads a poem published in 1749 by the great writer, moralist and late-night conversationalist Samuel Johnson. Roberts began the ritual in the 1970s as an undergraduate at Harvard, where he was one of many students taught to revere Johnson by the master biographer Walter Jackson Bate.
It is an odd pairing, not least because Roberts comes off as upbeat as a roomful of Rotarians, while Johnson, despite his vast accomplishments--including singlehandedly compiling the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language--was haunted by the inevitability of disappointment. The poem, 'The Vanity of Human Wishes,' is a devastating reflection on remorseless fate. 'Life protracted is protracted Woe,' the poet says." "Inside The Incredibly Shrinking Role Of the Supreme Court. And Why John Roberts Is O.K. With That" by David Von Drehle, October 12, 2007.

Rotary International is the world's first service club organization. Its more than 1.2 million members volunteer their time and talent to further the Rotary motto, Service Above Self. http://www.rotary.org/en/AboutUs/Pages/ridefault.aspx

The Vanity of Human Wishes -- http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/vanity49.html