Friday, February 12, 1982
Saturdays are for Lectures?!
"The course of true love never did run smooth",
that's what Shakespeare said. It seems to hold true for
many historical couples-both real and imaginary.
Take Romeo and Juliet, for instance. It seems that
the Capulets and the Montagues were feuding. Romeo
Montague met Juliet Capulet at a banquet; they fell in
love at first sight and were secretly married by the
kindly Friar Laurence. Later, Romeo's friend Mercutio
was killed by by Juliet's cousin Tybalt. Romeo avenged
his friend's death and was banished from the city for
the deed. The grief-stricken Juliet took a potion, given
to her by Friar Laurence, which put her into a death-like
sleep. The Friar sent word to Romeo, but the messenger
was delayed. Hearing of Juliet's "death", Romeo visited
her tomb and killed himself. Juliet awakened to see her
dead husband lying on the floor of the tomb. Taking
Romeo's sword, she killed herself.
How about the story of Heloise and Abelard? They
lived in Paris in the 12th century. Peter Abelard was
one of the greatest scholars of the time and Heloise was
a girl of nineteen who had come to Paris to live with her
Uncle Fulbert and continue her education. They met and
fell in love. Abelard ceased writing his philosophical
papers and began writing poetry for his beloved. Uncle
Fulbert learned of their love and refused to allow Abelard
to see his niece. Abelard persisted in urging Heloise to
marry him until she was convinced and they were secretly
married. Uncle Fulbert heard of the marriage and sent a
group of thugs to maim Abelard. The scholar fled from
Paris in disgrace. Heloise entered a nunnery and became
the head of her convent. Abelard wandered from monastery
to monastery, searching for peace for himself. Meanwhile,
they wtf^te to each other. Today, in a small cemetary
outside Paris, Abelard and Heloise lie side by side.
Also consider this pair-Antony, a Roman statesman,
and Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt. She accompanied him in
several battles, and he gave her extensive areas of land.
When Antony's enemy Octavian declared war on Egypt in 32
B.C., Antony divorced his wife Octavia (Octavian's sister)
and spent a year in festivities and amusements with
Cleopatra, After losing a decisive naval battle, the
couple fled to Egypt to defend Alexandria from Octavian.
Cleopatra took refuge in a mausoleum near the Temple of
Isis and circulated rumors of her own suicide. Antony
heard the reports and threw himself on his sword. Before
he died, he heard that Cleopatra was still alive and had
himself carried to her, dying in her arms. To avoid being
taken captive to Rome, Cleopatra killed herself, reportedly
by inducing the bite of a poisonous snake.
Upon the death of his father in 1936, Edward VIII
became the first bachelor king of England in 176 years.
Edward wanted to marry an American, Mrs. Wallis Warfield
Simpson. Tho opposition to the proposal developed into a
constitutional crisis. The problem was not that Krs.
Simpson was an American, nor that she was a commoner,
but that she had already divorced one husband and was
in the process of divorcing another. Edward declared
that he had the right to choose his own queen. When he
found it impossible to reach a compromise with his
cabinet, Edward stepped down, and his brother .became
King George VI. In his farewell address, Edward said,
"I have found it impossible ... to discharge my duties
as King without the help and support of the woman I love."
On June 3, 1937 he and Wallis Warfield were married at
Nicholas and Alexandra, the last Czar and Empress of
Russia met with fairly little opposition. Alexandra, a
German princess, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria,
made her first visit to St. Petersburg at the age of
twelve. Sixteen year old Nicholas gave her a small brooch,
which she returned. They met again five years later;
Nicholas took her skating and toboganning and persuaded
his parents, who disliked Alexandra, to give her a tea
dance. Four years later, the couple became engaged.
They were married in November of 1894, one week after
Nicholas became Czar af all Russia. On her wedding night,
the Empress wrote in her husband's diary: "At last
united, bound for life, and when this life is ended, we
meet again in the other world and remain together for
eternity." The next morning she wrote, "Never did I
IjgTieve there could be such utter happiness in this world,
such a feeling of unity between two mortal beings. I love
you, those three words have my life in them.
Saturday morning projects are by now a familiar way
of life for NCSSM students. The Kathleen and Joseph Bryan
Saturday Morning Symposium is a lecture series intended to
mentally stimulate students. These activities are instruc-
tionally related, and require attendance.
The sessions aim to serve a variety of purposes,
ranging from college admissions advice to opportunities
for Interdisciplinary studies and discussions not easily
done during the regular week.
Subheaded "Decisions for the Year 2007", the sessions
feature guest speakers, all of whom will deal with some
aspect ot the year 2007. This year was chosen because it
will mark the 25th anniversary of the first graduating
class at NCSSM.
Following each lecture, students discuss the issues
presented in discussion groups. Each group keeps a record
of the questions and problems its members addressed. At
the end of the lecture series, all the findings by the
discussion groups will be compiled and placed in a time
capsule which is to be embedded on campus sometime this
year. The capsule will be opened in the year 2007.
"Can the Outer Banks Be Saved?" was the topic of
February second's lecture by Orin Pilkey, a geology pro
fessor at Duke University. He discussed various trends,
such as rising sea level and island movement. Pilkey then
expounded on six truths of the shoreline that he had come
up with through his research. Several problems were raised,
such as the eventual destruction of the Cape Hatteras
Lighthouse, and the effects of sea walls on the coastline.
Pilkey's solution, to "work with nature and do nothing",
was explored later in discussion groups.
The next lecture planned is on "How Will Computers
Impact Our Lives in the Year 2007".
(This is the first in a series of articles on the Saturday
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