All Posts (649)
Nos 111 to 120
George Frideric Handel
Bible and Saints
The Last Commandment
Northumbrian poet Cynewulf imagines the farewell between Jesus and his Apostles, forty days after his resurrection.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)

“BE glad of heart! Never shall I wander; my love shall follow you unceasingly. My might I give you, and I am with you always, even unto the end, that through my gift none shall ever lack God.”

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No. 111
Charles Villiers Stanford
Extracts from Literature
Happy Government
Lady Glencora scolds the Earl of Brentford for political inactivity, but he warns her to be careful what she wishes for.
By Anthony Trollope
(1815-1882)

“WHAT a nice, happy, lazy time you’ve had of it since you’ve been in,” said she to the Earl.

“I hope we have been more happy than lazy,” said the Earl.

“But you’ve done nothing. Mr Palliser has twenty schemes of reform, all mature; but among you you’ve not let him bring in one of them. The Duke and Mr Mildmay and you will break his heart among you.”

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No. 112
Henry Purcell
Classical History
The Golden Age of Carausius
A Roman commander facing court martial took refuge in politics, and for ten years London was an imperial capital.

IN 286, Carausius was appointed to command the ‘Britannic Fleet’, patrolling the English Channel to keep Franks and Saxons from raiding Britain’s southern coasts. Rumour had it, however, that he let some raiders through so he could pocket their plunder for himself, and Emperor Maximian summoned him for a court martial.

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No. 113
2 two-part story
George Frideric Handel
Greek and Roman Myths
Heracles and the Girdle of Hippolyte
A princess covets the belt of a warrior-queen, so Heracles is despatched to get it for her.

ONE day, Eurystheus’s daughter Admete expressed a fancy for the girdle of Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons, a formidable tribe of female warriors who cast off their sons and raised their daughters like men. The doting Eurystheus at once sent Heracles to fetch it from Themiscyra, on the southern shores of the Black Sea.

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No. 114
3 three-part story
George Frideric Handel
Modern History
Bede and the Paschal Controversy
The earliest Christians longed to celebrate the resurrection together at Passover, but that was not as easy as it sounds.

CHRIST died and rose again at Passover, the week-long Jewish festival at the first full moon of Spring. Christians had always wanted to celebrate Easter at that time each year, but no astronomer could determine the vernal equinox or full moon with precision.

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No. 115
Johann Christian Bach
Extracts from Literature
Education of the Heart
For Jane Austen, the best education a father can give to his child is to befriend her.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

TOO late he became aware how unfavourable to the character of any young people must be the totally opposite treatment which Maria and Julia had been always experiencing at home, where the excessive indulgence and flattery of their aunt had been continually contrasted with his own severity.

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No. 116
John Field
Extracts from Literature
Sense and Sensitivity
Jane Austen wrote as a Christian, but all the better for doing so unobtrusively.
By Richard Whately
(1787-1863)

MISS Austin has the merit (in our judgment most essential) of being evidently a Christian writer: a merit which is much enhanced, both on the score of good taste, and of practical utility, by her religion being not at all obtrusive.

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No. 117
Henry Purcell
Georgian Era
Why England’s ‘Revolution’ was Glorious
Edmund Burke argues that England’s ‘revolution’ of 1688 worked because we changed the Government, not the Constitution.
By Edmund Burke MP
(1729-1797)

IN truth, the circumstances of our revolution (as it is called) and that of France, are just the reverse of each other in almost every particular, and in the whole spirit of the transaction.

With us it was the case of a legal monarch attempting arbitrary power — in France it is the case of an arbitrary monarch, beginning, from whatever cause, to legalize his authority.

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No. 118
John Jenkins
Extracts from Literature
The Blessing of Disguise
A mysterious knight and an equally mysterious outlaw agree to preserve one another’s incognito.
By Sir Walter Scott
(1771-1832)

“SIR Knight,” said the Outlaw, “we have each our secret. You are welcome to form your judgment of me, and I may use my conjectures touching you, though neither of our shafts may hit the mark they are shot at. But as I do not pray to be admitted into your mystery, be not offended that I preserve my own.”

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No. 119
Scottish Traditional Song
Anglo-Saxon History
The Battle of Nechtansmere
King Ecgfrith of Northumbria dismissed repeated warnings about his imperial ambitions.

WHEN Ecgfrith became King of Northumbria in 670, his realm had never been stronger. The ambitious pagan King Penda of Mercia had fallen at the Battle of the Winwaed in 655, and though Penda’s Christian heir Ethelred rebuffed Ecgfrith’s advance southwards in 679, lands to the north looked promising.

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No. 120
Polywords (182)
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Latest: Path
Added on Monday December 11th, 2017
Doublets (34)
Turn one word into another, changing just one letter each time.
Latest: Stardust
Quickwords (46)
A mini-crossword of everyday vocabulary and general knowledge.
Triplets (23)
Find one common letter that will turn three words into three new ones.
Latest: Triplet No. 23
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
See how ingenious you can be in combining three randomly chosen words in one sentence.
Compose sentences showing the difference in meaning, grammar or usage between these words.
Practise your basic arithmetic, from multiplation tables to percentages.
Latest: Target Number
Take command of English grammar and composition with these traditional exercises.
Latest: Letters Game
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Today in History
1878 The death of Alfred Bird, Birmingham pharmacist and confectioner
From our Archive
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
The Virgin Mary and her son team up to get the best out of some careless monks.
A Cornish professor of chemistry with a poetic turn who helped make science a popular fashion.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
It is not educational institutions and methods that advance science or the arts, but people.
One of England’s most precious artefacts, the Lindisfarne Gospels, was nearly lost at sea.
Julius Caesar came over from France expecting to silence the noisy neighbours, but things did not go according to plan.

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Polyword ‘Forewarned’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

More Word Games
A word search game with a dash of strategy.
Guess these words letter by letter – before the cats are gone!
Do you know ‘part of a fish’ (3 letters), and ‘heart of the matter’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FISH and finish with CAKE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.