On this day in 1955 Swiss physicist Albert Einstein died of an aneurism aged 76.
He could have had surgery but refused, saying: “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.”
Much of his work was ground-breakingly important but even he got things wrong sometimes.
Today’s poem (part) by Percy Bysshe Shelley is a rather simpler view of the heavens, Ode to Heaven:
Palace-roof of cloudless nights?
Paradise of golden lights!
Deep, immeasurable, vast,
Which art now, and which wert then!
Of the Present and the Past,
Of the eternal Where and When,
Presence-chamber, temple, home,
Of acts and ages yet to come!
Glorious shapes have life in thee,
Earth, and all earth’s company;
Living globes which ever throng
Thy deep chasms and wildernesses;
And green worlds that glide along;
And swift stars with flashing tresses;
And icy moons most cold and bright,
And mighty suns beyond the night,
Atoms of intensest light.
Even thy name is as a god,
Heaven! For thou art the abode
Of that Power which is the glass
Wherein man his nature sees.
Generations as they pass
Worship thee with bended knees.
Their unremaining gods and they
Like a river roll away:
Thou remainest such — alway! –
Today I recognise that spirituality is the ‘something different’ that has been missing.