Archive for April 2019

Today in History: April 22

John Bill Rickets   1793: Washington comes to view America’s first circus.* I bet the child in George came too. It was in Philadelphia at a circus organized  by the British equestrian John Bill Rickets [shown above] who performed a variety of  dextrous feats on horseback. Animals at the time were not a staple at... Read more »

Today in History: April 21

  In 1911 The master of satire and sarcasm* Mark Twain gave up the ghost And his protoplasm. *”Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” “One of the striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.” “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little... Read more »

Today in History: April 20

The Globe   1611: King Duncan breathes his last breath In the first performance at the Globe* Of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.   *With the spelling modernized this is how one eyewitness described in his diary Duncan’s unfortunate despatch:  “And Macbeth contrived to kill Duncan and through the persuasion of his wife did that night murder the... Read more »

Today in History: April 19

  1909: 478 years after she died Joan of Arc Was beatified.* *The last step before officially becoming a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.  The beatification of Joan, whose name in French was Jeanne D’Arc took place at St.Peter’s Cathedral in Rome and Pope Pius X conducted the ceremony.  Joan of Arc rose from... Read more »

Today in History: April 18

Grant Wood   1775: “The regulars are coming!”   so Paul Revere Cried Spurring his horse on His famed midnight ride.* *That Paul Revere is indelibly remembered today but not two other patriots who rode with him, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, may be attributed to the proverbial fickle finger of fate.  Perhaps, it  was due... Read more »

History by Day: April 17

  In 1397 Geoffrey Chaucer’s words took wing When he recited “The Canterbury Tales” In the court of the king.* *King Richard II who reigned from 1377 to 1399.  Richard’s court cultivated art and literature. It was customary for courtiers—Chaucer being one—to read their poetry to a royal audience.  But Chaucer wrote about his pilgrims... Read more »

Today in History: April 16

  In 1705 “I’m making Newton knight,” Queen Anne said, “And all was light.”* *I don’t know the exact words  Queen Anne chose when she knighted Isaac Newton on this day.  So I took the liberty of tweaking what the poet Alexander Pope wrote about him: “Nature and Nature’s Laws lay in Night./ God said,... Read more »

Today in History: April 15

In 1802 Wordworth saw some daffodils. And then commemorated them* With fancy and  one of his quills.   *”I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”   I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake,... Read more »

Today in History: April 14

  In 1912 Titanic suffered the unthinkable. It slammed into an iceberg, And proved it was sinkable.* “I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern ship building has gone beyond that.” -Captain Smith, Commander of Titanic We might have... Read more »

Today in History: April 13

  In 1796 On a ship from India came The first elephant to America. Elephas Maximus Indicus, its scientific name.* It was of course an Indian elephant like the one pictured above. It came on board the ship “America” that landed in New York harbor. It’s dubbed the Crowninshield Elephant after  Jacob Crowninshield, the merchant... Read more »