Thursday, 30 May 2013


“We owe respect to the living; to the dead we owe only truth.” – Voltaire

Today is the anniversary of the birthday of:
Peter the Great, Russian czar (1672);
Roger Newdigate, of poetry prize fame (1719);
Mikhail Alexandrovitch Bakunin, Russian anarchist (1814);
Peter Carl (Karl Gustavovitch) Fabergé, goldsmith (1846);
Cornelia Otis Skinner, actress/author (1901);
Countee Cullen, writer (1903);
(Leslie) Smokey Dawson, motorcyclist (1906);
Mel Blanc, famous cartoon character voices (1908);
Benny (David) Goodman, musician (1909);
Christine Jorgensen, pioneer transsexual (1926);
K.C. “Pro” Hart, Australian artist (1928);
Keir Dullea, actor (1936);
Wynonna Judd, singer (1964).

The clover flower, Trifolium repens, is today’s birthday flower.  The ancients personified hope as a small child, standing on tiptoe holding clover. The druids considered clover a sacred plant and a four-leaf clover has always been equated with good luck:
           One leaf for fame,
            And one for wealth,
            One for a faithful lover,
            And one to bring you glorious health
            Are in a four-leaf clover.

However, a five-leaf clover was a bad omen and considered as unlucky as the four-leafed variety was lucky.  Clover alone or together with ash was used in many love oracles:
           A clover, a clover of two,
            Put it in your right shoe, 

            The first young one that you meet,
            In field, street or lane,
            You shall have that one
            Or one of the same name.

The clover symbolises the sentiment “think of me” and a four-leaf clover means “good luck”. In the language of flowers, a four-leaf clover means “be mine”. Astrologically, clover is a plant belonging to Mercury.

Jean D’ Arc, the maid of Orléans, is burnt at the stake on this day in 1431 at age 19. In 1593, Christopher Marlowe, English playwright was killed in a tavern brawl.  In 1640, Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish painter died. Alexander Pope, the English poet died in 1744, while Voltaire died on this day in 1778. In 1960, another literary figure expired: Boris Pasternak, Russian poet and author of Dr Zhivago.

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