Mar. 15, 2000
Children's "counting out" rhymes
Poems: Children's "counting out" rhymes.
Today, March 15, is called THE IDES OF MARCHthe day, in 44 B.C., that Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated in Rome by a group of aristocrats, led by Cassius and Brutus. They believed they were striking a blow to restore a free republic; little could they know that killing Caesar would serve only to incite a fresh round of civil wars, in which the Republic would not be restored but would be entirely destroyed.
It's the birthday of biographer and scholar RICHARD ELLMANN, born in Highland Park, Michigan (1918), who wrote biographies of William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and Oscar Wilde. The Identity of Yeats (1954) remains the standard study of the poet, while his James Joyce (1959National Book Award), is thought by many to be the finest biography ever written. After teaching at Northwestern University (1951-68) and Yale (1968-70), Ellmann rounded off his academic career at Oxford, where he taught until his death in 1987. The next year his huge biography Oscar Wilde came out, presenting the turn-of-the-century genius as a quintessentially modern spirit.
On this day in 1917, CZAR NICHOLAS THE SECOND ABDICATED, bringing an end to the Romanov Dynasty, which had ruled Russia since 1613. Throughout the previous week, strikes and riots had torn the capital city of St. Petersburg. Riots broke out in reaction to bread shortages and to continued Russian participation in World War One. When troops were summoned to put down the strikes, many of the soldiers joined the strikers. With the fall of the Romanovs, a provisional government was formed by some members of the Duma, the Russian legislature. This provisional government lasted just 7 months. In October its leader, Alexander Kerensky, was deposed by Lenin and fled to France.
It's the birthday of bluesman (Samuel) LIGH TNIN' HOPKINS, born in Centerville, Texas (1912). He built his first guitar from a cigar box, a plank, and chicken wire, and got some lessons from Blind Lemon Jefferson. One of his hits, for Houston's Gold Star label, was "Baby Please Don't Go."
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®