Postage stamp showing Mozart

5 December

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (seen above on a German stamp) died very early this morning in 1791, at the age of 35. He spent his last couple of weeks in bed worrying about, and possibly working on his Requiem Mass, but it remained unfinished when he died. This was a problem for his widow, Constanze, who needed the money promised for completion of the Requiem, and led to a number of myths surrounding Mozart’s death, including that he was poisoned by a rival musician, and that the Requiem was written for his own death.


Today in 1970, Judy Collins hit the charts with her cover version of John Newton’s ‘Amazing Grace’. She stayed in the UK charts for a record 86 weeks.


Prohibition was scrapped in the USA today in 1933, the first time an amendment to the constitution had been repealed. During the prohibition era, American wine-drinking trebled.


The poet Christina Rossetti was born today in 1830. Her evangelical upbringing influenced her enough to make her paste paper strips over the anti-religious parts of Swinburne’s poem ‘Atlanta in Calydon’ so she could read it, and refuse to see Wagner’s Parsifal, because of its pagan mythology. Her religious poetry in later life is supposed to have sublimated her self-thwarted desire to marry:

My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall, the sap of spring,
O Jesus, rise in me.
Christina Rossetti

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Time-travel news is written by Steve Tomkins and Simon Jenkins

© Ship of Fools