To listen to this post, click here –
On this day in 1934 the French film star and animal rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot was born.
World famous as a sex symbol in the 50s and 60s, she made nearly 50 films, many in the French language. Bardot became a ‘national treasure’ in France and modelled for the face of Marianne, the emblem of the French Republic and the goddess of reason and liberty.
In later life, Bardot retired to her villa at St Tropez where she continues to campaign for animal rights, particularly endangered species, saying: “I gave my beauty and my youth to men. I am going to give my wisdom and experience to animals.” She has also got herself into trouble by speaking out against immigration and has been fined several times for criticising certain Muslim practices.
Here is a poem about a beautiful woman, Sylvia. Shakespeare wrote it four hundred years before Bardot was born, but it could have been written for her:
Who is Silvia? What is she?
That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admirèd be.
Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness,
And, being helped, inhabits there.
Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.
Today I give thanks for beauty of all kinds.