Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

Believed born (or baptised) today in 1564 and died on the same date in 1616. The older I get, the more I seem to appreciate Shakespeare 's genius.

I found a brief but interesting post online from April 23rd of last year by Robert McCrum for The Guardian on the effect of Shakespeare on the brain. Here's the link.

A good day to share two favorite sonnets:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Link to all of Shakespeare's sonnets here.


  1. Hello Yvette:
    So extraordinary that he should be born and die on the same day which is, of course, appropriately St. George's Day.

    His sonnets, often overlooked, are so wonderful and the two which you have chosen are especially lovely.

  2. Happy birthday to The Bard! His sonnets draw such fantastic imagery.

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  4. *talks in best Play-Doh voice musterable* Ohh Noo! 488 years young?! Happy Birthday, Mr. Bill!

  5. Hi Jane and Lance, yes, the coincidence is a bit startling. But it may be more apocryphal than accurate. Who knows? I like the symmetry. :)

  6. We agree, Pat. These two especially.

  7. 488. A mere moment in time. Hey Sparkle, any more Robin Hudson books in the offing??? Huh? Huh?

  8. Hello, Yvette - I like your choice of sonnets; I might have written them myself, if only I were able. I don't doubt that Shakespeare's words have a special, discernable effect on the brain — the evocative words are matched by a rhythm and together they do quite a dance. I wonder whether plants would do well listening to Shakespearean sonnets - what do you think? And finally, I want to say that Will's portrait (which I know was uncovered realatively recently) is exactly how I would want him to appear.

  9. I love this portrait too, Mark. There was some hubbub originally about the sitter's identity, but that seems to have been ironed out. I wish we knew who the artist was. It's a gorgeous portrait.

    You might want to try a bit of recorded Shakespeare on your plants. Why not? I know they like certain music.

    Great writing does/must have a certain rhythm. (Even if it's not a play.)It must 'sound' right when spoken aloud. The best writers know that.

    Shakespeare knew it instinctively, I think.

  10. Mark: Meant to add, I have a book here I've been meaning to read for ages. SHAKESPEARE - The Invention of the Human by Harold Bloom.

    I think my hesitation is colored by my dislike of Bloom himself. Have to get over it.

  11. This reminds me that in Arizona, where a law was passed banning books about Latino history, culture and novels by Latino authors, including Junot Diaz and so many more, that Shakeapeare's The Tempest was banned also!!!

  12. There are idiots everywhere in this great land of ours, Kathy.

  13. You're right! Banned books, idiocy!

    Whatever happened to reading and learning how to think? How to broaden one's horizons, knowledge of the world, of other people and think.

    And now our esteemed Supreme Court may allow Arizona to get away with what they're doing to immigrants and probably everything related to them.

    It's so absurd that I think I'll go read a book to distract myself.

  14. Reading is the best escape, Kathy. I've stopped reading a lot of the news. It's just too discouraging.

    Reading and learning how to think. What's that? A new idea? Ha.

  15. I am SO glad to have found your blog! I just blogged today about some of my favorite books for my kids but I think I've only read two books this entire year so far! So sad, I know. I just never really know WHAT to try. So I will jot down some of your recommendations for our next trip to the Library! That's for this great resource :)

  16. Hi Faith, thanks so much for stopping by. If you want recommendations - boy did you come to the right place. :)

    All up and down my sidebars you'll find books and/or links to help in you book quest. :)


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