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Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: April 23, 2003 03:39PM

It's Shakespeare's birthday (or close enough anyhow!)


Sonnet CIV
by William Shakespeare

To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers' pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn'd
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn'd,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure and no pace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion and mine eye may be deceived:
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred;
Ere you were born was beauty's summer dead.

Re: Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: Jack (
Date: April 23, 2003 04:01PM


Great stuff. Somehow it never gets old.


Re: Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: April 23, 2003 04:48PM

Hey, the man himself said- "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. "( Antony and Cleopatra. Act ii. Sc. 2. )


Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: ilza (200.162.247.---)
Date: April 23, 2003 05:15PM

If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me'', you are quoting Shakespeare,
if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare,
if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare,
if you act more in sorrow than in anger,
if your wish is farther to the thought,
if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare,
if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy,
if you have played fast and loose,
if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength,
hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows,
made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play,
slept not one wink, stood on ceremony,
danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches,
had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing,
if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise
-why, be that as it may, the more fool you ,
for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare,
if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage,
if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it,
if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood,
if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play,
if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason,
then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known
(for surely you have a tongue in your head)
you are quoting Shakespeare,
even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing,
if you wish I was dead as a door-nail,
if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock,
the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain,
bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness' sake!
What the dickens! But me no buts! - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.

Bernard Levin
English journalist ( The London Times ), critic, writer
a quote by Mr. Levin :
Countries like ours are full of people who have all the material comforts they desire,
yet lead lives of quiet (and at times noisy) desperation,
understanding nothing but the fact that there is a hole inside them
and that however much food and drink they pour into it,
however many motorcars and television sets they stuff it with,
however many well-balanced children and loyal friends they parade around the edges of it - it aches!

Re: Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: April 23, 2003 05:19PM

You realize it's us he's calling "unbred"?

Re: Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: Jack (
Date: April 23, 2003 05:44PM

I guess I'd rather be unbred than inbred.

Re: Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: argo (
Date: April 23, 2003 08:48PM

i have heard it said over the years that bill only wrote a portion of what was attributed to him, is that still the popular opinion today? was jealousy a factor?


Re: Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: Pam Adams (---)
Date: April 23, 2003 10:00PM

There are certainly people today who hold that opinion. (Not me, by the way)

I think classism rather than jealousy was the real factor. How could this middle-class nobody write these works?

One play, Edward III, has just been authenticated within the last few years.


Re: Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: Julia33 (
Date: April 23, 2003 10:03PM

I don't think there's any conclusion on whether he wrote it all - it's unproveable, I'd say, given the way the plays came to be published in any case. I like to think it's all his. It 'feels' like one man's work, doesn't it? Except for that line "Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade, he bravely broached his boiling bloody breast", which I swear he stole (using a time machine) from Wordsworth on one of his worst days.

Regarding that piece that Ilza posted, I regularly argue with my husband about Shakespeare's neologisms. He always maintains that they CAN'T all have been original, or people wouldn't have understood them - that they were phrases in common usage, and he just happened to be the first to use them in writing. Like some sad modern novelist hanging round in malls to catch what the 'kids' are saying. Opinions, people?

Re: Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: April 24, 2003 02:08PM

We had a long and much-too-passionate discussion of this topic here on eMule a few months ago.

We did not agree on what constitutes COINING or NEOLOGISM. We did not agree on whether that question has any bearing on GREATNESS. We did not even agree on what constitutes "proven."

I don't want to stir up all those passions again, but you can do a search and read it if you like.

Re: Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: Les (
Date: April 24, 2003 04:08PM

To paraphrase Will Rogers, or was it Mark Twain "Shakespeare's works were surely written by him, or another author of the same name."


Re: Happy Birthday, Bill!
Posted by: Henryp (213.78.104.---)
Date: April 25, 2003 10:38AM

By coincidence, 23 April is also the anniverary of Shakespeare's death.

The register of Stratford's Holy Trinity Church records Shakespeare's baptism on 26 April. He is traditionally said to have been born on 23 April, 1564.

Shakespeare died in Stratford, aged fifty-two, on 23 April 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church two days later.

Lancastrians claim that the 'missing years' of his life were spent in Lancashire, with visits to Houghton Tower, Lathom Hall and Rufford Old Hall.

Re: Happy Birthday, Bill Who?
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: April 25, 2003 11:25AM

I've had a complete works of Shakespeare for over 20 years, inherited from my grandfather, who was born in 1859, and not dated. I've used it for reference countless times, though the font size is very tiny Last week I discovered, for the first time, that the title is Shakspeare's Poetical Works - in silver letters half an inch high on the cover and on the title page and first page of script - apparently not an accidental error, especially since on the title page it adds 'carefully edited from the texts'! Two thoughts hit me - 1) has the generally accepted version of his name changed in the last century or so - I know he didn't spell it consistently, but had assumed the consensus fixed on including the e some centuries ago. 2) How long do I have to have a book for before I read the title properly? (rhetorical)

Re: Happy Birthday, Bill Who?
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: April 25, 2003 11:58AM

1) There's evidence that it was spelled more than one way during the Bard's lifetime, and he may have spelled (or spelt) it more than one way himself. Variations in spelling were tolerated for centuries after the invention of printing, and even today there are regional differences; the desire to have one "correct" spelling per word is pretty recent.

2) Forever. (hyperbole)

On the subject of old books...
Posted by: marian2 (
Date: April 25, 2003 12:29PM

and knowing the fondness of some e-mulers for them, does anyone know if the lack of a date in a book gives any indication of when it might have been printed/published ?- I don't know if there are/were any rules about dating them that would mean they must have been before or after certain times, or whether there are/were certain conventions which would make it more likely they were published at certain times.

Re: On the subject of old books...
Posted by: Marian-NYC (
Date: April 25, 2003 05:05PM

I don't think there are any "rules" for determining the publication year of a book that doesn't have a date printed in it.

HOWEVER, thanks to the internet, you can look for other copies of the same edition, being sold by antiquarians, and THEY (the antiquarians) may know a lot about those particular editions.

In my experience, rare book dealers are simply THE BEST. I've written to many of them with questions about hard-to-find editions of things, and I always make it clear that I am NOT a prospective buyer, and yet they will check the illustrations or contents or whatever it is I need to verify -- they will even APOLOGIZE if the quotation I'm seeking is not in the version they have in stock!

marian, Marian
Posted by: ilza (200.162.247.---)
Date: April 26, 2003 05:42AM

quote . . .

In the register of baptisms of the parish church of Stratford-upon-Avon,
a market town in Warwickshire, England, appears, under date of
April 26, 1564, the entry of the baptism of William, the son of
John Shakspeare. The entry is in Latin--"Gulielmus filius Johannis
The family name was variously spelled, the dramatist himself not
always spelling it in the same way. While in the baptismal record
the name is spelled "Shakspeare," in several authentic autographs
of the dramatist it reads "Shakspere," and in the first edition
of his works it is printed "Shakespeare."

Halliwell tells us, that there are not less than thirty-four ways
in which the various members of the Shakespeare family wrote the
name, and in the council-book of the corporation of Stratford,
where it is introduced one hundred and sixty-six times during the
period that the dramatist's father was a member of the municipal
body, there are fourteen different spellings. The modern
"Shakespeare" is not among them.

Shakespeare's father, while an alderman at Stratford, appears to
have been unable to write his name, but as at that time nine men
out of ten were content to make their mark for a signature, the
fact is not specially to his discredit.


Re: marian, Marian
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: April 26, 2003 04:35PM

His last words?

Good friend for Jesus' sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosèd here!
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.

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