(it was yesterday.)
No one did more for this language or this literature than this chap. Whether you’re not budging an inch, not sleeping a wink, finding method in your madness, protesting too much, giving your kingdom for a horse, wondering what’s in a name or having greatness thrust upon you, you owe Shakespeare for doing it first. He put life on the stage in all its glories and tragedies, and will always and forever be my homeboy for doing it. Poor Timothy has sat through more of Shakespeare’s plays than any computer scientist should have to in this lifetime. (Oh, he loves it.)
Did I tell you I touched a Folio once? I think it was a Fourth. I’m coming over all wobbly just remembering it.
In order to commemorate this most Shakespearean of days, I suggest you:
- watch Hamlet for grandeur, Othello for sobs or Much Ado About Nothing (the Kenneth Branagh version) for big laughs.
- declaim Sonnet 29 to your chosen loved one (reproduced below for your convenience).
- embrace your nearest copy of the Arden Complete Works (at a bookshop, if necessary; or you can come and use mine).
- grow a small pointed beard and buy a second-best bed.
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 myself 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.
Thanks for everything, Shakespeare. I am staggered by what the written word can do, and found it first with you.