National Poetry Month Spotlight – William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He is one of the world’s most highly esteemed writers, and is thought to be the most quoted author in history, second only to the Bible. His plays and poems have been studied, analyzed, read, and loved for centuries.
Shakespeare was a prolific poet. His first and second published poems were “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece”, which debuted in 1593 and 1594, respectively.
The poems of Shakespeare literally revolutionized the English language, as his sonnets contained many words that were unknown in his time but are very commonly used today. The Oxford English Dictionary credits Shakespeare with inventing words including birthplace, dewdrop, leapfrog, misquote, radiance, schoolboy, stillborn, zany, courtship, downstairs, fanged, bloodsucking, arch-villain, watchdog, and pageantry.
“A Fairy Song”
Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire!
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green;
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours;
In those freckles live their savours;
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
“All The World’s a Stage”
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.
And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.
Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.
And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part.
The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan
And mock you with me after I am gone
“We know what we are, but not what we may be” William Shakespeare
Yay! Tomorrow is the final day and the long awaited Spotlight on “Poets I Know” to close out National Poetry Month. Again thanks for reading and contributing! I’ve very much enjoyed paying tribute to these great authors and look forward to spotlighting some great poets I know tomorrow!