Today marks the day that is widely agreed to be Shakespeare’s Birthday, when he entered the world in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England in 1564 (451 years ago).
Whether ’tis nobler to not question the validity of this date or staunchly stand our ground and say there ’tis no evidence of this, other than his being given unto God by his mater and pater on April 26, 1564 (baptised), we cannot say forsooth. But ‘zounds! The greatest Bard that doth live’d deserves a day of cheer and goodwill, methinks, and today is as good a day as any!
It also sadly marks the day that Shakespeare died, again in Stratford-Upon-Avon in 1616, aged 52. And for that we do have plenty of evidence, because he’d become somewhat better known by then.
To catch anyone up who may not know the story, in between these two rather important dates, he would leave Stratford-Upon-Avon, head off to London, tread the boards for a while, dash off a couple of dozen plays and even more poems, become the part owner of his own theatre company and several theatres besides, get work commissioned by the Queen, and then have his whole company sponsored by the subsequent King – which gave them the moniker “The King’s Men” – the ultimate in Royal approval, ending up as one of the most celebrated playwrights and theatrical entrepreneurs of the day (and, ultimately, in history as a whole).
So … to mark this happy day and with no further ado, here is Sir Patrick Stewart, one of our favourite current Shakespeareans, with his “Soliloquy on B” …
Ah yes, the Bard is duly celebrated and all is right with the world … Happy Shakespeare Day, everyone!